The following nonfiction piece originally appeared in the 51st edition of Jeopardy Magazine.
As a Child in the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Each song book is the same: brown cover, gold lettering that reads Sing Praises to Jehovah, pages worn and creased. Innocent looking enough. As one, the congregation opens to the same song, singing together for salvation, for grace, for the Lord. Their eyes turn toward the Elder at the front of the room, a practiced move. All but one. Somewhere in the middle, there is a little girl with bad eyes and a burn on her arm that she has been hiding for hours. She was playing near the stove again when she fell, and now she doesn’t want anyone to see, doesn’t want anyone to notice her pain and ask questions. So instead she opens and closes her mouth without sound, unable to follow along, unable to carry the tune.