Big Lots Indulgences | Anastasia Jill
The neighbors have Jesus glowing in the backyard. First night, I thought I hallucinated him but no. As the day broke into a yawn, a breadth of sunlight on the green revealed a plastic Messiah suspended between a bird bath and a molting lawn chair. He glowed Neptune blue in the midnight dark, but I preferred him blank and dew covered in the mornings.
I loved their yard, minus the Lord. Wind ruffled the skirts of pink flowers, potted palms bent into the grass, ends pale and frayed from the Florida heat. There was a shed with Christmas lights, where the husband spent hours building bird houses and filling them with thick seed for cardinals and blue jays.
I hated that Jesus, especially at night.
Aunt Mara left the windows without blockage, and her cats cracked the blinds years ago. He watched me at every angle, an insensitive blue solar right demanding I pray, or at least pay him heed.
“I want curtains,” I told my aunt one morning over breakfast. I hadn’t slept, but spent the entire night at eye level with the windowsill.
She told me, “We don’t need them.”
Her reasoning was sound — no one was looking in, not physically. There was nothing to fear
I couldn’t tell her JESUS IS WATCHING!!!
She would think I’d gone crazy, yet again.
Aunt Mara didn’t budge on the curtains, and I didn’t eat my breakfast as an act of redress. When she gave me my morning meds, I hid them under my tongue. Haldol, Thorazine, and Rexulti sat like chalky spare teeth beside my aching gums.
I left the house for school, and spat them in the neighbor’s yard. Jesus saw that. I flipped him off just as the husband came out his front door.
“Morning,” he said to my finger. He couldn’t see well without his glasses.
All I said in reply was, “Nice Jesus you got there.”
“Got it at Big Lots.” He wiped his frames on the edge of his shirt before placing them on his nose. A cross of nostrils flared at my multicolored hair. He told me, “Jesus saves.”
“Apparently, he saves Lots.”
The man didn’t laugh.
I walked away.
And Jesus saw.
About the Author:
Anastasia Jill (she/they) is a queer writer living in Central Florida. She has been nominated for Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, and several other honors. Her work has been featured or is upcoming with Poets.org, Sundog Lit, Pithead Chapel, Contemporary Verse 2, OxMag, Broken Pencil, and more.