Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chapter 32, part 2: Rationalization

It was even more wonderful than I had imagined. I never knew I could feel so close to someone.

In the afterglow I wondered, why was something this amazing wrong? It didn’t make sense. Or maybe the Religion 101 professor had been right all along and the Bible was just a human myth, a book of propaganda designed to keep wealthy men in power and oppress everyone else. Was God even real?

But if God wasn’t real, how could I explain that experience in the woods with Ian? Peer pressure? Wishful thinking? No, deep down I knew. God existed as creator and ruler of the universe.

But if that was true, then what I had just done was wrong as wrong could be. It had its own special ugly name: fornication. Sin.

Brad rolled over and kissed me softly. “You were amazing. I love you so much.”

I started to cry.

Brad's brow furrowed.  “Did I hurt you? What’s wrong?”

“Did we make a mistake?”

“Mistake? No, no. Don’t talk like that.”  He brushed hair back from my forehead.

“But sex before marriage …”

“This is different. We’re going to get married. In fact, in God’s eyes we probably already are married. Think about it. In Bible times, they didn’t have marriage licenses. They probably didn’t even have big ceremonies. Just two people committing to each other. Who needs a piece of paper?”

“You’re probably right.”

“Of course I’m right. I understand though. A lifetime of programming is hard to undo. Just keep telling yourself the truth, and soon that kind of false guilt won’t bother you anymore.”

I accepted Brad’s reasoning as a salve for my burning conscience. He said we would get married and I believed him. I lay back in his arms, enjoying the closeness once again. We already were married in God’s eyes … but did that mean I’d miss out on the fun of getting engaged, planning a wedding, having a first dance at the reception?


“Hmmm?” he said sleepily.

“I know that in a way we’re already married, but… that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for a real wedding. I want to celebrate with our friends and family.”

“Don’t worry. When the time is right, we will.”

I smirked. “How about I give you a little incentive?”

“What do you have in mind?”

“We go back to ‘everything but’ until a ring is on my finger.”

“Why would you want to do that?” he said, running his hands up and down my body.

I couldn’t resist him then or any other time we were together over the next few weeks. Brad was right, the more times we did it, the less guilty I felt.

Still, I tried to hide our activities. Not so much from shame as from an instinct that my friends and the other CSF leaders wouldn’t understand. They were all still lost, stuck in the dark ages of Puritanical thinking.

Or was it me who was lost? CSF meetings had felt like a chore lately. I felt fake just being there, and wondered if everyone there were hiding their own secrets.  

The last day of finals before winter break arrived. My parents had invited Brad to come visit for a few days before Christmas.

“Nervous about meeting my parents?” I asked Brad when he pulled up to the curb in front of the German House.

“Naw, I’m more nervous about driving to the airport with your witchy sister.”

“I wish you wouldn’t say things like that. I bet you’d like each other if you’d just give her a chance.”

“Remember, she’s the one who judged me.”

“Can’t you forgive and forget?”

“Sure. As soon as she apologizes and admits that I’m perfect for you.”

I sighed deeply. This wasn’t going to be an easy trip. Kirsten and Brad would probably spend their time in the car and plane sniping at each other, and I’d be caught in the middle of it.

As it turned out, Kirsten gave us the silent treatment all the way home. Charlie came with Daddy to pick us up at the airport. Kirsten came alive at the sight of him, talking a mile a minute. I realized then just how much I missed my sister. Would we ever be friends again?

Brad and I didn’t spend much time at my parents’ house during the three days of his visit. First we went Christmas shopping. He bought me a pair of purple boots I’d been wanting. Then he had me drive him around so he could show me where he spent time with his cousins way back when. 

The first night I put him off when he tried to sneak into my room after everyone had gone to bed. Somehow being in my parents' house made it seem more wrong. The second night, he had me take him to one of the “makeout spots” in Citrus Valley. My parents’ car still felt just as wrong as the house, but I felt powerless to resist Brad’s advances. At least we were less likely to get caught.