Someone named Tess* called looking for you. Something about how she’s marrying your ex-boyfriend and wants to talk to you.
Was the message I was given 12 years ago.
I wrote down the number and went in search of a phone book to see where the area code was from.
My boyfriend from my senior year of college had moved there after graduation. And he was such a drama queen. One who loved to talk about his exes (a big reason we broke up in the first place- I had been so tired of listening to him whine about girls from his past and compare me to them- even though it was a favorable comparison, it never stopped).
So I picked up the phone and dialed, asking for Tess. It was her roommate who answered and told me Tess was at work and she asked if I wanted to leave a message.
I explained that I had no idea who Tess was but she had contacted my parents who passed the message along to me because she was marrying an ex of mine. Could the roommate tell me who she was marrying?
Then came the name.
Not the name that I thought.
A name from freshmen year of college.
The stuff of nightmares.
Oh, I stuttered. Well, I don’t know if…. well… um… can you tell me when she’ll be back? And I’ll decide if I want to call her or not. If I don’t call back… tell her… oh… just… oh. *click* I hung up.
I tried to get some work done, watching the clock until Tess was supposed to be home. But knowing I didn’t really have to call and that Tess wouldn’t be able to find me- my number was private and no one would give it to her.
Why would I want to talk to her? I’d put all of that behind me, years before. And what was she going to say anyway? I don’t get why she’d want to talk to me. I never wanted to talk to him again, that was for sure.
But I called anyway.
And the first thing out of her mouth stunned me into silence.
“I want you to know that I forgive you.”
Due to my silence, she prattled on about her wedding plans and how I was her only hesitation in marrying him and how hard it was for her to get over the idea that he had had me in his life years ago.
Finally, I found my voice and said “Forgive me? What did I do that I need forgiven for?”
Now came her accusations of me corrupting her future-husband and making it so she would not be his first.
Now, I’m a Yankee, but I’d been in the South for about 3 years at this point and for some reason, the Southern accent I usually do not have started coming out thicker and thicker, the more that I had to say to her. By the end of our conversation, I’d sound like I was born and bred in the deep, deep South.
“Your future husband is the one who needs to ask forgiveness. From the Lord above. He’s lying to you.”
She tried to give her side of the story but it was so ridiculous, I had to cut her off.
“I know that you want to paint me as some sort of harlot who made him sin, but I’d barely ever even kissed a boy before him.”
She protested, saying that wasn’t what he told her, so I cut her off again.
“And no should mean no, even if it is coming from your girlfriend.”
She sputtered, “He said he’s thought about it and that wasn’t what happened. He said—”
“Whatever you need to believe to be able to sleep at night,” I drawled. It didn’t surprise me that he denied what happened that night. But I didn’t owe anything to this girl, certainly not details that I’d rather forget than rehash with someone who would never believe me anyway.
And then she got to the real point of her call. You see, he was about to accept a position as a pastor at a church. And she was afraid that someday, I would let this all come out and they would be shamed out of the church.
I do believe I literally snorted at this point.
“I have no desire to have anything to do with either of you, ever again,” again coming out like ahhhh-gaaaahhhhnn by this point. “I’m engaged, too. To a Marine.” Mah-reeeeeen. “And if you or your husband ever,” ev-ah “contact me again, you see, I don’t think my husband will like it. And Marines are trained to kill people. Just something to think about.”
“No, we won’t…” she said.
“And I’d have no qualms walking into whatever church he’s preaching in, in the middle of Sunday service, and letting everyone know just what he did to an innocent young girl. So, this is it, you hear me? Neither one of you is ever, ever, ever to contact me again” Ev-ah, ev-ah, ev-ahhhh.
“Yes,” she whimpered.
I slammed the phone down, shaken.
I’d actually ended the engagement with the mah-reeeeen a few months before this. And I’d never really walk into that church and lay it all out there like that. But damn, those threats made me feel so much better in the moment.
Over 12 years have gone by and I’ve never heard from either again.
The past is the past, and I’ve moved on. I thought about leaving this in my drafts, never sharing it because I’m truly over it. But it is a piece of me, a piece of my past. And perhaps a reminder that no matter what we think we know about someone just from looking at them, there’s always more to their stories.
*Names changed. Tess was the name of my roommate’s dog back when this happened.
Last Week’s Faves
Thanks to everyone who links up for Pour Your Heart Out. I’m highlighting three posts from the previous week and I hope you take the time to check them out, along with visiting some of this week’s linkers.
- The Days When I Don’t Love it from Alison at Writing, Wishing. Let’s face it, not every moment of motherhood is something that we enjoy.
- What Not to Say to a Mom Returning to Work after the Birth of Her Child from Mindi at Simply Stavish. I’ve been guilty of saying at least one of these, so this made me think.
- What Depression Feels Like by Heather at Lizard Lollies. If you don’t have any experience with depression, this post will help you understand.
Join in Pour Your Heart Out
Click if you want to find out more about Pour Your Heart Out. Remember, it’s about what you want to pour out: it’s personal, so there isn’t an assigned topic. It’s also about being supportive of others who are sharing: so visit other linkers and be kind with your comments. Linking up? (or even if you are just here to visit) Please visit at least two of the linkers and show them some support in the form of a comment or a share!