Backwards

Mother was taken away, not because she channeled Lot’s wife through the saltshaker, but because she poured salt into her open wounds.
Lot was the pepper. The countertop was the valley of Gomorrah. It was fitting that Lot wear black, mother said, for black is the color of mourning. She poured Lot’s wife all over the white, sprinkled-with-green, kitchen countertop. The green dots, she reasoned, are the grains of sand still visible after God, the stainless steel knife, turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt.
I was eight years old. Mother had been reading Bible stories to me at bedtime from the time I was five. By this time, we were well beyond Genesis and into the second book of Chronicles. I wondered about Lot’s daughters. How would we represent the part (after their mother’s transformation into a heap of sodium) where they kept feeding their father wine and each in turn entered the cave and lay down with him? I didn’t know Bible people were allowed to drink wine. And weren’t Lot’s daughters too big to sleep with their daddy in the same bed?
Mother’s cheeks turned pink and then she said: “Let’s not get distracted from what we’re doing here, darling. We are putting ourselves in the shoes of Lot’s wife. We are re-living the looking back of Lot’s wife.”
Only now do I realize that Mother tried to shelter me from select Old Testament horrors. She killed my incest curiosity and peaked my interest in Lot’s wife. Lot’s wife was not a horror. Her turning into salt was.

(Note: This is an excerpt from my short story “Backwards” – one installment in an ongoing collection as yet unpublished, Myths and Meditations. I used this story as a sample for my application to the Charles Pick Fellowship in East Anglia; wish me luck!)

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