A New Home
I carry the last box up to my room, and throw it down in a corner of the massive space that I call my own. Bittersweet feelings make themselves known inside of me. They are as the stampede, trampling beneath their feet both good and bad, making everything squished together, so that one cannot tell them apart.
Our house is big. It’s not like our old one. I liked our old one. It was small, but there was land outside; not the “yards” that they have here. I could walk up a grass-covered hill to the woods, and not worry about someone’s dog barking at me from behind some neighbor’s fence.
We only have two trees now, but we can’t climb them. They’re too small. They’re not like the big fig and pear trees back home. For once, I almost miss the bees and wasps that seemed to swarm around them. I’d rather tolerate them than these oak bushes.
There are lots of people now. I don’t like that. They are probably nice, but I don’t know them. I don’t want to ride my bike outside if random strangers are walking around. I don’t think I’ll have to worry about this though. No one seems to be outside anyway. I guess I’ll have to figure everything out later. Right now, I’m going outside; going outside to draw; going to figure out how to draw these new houses.
I don’t want to be here. I’d rather be at home, with my sketchbook, drawing houses and flowers, but it’s the first day at this new school; this massive school that might as well be an elementary, middle, and high school combined; where there are probably a bunch snobby rich kids, just waiting to ask the new pentecostal kid why they dress so weird. I don’t like it here. I follow my parents. I walk across the perfect sidewalk, through the perfect glass doors, and into the perfect school.
How am I to make friends? I could never make friends in Katy, or San Augustine, or Chireno. What could possibly be different now? I don’t want to be here. I don’t belong here. I shouldn’t have to sit and watch my dad fill out all these papers. I shouldn’t have to be here. Period.
We walk down a perfectly tiled hallway lined with wooden lockers, until we reach a door with a sign outside that says “Mrs. Cochran.” Before I can take a breath, the door has been opened, and I am in the classroom struggling to make sense of the chaos happening around me. There’s so many kids. How can there be so many kids?! After a brief introduction and a few hesitant goodbyes, I am sitting at a peculiarly-shaped desk, getting caught up by one of my new classmates. Over the next few hours, I am introduced to a sea of new faces. They say that there was another “Teryn” before me. I guess I’m the replacement.
Suddenly it’s the end of the day, and we line up to go home. I slowly walk to the long snake of students. As I approach the line a tall girl with frizzy brown hair smiles and awkward smile, saying, “Hola, I’m Harleigh.” I look at her blank-faced, and say “Hi, I’m Teryn.”
And we became best friends.
The nightmares started on a normal night. I went to sleep. I began a normal dream. I was looking at a hymnal. I was sharing it with my friend Vivian, only Vivian was pointing at something. She was pointing to a window- no- out a window. I wish I hadn’t looked. Oh, how I wish I hadn’t looked out that window, to see the boy shoot himself, and the grey cat beside him become the center of my vision as its eyes darkened red. I awoke. I felt fear. It was supposed to go away, but it didn’t. It wouldn’t go away. It only grew; grew as the darkness of the cat’s eyes. Then there was scratching. I was scared I didn’t know what to do but sit up in my bed and cry “Mom! MOM!” over and over, but she didn’t hear me. I could feel something bad; something very bad.I was in tears. I didn’t know what to do. In my moment of panic, I finally cried out “Jesus, make him go away!” and it stopped. I jumped out of bed and ran to my parents’ room. I woke up my mom, and told her that I had had a bad dream.
We ended up sleeping on the game-room couch for the rest of the night, her at one end, and me at the other. I felt safe, and I fell back to sleep, only there was another nightmare. I was still laying down on the couch next my mom. I still had my eyes closed. I didn’t know why but I was afraid to move, and then I realized that I couldn’t move. Once again, I felt panic rush through me, only this time, I woke up quick. I prayed, and prayed, and prayed, until I was able to fall back asleep without being crippled by fear.
And I slept.
When reading through the bible, in the old testament especially, it is fairly easy to reach the conclusion that names were usually very fitting to whomever they belonged. This is one of the reasons why name changes were often symbolic and/or indicative of a change in the person’s identity. Even today, names are often found to describe traits, if not the whole personality, of their masters which are called by them. Unfortunately, however, not all modern names are as simple as they used to be. When searching for the meaning of one’s name, one must take into consideration the country of its origin and other potential spellings of the name, as well as the original intent of their parents when they were named as an infant.
