I didn’t really know what to say. I was heart broken, but I did love him. He promised up and down that it wouldn’t happen again, he made a mistake, it was stupid, he loved me…and all the other niceties he needed to say to get me back. I decided to give him a second chance, but after that my heart had changed. I was no longer obsessed. I think in order to not hurt so much I took a step back (in a good way). I told him he had to earn my trust back. And he did. From that point on he was the best boyfriend. He cherished me and treated me with respect.
Since I was still hurt but forgave Jake, I blamed it all on Kim of course. So that Monday at school I went up to her in a rage and said some HORRIBLE things that I could never repeat on a PG-13 rated blog. The gist of it was “Watch out. The first chance I get to rip your head off your body I am going to.” So needless to say she never looked my way or the way of my man again.
One of the criteria for us getting back together was that he had to go to church with me. Since he was on thin ice, he agreed to go. I was so intrigued by the ‘church people’, and I was curious to find out more about them. So we went every now and then. I remember we would play volleyball in the church’s gym. They were playing church volleyball…you know… not real competitive..serve, bump, miss it, give each other high fives anyway. I was getting the ball and spiking it in the opposing team’s face. Many of the ‘church people’ told me later on that I freaked them out with how competitive I was.
My parents decided we would go on vacation to Disneyworld for Spring Break. Being the age I was, I wanted to be in Cabo, Bahamas or anywhere tropical — not hanging out with Mickey Mouse AND MY PARENTS. The worse part about it was that Jake went to Puerta Vallarta that week. A whole week without talking to Jake? I thought I was going to die. Pedes made fun of me because she said I set up a “Jake shrine” in our hotel room. I had brought pictures of us, a stuffed animal he gave me, and a few notes he had written me.
During that week my parents were having a lot of private conversations on the deck. I never heard my parents fight growing up so it was weird to walk in one day with them yelling at each other. I could tell there was tension between them, but being a self-absorbed teenager, I just thought it would pass. I sat in the sun dreaming about Jake and pretending that vacationing with my family was the worst possible thing that could ever happen to me.
The coolness my parents felt toward each other did not end after that week. My dad seemed to be working later. My mom seemed distant and sad. One night they were fighting and I was sitting outside the door listening. I got an earful and what I heard made me think maybe my parents wouldn’t make it for the long haul. I called Jake bawling (it was like one in the morning), and he drove over. I cried for hours while he listened and told me it would be okay.
Eventually I decided it was time to open up to Jake and tell him about the rumor. I certainly didn’t want him to hear it from someone else. I knew he would find out about it soon enough and I didn’t want him to be mad that I didn’t tell him first. So I spilled the beans. I wasn’t real emotional…just matter of factly told him about it. After I was done telling him my whole story, he said, “I already knew.” I was like, “Huh, what?? Who told you? Why didn’t you tell me you knew?” He told me he was in Subway one day, and this girl from the Catholic school was flirting with him, and he told her that he was already dating somebody. Somehow he told her who he was dating, and she proceeded to tell him “all about me.” He pretty much laughed in her face and told her to get a life. He said he didn’t tell me because he figured I wasn’t ready to talk about it. Then I started crying. Wow…someone who was willing to fight for me, stand in my corner, not abandon me. That moment meant a lot to me.
Amanda also tried to fan the flame and get the rumor started again. Jake went up to her boyfriend one day and said that if he heard the rumor one more time he would hold him responsible for not shutting his girlfriend up and would beat him up. Since Jake was the biggest guy in our high school, he believed him, and the rumor fizzled.
Softball try-outs came. Amanda and I were both trying out. I wondered how I was going to maneuver playing a team sport with her. Hmmmmm. During that week we small talked a little bit and seemed to come to a mutual peace with one another. Somehow we ended up waiting for our parents to pick us up. We were the only two left, and the school was locked. She asked me how Pedes was doing. Since we were close in grade school (before the rumor), she had spent a lot of time at my house with my family. I said something along the lines of how much she annoyed me being the little sister she was. She said, “I hope you aren’t mean to her, you have no idea how hurtful that is.” Huh? Was she giving me a lesson on niceness?
“I have no idea how hurtful being made fun of is!?!? Do you have any idea how much you hurt me, Amanda? Do you have any idea how much the rumor you made up about me affected my life? Do you know what it is like to be ridiculed for something that isn’t even true? To not be accepted? To get phone calls in the middle of the night being made fun of? To walk down the halls and hear people whispering about you? NO AMANDA I KNOW WHAT HURT IS…YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HURT IS!”
