I guess I should have known this would happen. I had some ideas about who I was and who I should be, and this was a really fucked up way to find out this particular thing about myself. You see, I met this guy... He was the most perfect guy, and he wanted to talk to me. He came up to me on the right day, at the right time, As if God himself had sent him to me.
Yeah, I know pathetic right, but... Hear me out. Let me explain why Kharn Garcia was perfect for me. I was sitting at the back of my church with Sam, my best friend. We were close. I mean really close. I reached out and held her hand. Then leaned into her resting my head on her shoulder. I closed my eyes taking in a deep breath, taking in the intoxicating cotton candy smell of her hair.
I loved the way she smelled. On the countless sleepovers at each other's houses I would curl myself around her and breathe her in. We had always been this way. Little did I know that it was all about to change. My best friend would change, in a span of time that seemed like an instant when it was something I should have probably seen coming.
I sighed, and settled to watch Pastor, dressed in his simply humble gray suit, walk to the podium. A somber expression in his eyes. He glanced around the room meeting certain people's eyes as he always did, including mine. Usually this didn't bother me, but that day he looked at me intently before he spoke. "This morning," the pastor intoned, "we talk about that spirit of sin that seems to run rampant in our cities."
I groaned and buried my face deeper in Sam's neck. "Wow, he found something else to condemn all of us sinners." I groaned.
Sam giggled and settled back to listen. "I wonder what it's about, maybe he is going to pronounce dancing a sin."
I chuckled lightly, " I doubt it, dancing is a form of worship, it's in the bible."
"Is not!" Sam murmured.
I reached for my bible and opened it to the book of 2 Samuel chapter 6, verse 14 and read it to her, "-And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. See?"
"Oh!" Was all Sam could say.
"It's probably something stupid like chewing gum and walking at the same time." I shrugged and turned back to pastor.
Sam laughed, and quickly covered her mouth knocking my head off her shoulder. The rest of our youth group glared at us, and I couldn't help the smirk that made it's way to my lips. "It starts out innocently enough," pastor continued, "a friendly invitation, a small display of physical affection, and soon it becomes a full love affair with that friend... Of the same sex; and it doesn't seem wrong until you are steeped deep into a sinful homosexual relationship."
Suddenly Sam stopped giggling and became rigid. I blinked as that man continued to speak death to me. "That is a sinful spirit that you must refuse to allow to control you. these people are victims but they are aggressive as they spread that evil spirit, enticing specifically the young.
She let go of my hand. I blinked again. "What?" I asked then looked around cause I said it a little too loud. The other kids in our youth group were glancing in our direction. The pastor's eyes burned into me, so I slid away from her and I realized maybe, this was what pastor was talking about.... Well, it definitely was, because some nights Sam and I shared those innocent kisses he had talked about. Practicing for when we had boyfriends. Was I filled with this evil? Was I possessed with that spirit? I wanted to get up and leave... But I was being watched. If I got up, they would know what I was thinking.
That was the problem with this church, I am always being watched. I opened my bible and buried my face in it. I did not come back up, until the last Amen. Then I raced out of there as fast as I could. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I was going to hell unless I fixed this spirit problem. "Jillian!" I heard Sam called behind me.
"What?" I said glaring at my friend, and I had just realized, my crush. I did have that spirit.
"I really... Was going to stop doing what we do anyway. I got a boyfriend now." she said softly.
My heart was shattered. She found someone. I knew it would happen eventually, but.... Last night. I was about to cry, so I shrugged. "Congratulations," I said,then I turned away and ran toward the park as fast as my wedges would carry me. I found my tree. It's this awesome willow in the middle of the park, that was heavy with leaves. It was where I went, when I needed to disappear. Usually when I was upset, I would hide under it's umbrella, and it seemed to weep with me.
I sat in my sorrow for maybe about an hour, before someone else ventured under the canopy. "Missy, listen I don't have much time, my mom and uncle Elijah are like a few feet away, but I was wondering if you would go out with me?"
