Trigger Warning * Violence * Language
After at least a hundred phone calls and writing each other letters and sending pictures, Nate called at the end of the week with news.
“My dad says we should go out on a date, really meet each other. I think we should, too.”
I held my breath. I was caught between being excited and being afraid. What if we didn’t like each other after all? What if he saw how ugly I really was? That my voice was prettier than me? Plus, I wasn’t even sure Mom would let me go out with some guy I met on the phone.
There was one problem with his dad’s great idea, though. He wanted to go out with my mom. A double blind date. And as if that weren’t bad enough, Mom actually agreed and thought it was a good idea. To make matters even worse, my little brothers had to come along for the ride. It felt like a disaster waiting to happen.
We all agreed to meet in a public place in town, and for one brief second, Mom and I shared a giddy moment before I realized how weird this was. Double-dating with my mom. Lovely.
As soon as the guys pulled up and got out of the car, I saw Mom’s eyes go wide. “He’s good looking,” she said, I assumed about her own date.
But I was looking at Nate. Nate, who was tall, who was blond…who scared the hell out of me. Suddenly I felt like I didn’t know him at all. I don’t know what I expected, but this person, he wasn’t it. All I could think about was how easy it would be for him to hurt me. He had to be at least a good foot taller than me, and I wondered how I would defend myself if ever…well, I didn’t want to think about that. Enough had happened when I was younger to make me scared of men, and I was tired of feeling that way. I just wanted to trust someone. I knew all guys couldn’t be bad.
I got out of the car and reached up to hug him. He smelled good, and his embrace was warm, tight. It didn’t feel too scary.
We all piled into his dad’s car and drove to the mall in the next big town over. When we got there, Mom and his dad said they were going on their own private date.
“You kids have fun,” they said, as they dropped the four of us off at the front entrance. “We’ll be back after the movie.”
Hours later, after a cheesy movie and chasing my brothers (who ever so kindly made sure it was almost impossible for Nate to even hold my hand), they finally came back for us. The mall had been closed for over an hour, and security had stopped twice to ask if we needed help.
Both Mom and Nate’s dad were drunk and they climbed into the backseat, laughing and pawing each other. Nate took over the driving, pulling me close to him, one arm around me, locking me in place. He drove us back to their house, where his own younger brothers were sleeping and his step-mom had only just left for work.
As our parents stumbled to the master bedroom, Nate helped carry my brothers into the house so they could sleep comfortably.
“The bitch won’t be home until morning, so y’all will be ok until your mom sobers up,” he said.
We sat on the couch and talking for a bit, and then I yawned. I didn’t want to be here anymore. I just wanted to go home, pull the covers over my head, and pretend like this night had never happened. Everything had seemed perfect for us before we actually met, before this night happened.
“Oh, sorry. I’m just so tired,” I said, letting my eyelids flutter a little. I slid back into a corner of the couch and pulled my knees to my chest, resting my head on them. I let my eyes close a few times, as if I could barely stay awake.
“I have to ask you something,” Nate said, scooting closer to me and taking my hand.
I opened my eyes briefly. “Hmmm?”
“I had a really good time with you tonight. Did you?”
I smiled. I really hadn’t. It was probably one of the worst nights of my life, and now my mother was in the bedroom with his father. I hardly thought this was a good time.
“I’ve never met anyone like you. You’re so sweet and beautiful.”
“Thank you,” I said, feeling my face heat up. No one calls me beautiful.
“Will you be my girlfriend?”
Oh. I didn’t expect that. Or maybe I did. Would this night ever end?
But I gave a slight nod and whispered that I would. It seemed like the right answer in the moment.
When I was finally back home in my own bed with my mom sleeping beside me, I came up with a plan to tell him that I couldn’t remember much of the night before. I didn’t want any of this. I just wanted to get out of being his girlfriend.
About Angela Giles Klocke – I’m a Colorado-based speaker, writer, advocate, and princess! I am also a survivor of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and more. I would love to speak to your group, school, or organization. Catch my TEDx Colorado Springs Talk on abuse, violence, and talking about uncomfortable topics, coming soon. Contact me!