Her eyes were bugged and immediately she ran away and burst into tears. I felt bad. I mean, I really hadn’t meant to make her cry. The next day she came up to me and asked me if she could talk to me. She started bawling and said “I am so sorry. I never meant to hurt you.” She was weeping and went into details about her crappy home life…how she got beat up daily by her brother and how her mother hated her and wouldn’t so much as touch her. Then she said words that have haunted me forever. “The reason I started that rumor about you was because I was jealous of you…you were everything I wasn’t…nice, pretty, athletic, and you had a great family who loved you.” WOW! Somehow I didn’t see her as the cruel, mean, and evil person anymore. I saw her as a broken, insecure girl whose life experiences I wouldn’t have traded for my own. It was a healing moment in my life, and at that moment I told myself I would never allow jealousy to harbor in my heart.
That summer the church had another camp that Julie was begging me to go to. She billed it as “this awesome week filled with gladiator style competition.” It sounded fun, and I did like the other weekend retreat I went to with her. So I agreed to go as long as Jake went. Jake said that sounded fun. So Jake, Pedes, and I were all signed up to go. A week before we were scheduled to leave Jake had to back out because football doubles were pushed back a week. I was so mad. My mom had already paid the non-refundable $300, and there was no way she was eating it. I am sure she was looking forward to a week without two teenagers around, as well. So I packed up my bad attitude and all the stuff I needed for a week long adventure and was off.
I called Jake everyday from camp moaning about how I missed him, and it wasn’t the same without him. I was moping around the first few days…CAN YOU SAY DRAMA QUEEN? Geesh, get over it sister!
We had 8 girls in our cabin, and I was the oldest. Pam was our leader. She made sure we didn’t sneak out at night and behaved. Oh yeah…and she led a group discussion after each night’s chapel time. The first night we were there she asked the question “On a scale of 1-10, where is your relationship with God currently?”
So we go around the circle and everyone gives a high number like a 7 or 8. When it gets to me I said “Zero, I don’t have a relationship with God and really don’t desire one.” Awkward silence. I quickly realized that wasn’t the right thing to say. I guess I was supposed to lie in that moment. Everyone looked at me wide-eyed and Pam said, “Oh…well thank you for your honesty.”
Pedes even said a seven. After group session was over I went up to Pedes and said “A seven, huh?” She said, “I wasn’t about the say a zero idiot. Did you see how everyone looked at you?” I always prided myself in saying what I thought when I thought it. So who cared if everyone thought I was a heathen?
During the day the head-to-head team competitions were a BLAST! Every night there was a one-on-one type competition. There were four teams, and a male and female representative from each team were chosen by their teammates. I got picked nearly every time along with this other athletic guy named Chad, and we dominated! I think we won 4 out of the 5 competitions.
Church camp was fun… if you could just get over the weird songs they sang where everyone danced and did cheesy motions. The speaker was amazing and made the Bible actually sound interesting rather than the textbook I remembered it being in Catholic school.
Pam, being the good leader that she was, set aside time to “talk” to each one of the eight girls in her cabin. I WAS NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS! I kept avoiding her because I didn’t really want to hang out with her. Finally she cornered me and asked me when we could get together to talk for an hour. An hour!?!?! That was a long time to spend with someone you a) didn’t know b) didn’t want to spend time with and c) thought was a little strange to begin with. I told her I wasn’t interested in hanging out but thanked her anyways. She said “Come, on it is just an hour. I don’t bite.” She kept persisting and finally talked me into talking to her for 20 minutes.
So that night we were supposed to have the “talk.” So I honored my word and Pam and I went for a walk. She started asking all sorts of personal questions. ‘Church’ people ask weird questions! She probably figured she only had twenty minutes and had to forgo the small talk. LOL! Somehow she got me talking about my dad and what was happening at home. I started feeling my tough girl exterior begin to crack and started feeling the tears well up. I kept telling myself “I do not cry…at least not in front of people…I am tough…hold it together. Beckie you can do it…come on…pull it together, girl.” Pam was gentle but kept prodding. Somehow she got me talking about the rumor and how wounded it left me, and then all of the sudden I couldn’t keep it at bay anymore…I started bawling. It was like opening a floodgate. I couldn’t even speak I was crying so hard. My chest was heaving, tears were streaming, and I could barely catch my breath…