(This is part 3 of my personal love story, if you haven’t read the first two parts, you might want to catch up!)
So this is the part of the story that I always struggle with. During our younger years, things were fairly sweet, innocent…But as we got older, things got more complex, not between the two of us, but in other relationships.
I only had three boyfriends, the third being my husband; he on the other hand was quite popular with the ladies. I hated every new girl that came into his life and hung on him like another piece of candy. We grew distant, rarely saw each other, and then one day when I was 15 I got a call.
I was at a youth conference in Kansas City when a call came through to my cell phone one night, unknown number.
“Hello?” I answered tentatively.
“Hey, it’s me.”
“Hi!” I was so thrilled to hear from him, it’d been ages, and I had been praying for him so I was sure he’d suddenly had a holy epiphany and was about to tell me he loved me. No such luck.
“I’m moving….To Florida.”
“What?” My heart, which had been squeezed tight in excitement, suddenly dropped to my feet and stopped beating altogether. “Why?” He let out a loud breath.
“I’ve got to get out of Minnesota, I need to…get away, from people. From her.” I knew who he was talking about and it made me angry. She was ruining my chances, my eyes welled up with tears and I felt them slide down my face slowly, marking the pavement far below.
“When?” I squeaked.
“I’m already on my way.” And then I heard it, the sound of wind rushing by, loud, deafening actually, I was surprised I hadn’t heard it before. “I’m driving right now, Grandma and Papa are in a car behind me with all my stuff. I stopped by your house to say goodbye but your mom told me you were gone. I’m sorry.”
And that was that. Divided by many miles I rarely heard from him. He’d pop back up once in awhile, usually when I was in a relationship so he could drill me on whether or not the guy was treating me well. My feelings never fully went away. I was always convinced they did, and then he’d show back up and they’d hit me full in the chest. I missed him, but time and distance have a way of helping the heart to move on.
He went on to graduate high school in Florida and left one week later for boot camp. We didn’t keep in touch, although he called my mom off and on when he needed prayer support. Eventually I heard that he was stationed at an Air Force Base in Oklahoma, I on the other hand was doing nothing more eventful than continuing high school (hooray…).
Then one day there was another boy, Jeff. I met him through a friend and fell for him fairly quickly. We started dating and fell into an easy relationship, he was a nice guy, but we were both young (16&17), so it wasn’t exactly going anywhere. I gave myself to that boy in ways that I wish I hadn’t and ultimately that was the downfall of our relationship. He graduated high school and was off to college, and I was stuck in a swirl of yuck. I didn’t like what we were doing and I wanted out, but I loved him, or at least I thought I did.
The summer before Jeff went to college I went on a vacation with his family to Canada. We were deep in the rural countryside and none of us had service. When we came back a week later my phone buzzed that I had a voicemail.
“Hey! It’s me,” I quickly shifted to phone to the other ear on the off chance my boyfriend may be able to hear his voice coming through the speaker. “I’m in town, where are you? I’ve been thinking about you and I really want to see you! Call me back.”
I snapped my phone shut. He was in town. I hadn’t seen him in over a year. I felt that familiar buzz in my stomach that always accompanied thoughts of him. My leg jiggled nervously and I counted down the minutes until I was in my car and headed home so I could call him.
“Hey! It’s me! Where are you?” It was already past dark, but I didn’t care, curfew be dammed I was going to go see him.
“In Oklahoma.” And then I heard it again. The rushing of the wind as he zipped further and further away from me in his little blue car.
“Hey actually, I’m just about to pull on base and can’t talk on my phone, I’ll call you back later.”
“‘Kay.” I was so frustrated I could have cried. It wasn’t that my week with my boyfriend and his family hadn’t been wonderful, it had, but Jeff was about to head off to college and was already doing and saying things that angered me. There was somthing in me that knew it wasn’t going to last. I knew when he moved away from me he was moving away from our relationship too.
Weeks went by, he never called me back. Jeff moved off to college, and as I thought, things went down hill quickly. Girls started commenting on his Facebook. Sending him thongs and kisses back when you could send virtual “gifts” to one another. I cried a lot and one day got fed up enough that I called him back. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for me it was. I had rules, and one of my rules was that the boy always called the girl. Wellllllll, I broke my own rule for once, thank God.
Once was all it took and suddenly we were talking, everyday, for hours. He was my best friend again and exactly what I needed during a time when my boyfriend rarely if ever took my calls. Everything started very innocently I promise, don’t think I’m a horrible person who was cheating on her boyfriend; yes I had feelings for him, but he was one of my friends and that was all we acted like in those early days.
And then one day everything changed. I called Jeff and instead of a male voice answering, a syrupy sweet female voice oozed through the phone. It was 7am.
“Hellllllllllo?” She purred.
“Who is this?” I asked.
“This is Amber.”
“Um hi,” I floundered. “This is Jeff’s girlfriend, is he there?” I heard a male voice in the background but i wasn’t sure if it was him.
“No, you’ve got the wrong number sorry.” She chirped before the line went dead. I looked in shock at Jeff’s name flashing on the phone.
He called back a few hours later and claimed innocence, but he wasn’t very convincing. Amber was one of the girls from our home town who he’d previously kissed while drunk at a party, I’d forgiven that incident blaming it on his inebriation. This time I wasn’t so convinced that nothing had gone on. Amber had already sent him a thong and a kiss since she answered the phone earlier that morning (yes I was monitoring facebook for any activity at that point). I was heart broken, but at the same time I’d kind of expected it. But I was insecure, and I didn’t know what to do.
Later that night he called for our now nightly chat.
“How are you?”
“Fine.” Obviously if a girl ever says fine, she’s not. He honed in quickly and went right for the kill shot.
“He did something didn’t he?” He’d never been trusting of either of the guys I dated, so it wasn’t really a surpirse to me that he knew what was going on. It didn’t take long for me to break down sobbing and explain the situation. It didn’t stop there, I shared more than I intended and told him about our physical relationship and how I wanted out.
I was so ashamed of myself at this point in my life that I didn’t think I ever would have had the courage to break up with my boyfriend if it hadn’t been for that boy on the other end of the line. I was so insecure I needed a boy to feel loved and beautiful.
He told me I needed to break up with him.
“You’re worth more than that. He doesn’t deserve you.” I sniffled in response and looked despondently out my bedroom window. “I’m coming home.”
“Already?” It’d only been a few weeks and I knew Airmen didn’t get much time off.
“Yeah, I, uh, I’m coming home this weekend, I wanted to surprise you. I’ll be home for a week.” I could hear the sheepishness in his voice and could just envision the way his green eyes would be sparkling and that lopsided grin would spread across his face.
“Really?” I wiped the tears from my eyes and felt happier than I had in recent weeks.
“Just, break up with him, okay?”
“Why?” I felt that feeling again, the butterflies taking flight in my belly.
“Because you’ll regret it if you don’t.”
He always was a tease.
PS) Forgive me for how long this post was. I’ve been trying to condense our story and keep it as short as possible, but there is a deep history between us and sometimes it’s hard not to be able to give the entire back story.