“Red, red wine... Stay close to me.... Don’t let me be alone...” Amy swayed, eyes closed, to the sensuous drone of Neil Diamond, completely at one with the husky voice crooning loudly out of her sound-surround stereo. She sang along, her voice breaking. The ache in Neil’s voice matched the one in her heart, perfectly. “But memories won’t go, no, memories won’t go...”
That had been "their" song; she was Red Wine. She’d always loved it that Stan called her Red.
Curled in an overstuffed chair, her long red hair tumbled over her shoulders into her lap, Amy hugged a pillow to her chest and allowed hot tears to flow down her face without wiping them away. She wanted to feel them. They were the only thing that felt real right now.
Stan, her boyfriend for the last three years, had broken up with her that afternoon. Since then, she hadn’t moved from her room. His words echoed and re-echoed. She tortured herself with them. “Red, I don’t want to hurt you... But I need what I need...”
“Well, you had better go then.” she had told him.
How could he do this to her?
What did he mean he wasn’t feeling it anymore? You don’t stop loving-- just like that! But deep down, she knew. Stan wanted more than just kissing and cuddling these days. Said a man had needs.
Stan wanted her to prove her love for him, and she did love him... They’d argued about that a lot lately.
She didn’t know what was wrong with her. She couldn’t be like other girls; she’d tried to explain to him but it was hard--he didn't believe like she did.
Nowadays, nobody cared. Unmarried couples slept together all the time. No one even talked about it when they did. But, as much as she wanted to, she couldn’t get past the nagging voice that wouldn’t be ignored. It always stopped her before things got out of hand.
The voice said that wasn’t the way she wanted her first time to be. Giving in, so that Stan wouldn’t be upset. She wanted her first time to be special. A gift to each other, with a lifetime commitment to each other. Not something taken from her, like it was a payment for the time he spent with her.
Whenever she questioned her decision, Mom’s voice floated through her mind. “I’ve taught you everything I know, Sweetie. So, if you’re in doubt; don’t. That little voice is God’s way of telling you something isn’t right. Always remember that. You’ll always know the right thing to do if you listen to what it’s trying to tell you. Don’t let anyone, girl or guy, pressure you to do anything you don’t want to do. You do what’s right for you.
Lately, Stan had seemed to be doing a lot of taking... And not a whole lot of giving. Amy had been annoyed a lot by his irritability whenever he didn’t get his way. What happened to the sweet guy he’d always been. Lately he just seemed so... self-centered. Selfish, even.
Amy got up and turned Neil down. She wasn’t in the mood for him anymore.
That’s exactly what was wrong, Amy realized. She’d been feeling used. Stan didn’t make her feel loved and cared for. He made her feel like she was responsible for his lack of “getting any” as the guys put it. And well, maybe she was, in part, but it wasn’t her problem. Not at this point in their relationship. He needed to figure out what he wanted.
She froze, momentarily stunned by her realization.
He had figured it out. And he hadn’t chosen her. The realization stung. A hot burning coursed through her. She felt her cheeks turning a fiery red, as they always did when she felt humiliated. Humiliation turned to anger. Anger that inflamed her, made her nostrils flare, her breath rapid and uneven.
Who does he think he is!
Mom’s voice floated again. “God said vengeance is His. Your job is to forgive and trust God to do the rest. He’ll deal with Stan.” Well, Mom hadn’t actually said that, but Amy knew she would have, had she known.
Mom was right. At last, peace came over Amy and settled. She was so glad she hadn’t slept with Stan. What a mistake that would have been.
She looked in the mirror and saw eyes red and swollen. She washed up. She’d done enough crying.
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