They don't have religion in the orphanage. Of course, I understand why – if a state-run institution suddenly starting holding mass on Sundays then people would probably complain.
I wonder what would have happened if I had been religious?
My new parents are practicing Catholics. They adopted me last year and slowly but surely I’ve been learning about faith.
I know the bible and church aren’t for everyone, but it feels like they are for me. I love the hymns, the scripture, the ceremony – I love it all.
Religious feels like a solution to all my problems.
That’s why I agreed to the baptism. Mom and Dad wanted to wait until I was ready. I thought that was very respectful of them.
Plus, I figured the baptism would make me feel like I was a part of the family. It would indoctrinate me into the religious community that I’ve grown to love. I would finally feel at home.
My adopted mother bought me a new white dress shirt and slacks. My adopted father gave me his favorite tie to wear. The whole church was in attendance.
Beautiful music was playing as they marched me down the aisle. Song erupted from every corner of the room. Our priest held out a gentle hand to me and helped me up on a raised platform.
A basin full of holy water stood atop it.
The song subsided and prayer replaced it. The priest smiled and put his hand on the back of my head. With a patient deliberateness, he pushed my head down into the water.
It was cold, at first. Then it felt warm. All of a sudden the water began to bubble. It became scalding, like I was face first in a pool of boiling lava.
I began to scream and the burning water filled my lungs. A fire lit inside of me and I felt an intense pain as I roasted from the inside out.
The priest pulled my head out of the water. My skin was bubbling on the surface and gasps began to erupt throughout the sanctuary. Father James recoiled from me.
I screamed out in pain, my skin and lungs still burning so badly that tears came to my eyes. While praying quietly in Italian, he held up a cross towards me.
Smoke billowed off my head and out of my mouth, clouding my vision. Then it went dark as my father threw his coat over me and led me out of the room.
I’ve been locked in my room. No one will speak to me. My skin is peeling off in huge chunks. Most of my hair has fallen out. There’s a new layer of skin forming underneath the flaking skin.
It’s jet black. My eyes have turned a bright shade of red. My breath smells like smoke.
There was nothing wrong with the water. It was just standard holy water. But I think there might be something wrong with me.