Lauryn was six years old the first time she touched a leather handbag. Touched might be understating the situation. She actually poked, prodded, fondled, caressed, pinched and finally just let her hand rest posessively on the smooth black purse while her father preached. She remembers vaguely listening to him while he spoke about the healing of the ten lepers. Mostly she was simply caught up in the experience of sitting next to her pretty first grade teacher who smelled like perfume and spearmint and was always smiling. Miss White usually sat in the second row with a man that Lauryn didn’t know, but for some reason, that day, she sat next to Lauryn and laid her purse on the pew between them. Halfway through the service, Miss White reached for her purse and smiled sweetly when she felt Lauryn’s little hand instead. After that morning, Lauryn would scan the congregation every Sunday morning hoping that Miss White would find her and sit with her again. She just loved something, actually she loved everything about Miss White and decided that she wanted to be like her.
Lauryn jolted awake and sat up. She looked around and saw that she was in her bedroom and her husband was sleeping next to her. She grinned when she realized that she had been dreaming about that black purse and Miss White. Could that really have been her almost 50 years ago? She remembers that she used to follow Miss White around the classroom and when she was home, she would dress up in her mother’s clothes and shoes and pretend she was Miss White. Miss White moved away not long after Lauryn was in 2nd grade and Lauryn slowly transferred her awe to another glamorous woman. That was the pattern of her growing up years. The women grew more glamorous with each attachment and Lauryn was always trying to emulate them. By the time she was a young teenager, Lauryn knew exactly what she wanted and had an idea of how to get it.
As Lauryn looked around her semi-dark bedroom, she was happy to know that not only had she achieved her goals, she had outdone herself. She was living in an elegant home in a prosperous city. She was the toast of her social circle and her two daughters had grown and married well.
Lauryn was married to Lee, a nice man, who treated her like a queen. When she first met Lee, they were living in a small town and Lee was in the shadow of his very succesful uncle who had raised him. His uncle, Adam, was a well-known ‘man of God’. He was close friends with political leaders and was trusted by all, except for Lauryn. Adam had raised Lee after Lee’s parents were killed in an accident. Lauryn had known right away that Lee was the man for her. He was completely enamored by her and lavished gifts and his time on her. For a while they lived near Adam and his family. Adam was a principled man and he reminded Lauryn of her preacher father. She was comfortable discussing spiritual things with Adam thanks to her upbringing in a solid, but strict home. However, she believed that Adam had too much influence over Lee and when the opportunity came for Lee to work closer to the city, they moved.

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