I tilted my head and looked around the trunk of my tree. The boy was tall with olive skin, really hot. Definitely someone that would make everyone think I was straight. Maybe I could... Fix myself. But... He was asking this girl out, so obviously he was off the market. I sighed and sat back down to wait for him to be done.
"What? Just because I have two moms doesn't mean I'm gay. In fact, it makes me love women even more..." A pause. "You have a boyfriend?" He sighed and I heard a thump on the tree trunk. "Stupid bitch." He mumbled.
"You kiss your mothers with that mouth?" I asked. He walked around to where I sat on the floor, and kind of did a slow blink. He was taking in all of me, and I swear he started to drool. "You'll catch flies with your trap open like that."
"Uh," he said dumbly and shook his head. "Sorry I didn't mean to stare. I'm Kharn... Kharn Garcia."
I stood up and looked up at him. I liked that he was taller than me. I quirked an eyebrow. I don't smile unless I have to, and it was Sunday, I'd had my share of smiling at church already. "Jillian... Walker."
He smiled and put his hands shyly in his pockets. "I know you probably think I'm a douche after hearing that conversation, but I really don't usually use those words."
"Why are you apologizing? You were right." I shrugged, "her whole reason to say no was bogus. Besides... Is she blind? You're hot."
He blushed. "You're not so bad yourself."
"So why don't you ask me out?" I said it, it just slipped out, and as I did the stone that had settled on my chest when Sam told me she had a boyfriend, dropped to my stomach. I don't want a boyfriend, I thought. It was too late to take it back without causing major damage to his ego. Besides what was one date right? Nothing had to come of it.
"Would you like to hang out sometime?" He asked.
"Meet me at Serenity Church Wednesday night at six." I said, "well hang ‘till around eight ok?"
"Can I get your number?" He asked looking at me askance.
"No," I said "I'm not allowed to date. Wednesday I have youth group and I don't really want to go." Because I really didn't want to be around Sam.
"Oh... You're one of those kids." He said ruefully.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked
"Don't get me wrong. But my family's lifestyle is not your kind of thing, and you're not going to convince me that my mothers are wrong for living the way they do."
"Chill out, I'm not trying to convert you. I just... Never mind, you're not worth being grounded ‘till I'm thirty over." I said walking away. Just before I reached the curtain of leaves, I turned and said, "look, I will be there on Wednesday, and I will be leaving at six with or without you. Your choice." Then I walked away. What the hell was I thinking. Pastor West was going to hang me if he found out.
That's right, I'm a pastor’s kid. A PK. That means I have to stay on the straight and narrow. I can't be gay. I can't even look at a girl a certain way. He just made sure of it today.
When I got home, which was on the other side of the park, Sam was waiting for me. The rock in my stomach turned into a thousand butterflies. "Hey," she said.
"Not out with your boyfriend?" I said bitterly
"So, we aren't cool." She asserted. It wasn't a question.
"Why should I care that you have a man.... I have a date on Wednesday." I informed her. I don't know why I said it. I don't know that Kharn will show up on Wednesday night.
"really?" Sam asked excitedly, "what's his name, what's he like? Is he hot?"
I raised an eyebrow and looked at her. This is the same girl that just the night before had been pressed against me, skin to skin. My thoughts turned inward I could still feel her arms encircling my waist. Her hands moving up and down my back. I shivered remembering the fluttering kisses she placed at my collar bone. "Hot like the sun in the middle of the summer." I mumbled.
Sam squealed like teenage girls do and hugged me. "We should double!"
I blinked out of my gay haze. "What?"
"You know, on Wednesday night." She insisted.
"No!" I stated.
"Come on! If you go off by yourself someone is bound to notice. If the two of us go off, we can tell our parents we are going with a group from school, and I can make sure he isn't some creep." She stated.
My front door opened. Pastor west stood there glaring at Sam and I. It was time for dinner and I was holding them up. "Fine, I'll text you about it later."
