The ambulance ride was scary. They had immobilized me and were asking questions. I was only 16 years old, my parents were out-of-town and this was before we had cell phones. I told the paramedics my name and I realized they might know whose daughter I was. I’m not supposed to do anything wrong… preacher’s kids are expected to be perfect. Getting in an accident even though it wasn’t my fault, wasn’t good. We lived in a small town, so word traveled fast and I always felt like there was an unwanted spotlight following me around. Our town was so small that for most of my childhood, there was maybe 3 grocery stores, one department store, 2 pharmacies I think and NO HOSPITALS. One of the paramedics must have called my oldest brother and let him know they were taking me to a hospital in another town. Problem was, there were two hospitals and they were in different towns. My brother says that they told him the wrong hospital and he went to that hospital in the opposite direction.
The beautiful red rose Mr. Perfect had given me before the accident amazingly made it onto the gurney with me somehow. I could hear the hospital staff joking with the paramedic about selling roses to patients as they took me into the emergency room. As I looked to my right, I saw Mr. Perfect next to me across the room. I remember getting a glimpse of the hospital staff surrounding him and cutting his left pant leg off as the curtain was pulled. After I had x-rays and was checked over, I laid in the emergency room alone. It was supposed to be a perfect night. There laid my rose, the only thing still perfect. Mr. Perfect’s family arrived and his sister came to stay with me until my brothers arrived. She was so concerned. I was grateful she stayed beside me. I was concerned about Mr. Perfect. We both survived, but would our relationship survive? How would our parents react? I had no idea. The one thing I did know was that Mr. Perfect LOVED me. No matter what, he loved me.
I was released and one of my brothers took me home. I was terrified the whole way home. Being in a car was awful. Post traumatic stress, I didn’t know that term back then. I only knew I was not the exact same person. I had lots of anxiety and the world looked different to me now. Everything was different. I recovered at home and took time off from work. Mr. Perfect came to see me one day. I felt so bad for him. I remember someone saying that if the other vehicle had hit the driver’s side just one inch over, my boyfriend would be dead. He was on crutches, but determined to be with me. My busted up chin and all… he really loved me. He brought me flowers and I was so happy to see him. Eventually, I went back to work. Nothing was the same. I felt almost as though I was in a dream.
Mr. Perfect recovered and came back to work. I started feeling more like myself. We continued to date and fell deeper in love. I saw a sharp men’s suit at the mall one day and I just had to get it for him to wear to our graduations. I enjoyed making my own money and being able to buy nice things. He looked perfect in the suit. I remember going with him to his high school graduation and he came to mine. He got me a beautiful wrist corsage, he always made me feel so special. He made me feel valuable. I graduated early. My parents had started a Christian school in their big Church when I was just a baby. It was a very strict school and if you got anything less than 80% on a test, you failed. I LOVED school. I loved learning, I paid attention and got very good grades in all of my subjects. I was disappointed with anything less than a 100%. I had dreams of going to a Christian college in another city, but there was no money for college. My parents never took a salary from the church. I probably could have gotten a scholarship, but I wouldn’t have been allowed to go off to college and be on my own. I wasn’t even allowed to get a driver’s license because I was a girl. Now that I had met Mr. Perfect, I had no desire to go away.
We were so in love. We wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. I remember laying my head on his chest, closing my eyes and listening to the sound of his voice. I loved to listen to him talk and I imagined what it would be like to have our children running around and him talking to them. I wanted to be his wife, have his children and live a simple, quiet, peaceful life in this small town I had grown up in. At only 16 years old, there was NO doubt whatsoever. This is what I want, this is the life I want. I would never love another man the same way I loved him. He made me a better person, he was the best man I had ever known. I felt safe with him. I felt unconditionally loved.
Mr. Perfect picked me up one day and took me to a duck pond. We walked by the pond and then into a secluded area surrounded by tall trees and bushes. It was beautiful. As he got down on one knee, the sun came through the trees right upon us and it was perfect. He opened up a little box with a ring inside and asked me to marry him. He was so excited he dropped it on the ground and we laughed. He picked it up, I said, “Yes!” and the ring fit on my finger perfectly. It was like something out of a movie. We were so happy. This was my dream come true. We announced our engagement and soon after, my Father had a little announcement of his own. We were MOVING. Not across town… 16 hours away!
