Love Story chapter 5: The Confrontation

There’s something you need to know about me.  I hate conflict.  I was blessed to be raised in home that, other than the normal bickering of siblings, was anger-free.  I was never accustomed to yelling, rage, or even heated argument.  In short, any ambiance of discord literally made me feel ill.  My throat would tighten, I’d feel a knot in my stomach, and my guts would squirm.  I was the child in elementary school who, when two boys would fight on the playground and other children would watch and chant “Fight! Fight! Fight!,” would yell, “Stop it!  Stop!” and run into the circle and try to pull them apart.  I couldn’t stand it.  So this, the present, was my most dreaded moment.

I blurted out, “I don’t think you’re stupid.  I don’t think you’re stupid at all.”

To be honest, my emotions ran so high that I remember very few details of the following conversation.  I remember she began by asking questions, and we went to her room and closed the door.  I remember we both cried.  A lot.  She felt hurt by my secret, and offended that I thought she’d be mad at me if she knew.  I swore to her up and down that her friendship had been my top priority from day one, and that I had been so concerned about handling the whole situation the right way that I prayed constantly, and I did it all the best way I knew how.  Up until the past two days, I had not allowed myself to do anything with him at all.  For four weeks.  I explained that from the moment he asked me out I had a feeling that maybe I should date him, but I did not want to compromise our friendship.  And only as those feelings became more and more intense did I realize that I had a huge choice to make.  I was so, so sorry about how the whole mess made her feel, but I really, really thought I was supposed to give this a chance, and neither Matt nor I felt like it would be right to not see each other.

This was one of the hardest things I had ever done in my life. The weight of it all pressed my emotions and my strength.  I was almost limp, and it felt like some of my heart had collapsed on itself.  Yes, she was embarrassed about the blatant fact that Matt didn’t like her and he liked me instead, but that wasn’t what her pained reaction was about.  She felt humiliated by the secrecy, but even more than that, I think it was the last straw on the camel’s back of a long line of social disappointments.  I knew what that felt like.  We were the same age and had both struggled through fruitless relationships and tried to maintain some faith that maybe something would eventually work out.  I think this one disappointment was the limit for her; she hit the wall, and at least for the moment, felt a loss of hope.  I wished I could make it better, but I couldn’t.  As I went to bed, I could hear her sobbing through my bedroom wall for most of the night.  It was horrible.

The next day, I was exhausted in body, mind and spirit.  I told a few close friends about what had happened and I continued to cry.  I avoided my apartment because I didn’t want to cause her any more pain.  At night I drove to Matt’s work.  We sat in the empty cafeteria and I spilled out my heart, and the tears kept coming.  He held my hand and listened and tried to comfort me.  It helped.  I had slept five hours total in the last three nights and I’d lost seven pounds in a week, so I was really worn down, but he was so kind and concerned about me, and it made me remember why the whole crazy thing was worth it.  He reassured me of the things we had already discussed; We both continued to feel that God wanted us to be together.  I told him there would still need to be a waiting period out of consideration for her feelings; I had no intention of rubbing anything in her face.  Although he wouldn’t agree to leave me alone, he conceded that it would be right to be considerate and discreet.

I believe that it was the very next day that Sarah called me downstairs as she arrived home from work.  We went into the sitting room off the main entrance and she closed the french doors.  “I need to tell you something.”  There was the knot in my stomach again.  I swallowed hard.  “Today while I was at work, I kept thinking about you and Matt, and a feeling of peace came over me.  I want you to know that I think you should date him, and I’m sincerely excited for you.”  I stared at her dubiously.  “I’m totally serious,” she said, “You guys need to date.  I’m fine with it.”

Coming next…. Chapter 6:  The Providence

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17 thoughts on “Love Story chapter 5: The Confrontation

  1. Wow, good for Sarah!

    You know, it’s funny, because I was thinking about your story this afternoon, and I realized that if I had been Sarah, I would have been super upset for the same reason she was. Not that you were dating, but that it seemed like sneaking around.

    Which of course was never your intention. I had to break up with a friend, a year ago, of 8 years, because I caught her in a couple of lies, and she did the whole, “I lied to spare you” crap.

    But, we live and learn and you really were trying to do what was best for her.

    • I never lied to her, but looking back I probably could have handled it in a way that would have been easier for her and for me. When I initially decided it was best to not say anything about it, I severely underestimated what it would become. I had NO idea. Even though it became intense, we only sent emails during that whole time, and the only “sneaking around” that happened was the day before “the confrontation,” which had convinced me I needed to talk to her anyway. I thank God it all turned out right.

  2. Don’t you hate it when you squirm and cry and worry and fret for ages about something, only to have it turn out WAY easier than you anticipated in the end? I know this isn’t exactly the same, but the fact that she was fine with it after that short of time shows that she was also in tune with the Spirit and willing to listen.

    Loving this story!!

  3. I keep waiting for you to run out of writing steam, but every chapter of this Love Story is awesome. I should’ve guessed it would be, since your blog is always top notch. Keep on steamin’! :)

  4. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to come and see the famous Steph, but I picked a great time to come! Reading your love story is fantastic and makes me all gooey inside, thinking about my own husband.

    I’ll be back!

  5. I realize that my comment came out harsher than I intended! :)

    I didn’t mean to imply that you lied to her. I was just putting myself in her shoes and have been on that end of things. You truly WERE trying to protect her, whereas my friend was really trying to protect herself.

    I think it’s just always easier to get something from the horse’s mouth, than finding out some other way. But it was meant to be!

  6. Oy. Those emotional watersheds leave you with such a hangover, huh? I’m getting a headache just thinking about it. I really hope that the epilogue of this story has Sarah landing herself an AWESOME husband.

  7. This is a great story Steph! And way to go Sarah. It reminds me of a quote by Mohammed–”None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” That can be a real test of friendship–watching your friend get the thing your heart desires most, but isn’t getting yet (or maybe ever). I’ve been on both sides of that equation. It takes real humility and genuine love (charity) to be happy for your friend and sincerely wish them well. Sarah looks like she was that kind of friend. How fortunate for you!

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