How does a demon enter the body of a child and possess it? That’s the question I needed answered, because it simply didn’t make any sense to me at the time, and still doesn’t today. Her name was Sofie, and she was my friend. I can see her face smiling as she told jokes and laughed in the school yard with the rest of us. She was tall for her age, brown skin, full of braids and ribbons, and gave the appearance that she just might knock you down if she bounced you with her hip! But she was full of love and kindness and always laughed at my foolishness many days as we sat in that sun pondering the dreaded vocabulary of the week.
Long before I understood the meaning of mental illness, I did have a basic understanding of psychological issues. All about the city you would see vagrants, at times walking naked, other times dancing, arguing, cursing or laughing with themselves. I remember one in particular who was known to bathe inside the water tank that supplied the KFC, though this was a rumor not proven, fried chicken sales slowed that week until the tank was scoured clean.
In a large family, you have those who suffer the after effects of war, periods of dementia, Alzheimer’s and some with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Seeing a child from my class suffer a breakdown didn’t seem strange, it was the hushed sho sho chatter of adults gossiping that confused me. The belief was that this child was suffering from a demon invading her body and would require some sort of exorcism. What I can tell you is that when that child returned to school, she was a different person, it’s like the light from her eyes had dimmed. Always smiling, face bright, tall and beautiful, this was Sofie. Now she walked with her head down in shame, didn’t laugh, almost robotic, as if she was medicated and forced to leave the house. Though the students were curious, they weren’t unkind to her, from what I remember, we were happy she was back, but her downcast demeanor definitely made us all sad. The teaches seemed relieved that she was rid of her demons and carried on.
Many years later the story continued to bother me, I had always wondered if her actions at school were a cry for help. I wondered if she had been abused by a close member of her family, or her church and this orchestrated story was to hide that fact. What I did know, she wasn’t demon possessed, maybe she had psychological issues or mental instability that was beginning to develop, but an exorcism was not what she needed. I know the ancestors have taught us many gifts, and those have long since been intertwined into organized religion. Yet this situation felt like smoke and mirrors for an audience of fanatical believers. What had this child done for a demon to “jump inside her” and what was the end result of that demon being disturbed….
Much love from the brown girl, sharing short stories for Blogtober. Keep writing, even if no one is reading! ❤️
Ny~The Unnerved Traveler