Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Our “Little Secret”

The little girl stiffened with fear as she heard soft footsteps coming down the hall. Alone in her grandparents' darkened guest bedroom, she thought about slipping out of the bed and hiding beneath it. But hearing the doorknob slowly turn, she knew it was too late. She heard him step into the room. "Pumpkin, it's me, Grandpa," she heard him whisper. "Grandma is sound asleep, so we can have our secret visit now." She didn't like Grandpa's "secret visits." He touched her where she didn't like being touched. But she couldn't tell anyone about the touching because Grandpa said it was a secret. Besides, she didn't want to tell anyone because she thought she would get in trouble for doing such a bad thing. She cringed as her grandfather's hands patted the covers until he found the lump at the bottom. "Please, Grandpa, no visit tonight." "But we must have our secret visit, Pumpkin," he said in a syrupy tone. "No, Grandpa, no. No, Grandpa, no . . ."

"Wake up, wake up." Ann felt someone jostling her gently by the shoulder. "You're hav­ing a nightmare, Annie. Wake up." The whisper­ing voice she heard was not her grandfather's. After another jostle, Ann snapped fully awake with a start. Heather was shaking her, and it was dark. Ann suddenly remembered she was in a sleeping bag in her bunk at summer church camp and released a sigh of relief. She was not six years old as she'd been in her terrible dream; she was fourteen now. "Ann, are you all right?" Heather whispered. What were you dreaming about?" Heather pressed with sisterly nosiness. "Are you having problems with your grandfa­ther, Annie?" "Grandpa Bennett died two years ago," Ann answered. "Oh, sorry, I just thought . . ." Her words trailed off. "No problem," Ann said. "Let's get back to sleep.” Still awake, Ann thought silently, I didn't exactly tell you the truth, Heather. I don't have any problems with Grandpa now, because he's dead. But I have never told anyone about what Grandpa did to me. Now I'm so ashamed about what happened that I'm afraid to tell anyone. And I can't seem to get these awful memories to go away. Maybe it is something I need you to pray with me about.

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