An Excerpt: Jesus Needed Medication

Lithium is a pink pill. Stellazine is a purple pill. Pink and purple were Easter colors. That meant on Easter I would rise and become like Jesus. I would shine the light heavenly.

At the end of April, after Easter, I walked around the city. I looked for signs. The colors all told me that I was the savior of the Universe. The red of the stop light, the green of the trees, the blue of the news boxes.

At the end of April, the water goes back into the pond in the Public Garden where the swan boats go around and around. I wanted to walk on the water in the pond.

Photography © Allison Goldin

Photography © Allison Goldin

I imagined that I would ice skate on the water, like Kristi Yamaguchi when she won the gold medal in the Olympics. I would do spins and a double axle. I would do the triple lutz then raise my hands in the air. Lights would fly through the sky. Everyone walking around the pond would be amazed to see the real Jesus skating on the pond. It would be on the news for a day, then nobody would talk about it. The secret would be out that everything was about to change. The song “When the Music’s Over” by the Doors would play.

I went to the pond on a warm April day. I could feel the earth breathing beneath me. I knew I could do it. I had to prove to myself I could.

I stepped onto the water at the edge of the pond. It was around eleven o’clock in the morning. I wanted to skate on the water. I thought it would feel like flying.

I stepped onto the water with all my might. My shoes plunged into the pond. It came up to my knees. The water was cold. Crushed, I stepped out. My sneakers were wet. I didn’t know how I would explain this to my mother.
“What are you doing jumping in the pond like that?” a man walking a dog asked.

“Nothing, I just fell in,” I said.

“You can’t just fall into the pond,” he said. “What were you doing?”

I shook the water my shoes and bolted away. I didn’t want to answer his questions. I didn’t want to tell him I failed my own test.

I walked through the Public Garden to the Common. I took off my shoes, draining the water, and put them back on. I knew I couldn’t walk around the city with no shoes wearing wet socks. It would make me look suspicious. My wet feet crunched when I walked through the Common to the Downtown Crossing Orange Line stop. I tried not to cry. I wasn’t the savior of the Universe. My sneakers were ruined.

But as I was walking, I wondered if this was part of my trial. I wondered if it was a test from God. He wanted to know if I was faithful. I was. I wouldn’t let this stop me.

Who cares about silly little miracles? They really don’t save the world. Jesus only did those to prove to the people that he was who he was. I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. I didn’t have to prove it to myself.

The sneakers I was wearing were not my best sneakers. I had other shoes. I had to wait until they dried out. I would trip over everything to get to where I had to go. I had to go upward.


Shannon O’Connor has been published in The Wilderness House Literary Review, Meeting House Magazine, Wordgathering and other journals. She holds an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College. She lives in the Boston area and likes to read while taking public transportation.

Allison Goldin is an artist living in Cambridge. Her work is a collection of spontaneous drawings from the imagination. The most common link throughout her art are the semi-recognizable creatures scattered amongst and bringing together the surrounding doodles. She is currently studying Illustration at The School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.