He puts his hands on her head. “You are forgiven. She is at peace!” he shouts. My friend screams and falls to the floor. Another man runs over to cover S. with a towel. Several people are on the floor and others wait their turn. The faith healer looks at me passes me by. I wonder how he knows I’m not willing to collapse for him. He doesn’t look my way again.
He touches a teenage girl who shrieks and begins jumping up and down. He takes his hands away but she keeps letting out this fantastic, otherworld noise. I wonder if she has ever sounded like that before or ever will again.
People are whispering prayers, speaking in tongues, and crying. I worry that my expression and my posture is all wrong. I’m not blending in. My friend sits up, tears pouring, and I wonder if this will ease her guilt.
S. and I go to the revival all three days. She doesn’t ask me if I believe in the man’s power, and I don’t ask why she does. No one in her family would go with her and she was afraid to go alone. I volunteered. I watch the other people there come up and embrace her. “It’s okay,” they say. “We love you,” they say. She cries and I put my arm around her.
I think that one day I will write about this and I hope she is not hurt.
Being a writer can remove you from events, turn you from participant to observer. Guilt gnaws at me when I use people I care about to write, but I do it anyway.
How do you feel about using people in your life in your writing? How do you decide when it is okay and when it is not?