(Continuation of the post: He Took Pride in Me…)
When considering my lifetime, it’s hard to believe my father’s been dead longer than he was alive. The most devastating result is that neither my children nor my husband has ever gotten to meet my father. When my father passed away, I was a teenager. This was a different time and place than now. Teenagers think and behave differently than adults, married with children. My emotions and perspective were different then, and my priorities in life were exceedingly self-centered. The relationship we had then and its dynamic, drastically differs from what it would be like today.
My father was strict and confrontational when it came to who his daughter’s dated. This meant, after he died, dating would be easier for me, not necessarily safer, and I would have more freedom. At that time, as horrible as it sounds, I felt some relief. I was a teenage girl who had been crushing on boys since kindergarten. My emotional/romantic personality, at that time is best described as, “the overly smitten, lovesick, obsessive” type. A burning infatuation for the boys I had crushes on. I started to officially date when I was 14. This newfangled, passionate relationship created a division between my dad and me, as many times it does; in a teenage girl’s life.
This also led to my first serious break-up, about 6 month before my dad died. Due to several compelling reasons, my dad had forbade me to date or hang out with my ex-boyfriend after he broke up with me. This made me very resentful and rebellious. Thankfully, a few months before the car accident, we reconciled our differences, and I finally ended my headstrong silent treatment. We talked and settled our brief feud which lasted up until about a month before the tragedy. I am forever grateful for this.
During my freshmen year of high school I swooned over this new crush. It was just part of my personality, and now that I was hitting the hormonal stage, I literally lost all control of my actions. The boy was a year older than me, and I was absolutely obsessed with him. This was also the first time, since fourth grade, that the feelings seemed somewhat mutual. Eventually he asked me out.
I couldn’t believe it; for the first time since elementary school, someone I had a crush on actually seemed to like me too! The first “date” we went on was us hanging out at one of his friend’s houses. I was relieved because when he picked me up for our first date, my dad wasn’t home, which meant I would only have to introduce him to my mom. This upset my father because it was required, according to his rules, that he meet every boy before I left the house with him. After I begged and pleaded with my dad, he agreed to make an exception this one time, as long as my mom was home to do his bidding. Little did he know, there would be a very intimate confrontation in the near future with this young man, alone, in front of his house.
On the day of our first date, the boy came and picked me up on a four-wheeler of his friend’s. My mom invited him in, asked a few questions about where we were going and who would be there, and then she told us to have fun and be safe. After this we rode off to our destination. We hung out that night and I had the most amazing time. Mainly because it was spent with my current infatuation. I also had my first kiss; I was 14. Before this I had never gone anywhere with a boy by myself, let alone someone I had such a huge crush on. We continued to date for about a month, until right after Christmas. He broke up with me in a letter. A letter written with hurtful words expressing, vulgarly, the reasons he no longer wanted to be my boyfriend. I no longer have the letter but there are two things I remember it saying; they are forever etched in my memory:. First he stated, “I was like a blow-up doll that didn’t put out,” and secondly, “I was like talking to a brick wall.” His biggest irritation with me was that I would not have sex with him. I guess some young teenage boys have self-serving expectations.
I was devastated and my father was furious! At first when my father divulged to me what he had went and done, I was pumped, and then reality set in, and I was disheartened and embarrassed. See he went and confronted this young man one day, without notice, and didn’t let me know until after it happened. I recall exactly where we were when he went through every detail with me. He had never implied that he was going to confront him, but I should have assumed. My father was very protective of his family, especially his daughters. The type of man that would have gone to prison to protect or avenge us if necessary, without hesitation.