She was in my class at school. We were not close friends, more like acquaintances. She had the nicest smile and soft spoken voice. She was a good student and friendly to most everyone. When school let out for the summer, I got busy doing summer kinds of things, swimming, parties, days at the park. When school returned in the Fall, Yvette did not. Turns out, she had gotten pregnant. Rumors were flying all over school about the details, most of which I did not understand. The whispering said she was “That kind of girl”. I did not know exactly what that meant, but it seemed to be a convenient label to put on her.
I did not see her again until I was about 20. I saw her in a market in a neighboring town. She looked older and more mature. She had her 6 year old with her. Our eyes met, and then she looked away before I could get a chance to talk with her. I reasoned that we were both so busy, or that she might not remember me. I had a dozen excuses for not calling out to her…. But perhaps the largest reason was that in the interim, I too had become “that kind of girl”. I had fallen for a line – a promise of “love forever” if only I would…..
As years have gone by, I never knew what became of Yvette. But now, with adult eyes looking on the situation, I realize we 14-year-olds expected a lot out of each other. We expected everyone else except us to act mature, to not fall for lies, to never get angry, never get in trouble... to always do the right thing. Did we really know the burden we put on one another?
I found out not too long ago that Yvette’s child was not a love-child. She had been raped by a trusted family friend. She lost probably every friend she had at the time. Her family moved to a new town to escape the whispers. They sold their house and got new jobs so that Yvette could start over. And Yvette? She chose to love the baby anyway, for it had not asked to be brought into the world this way. She faced a very difficult choice, and chose life.
Yvette, where are you? I want to ask you to forgive me for judging you. You see, I have been forgiven too.