Book Sample: The Well: Why Are So Many Still Thirsty? by Mark Hall

By Zondervan
Posted: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 14:59

Iris Blue pounded on the walls of her Texas prison cell in solitary confinement. She was six foot three and known for possessing a right hand hard enough to fistfight men and win, hard enough to incense the male inmates in the same cell block as she pounded the walls and screamed and cursed, hard enough to match the heart that had grown cold in her chest.

Maybe all the pounding and yelling was more than sheer rebellion. Maybe it was Iris’s angry way of venting what she felt inside. Maybe what seemed to be senseless yells had meaning after all. Maybe she did it because she couldn’t stand the quiet.

The devil was in the quiet. The quiet was filled with painful memories, thoughts of the little elementary school girl who longed for acceptance, thoughts of how she measured up against everyone else. The memories lingered, sometimes in the back of her mind and sometimes in plain view, sometimes crying with her and sometimes giggling at her, but always reminding her not only of how big she was but how big a loser as well.

And the memories never let her forget how early it all went wrong.

“I started liking boys in the incubator. I loved them. I thought, ‘There is a God, and he made boys,’ ” Iris said. “I’d try to flirt with them and look sexy, and I’d lean up against the locker and it’d cave in. But my dream was that I wanted some little boy to carry my books or to treat me like I was valuable or open the door for me. I just wanted somebody to think I was special. So the little boy I had a crush on said, ‘Listen, I need to ask you something.’

He was real nervous, so I thought he was going to ask me to go steady or something. But he asked me to carry him on my back.”

Iris didn’t need to look in the mirror to be reminded of why the boy wanted the piggyback ride. She was huge, even at a young age. She was tall and heavyset and stronger than all the boys.

“The little computer inside my head started saying, ‘Look, you’re big and ugly, and if you don’t do something, you’re not going to get his attention. You see who gets to hold hands in school. It’s those itty-bitty cute girls,’ ” Iris said. “Deep in my heart I wanted to say to him, ‘No, my dream is that you’ll carry my books. I don’t want to carry you on my back.’ I compromised my dreams even in elementary school. I wanted desperately just to be treated like a lady, but I didn’t think I qualified.

So I told him to get on. “I’d already learned even in church not to let anybody know what was really going on inside. Just put on a smile and act like everything is OK. I was hurting inside. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t want anybody to see me cry. So I didn’t let anybody know.”

The boy jumped on, giggling all the way. He was the first male to use Iris for his own pleasure, innocent as it sounds. But he wouldn’t be the last.

Click here to download the full chapter in PDF format. More details



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