The next morning I groaned with the awful realization. I’d lost Brad. Somehow in the few short months I’d known him, he had become my whole world.
Where had all that crazy talk about him seducing me and God punishing us come from? He’d only taken what I’d offered. The verses that seemed to condemn sex didn’t, couldn’t, apply to us. Sure, I still sometimes felt a little guilty after we messed around, but Brad had always been patient, saying years of Puritan conditioning took a long time to break. I loved him, he loved me, and that was what was supposed to matter. Sex with Brad had been beautiful and perfect, a way to seal our commitment to each other. But if that were true, how could he discard me so easily?
I gave him my whole self, and he rejected me utterly. Now I was left with nothing. If someone who knew me that intimately said I was impossible to love, who ever would? The hateful words rang in my ears, and I believed them. I was crazy, neurotic. Impossible to love. I pictured him laughing at me with his next girlfriend. “I’ve dated some real psychos, but let me tell you, Giselle was the worst.”
I shook my head to clear the painful fantasy, but the accusing voices persisted.
You wasted what little purity you had left on a guy you just met mere months ago, and now he wants nothing to do with you. Not that you didn’t deserve it. Forget ever getting married. You’re doomed to live your life alone. You tried to ignore God’s law, and this is your punishment. Who’s going to love you now? You’re trash, damaged goods. Even if you try to repent, you’ll never recover from this. You’ll always be a second-class citizen.
Maybe Brad was right—the voices in my head did sound insane. Looking back at my “relationships,” if you could call them that, with Quan and Ian, I could make an argument that I did push men away. Brad always said the problem was in me. Could it be that he really did love me, and all he wanted was to keep me from hurting myself?
I dialed his number and left a message when he didn’t pick up. “About last night. I don’t know what got into me, but I was way overreacting. I love you, and no matter what I said last night, I don’t believe that anything we did was a mistake. I don’t want to lose you. Can we meet to talk about it? I’ll be in the Student Center this afternoon, studying. It would mean a lot to me if you would stop by.”
There, now it was in his court. If it was meant to be, if he really loved me, he would show.
That afternoon, I sat at a table blanketed with books and papers, nursing a cup of hot cocoa. Unable to concentrate on my studies, I began to fantasize about what Brad and I would say to each other when he got there.
The bell on the door jingles. I heave a sigh of relief. He walks toward me. I stand, and all at once he’s by my side, wrapping his long arms around me tighter than ever…
In reality, I’d been in the student center for three hours, and still no sign of Brad. I couldn’t quell the rising panic at the thought of life without him.
At the same time, the thought that I had sinned and needed to repent wouldn’t leave me alone. I tried hard to push it away, telling myself “God’s law” and “repentance” were just meaningless words held over my head by a repressive church.
It was no use though. Deep down I knew that that line of argument was ridiculous. No matter how I tried to twist the definitions and call my fornication with Brad innocent fun, it was still wrong.
Brad was right about one thing – I should quit CSF once and for all. Of course, they would want to know why, and I’d tell them … what? The truth?
To my surprise, a weight lifted off my shoulders at the thought. The loss of reputation and position seemed inevitable, a just judgment for my many failings. I deserved to be stripped of my title and good girl image.