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      Standing on the side of the Highway at 2am


I'm one that believes that the past is what makes you who you are today. I really wouldn't change a single thing in my life that I've been through. No regrets. That's what my parents taught me.

We first met in 9th grade when everyone was young and immature. We were both in tennis, and from the first time I really saw her I knew there was something special about her. We had a class together after that so I figured I should talk to her. She was pretty and nice, what more could I want. Hell I was in 9th grade, at this point in most guys life you dictate girlfriends on bra size. I saw something special though.

We started going out a few months later. It was fun, except for her parents just outright hating me. First it was for reading a book about Happiness by the Dailai Lama. I was looking for spiritual insight, instead I got crucified by her father and was said I was in a 'cult.'

Then the groundings happened. She would be grounded for months on end so her dad could prevent her from seeing me. She still could see other people..but not me? Because I was a bad influence. I went the whole summer in 9th grade only seeing her 7 times. It was a long distance relationship at 7 miles.

Then the excuses for her not being able to go out with me came out. "She can't date until she's 15" (she had a boyfriend before me). (Then we turn 16) "It's not right for the guy to be driving around the girl"

Then the sneaking around came about once we got cars. We'd meet at a pond by her house for 15 minutes if that. But we were young, it seemed like it was worth it. Like it'd last, right.

Her dad eased up on the groundings, but his hate for me just grew. I wasn't a bad kid. Didn't start experimenting with drugs until I was 17, didn't get drunk for my first time til I was 18. But to him, I was his arch enemy. In his head everything he stood for, I was against.

I was forced to go to their church if I was to see her. Because I needed it. We weren't of the same religion unless we both went to the same church. So I sat through each sermon with the chance of y'know, maybe holding hands with my girlfriend who I haven't seen in weeks.

Then I start hanging out with one of the best friends I've ever had. He's been in and out of jail a few times, and had a stint in rehab. But he was a good human being, and a damn good friend when you need him. I was one of the only positive influences this kid had.

Her dad didn't like this. This great Christian man couldn't accept the fact that I was trying to be a friend to someone who made a few mistakes. I'm sure he's never made one. To date his daughter I had to stop hanging out with him. "Did you know that her name, and yours are both on the Rockwall Police record for drugs because you hang out with him." --(this is impossible btw)

10th grade spring. She gets grounded again. She sneaks over to my house a lot. Her parents find out. Her dad calls my mom to put an end to this. My mom refuses to take shit from anyone. Especially pompous Christian hypocrites. He tells her that I'm a bad kid for hanging out with an ex druggie. My mom shames him by asking "aren't christians supposed to help those in need." He turns red and yells at my mom. (I find this out years later)

We see each other now by doing extracurricular stuff outside of school, like organizations to help the needy etc. One weekend we decide to go to an old folks home with some kids from one of these groups. We're happy we get to see each other at least for a few hours on a weekend. She tells her dad it doesn't get out a few hours later so we can go have a nice lunch together. We pull up from eating and her dad is there.

She tells me to "just go." I like her more than him, so a race ensues. My radio is on and is playing "Renegade" by Styx. Kinda fitting. We lose him down on Ridge Road and pull into Buffalo Creek to try and hide from him and get our heads on straight. Before they fixed this road we took, it had more potholes than a war zone. I see him in my rear view, coming up fast. He tries to cut us off. Nice 3-point turn and we're on our way. She starts to feel guilty and tells me to stop. We pull over and he rolls down his window. Threats come. I've never seen him this mad before.

Its a few weeks before I get to see her again. And before I get to talk to her I have to sit down and talk to him. I have to sit in his office. He cusses at me as he explains how bad of a kid I am. I throw at him "aren't you supposed to be this great Christian, why are you cussing at me?" He turns red, "YOU SHOULD HAVE YOUR EYES FOCUSED ON GOD, NOT ON ME!" He accuses me of going 120 in my Camaro down the pot hole road. Physically impossible. My car would've been destroyed. I argue. He has had enough, tells me to "GET THE HELL OUTTA MY HOUSE"

The week before at church with her, her Grandma gives me a kiss on the cheek like she always does. I show up at church this week to hopefully see her. I sit by her. In the past week her dad has convinced everyone at this "loving" church to really not like me. I sit by her. Her Grandma comes and picks her up, a 60 something year old woman just carrying a 17 yr old off. I sit through church alone. After church I try to leave, kinda heartbroke and losing hope. Her Grandma pulls me aside. I'm not exaggeratting when I say pull. She gripped my arm like a cop would. Pulled me aside and told me "GOD CAME TO ME IN A DREAM, HE TOLD ME THIS RELATIONSHIP IS GOING TO RUIN THIS FAMILY. STAY AWAY." I'm in shock. A week ago, she kissed me. Now this "God" has told this sweet old lady I'm bad too. I tell her I don't believe her dream. She screams a few more things, then marches off.

