Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Unanswered Prayers

Seriously, have you ever stopped to think about all the things in life that you thought you really wanted and didn't get and how your life would be totally different if you had? Even the timing of things is so important. Everything happens for a reason and even though we may never know that reason, I'm a strong believer in this.

I'm forced to think about a tragic event that goes along with "unanswered prayers" and "4th of July".

It was the summer of 1993, I was 12 and he was going to be 16 in August. I was so hooked. He was tall and tan with the greenest eyes ever. And he flirted shamelessly with me. He worked at this place my family and I spent lots of time during the summer and on weekends. This place always put on a huge 4th of July celebration. There were fireworks and food and a band. It was always fun and so I have lots of memories of it.

This place was not far from where I lived or where I live now. He and I spent lots of innocent time together because we went there all the time and I was smitten. He was 4 years older and was a major charmer so he had tons of girlfriends in his real life but he played along with the flirtation. For years my family kept going and "C" and I became closer. He was close to my entire family and the two of us really were friends. I literally prayed that I would marry him. I just couldn't wait to be old enough to be with him.

When I was a freshman in high school, I met a few girls who lived near him. I became pretty close to them and spent more time in that town. I saw "C" in a different setting and he saw me in a different way- not as a little girl. He hated me to have boyfriends and to be flirty with others and we did have the occasional kiss (or, ahem, two) but, he was 4 years older! He was not my boyfriend. But, I prayed and dreamed and obsessed. And he played games and grew up.

"C" went to basic training and I don't really know what happened for a little while (it's been awhile and I try to forget) but, he appeared at my house one day. Just showed up out of nowhere. When I opened the door and saw him standing there, my breath was taken. There he was. All smiley and tan and tall and so green-eyed. He said that he missed me (I know that it'd been about a year since I'd seen him) and wanted to know what was going on in my life. At the time, two of my friends (who knew about my DEEP LOVE for "C") and parents were there. I was 18 so the pining (is that how you spell that?) had been going on for awhile. I'd just gotten out of a HORRIBLE relationship and there "C" was, telling me he wanted to take me out. What? It was all too perfect.

Later that night he called me and we talked for hours. I remember him telling me how much I'd always meant to him and how he'd always been attracted to me. He told me that he knew we were meant to be together and I was the one for him. My heart was all over the place. My mind was racing. It was just so much. But, I knew him. I knew he wasn't perfect. I'm not at all trying to paint that picture. He had a temper. He was intense. He was jealous. He liked being the center of my world- of anyone's world. I was like that back then, so I didn't always fault him for it. We just butted heads a lot.

He came for me the next day to go to a baseball game. When I opened the door, I could tell that he had been drinking. I was in "this-is-gonna-be-perfect" mode so, I pretended I did not notice. We drove to his hometown and stopped at the place we met. We saw people from the past and everyone commented on how adorable we were and made more zingers about us getting married and our cute "story". I was so caught up in the whole romance of it... I loved it.
We went to his parents' house and they fawned all over us. But, it was all downhill from there.

"C" got mad at every little thing. He got mad when I didn't hold his hand, when it rained and the game was cancelled and when I couldn't come up with great alternative plans. We went to Blockbuster and there was only one movie I didn't want to see and, of course he made a huge deal about it. He caused a scene, throwing the video at the wall, knocking over all of them. I was so angry and sad. Why was this happening? This was "C"! My Mr. Perfect. The one I'd imagined as the father of my children. The one whose last name I'd paired with my first name on every single piece of paper I could find. The dream was going up in smoke.

As we drove (sped) back towards my house, he yelled at me. He demaned to know what I was "on". I must've taken something because of the way I was acting. The way I was acting? I was brokenhearted and scared. I told him to bring me to a friend's house because my parents weren't home. When we got there, I jumped out of the truck, I ran inside and into the bathroom. Apparently, "C" yelled at my friend and my friend yelled at "C"- "What did you do to her?" at the same time.

I have not seen him or spoken to him since.

Until one day this past September when Lindsey called and asked a question that knocked the breath out of me. She wanted to know what his middle initial was, she asked me out of nowhere. She gave me his name- "C", she said, "What's his middle name?" I told her and she asked me how old he was and I thought for a second, out loud, all the while my heart beating in my ears. "Well, he's 4 years older than me, so he's 29. WOW! Why?" She paused and I knew in that half a second that what she was about to tell me was going to be bombshell. "He was arrested for killing his baby." I turned on the news and there he was. He was in handcuffs and black and white stripes. I couldn't stop crying.

Even as I sit here, with a rerun of Gilmore Girls on tv, my adorable husband in the next room and our bags all packed to go to the camp, I'm shaken. I've dealt with the whole story, as much as I could get my hands on. I've dealt with the fact that "It could have been me." He could have been my husband and subsequently the father of my child. I could be living this nightmare. I have also thought of all the other things, too. I'd never let him do that, I would have seen the signs, I would have grown up and out of the obsession and not have let it cloud my judgement. Maybe.

I felt so many things in those few days. It took awhile to go through them all and it still hurts. I still think of those 4th of July celebrations. The fireworks in the skies and between the two of us.
And I thank God for unanswered prayers.
"sometimes i thank God
for unanswered prayers
remember when you're talking to the man upstairs
that just because He may not answer
doesn't mean He don't care
some of God's greatest gifts
are unanswered prayers"


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