An Enemy, A Friend, and Häagen Daaz
I was on my way into school in the middle of a thunderstorm. The bell was ringing. I was late. When I saw Angie waiting for me, I knew it was trouble. She loves the misery of others. She told me she’d heard that Aaron was breaking up with me.
By lunch I’d heard it five more times. Then Molly gave me the worst news of all. He wasn’t just breaking up with me, he was telling people it was because I was “sexually immature.” He said I was a slut but didn’t know it. He said I teased him, led him on, and then told him “no.” Molly was furious. So was I. But mostly, I was afraid that it might be true.
Things got out of hand with Aaron after that first kiss in the vestry. Our relationship was too physical from the start. It was based upon fantasy and playacting instead of personalities and common interests. We kissed before we ever dated or even held hands. Our dates ended up being nothing more than sitting side by side at a movie and then deep kissing in my driveway. We never talked. The notes stopped with that first kiss. All we had was movies or a basketball game and dance, and kissing. I would have liked some talking. Aaron would have liked a little something more.
During a movie his hand would start off innocently enough on my knee. Then it would slip to the inside of my leg. I’d take his hand in mine and move it back to the arm rest. I’d hold his hand and try to watch the movie. But pretty soon his hand would find its way back to my knee again.
I was weak. I should have told him off. I shouldn’t have tolerated it, but I did. And sometimes I let his hand travel a bit too much or hesitated before stopping it. I am ashamed to admit that there was a part of me that liked it.
What really scares me is that I am not in complete control of my body. It drove me crazy when Aaron kissed my neck and ears. It sent a wonderful tickling sensation down my whole body. It made me feel alive, attractive, and exciting. I’d indulge it for a minute or two and then pull away in a panic, practically running into the house, or smacking his hand down on the armrest.
I was actually relieved that sad Wednesday that Aaron was going to break up with me, but since he hadn’t talked to me about it yet, I wrote him a note during Math breaking up with him. I told him to stop telling lies about me. I figured his slander wouldn’t be believed, and who cared if it was? I knew the truth. But did I? I could pretend like my version was the truth, and I knew I had more credibility in our school than Aaron did. But what if what Aaron said was true? Maybe, in my secret heart of hearts, I was a slut.
After school, I went to Molly’s house for Häagen Daaz.
“Aaron is a pig! I hate him!” said Molly.
“Well, it is sort of true,” I said in a whisper, scooping the ice cream while Molly paced the kitchen.
“It is not true. He is a liar. He is a hormone-crazed jerk. He should be castrated.”
Still scooping, afraid to look up, I said, “I did let him go further than I should have.”
“It is not your fault! Where is his honor? Where is his virtue? You didn’t slap him when he touched your breasts like you should have? Part of you liked it? So what? You are supposed to like it. You are a woman. He should have never tried it. Who does he think you are? Did he forget he met you in Sunday school, of all places?”
I was sobbing. I didn’t want to care about what people thought of me. But I did. I didn’t want people at school saying I was a slut. But if I found myself believing it, maybe they would too.
Molly put her arm over my shoulder. “Kathy, he tried to take advantage of you. He played upon your weakness. He is supposed to act like a man. Where is his strength, his integrity, his courage? He is a worthless piece of unidentifiable cafeteria leftovers. He couldn’t romance a dog in heat.”
I was shaking. I gasped for air and let loose a giant stream of snot straight into the bowl of Häagen Daaz.
“Ewwww!” Molly jumped back. “I am not eating that!”
Then, somehow, I was laughing and crying at the same time. Molly was carrying on about Snotten Daaz Nose Cream and new flavors and chunks for Ben and Jerry’s. It was purely juvenile, far beneath us, something you’d expect from boys. But somehow we forgot how mature we were and gave in to the moment. We wound up sitting on the floor eating the ice cream straight out of the carton and plotting the downfall of all our enemies.
I know I sound a little melodramatic talking about enemies. But Psalm 25 says: “O my God, I trust in You; let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me.” We do have enemies. Aaron probably got closer than he knows to exposing my secret sins and shame. Maybe he also revealed a bit of his own shame.
God forbid that anyone would ever know the darker things in our hearts, that our shame would be exposed. Our only hope is God. Jesus has died for our sins. He has removed our shame. In Him, we are pure, immaculate, chaste, and clean. He has risen to set us free. He provides and protects and forgives. For the time being we endure. We wait and we pray. We make mistakes and commit horrible sins. But we live by grace and dependent upon His Word and Sacrament. With Him all things, even resistance of the flesh, are possible. Soon He will save us from our enemies. He will save us from ourselves. And He will save us from that last enemy, death.
I have my weaknesses. I am a sinner. But I am not a slut. I am baptized. I am a child of God by grace. I am forgiven. So are you.