Evening fell across the field and the headlights of his familiar jeep shown soft across the overturned ground. I met him at the door and he helped me into the car.
“So what did you have in mind? Where do you want to go?” he asked.
“Let’s drive out to the pond,” I say. “There’s something I need to talk with you about.”
He turned to look long and hard at me and I felt myself sink lower in the seat.
We said nothing all the way there. He knew.
We pulled onto the dirt path and he hopped out to unlock the chain. He looked at me while standing in the beam of the headlight, and my heart broke just a little.
We drove slowly out into the quiet dark. It was cold enough to see our breath meet the air and I can remember the ground being damp. I broke open my heart and words came out in a rush and he stood there for a moment and then promised me the world.
I talked about Jesus and how messed up I was and how I wasn’t going to make him happy forever. I said more words than I had ever planned to say, but his eyes spoke things his mouth never would and I couldn’t help but fill the blank space with noise.
“We were going to get married. What can I do?” he asked. “Please.”
“Nothing. Nothing at all.” I whisper.
We say more words and climb back into the jeep and head back to my house.
It’s a slow ride home. No music plays. No words are spoken. The air so thick I can barely breathe.
My mama meets me in the foyer.
“It’s over,” I tell her. “I’m OK.”
I climb the stairs and run the water for a long soak in the tub. I peel off layers of clothing and wipe the steam off of the mirror, and I look at the girl in the glass. I step into the bath and sink down into the bubbles and they come up to my ears. I close my eyes and sink down, letting the water cover my entire body.
I close my eyes now and relive the moment. I can still smell the bubble bath.
Still my fragrance of choice.
Symbolic, isn’t it.
This Baptist girl climbed into a tub of water and came out feeling cleaner than she had in years.
And when I crawl into bed later that night, I expect the tears to come.
They never do.
Not even one.
Remember this. It’s important.
I won’t mourn the loss of this relationship until 9 months from now…
After I’ve committed my life to that red-headed boy.