2007 STORY #15 – MY BEST FRIEND
At age 15, I was an extremely shy boy. Life's circumstances had already been such that I had lived a lifetime of heartache. It was only after my second adoptive father and I moved to Southwest Oklahoma in 1984 did I first find meaning in my life.
Meaning came in the form of a 5'2" beauty who never knew an enemy. She liked everyone she came into contact with and everyone liked her. I could tell, as we would sit after lunch, waiting for sophomore English to start, that her soul was pure. I could feel that, with her, the term 'judgment' was something foreign to who she was. She was definitely someone I wanted to know.
With shyness came a certain amount of awkwardness and angst. Shyness, in my case, was most likely a byproduct of trust which, for me, was severely limited. I had always been looking for someone to love and who would love me. Yet, in my life, love, from all angles, was fleeting. I had been wearing impenetrable armor for as long as I could remember. Tenth grade was no different.
She was beautiful. She still is. Yet, it wasn't her outward beauty that attracted me inasmuch as her inner soul spoke to me. I had the innate feeling that I was safe with her even if we would start our relationship as 'just friends.' She wouldn't know for many years where I had been or what I had been through and yet, nearly two years after we first met, 'just friends' became more than that.
Looking back on those moments makes me well aware that she was oblivious to what she was signing up for when we started to date. Today, I could be accused of fraud. She was my first girlfriend and my last. Yet, here we are 21 years and nearly two months from the day she decided to take a chance on a short, dark-headed boy from Canada who had more than a lifetime of secrets.
Marriage has been good for me. Other than my wife, I never knew dating other girls so I've never missed it. She has given me more than I could have ever hoped for. It can't be easy living with a survivor of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and neglect and yet, this woman has endured with the patience of Job.
I've been truly blessed by God to have overcome serious adversity. With the help of a beautiful girl from Oklahoma, I have been able to express my true self without the fear of being rejected, maligned, or abused. Today, we have no secrets. She has given me two wonderful children for which we raise in a safe and nurturing home devoid of the abuses I had experienced in the 15+ homes where I grew up.
In the end, I honor my best friend. For it is because of her efforts, both bold and subtle, that I have become the man I should have never been.