Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Gossip Mill (05/08/14)
TITLE: The Upward Spiral
By Donna Tijou
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“What were you two doing?”
“Kissing”. I blushed, embarrassed to be caught.
“Kissing can lead to other things. Don’t you know that?”
“I-I know lots of stuff!,” I replied, trembling.
“I don’t think you do.” He spoke quietly. “Let me show you what it leads to.”
He stepped toward me, icy hands pushing me against the porch rail. My voice failed in my terror. I wanted to run; why didn’t I? I guess I thought if I let him do what he wanted, he would love me.
My parents were killed in a car accident when I was seven and custody went to Aunt Jen. She was frequently away on business and care often came from a nanny. Feeling displaced and lonely, I missed my dad, remembered he smelled good when he kissed my cheek and tucked me in at night. Jeff’s dad smelled good too and I thought he would love me like my dad did. I was wrong.
Afterward, feeling ashamed and dirty, I ran home and took a bath. I wanted to talk but Aunt Jen was away, and uncomfortable telling the nanny, I simply crawled into bed. The next day I told my best friend, Sally, that I did stuff with Jeff’s dad.
“What stuff?” she asked.
“You know, kissing kind of stuff.”
“You mean, the dirty thing?”
Dirty was what I felt, and to make matters worse, I found Sally wasn’t really my friend. She told Gracie and Gracie told George, who told Alice, who told Lucy, who told Steven, and eventually the gossip mill got back to Jeff.
The next day, before English class, Jeff came up and spit right in my face!. Horrified, I bolted and ran home. The school called asking where I was. The nanny said I was sick and for the next two days I said my stomach hurt and stayed in bed. That weekend when Aunt Jen returned, I said I thought I had the flu. She asked if anything was wrong and, too ashamed to tell the truth, I lied. On Monday I had to go back to school.
Everyone knew. Keeping my head down, I went to classes. Then the dean summoned me to her office and closed the door. Clearing her throat, she peered over her glasses,
“I heard some shocking things about you! You know, your parents were fine people. Maybe it’s a blessing their lives were cut short because they would be ashamed of you!”
I was ashamed enough already, now my dead parents were ashamed of me too.
Months passed and I continued to keep my eyes downcast. The girls talked about me and the boys taunted me. I wanted to die and thought about ways to end my life. I figured God was punishing me for doing “the dirty thing.”
Eventually I broke down and told Aunt Jen. Jeff’s dad was accused of statutory rape and I had to go to court. He got off on a technicality, but I think it was because he was golf buddies with the judge. I finished middle and high school but didn’t go to my proms or play sports. After high school I went away to college and was able to start a new life. My shame stayed in that small town and I never went back. Aunt Jen died of cancer in my senior year, so there was nothing to go back to anyway.
One day when I was at college, my roommate said she had heard a rumor. I thought, “here it comes,” but instead, she said she heard Jesus saves and wants to heal our wounds. She heard it from Fred, who heard it from Joe, who heard it from Elisa, and so on. That night I went to a prayer meeting with my roommate and, amidst a flood of tears, accepted Jesus as my Savior. I gave God my pain and He didn’t abandon me. I’m on the mend now, learning to forgive and put that horrible experience behind me. I’ve come to realize, not all rumor mills spiral downward, some actually spiral upward, thank God!
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