17. Rehearsal

With my meeting with Allen less than a week away, the planning of what I would do if... began. Planning is really not the word; it was more like a series of waking and sleeping, nightmarish fantasies. More than once during those days, I thought that I was going mad. Fortunately, I had had experience with temporary insanity and knew that it would pass.

This was one time where I wished that I had an eidetic memory. If I had, all that I would have to do was read the Bible and I would have the information that he needed at my fingertips. I had decided that the only way to manage Allens lack of reason was to question, question, question. Allen said that he believed the Bible to be the litteral truthe. When I asked him if he thought that Genesis was also true, Allen said yes. I didn't pursue it at the time because I needed more information. I remembered how Clarence Darrow had beaten William Jennings Bryan by pointing out the inconsistancies between Genesis and what almost everyone knows -not believes-to be true. I picked up my copy of the Jerusalem Bible and read and took notes:

Gn 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, and God's spirit hovered over the water.

God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light. Does this mean that the earth was created before the sun?

Gn 1:27God created man in the image of himself,

in the image of God he created him,

Male and female he created them.

Gn 2:21 So Yahweh God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh. Yahweh God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. Does this mean that men have one less rib than women? What color was Adam?

As I read it, I was aware that I was enjoying not only the story, but the language. What a lovely tradition that I've decended from. I thought.

Gn 7:23 Yahweh destroyed every living thing on the face of the earth, man and animals, reptiles, and the birds of heaven. He rid the earth of them, so that only Noah was left, and those with him on the ark. Where did the kangaroos come from? The Aztecs? The Eskimos? The dinosaurs?

Ex 10:22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven and for three days there was deep darkness over the whole land of Egypt. No one could see anyone else or move about for three days, but where the sons of Israel lived there was light for them. How did he do that?

Lv 19:34 "If a stranger lives in your land, do not molest him. You must count him as one of your own countrymen and love him as yourself -for you were once strangers yourselves in Egypt. I am Yahweh your God."you're not my father!" I hear Allen say.

Brother James: Meet him, prove in front of Allen that he knows nothing

I had had trouble sleeping for days. In my mind, I was turning over every possible scenario that I could think of: What if Brother James.....? What if Allen should....? What would happen if I.....?

Laura lay in bed beside me asleep and I could hear the sound of her breathing. For the past hour, I had been wondering what I would do if Allen physically attacked me -he was, after all, much stronger than I was. "This is silly" I told myself; my son wouldn't attack me. But he is not acting like my son; he has become totally unpredictable to me -I don't know who I'm dealing with. I was constructing traps for myself -how silly can I get? I suppose that I can get as silly as I let myself. I asked myself if, perhaps, I was insane. I hoped for a negative answer. No answer came. Yet, one thing was clear: even if I was completely rational, I was going into a situation where I had no way of predicting the outcome. I couldn't even guess at what might happen, nor how I would react to them. My limited experience as a therapist led me to believe that I knew what to do and how to behave, but this was not a situation where I was an impersonal leader of a group. It was more like the times when I was a member rather than a leader of a therapy group. I really had always done pretty well at it. My mind performed well under that kind of pressure, and even when I didn't do well, he had sufficient control so that he could always manage to keep my ego intact. Even when the man in the leather jacket had taken out a knife, I had kept my cool on the outside, while my guts trembled. Yet, I told himself, I must be careful not to push any situation to a critical point -but there might be a time when the right thing said could make a great difference.--"Knock it off, Howard", I said to myself, " you aren't going to control the situation; only look it over, so there is nothing to be afraid of. It is only if you try to manipulate it that you could get in trouble."

It was on that note that drowsiness finally overtook me and I slept.

On the night before I was supposed to leave, I had a dream. I was looking at the forms for a concrete sidewalk. It had rebar layed out in complex patterns, much like a crocheted doily. I wondered why such an elaborate pattern of rebar was needed for a simple sidewalk; in fact, no rebar was needed at all for a sidewalk. When I woke, I realized that my mind was aware that I was constructing elaborate scenarios where none were necessary.

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