I went to a Christian high school. We had “banquets” instead of dances and proms. Good Christian teens don’t dance!
I invited a tall dark handsome young man to be my date to my Senior Banquet. We’d known one another for about a year, he was a good friend, and we really enjoyed hanging out together. There were definitely sparks and chemistry between us.
I wore a lovely “wrap” style dress to the banquet. The fabric was white and covered with teal and green flowers. The dress was soft and it swished slightly from side to side when I walked. I loved that dress. My date wore a gray suit, complete with a matching vest, a white shirt, and a teal tie. I’m tellin’ you…we were adorable.
I don’t remember what we ate that night or what the entertainment was, although I suspect we watched a Disney movie. Maybe we watched, “That #@*% Cat”. That’s right—I went to a school that bleeped out the word “darn”. I do remember we had a really fun evening and I relished the fact that I had the cutest guy in the room on my arm.
Banquets end fairly early and when it was over we had an hour or so to kill before my curfew. I lived with my family across the street from an elementary school way out in the country, so instead of pulling into our driveway, we pulled into the dark and empty parking lot of the school. We held hands and began walking and talking. We laughed as we strolled the halls, and then under the trees.
We found a soft dry spot on the lawn and he kissed me. It was terribly romantic.
In the blink of eye something changed and things went from sweet and romantic to frenetic and out of control. I remember being surprised and confused. I felt his hand on my chest and I heard the sound of ripping fabric. My dress was open.
My own voice sounded far away and small.
“Please don’t do this.”
It all had escalated so quickly, and now I was seeing the light come back into my date’s eyes. He stopped.
I don’t remember speaking as he walked me across the street to my front door and then he walked to his car. He drove away.
I know that it would not have been okay for him to hurt me that night, but I learned a valuable lesson. I had the power to keep myself safe. I learned to never, ever allow myself to be in a place I didn’t want to be. Nothing would ever happen that I didn’t want to happen. I had the power.
Three weeks went by and the guy I had felt so close to never called. It hurt. Then one day I was driving down the road and I saw him. He told me to pull over. I did. I got out of my car and walked towards him and he walked to me. He put his arms around me and whispered, “You should hate me. I’m so, so sorry.”
“I forgive you.”
I believe he learned a valuable lesson about self-control as well. I know he grew to be a wonderful man.