Behind the Screen by Makayla Snow

“Hey honey. How are you feeling?”

My mom sat down on my bed.

“I can’t believe he just got up and left. We were together for 5 years. How could he do this to me? He told me we were going to get married. We were looking at houses. What did I do wrong?”

I buried my head in my pillow.

“Honey, things happened. Maybe you guys weren’t meant to be. God has a reason for everything, maybe he saw someone bad in the future and made you guys break up.”

“Mom, shut up with this Jesus bullshit, okay? I don’t want to hear it anymore. If Jesus was watching, he would see me in pain right now.”

“I’m only trying to help Kelly. Enough with this attitude of yours, and do not disrespect Jesus. One more time and you’re grounded.”

“Telling me that Sam left me because Jesus wanted him to isn’t fucking helping.”

“That’s it young lady, you are ground. You will not leave this room until I say. You will eat in here, and you already have a bathroom. You can keep your phone because there is nothing to do in here, and you will not go to Marie’s birthday party.”

“No! Mom, I’m sorry. Please everyone is going to be there, I’m going to be the odd one out, and people are going to make fun of me.”

“I don’t care.”

She got up and started walking to my door. She stopped and turned around to look at me.

“I get that your heart is broken, but you didn’t need to take it out on Jesus.”

“SHUT UP ABOUT JESUS!”

She pointed at me.

“That’s 2 weeks.”

“What?”

“That’s 3, do you want to make it 4?”

“No.”

“That’s 4, not another word.”

I just stared at her back as she walked out of my room. I groaned and fell backwards on my bed. I’m grounded for 4 weeks because I asked her to stop talking about Jesus. 4 fucking weeks. I turned off my light and went to close my eyes, but then my phone buzzed. It was a friend request from facebook. His name was Phil, he was kind of good looking, but he didn’t have much on his page, no post, no information. He doesn’t have where he works or how old he is, he didn’t have any friends and only 3 photos. I accepted, thinking my family knows him. I’ll ask my mom tomorrow. I woke the next morning to my mom coming into my room as loud as she can. Why are moms always so loud when you’re trying to sleep, but when they are trying to sleep, they yell at you for making a creak in the floor boards? 

“Mom, are you serious right now?”

I pulled the covers over my head.

“Sorry, I thought you were awake.”

She grabbed the covers and pulled them off of me. She handed me a plate and a cup of water.

“Are we really doing this?”

“Yes, we are.”

I rolled my eyes at her.

“Young lady, I will make it 5 weeks.”

I sighed and nodded. Then I remembered the guy.

“Hey do we know him from somewhere?”

She grabbed my phone and looked at him, then started swiping. Why does she do that?

“No, I don’t. Does he go to our church?”

“No mom, everything doesn’t revolve around the church.”

“I just want you to believe in Jesus!”

“No.”

“You don’t go to church. You don’t say grace at the dinner table. You don’t pray.”

“That’s because it’s stupid.”

“Fine.”

She looked like she was about to cry.

“I’m sorry mom, I jus-”

“No no, it’s okay. I understand.”

I sighed as my door closed. I didn’t mean to make her cry. My phone buzzed in my hand. It was a message from Phil. 

Phil: Heyy!

Kelly: Hi, may I ask who you are?

Phil: I’m Phil, I just moved here from Alaska.

Kelly: How do I know you Phil?

Phil: I used to babysit you when you were younger.

Kelly: Oh, I don’t remember you.

Phil: Of course you wouldn’t, you were just a kid.

Kelly: Oh, well. I have a lot of stuff to do, ill ttyl.

Phil: I’ll call you.

I have never seen this guy before in my life, and if he used to babysit me, mom would recognize him. I threw my phone to the side and forgot about him for a couple hours, until I got a phone call from him.

“Hello?”

“Oh my. Your voice is beautiful.”

“Oh, thank you so much.”

We sat on the phone for what felt like hours just talking about what I did when I was a baby.

“Hey, do you want to meet up?”

“Sure but how will you leave? You’re grounded?”

My smile faded.

“How did you know I was grounded?”

“Oh. Well. Um-Where do you want to meet at and when?”

“Well. My mom won’t let me leave. I have an idea. Oh wait. You don’t live here.”

“I’m visiting my mom for a couple months. I’ve been here for a week.”

“Do you know where Evergreen Baptist Church is?”

“Yes.”

“I’m going to be there tomorrow, pick me up there.”

“Sounds like a plan. I’ll be there at 10.”

“Okay. Bye.”

We hung up, and I was never more ready to meet someone. I ran down the stairs to the living room where my mom was sitting watching ‘her shows’.

“What are you doing down here? You aren’t supposed to be out of your room.”

She stood up and walked over to me.

“Well, I was wondering if I can go to church with you tomorrow.”

She looked at me like I grew ten heads.

“Um. Sure.”

“K, thanks.”

I ran back upstairs with the biggest smile on my face. I wanted the day to go by faster. I ended up going to sleep early. As soon as I got in the car, I looked over at my mom and she was giving me a slide eye.

“What?”

She just shook her head and pulled into the church parking lot. As I was following her in, I looked around to see if I could see Phil’s car, but I didn’t. Did he forget about me? I sat down on a chair and kept stealing looks at my phone waiting for 10 to roll around. I lost track of time, listening to all these church songs and old people cry about how much they loved Jesus. This is why I stopped going to church. I saw Phil’s car pull up in the parking lot, I felt my phone vibrate in hand saying he was here.

“I have to go to the bathroom.”

“The song is almost done. After you’re done, go ahead and go to the room for sunday school. After that, I’ll meet you in the car.”

I went to get up, but she stopped me.

“Don’t go thinking that just because you went to church means that I’m going to unground you.’’

I nodded and got up to head to the door. Luck was on my side because the bathrooms were right next to the door. I walked out the door and ran to his car.

“Sorry I took so long. My mom wouldn’t let me leave.”

“That’s okay. You’re here now.”

“So where are we going?”

I put my seatbelt on and looked at him.

“You’ll see.”

I nodded and looked out the window, and I drifted off to sleep. When I woke up, I saw that we were still on the road. All I saw was trees, so I couldn’t make out where we were. 

“How long was I asleep?”

“Couple hours.”

My eyes widen.

“Hours?” I choked out.

He nodded and I checked my phone. I had a million texts from my mom asking me where I was and that she would call the police if I didn’t come home. I texted back saying that I’ll be home later. I fall asleep again. I woke up, but this time, I was in bed. I sat up and looked around, this wasn’t my home. Then I remembered Phil and the panic went away. I walked down the stairs and saw that he was cooking something.

“Mmmm. That smells good.”

“Yeah. I figured you were hungry, seeing as you didn’t eat yesterday.”

I slowly looked over at him, and froze.

“How did you know?”

He stopped cooking and looked over at me with a smile that I can’t describe. 

“You really are stupid, huh?”

“What?”

“You haven’t noticed the signs, or are you that desperate for friends?”

 “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“Follow me.”

He started walking ahead of me, and I followed him like a lost puppy. We went down in his basement and my face paled. 

“You see Kelly, I never babysat you. I don’t know your mom. I don’t know you. You were just a desperate, depressed, heartbroken little girl who would do anything for attention. Including talking to strangers.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You were the stupid girl I was looking for.”

Then he smiled. A smile that haunts me. I watched as he grabbed some rope and chains. For the first time in my life, I prayed.

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