Growing up, Church was a Sunday morning ritual at my house except on the occasions I managed to successful fake sick and relish in the confines of my comfy bed. While most kids’ memories consisted of Zacchaeus and reciting countless verses before they can spell out C-A-T, mine merged together in one glossy blur, except for the morning when I learned the ‘F’ word at Sunday school.
Churches are full of cliques, and mine was no exception. Thrown together by gender and age, Ashley, Krissy, and I spent countless Sundays drooling over pubescent Hollywood heartthrobs and planning the grand escape we could never muster the courage to play out. Krissy wasn’t like Ashley nor myself, she was different. Krissy was homeschooled, still believed Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny entered her house in the dark of night to drop off presents, and had no idea that her younger siblings were the product of mom and dad having sex and not random gifts from angels. What’s worse, the poor girl didn’t even have access to cable, a horror I couldn’t believe her parents subjected her to. Yes, Krissy was as blissful and innocent as an 8-year-old could be.
Standing outside the classroom one Sunday morning, the three of us exchanged curse words. Both Ashley and I knew all the good ones, except the ‘F’ word. After countless guesses and suggestions (Fart? Fudge?), nothing seemed to stick. Posed as angelically as could be, Krissy untucked her arms and spoke, “I know what the ‘F’ word is.” Bullshit. She’d never even seen a PG-13 movie, she couldn’t know.
“Prove it,” Ashely dared her.
“I’m not just going to tell you,” Krissy snapped.
“Please,” Ashley and I begged in unison. We were dying to know. It was the last of our innocence and we were done with being kids.
“I’ll tell you the ‘F’ word if…” she looked around, “…if, you tell me what the ‘D’ and ‘S’ word are.”
“‘S’ word?” I asked.
“You mean ‘suck’?” Ashely added.
“I thought it was that. Okay, what’s the “D” word and then I’ll tell you.” Someone was turning out to be a hardass gangster.
Ashley and I both looked at her. “It’s ‘damn,” I told her. “Now, tell us!” Bitch was getting on our nerves.
Krissy looked at us, pondering her unspoken thoughts.
“You don’t know what it is, do you?” Ashley huffed.
“I do too! Okay,” she started before looking around and making sure no one else was in earshot, “it rhymes with the ‘s’ word.”
“You mean ‘fuck?'” Ashley blurted out?
Krissy nodded her head, “yes.”
The three of us remained on the sidewalk while kids inside learned of Moses floating down the river. That was the day I learned my new favorite curse word, one I would go on to use on many occasions and in different contexts, time and time again. And all thanks to the girl whose parents believed their isolated and censored life was protecting their little angel from situations like this.