During the summer my family enjoys Wednesday night church services. We picnicked out at the lake before service, and then I checked the girls into their classes. I walked into the sanctuary just as the first song was starting. I went to the section we usually sit in and there was a row with only one guy so I asked if I could get past him. He moved over so I could come into the row.
The entire first song he stared at me. My McDonalds double cheeseburger slowly rose to my throat and my shoulders started inching up. It was obvious there was something not right about him. Not sure if it is PC to say he seemed retarded, but he did. His movements were spastic and sporadic and his hands were curled. Only a few notes into the second song he sticks his hand out to me and introduces himself as Brian. I gave my name and try to smile and act like a Christian since I am in church but he was really in my personal space. My skin was crawling and as cold as I know it was in church, I could not feel it.
I acted very into worship but I was actually inventorying the exit routs and how many people I had between me and each one. I am thinking, ‘Is this normal? He is just a harmless retarded dude! How do I process this and my reaction after Monday night?!?’. My plan became to respond to the first nursery number that went up. Not a single one did. Not one. The entire service.
I am trying to make myself calm down because I realize I am wound so tight, if he tries to touch me, I may over react. He is IN my space. Coming over onto my chair! My sense of smell goes into overdrive; someone near me smokes. I feel like I will choke on the air that has turned foul around me.
The break between worship and the message lasts an eternity as Brian makes small talk with me. I barely speak and plaster a smile on my face that may or may not reveal my underlying hysteria. Somewhere during the offering he hands me a slip of paper and says I can call him if I ever want to get together. I take the paper, stuff it into my purse and concentrate on the head in front of me. In hindsight I should have just politely said it would not be appropriate since I was married but I was beyond speech at this point. I remember thinking if he touches me, I will be justified in beating the shit out of him. Then I remembered Monday night at Suzanne’s and got a little confused.
He talked to me through service as I silently prayed for a nursery number to go up or another reason to leave. Several church members spoke to him so he was not a stranger and I felt like Alice in Wonderland. Completely unsure if what was happening to me was rational, sane or even real. He asked me several questions I did not respond to including what my phone number was.
At the end when married people were asked to stand I did and he did as well (he had told me earlier some stuff about his ex-wife) mumbling he was technically still married. By the time the prayer was over I could not sit in my chair again if I wanted to. He had moved so close that he was more in front of my chair than I was. Fortunately the couple on the end of the row next to me left so I moved into the space where they were sitting and as soon as Amen was said I grabbed my purse muttered nice to meet to ( how effing stupid was that?!?) and bolted.
It was just creepy. I flipped through a book I did called On the Threshold of Hope and there was a part on boundries and control and I think in my attempts to find balance in those areas through the grid of trauma, there are times when I teeter way to one extreem or the other. To a person not facing the issues I am, the logical thing would have been to move the moment they felt uncomfortable. I fell into a trap where I did not realize that was an option. But I see Truth today and I continue to work through lies when they surface. Next time a retarded dude freaks on me, I am outta there!