New story up at The New Republic:
It was a hot day in July, a Saturday afternoon, and Kim James was bored. Her older sisters had taken her to a church event in their small hometown in Indiana, where the girls were spending their summer. Her parents were back in Bangladesh, working at the remote Baptist missionary compound where the family had lived, on and off, for five years. For an adventurous and high-spirited 13-year-old like Kim, Indiana seemed dull compared to Bangladesh. She missed her friends, the dozen or so missionary kids everybody called “MKs.” She missed the menagerie her parents let her keep: goats, cows, a parrot, a monkey. She missed the jackals that called in the distance at night, and the elephants that sometimes crashed through the compound fence.
As she thought about the mission, though, Kim felt troubled. Something was weighing on her mind. So she decided to skip out of the church event—it was for little kids, anyway—and go see the pastor. She found him in his office, trying to compose the next day’s sermon. Kim ambled around his desk, picking things up, putting them back down. Eventually, with feigned casualness, she pointed between her legs and said, “Is it wrong when someone does this—touches you here?”
The pastor dropped his pen and looked up.