I can faintly recall a memory from when I was younger, and had asked my mom what my name meant. I can’t remember exactly what she said, just that it translated into my six-year-old mind as “that place where they bury dead (Irish) kings,” which is what I had believed from then on- or at least until recently. Not too long ago, I decided to actually ask my mom (again) what my name meant, and this time the explanation was different. She described it as “a sacred place where the spirits of kings dwell. It’s kind of like a round table that they sit around after they pass on.” That, of course, is about as far as she got before she instructed me to just “look it up.”
Nevertheless, I decided to do some research regarding the origin of my name. “Teryn” isn’t exactly the most common spelling of my name, so I tried searching everything from “Taren” to “Tara.” I admit, it was hard weeding through the countless interpretations of my five-letter name, but in the end, it was worth it. Even though my parents had given me a name of Gaelic origin, I couldn’t help but be amazed at all the interpretations of my name across different cultures. In Celtic, my name can mean “thunder”, while in Greek it can be translated as “innocent.” A Scandinavian translation of “Teryn” can mean “little princess”, while one of Hebrew origin could mean “wild goat.” I began to realize just how opposite some of the meanings were. I couldn’t help but wonder if my parents had actually expected me to be an overly-complicated individual.
Despite various suspicions regarding my parents’ intent, I finally managed to come upon the meaning which my mother had described. Apparently, “Teryn” had been derived from “Tara,” which, according to this particular source, was the “mythological seat of the ancient Irish kings.” It was a combination of various words meaning “rocky hill” or “tower” from different cultures and languages which had blended at the time.
Regardless of all the confusion that seems to encircle my name, I am quite fond of the meaning that it was intended to possess. The definition I found was not specific as to what types of kings were to be included, so it was probably implied that both good and bad kings would be welcomed at this meeting place. With this in mind, one could expect the meeting place to be witness to the both the falters and triumphs of those who dwell around it, extracting every drop of wisdom from the lives of men that it can, never truly accepting that it can’t grow fuller. There is just something about the “mythological seat of the ancient Irish kings,” that makes me appreciate the name I have been given.
Another Youth Rally
Supposedly, it’s just another youth rally. I don’t even know that any of the others in my youth group are going. I just wanted to go, so I am. I want to feel God move again. This time, I am not going to be afraid to lift my hands.
Three hours later, I’m in a van being driven by one of the youth pastors. I am somewhat relieved to know that I am not the only youth from our church that is going to this youth rally. I am sitting next to my friend, Audrey, with Blake riding shotgun, and Ryan Wayne sitting in the back. We pull into a church parking lot and exit the van. We all walk (quickly) to the church door, and are greeted by an ancient, smiling face saying something like “How are y’all tonight?” We enter the building and make our way to another door. It is opened, and praises pour out into the fellowship hall. It only takes one glance, however, around the crowded sanctuary to know that finding seats will not be easy, but we do, though it seemed rather useless at the time. We were all standing up, hands and voices lifted, to worship The King.
The sermon lasts what seems to be no more than 30 minutes, a before long, people are crowding at the altar, praying. I am not staying back at my seat this time. I make my way out of the pew, following Audrey and Sister Natalie as they press through the crowd. I lift my hands. I leave every anxiety behind. Tears begin to fall from my eyes, and suddenly my mouth moves on its own. I'm not alone.
I am using two rows to push my boat further and further from the vessel aboard which everyone I know abides. I don’t know where I’m going. I long to be on that ship. I yearn for someone to understand, yet I can’t help but push myself further out to sea. People aboard the big ship don’t even realize I’m gone. They don’t know to cast a rope to me. I can’t expect them to. I set up a device in my cabin that responds to every knock with a voice like my own. I never wanted to do this. I wanted to stay, but something inside wouldn’t let me. The people I’ve come to love- the people onboard would never think that I could pull something like this off. If anyone could it’s them; not me, yet (somehow) they haven’t the slightest idea where they are going. They don’t realize that they have been traveling the same waters ever since they took their first breath. Up until now, I have only wondered; wondered what could exist beyond; what wonders happen elsewhere. I’m going away now; going to find beyond; going to find land; going to find home.
And I’ll come back for them.