When Jack found out Charlie took me to that house she was angry. Charlie became the source of her wrath and I was once again in Jack’s favor. The bullying eased, but I was never really accepted again by my peers. My father’s anger at my uncle caused issues between my mother and her family, which devastated me. Although my father demanded I break up with my boyfriend, I refused. After a few weeks he quit talking about it. My father and I fought more than we ever had. He did not like Jack and insisted that I stay friends with Charlie. I couldn’t convince him that Charlie was the one who had gotten me in trouble and not Jack. Once he made up his mind about reality there was nothing you could say or do to convince him he was wrong.
A month before school ended my boyfriend called. “We need to talk. About what I did.” My heart dropped as he told me about seeing a girl he liked. How she came over after school. How she gave him everything he ever wanted and more. And how much he loved me, but he needed to break up. I was crushed. I spent the weekend crying on my aunt’s couch. No matter how much she told me it would be ok I refused to be consoled.
The gang decided I needed to be distracted. They arranged for a date to the junior prom. I went along with the arrangement until I discovered it was a set-up. A set-up to seriously harm me. I realized that hanging with the gang was costing too much. I began making different decisions. I spent lunch outside reading. I sat in the middle of the bus, giving up my seat of authority in the back. I quit talking to Jack and the rest of the gang outside of our mutual classes.
One night the pain became too much. My parents were fighting. I missed my friends in the church. I missed the comfort I felt when I would pray. I really missed my boyfriend. I started writing. The pain became real and I couldn’t bear it. I wrote out all the ways I could end my life. None of them seemed easy to me. I finally settled on overdose. I figured that would be the least painful way to die. I had to get Charlie to take me back to that house.
I was listening to a tape from one our conferences, sort of. When I write or study I have music in the background to help me concentrate. I don’t really listen to the words. This time was different. This time my soul heard the words. “Choose you this day, tell me you will serve. Let nothing stand in your way. Give the praise he deserves. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I started crying. Then praying. First I felt him. Then I heard him. “You’re ok. You’re going home.” I put the phone back and never dialed Charlie.
8 months of hell ended with a single ring of the bell. I boarded the bus determined life was going to be different this summer.
The first weekend I was invited to a Mormon dance with a friend and her boyfriend Mike and Mike’s friend Gage. It was my first date since the break-up and I was nervous. My friend let me wear one of her outfits. A baby blue ruffled skirt and a short, flirty white top. She curled my hair and teased it as high as it would go. When I looked in the mirror I was shocked. I actually thought I looked pretty. I loved the way she did my makeup. It looked natural. Gone was the harsh black make-up that Jack liked. Mike and Gage picked us up from her house. Gage was a tall, skinny, brown-haired boy scout Mormon. He kissed my hand, which made me giggle. Opened the door for me. He was a complete gentleman. Yet, it was Mike who had my attention. Mike. Sandy-brown hair. The bluest eyes. Smooth voice. And oh how he could sing. Why couldn’t Mike have been my date?
Halfway during the dance Mike asked Gage if he could dance with me. I looked at my friend, who said ok. I don’t know what happened, but the instant he took my hand I was hooked. We talked about nothing significant. At the end of the dance he smiled at me, said “I wish you were my date.” and walked away. I fled to the bathroom. I knew I was in big trouble. If my friend found out, my life would be hell once more. Why did I always manage to fall for guys that had girlfriends?
Mike drove me home. He and Gage both insisted on walking me to the door and meeting my parents. The boys were very polite. They shook my father’s hand. I thought he’d be impressed that I had met boys who were normal, didn’t have long hair and earrings, didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs, didn’t listen to hard rock or devil music as he called it and were respectful enough to meet my father. Nope. Not him.
“Have you been drinking?”
“Well you look like it.”
Mike spoke up. “No sir. We’ve just had a lot of fun dancing. We don’t drink. You have a nice daughter. I’d never let anything happen to her.”
The boys decided that was their signal to leave. I said good-bye to the boys the best I could, but not before my father yelled at me.
“Wash that crap off your face. You look horrible.”
I was crushed.