At 15, I was living the dream. I had the most beautiful and mysterious girlfriend in school. Having Julie at the center of my life, kept me from the shameful reality that I really had no home anymore. In the Spring of 1997 my parents split up into different parts of the house and by fall, one day after coming home from school, my dad had moved out. Although part of me understood, nothing could change the fact that the only life I’d ever known split in half that day. I had gone from one girlfriend to another since I was 12.
An average, out of shape, football player looking for a cheerleader to cheer me on and somehow give my life value, meaning and distract others from the reality of the broken pieces of my heart and body that were scattered inside and out of the house at 406 Brolett Circle. With my dad in an apartment now, there were 2 addresses, 2 bedrooms, 2 refrigerators, 2 phone numbers and 2 different sets of rules to live by. The good news was, there were no more fights and when I didn't like one parent I could simply leave and go stay at the others. Julie was a cheerleader and a model. When she said yes to ‘going together’, I hit it big. We quickly became enamored with each other, passing notes every day, trading lockers to get closer to each other and french kissing after school. While her parents were home, while walking through the house, she would grab me and pull me into rooms and be all over me with ‘Young and the Restless’ style passion and then walking away suddenly leaving me with an endless desire for more. While my parents split apart, Julie and I were getting close. She was so mysterious and always in charge of ‘us’ and I followed her like a puppy. The day finally came... she whispered to me with a wink, "Hey, my parents are going to be gone tonight so I’ll be home all-alone. Why don’t you come over and we can play." It was all I could think about all day long and when the bells rang at the end of school I rode my bike as fast as it would carry me and parked it in the bushes on the side of her house. After she let me in, it wasn’t long before we were passionately kissing. Things were moving further when a moment later, we could hear the garage door motor kick on. ‘Oh crap! Quick, go out the back door.’ she said as she scrambled to put herself together. We kissed again and I ran out as she whispered, "I’ll call you." I ran out the back of the house and up the side and sped away as fast as I could pedal. Her dad had come home from work early to change clothes for the evening event. She called and invited me back at 8pm to ‘have fun’ in her bedroom. Her bedroom was a special place with big windows facing the front of the house with beautiful trees. With her canopy bed, it was like a princess treehouse. She untied the canopy curtains as we quickly took off our clothes in the dark. We took turns kissing each other all over, but she had left her panties on. That was fine with me considering that was it. I'd never been with a girl like this. Finally, at the most intense and passionate place, she whispered in my ear, "Did you bring a condom?" I stopped breathing as I said, "No." A dark cloud of awkwardness fell. We kept kissing for a while and lost track of time. From her room, you couldn't hear the garage door, but suddenly we could hear her mom and dad talking downstairs. We both said, "Oh, shit." I quickly yanked my clothes back on, climbed out her second story window and jumped off the roof. I had never experienced this level of trust and closeness with anyone before. I felt Alive! The next day at school, she told me that her parents were inviting me over for dinner at 6pm. I was so excited! I arrived exactly on time, nicely dressed with the perfect flowers for Julie’s mom. Julie answered the door and escorted me straight to the kitchen where there was no food. Presenting my chair, Mrs. Johnson said, ‘Good evening, young man. Come over and sit down. We’d like to have a talk.’ This was not a dinner, but something very serious as I handed the flowers to her mom. I began to transition in my mind into this being a parent meeting where I was to tell them of ‘my intentions’ of being with their daughter and other adult matters. After a long awkward silence, Mrs. Johnson, staring at me with her cold blue eyes, pulled out and held up a folded up note. She began to carefully explain that Julie had found this on the ground at school and that ‘I’ had written horrible things about Julie being a whore. They would not let me hold the note as I had never written such a thing or would have never said that to anyone. Julie was the only thing that was good in my life. In the glance of the note I did have, I focused as hard as I could see. We had passed so many notes, I could tell the handwriting looked half between mine and Julie's. My heart sank to the floor as I realized that Julie had written the note. As Mrs. Johnson sat and accused and threatened me I was crying so hard, I could not hear what she was even saying except, “You are to never speak to or be near Julie again.” One reason I was so attracted to their family was because they were Catholic. I thought Catholics were closest to God. That night at the table, Mrs Johnson was wearing all black and had on a large, pewter style cross necklace. The whole time her piercing eyes and words were cutting through my soul she was twirling her cross until in a flash-instant her necklace fell apart all over the kitchen table. After a very awkward moment of gathering the pieces she said, "That’s odd." and then kept at me. I looked at Julie to try and get her to speak or respond. She had tears well up at one point, but in forty-five minutes her and her dad never spoke one word. Pedaling away in a thick fog of confusion, I was broken, alone, accused, betrayed and no home to go back to. I was so ashamed that night, I went and bought condoms, at the same grocery store I'd bought the flowers, and had sex the next day with a classmate, I barely knew, that my friend told me to 'give a ride to school'. We had sex in the back of my car and later, during homeroom, I was even more lost and depressed. At least I got it over with.
Through Story Exploration:
There is good in this story, 'I longed to be part of a good family. I was adventurous. I didn't go to Julie's to take advantage of her or bring harm.' After pedaling away, I stopped near some bushes in a median. It was then that the lies set in. These are a few of them:
I will never have a home to go to
Giving away my whole heart leads to betrayal
I was so stupid to think they would want me
In serious times of trouble, God often watches or is on smoke break
I am an idiot about sex
The Truth: When I shared this with the men and women in my group, I was so ashamed of this stupid kid at the door with flowers. However, with them, I looked up with surprise. Two of the women had tears and one was angry at Julie for using me. One woman crying said, 'I am just overwhelmed that there was a boy who sought to do good instead of bringing harm to a girl in a situation like that.' One man was angry at the dad. And more... for the first time, I actually had a group of friends in the kitchen to defend me. It was as though they put their arms around me and we all walked out and rode our bikes away together. This was a significant story.