"Bye!" She says, and I turned away. I hate how my dad had changed how we interacted with each other. There was no touching, none. Not even a goodbye hug, like we always did. I glared at him as I went inside.
I headed straight for the kitchen and began washing my hands there at the kitchen sink. I had to make a salad. that was my job every Sunday. Jerica, my sister, looked over from her “Side’s station.” Jeri was older than my by exactly 15 months. We were friends once, till Sam came between us. She has resented her ever since. But I could always count on Jerica to sense my moods. “What’s with you?” she stated mashing the potatoes that were the thing for dinner tonight. Looked like we were having a roast for dinner.
“Why?” I asked.
“That… thing that Dad said today got to you didn’t it?” She said and put the masher down in the potato. “Look, just because you and Sam are close and stuff does not mean you are gay. So what if you were? you think God would hate you for it? I mean does that sound like God?”
She turned and went back to the mashing. Easy for her to say. Jerri was as boy crazy as they came. she has had more boyfriends than I could count. “I have a date on Wednesday night.”
“What?” she whisper yelled coming closer to me.
“Sam wants to double with me by bringing her boyfriend.” I shrugged, “ That way we can say it’s a group outing instead of a date.”
“That’s perfect! yes…” she trailed off and looked behind her to make sure mom was still occupied with Justin. “Ben and I have been trying to figure out how to date normally right, and not have to hide in broom closets at church, we’ll come. we’ll tell mom and she will convince dad to let us go. you and I will be together and it won’t be about You and Sam going off alone.”
I sighed in relief. “Yes, That’s perfect.” I looked behind me and saw mom was coming into the room. “I’m just tired of being looked at funny by the youth. I need a break.”
Jeri glanced at mom and nodded. “I know what you mean, we should totally just grab a group of friends and just hang out on Wednesday nights.”
“Excuse me?” Mom said.
We turned to her. “Well, we were thinking that maybe We could get away from all of them.”
“Aren't’ they your friends?” Mom asked.
“My friends? Mom they resent me… Us for being your kids.” I said. Really Jeri is the one they all like. I’m strange, and kind of reclusive because I only talk to Sam. But they watch us both so carefully that Jeri’s relationship with Ben was only a secret to the adults.
“Mom, please, just this once? we need a break.” Jerri intoned.
“Who will you go with?” Mom asked.
“It’s gonna be Jeri, Sam and I. Ben, maybe and a couple of other friends from school. Sam’s friend Robbie and a Kid named Kharn” I answered. “Maybe not even Kharn. He wasn’t sure if he could come.”
Mom stayed silent. She could tell this was a group date. I could see it in her eyes she was not stupid. But there were so many of us. what could happen?” “I’ll talk to your dad. No promises.”
“Yes!” Jeri and I said and hugged our mom. She was the best.
At dinner we said grace and ate. I ate in silence as I always did, while the rest chattered. I just stared at my father, who was also quiet and contemplative every Sunday evening. “Honey,” mom interrupted my contemplation of the man with her cheerful voice. “The girls were just staying how stifling it is in youth group and would like to go on a group outing instead with a few other kids.”
“Well I wouldn’t say stifling.” Jeri tried to smooth that description over especially since Ben was in youth group. As was Sam.
“I would.” I mumbled. “They positively hate me.”
“that’s because you’re so Emo.” Jeri retorted
I raised an eyebrow. “Do you even know what you just said?”
“Whatever, we just need a break dad.” Jeri said.
“I think they should go Jeri, it will be Ben, and Sam with them. and some friends of Sam.”
At the mention of Sam, pastor West’s face became a stony glare. He hated Sam. She was super affectionate and extremely flamboyant with her crazy Red Dyed hair. She really wasn’t the kind a person he wanted around us at all. “Absolutely not.”
“Dad!” Jeri exclaimed. Why was she wasting her breath he would never budge.
“Gray, can I talk to you in the study please?” Mom said and they retreated to dad’s office down the hall.
Jeri and I looked at each other. I shook my head. “I’m going anyway you know.” Jeri only nodded and sighed going back to her food.