Friday, June 15, 2012

My Life Story in pieces: My First and Second Boyfriends PART ONE

I started dating J when I was a fifteen-year-old high school freshman, in 1999. We met online in a chat room. My friends and I were always online back then...TalkCity's WebTV chat rooms were the way for a rural kid like me to "hang out" with people. We both liked the same Christian band and dorked it up by quoting lyrics together. A few months later, I got up the nerve to give him my number. We were both so nervous and excited, and it was, admittedly, both adorable and dorky. We hit it off instantly. He asked me if I would be his girlfriend. Well, technically, he said "So are we, like, dating, or what?" I thought was cute. We exchanged pictures and he was delighted to see I was a "thick" girl. I was delighted to see he was a black guy. Silly, I know. Turns out he was also half Puerto Rican. FYI: mothers do not like it when you say "Your son is like so perfect for me. All my life I thought black and Hispanic guys were cute and he's both!"

He came to see me a few months later and we had a great time, going on walks and cuddling. My family liked him, and so did my friends. We had similar personalities and liked to banter back and forth much to the annoyance of my sister, who also became best friends with J. He was so wise, so knowledgeable about the Bible and so good to everyone. He never judged people by their looks. I was absolutely smitten with him. Just ask my poor high school friends....I talked about him constantly. I had to - he lived four hours away in Philadelphia, and I was a lonely, fat teenage girl who FINALLY had her first boyfriend. We talked on the phone every day - talked about marriage and how we would raise our children. We wondered what color they would be and whose hair they would get. We debated, fought, bantered, poked, and laughed a lot. At least at first. After awhile it became "how was your day?" and "fine, yours?" Just another boring, silly relationship. He came up every few months during those years. My sophomore year in high school, I think, he went to Valley Forge Christian College, where my sister was also a freshman. They were such close friends that people thought they were dating, much to my annoyance.

Our plan was for me to attend college in 2003, at which point he would be starting as a junior. We would get married when he graduated in 2005, and I would continue with my degree for the remaining two years. He never finished his sophomore year. He had some financial problems and couldn't afford to attend anymore. His mom was diagnosed with MS and he had to attend to a lot of her needs since she was divorced and having a lot of other personal issues. He left college and got a full-time job, living either with his mom or another family member.

Meanwhile, two weeks before The September 11th, 2001. C was the goofball in chat, making fun of people along with me. He got all my jokes and took them to a stellar new level. He and I exchanged phone numbers because I was bored that night. I guess J was busy working another double shift somewhere, or maybe I was just bored with him. Maybe he was sleeping. Who knows. C and I talked for hours.

This wasn't unusual for me. I used to talk to a ton of people on the phone, usually guys, often with my girl friends. C became one of my phone friends... We would laugh and BS. He would ask about my day, about my family, and about my beliefs. At the time, I was a church kid - and the worst kind. I thought that everyone should believe in my brand of Jesus and I felt no compunctions about pouring heaps of judgment on anyone who was even slightly different. I was also on a mission to Save Souls for Jesus. I had no idea that people can be persuaded towards Christianity by love...I thought that I could slap them in the face with Bibles and thinly-veiled hatred and they'd come running to church, ready to condemn more heathens with me.

C became my mission. I was going to show him that Jesus and a real, live person could care about him unconditionally. He had endured a very hard life - his mother had died of a horrible disease, he had seen another family member die, he had been in and out of juvenile group homes and had faked insanity to escape... All of this he told me, all of this I believed, and all of this broke my heart. I hurt for him. I wanted to help him. I wanted to save him and bring him to a happy life. I wanted to be his best friend.

I was not only his best friend - I was his only friend. He lived with a roommate who "Wasn't Quite All There Upstairs, if you know what I mean." His family was never around and had pretty much deserted him. He couldn't hold a steady job and had never been able to break out financially from where he was stuck.

We talked on the phone for two years, until I graduated high school in June of 2003 and went off to college. Throughout most of this, J and I had broken up and gotten back together repeatedly. I divided my time between both. When J would come to visit for a week here and there, I wouldn't talk to C. C agreed with the arrangement. He never asked me to be his girlfriend or to leave J, but he would get upset if I would talk about him or mention his name.

Part one: My first and second boyfriends
Part two: My first and second boyfriends part 2
Part three: Welcome to Bible College
Part four: Kicked out of Bible College
Part five: Pregnant

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