Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)
TITLE: Hotel Doors
By LauraLee Shaw
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A gentle knock, followed by his tender voice distracts me from my one-woman counseling session. “Sweetie, you okay? You know I love you, right?”
Aghast, his words trigger a horrible memory. Grabbing both sides of the sink to keep my balance, I brave an answer. “I’m fine. Just…might need some extra time, k?
“Of course, punkin, just checkin’ on you. Take your time.”
Those words. “You know I love you, right?” and “take your time.”
The diagonal stripes on the wallpaper blur as my wobbly knees melt into the floor. I hear a knock on the door from the past.
“Michelle, unlock the door. Let’s talk about this. Let me in, okay?”
“No, Mark! Just go away. I need to think.” Stinging tears painted a trail of mascara down my splotched cheeks.
“Michelle…come on. You know I love you, right?”
“Love me?” The gunk in my throat thickened with each word. “You know I’m a Christian. You know how important my virginity is to me. I’ve told you this a hundred times.”
“Yes, I know, but I just thought with it being our senior prom and all, that maybe…”
“…that maybe you’d take me to a motel and take advantage of me?”
“No, I wanted our night to be special. I thought you knew after being together for five whole months how much I love you. I thought you loved me too.”
I pounded my fist on the door. “I do love you, but I feel confused.” My forehead hit the wall in desperation. “I don’t want us to make a mistake, Mark—one that could change our lives forever.”
He softened his voice. “Well, I’d never hurt you. Think about that. Remember how patient I’ve been. I’ve never pressured you before, and I’ve had to use a lot of willpower, so…remember that. Jus—just take your time, okay?”
Time was irrelevant in that moment. My senior prom was supposed to be like a fairy tale—a night to smile over in my scrapbook. Instead of the memory of a romantic goodbye kiss at my front door, I was there, crouched on the floor of a dirty, cheap motel room. How did I get here, God? Did I make him think I wanted this? Please, help me be strong. I want to keep my commitment to stay pure until marriage, Lord.
“Mark? You still there?”
His voice was leaning close to mine on the other side of the bathroom door. “Yeah. Told you I would be, didn’t I?”
He sounded so hurt. Maybe he does love me. Maybe I should…
Suddenly, he barked, “I paid almost thirty bucks for this room, did’ya know that?”
My resolve thickened, and God’s confidence spoke through me. “I don’t care about your thirty bucks. My virginity doesn’t have a price tag. When I unlock this door, I want you to take me home. You got that?”
His voice squeaked, “Yeah.”
“I mean it, Mark. If you love me the way you say you do, then you’ll drive me home.”
“Whatever. I’ll take you home, but you’re paying me back for the room.”
I unlocked the door, aimed my eyes straight to the hotel door and walked bravely to the car without looking back. Mark drove me home, and we never spoke to one another again. (I did, however, leave thirty dollars in his locker on the last day of school—in pennies.)
What used to be a traumatic memory had now become a triumphant one. God blessed the decision from my senior prom night and replaced it with a brand new beautiful memory this night—my wedding night.
I flash a wink and a smile in the mirror, admiring the glow of purity that beams from my face. As I come out of the bathroom into our honeymoon suite, I find my husband—wait, let me say it in my sensuous voice—my darling husband—extending his hand to me. “Care to dance, Mrs. Morris?”
A blushing bride, I waltz into his arms of love, closing the door of that old memory behind me.
“I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done.” Psalm 143:5, NIV
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