Kris was my best friend through most of elementary school, all of middle school and highschool at Delphi LA. We were close. That kind of close that makes an impervious, two-person wall of psycho-deflection. A little bubble of sanity in an insane world. When we both started to veer away from Scientology, my parents blamed her for my disinterest, and her parents blamed me for hers. Go figure.
As we moved further and further from Scientology ideology, and as our similar-minded friends began to leave Delphi, we became each other's life support. She was the only person I could entrust with my secrets, and *know* that she'd keep them, without turning around and reporting on me, and vice versa.
One day they took her. We were supposed to go out on Sunday, and I called and called and called. Her mom told me she was grounded and couldn't come to the phone. Her dad told me she wasn't available. My parents told me nothing at all.
When I finally got through to her kinda-sorta boyfriend, I asked her if he'd seen her that weekend, and he dropped the bomb. "She's not in L.A. anymore. She's at the MK Ranch school. They took her on Saturday."
I think I died in that second. My heart stopped, my vision filmed over, my throat constricted. The MK Ranch was hell for Scientology kids, talked about with disdain and disgust and loathing. Only addicts and juvie kids went there, we thought. And Kris hadn't done anything like that. It was in the middle of New Mexico, totally isolated. Kid's phone calls to their parents were only allowed 10 mintues a week, and they were monitored by staff. Friends couldn't call - and she and I hadn't been separated for more than a week in about 5 or 6 years at that point. There was hard labor, social isolation and intensive auditing. I knew they'd try to brainwash her there.
They had taken her. My parents had known. My teachers had known. Her parents had known. And no one let me say goodbye.
I went completely and utterly off the rails. I cursed my mother. I screamed at my dad. I tried to run out of the house, but mom stopped me. I tore my hair. I cried for days. The kids at Delphi, the ones who knew, laughed at me.
When I showed up back at school on Monday, her things were just as she'd left them Friday at the desk across from mine. Just as I started tearing up, one of the guys in my class spoke up behind me: "I heard they sent her away."
"Yeah," he said, "She deserved it." And he shrugged.
I have never, ever, to this day forgiven him for that. When my heart is big enough to forgive him for that, I'll let you know, but don't hold your breath. If it turns out that guy becomes a Buddhist monk, and brings the next great era of peace to planet earth, I'll still be hard-pressed to forgive him for that.
Another installment later...