If I do something bad, will you still love me?

by Amy Turn Sharp


Nearly every day I drive my car past a sign that announces a watershed up the road. I say the word out loud all the time. Watershed. It is a word that I want to harness. I want to own. I think about marked points across time and space. I think about Judeo-Christian mythology and the fall of Eden. I think about wars and love and the way people turn on a dime and walk into the forest of regret. Watershed.

And I think about Adam and Eve and how they were probably like, "Oh, Shit."

I would have probably eaten the apples too. The tree of knowledge would have shined in the pouring sun and we all know that I have impulse control issues. We are the apple eaters.

I am amping myself up for seeing my southern Baptist grandfather at Christmas. I have to face my fears when I am near him. You know the opening scenes of that vampire show? Sookie? True Blood. Well, it's kinda like that. Freaky but you can't stop looking. I have stood and watched my grandpa sooth the sinners and push their heads down deep in the rivers of Ohio and West Virginia. The people would pop up and transition to another person. Dividing lines and all that. And the brimstone always scared me. I have never wanted to burn but I have always felt the flames. But he loves me. Our blood whispers the same words. We look past each other now and see the good bits that hang out in the greener grass. He bows his head when I walk out of his doorway. He prays for my soul and I try and memorize the way I felt when I was six years old and he bought me toys and cotton candy and church was dresses of lace and music that sounded sweet. I would run to him and his arms were open like Jesus.

And in 1984 I was so afraid of the movie Firestarter. When I was ten years old I thought I may have Pyrokinesis and I was always worried about staring at people. I was in the midway at the Ohio State Fair with a pink feather roach clip in my bangs and some carnie shouted at me to come over. I broke from my mother and ran towards the seedy parts of life, the places that have always sucked me in. He told me to smile. He grinned like a drunk. And fire was in his palm for a second. For a flash. I cried and sucked on my long blonde braid tip. 

We can rock back and forth on the floor late at night when everyone goes to bed and wonder when things are going to happen for us. Sometimes things change. We have read all the stories of other people. Sometimes people change. Everyone gets a watershed. Whether they want it or not. And we all fall down.