Engaged or not, my parents would never agree to let me stay there and get married. This was a nightmare. I couldn’t stay there, my dream and all I wanted was not going to happen. Mr. Perfect couldn’t move at that time. His family needed him there. Since I was not legally an adult, we finally agreed that he would move to be with me. He would get a good job and an apartment. Then, we would get married. His family was not thrilled of course. I had always wanted to live in a big city one day, but now I had this amazing, gorgeous, honest, hardworking man and everything we had ever known was in that small town. His family was there… the life I wanted with him was there.
He gave me his high school letter jacket to take with me and wear. It was the jacket I saw him wearing the very first time I laid eyes on him. I thought he was so handsome in it. Now, it was going with me to hold tight and keep me warm until he could be with me again. We said our goodbyes and it broke our hearts. Once I got to the big city, it was overwhelming. We didn’t have a home phone hooked up at first and I remember finally finding a payphone at the grocery store. I called Mr. Perfect and he was so worried about me. Days had gone by and he had no way to reach me. We had little communication with each other. Life in the city was so busy. We had family who lived there and I met lots of people. My parents decided to start a new church. They also decided to take over a business with some friends of theirs and I went to work for them. It almost felt like we lived at work. I was exhausted and making time to chat long distance on a phone in the dining room in our condo with 7 other people in the house wasn’t easy. I had no phone in my room. I didn’t even have a bed! I was sleeping on a love seat I had bought before we moved. My bed along with lots of my stuff didn’t make it on the moving truck. Whatever didn’t fit on the truck was left behind. My bed must not have been important enough for my parents make sure it was on the truck. I was crammed into a tiny room in the basement, sleeping on a love seat and working for my parents. We were learning how to run the business as it was a new adventure for us. I was being trained on how to operate the computer system. We were open 7 days a week. Sometimes, we didn’t get home until around 2 a.m. on the weekends. My relationship with Mr. Perfect took a backseat to my new life in the city. I had too much on my mind, too many responsibilities and too little time and energy to put into my relationship. I was distracted. Once he moved there, things would hopefully be better. He would have his own job and a place for us to live. We could finally get married and start our life together.
My 17th birthday came and that’s when my life fell apart. Mr. Perfect decided he wasn’t going to move to the city. Who could blame him? I’m the one who left, not him. I’m the one who changed the plan, not him. The big city was frightening and who wants to be 18 years old and 16 hours away from all of their family and friends? He was the ONLY son, his Father’s health was not good and he depended on Mr. Perfect to make sure his mother and sister were taken care of. It was wrong to ask him to make that move. It was wrong to ask him to give up everything to make my family happy and upset his. Since I wasn’t an adult, I couldn’t go back and marry him for at least a year. We wouldn’t even be able to see each other for a year. My top love languages are physical touch and quality time. I hadn’t felt his touch or spent quality time with him in MONTHS. He could say all the words he wanted, send me letters and gifts, but without his touch and being with him… it was awful. I needed to put my head on his chest and feel him breathe, listen to his heartbeat and hear his manly voice. I needed him and he wasn’t coming… ever.
All of our plans fell apart. My family needed me to help them with the business and be at Church. How could I live 16 hours away from my parents and go back to that little town? How could I ever leave my family and the Church? That would be unacceptable. I would never have lived that one down. We began to have little spats over the telephone. Just like him, our relationship had always been perfect. This was so unlike us. If neither one of us would move, there was no way we could be together. If Mr. Perfect wasn’t moving, it was over. We decided to break up. The night we broke up was the WORST night of my life. I had never felt that kind of pain. I would never be in his arms again. I would never say, “I do” to him. I would never know a perfect wedding night with him (we were saving ourselves for marriage). I would never have his children. I would never have the life I dreamed of with him. It was all gone and there was nothing I could do to fix it… nothing. I walked out to the jukebox at work, took a seat, broke down crying and played Guns N’ Roses November Rain. I played that song OVER and OVER for what seemed like hours (I’m playing that song right now on my computer as I type this). Man, I love that song and her wedding dress rocks. I sat there that night and cried and cried and cried. My dreams were crushed… my heart was shattered. I was never the same after that night, it was as if someone reached inside me and turned off my light. Whatever it was… it was gone. I was broken beyond repair. Some months past and in my broken state, it was as if Satan himself came to finish me off.
Amazed By His Grace,