What am I doing in a place like this, my old hangout? As I tipped the beer mug to my mouth, its cooling foam cleared my throat, not my muddled mind. Yes, I’m here with a jumping juke box, smoke as thick as creamed peas and all the other accoutrements of a lonely hearts club. I am here for a self-pity party and cursing myself for breaking the heart of the only woman I ever loved.
We were very young when we met as seniors in high school. I was hooked in the minute I first saw her standing by her locker. My eyes drank in her sky blue eyes, strawberry blonde hair, and china doll features. And, I’ll never forget the tight jeans and rose sweater she wore. She was hot! Best of all Beth felt the same about me, and we sensed that fate had brought us together.
We attended all the senior activities - football games, homecoming, and prom, together. With each event our love grew stronger. Our kisses were pure and tender; our love was so sweet. But, we knew our fantasy wouldn’t last forever. Upon graduation I enlisted in the Air Force, and Beth joined a missionary group to Mexico.
When I left for boot camp at the airport, we kissed for the last time (so we thought). I felt like my heart sunk into my socks, and I was despondent. I couldn’t let Beth know as she was gushing tears, too. We didn’t see each other again until ten years later.
I learned many things in the service, a lot about the military but mostly about the world. When I saw all the famous landmarks of Europe, my old high school geography became an asset, not drudgery.
But, best of all I learned about the ways of women – blondes, redheads, and brunettes - I loved them all. They loved me as much as I loved them, and I lost my virginity as fast as I could. I knew my behavior was sinful, but I didn’t care. Society’s views seemed to applaud the lifestyle I was living. “Love and leave ‘em” was my motto. Yes, I was a real ladies man. But the altar in my heart still carried a torch for Beth.
After my release from the service I could only find work in this neighborhood bar. To my surprise Beth walked in one day. She was distributing gospel tracts. We just fell into each other’s arms. Fate brought us together a second time.
This time our relationship was serious. I accepted the Lord Jesus as my savior, which delighted Beth. We made plans to marry and exchanged vows on Valentine’s Day. Our beautiful marriage seemed like heaven, and to add to our joy, Beth became pregnant. God blessed us with a handsome baby boy, Aaron. Our happiness became ecstasy!
One day after Beth’s six week check-up she caught an ominous message on our voice mail. “Beth, please call our office immediately. Some abnormalities were discovered in your pap test.” Beth and I were very alarmed. She scheduled an appointment with her gynecologist to have the problem discussed. We prayed that our bliss wouldn’t fade.
But, it did. Beth was invaded with the HPV (human papilloma virus). Cancer lurked around the corner, and she needed a procedure immediately. Beth said, “I was a virgin on my wedding night. How can this be?”
“Most likely your husband has infected you. The disease advances especially after a pregnancy,” the doctor said. “Unfortunately, you will carry HPV all your life.”
I wished my dad was there to give me a whipping. Never before had I experienced such grief, despair, and shame. The most precious woman in my life was damaged by me, and I couldn’t fix her. The blood rushed from my head, and I felt like passing out. Oh, my beautiful Beth!
I’m sure this stems from my risky behavior I led in Europe. Sure, I knew about sexual disease, but I didn’t care. And, I knew it was sin, but I blatantly disobeyed. I take full responsibility for my antics, but I also blame the world. “Free love,” says the world, yet God’s word says, “No adultery.”
I placed my beer mug on the bar and with a stagger got up. I thank God Beth and I are going to work on this problem. I never want to hurt her again.
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