Another summer comes and I barely see her. Her mom has a somewhat softer heart, and at least allows her to sneak and see me in the morning before she's forced to go to work with them.

Our Junior year starts. She's finally had enough. Her dad tells her choose between them or me. She cries. A lot. We try to run away. Make it a good 40 miles before my mom calls and pleas with me to come back. My mom is forced to take her home, with the onslaught of her dad's anger at my mom.

She ultimately chooses them over me. I'm 16 and still have that mindset of, "oh my god, she's the only one..blah blah blah." Months go by. Her parents convince her to hate me. The only time I hear from her now is when I mentioned her name in public and she finds out and yells. Still not over her. I try drugs for the first time. Kills the pain temporarily. Just what I need. I spent the better half of my fall semester my Junior year in front of a bong. My relationship with my parents goes to hell. My somewhat relationship with God I had just erases itself. My mediocre grades start slipping till the point that even my uncle who I barely see yells at me.

Everything explodes at once on December 21, 2004. Last time I get high for 2 years. A bunch of us go out to party after one of our best friends moves to Oregon. I sit there under the stars in a stoney blazed out mindset. One of those nights where you see a lot of stars. That's when the deep thinking starts coming into play. The deep thoughts like "oh man...I'm so small." "Life is so meaningless..we're just..whoa...small." Then something clicks. I kinda see myself from another perspective.

I realized that night that I'm not really living the life I want to live. This isn't me. I really don't have a direction. And prior to this night, the only direction I had was pretty meaningless. I haven't been going to my bible study, and my parents really don't know who I am anymore.

I go home and make a list of everything I hate about myself.

For the next 2 months I become a hermit. Don't really go out, because I don't want to be tempted to do anything bad. February 13th I go with Patrick T to meet some younger kids I've never met before. I feel kind of accepted. Which is good, these are the people I've spent the majority of my time with since 11th grade.

Sometime in April, I check off everything on the list I made in December I wanted to fix about myself. A good feeling. I feel like I've improved as a person. I've got new friends, life is good.

Then the girls father comes back from the past. Again. My new friends fathers know him from doing business with him. He over hears my name somehow. Tries to convince everyones dad I know, that I'm a bad kid, and they shouldn't let me hang around with their kids. Luckily, I mean thank God. There are some good people in this world, they tell me what he has said about me, and my new friends dad tells me...I don't believe him, you're a good kid, don't let him tell you otherwise.

Over the next few years I go out with a few girls in this time. Good relationships. Good people. Didn't work out, but we mostly remain good friends. I go from 140 to 170. For the first time in my life I'm somewhat 'athletic.' Join cross country my senior year because my friends are in it, and I've discovered that I love to run. Not any good at it, but at least I try hard. Run a half marathon because of people not believing in me. Sky dive twice. Take some Jeet Kune Do classes. Then time for college comes.

My counselor tells me straight up, "your grades are nowhere good enough to get into UT, you might as well go to UTA and get into the CAP program." I don't want to. I tell her.."yeah..I think I'm going to try anyway." "well you're going to be wasting 50 dollars on an application fee." Not the best thing to hear. but it pisses me off. I was ranked 121, she told me I wouldn't move up at all by the time of Graduation. I graduate at 81. Not great, but I was happy to break 100. Luckily, my girlfriend at the time and my parents convinced me to apply to UT anyway. I get in. Rub it in the counselors face.

College comes.

The girl from so long ago talks to me my freshman year. First time in 2 years she's talked to me. Out of no where. We meet secretly to talk. First time I've touched her in 2 years. One of those lame movie hugs that last ten minutes. She confesses she's sorry she was a bitch. She had to hate me to get over me. It's cool.

Two years of college go by. This past summer comes. We see each other again at a movie. A whirl of emotions come back to the both of us. We start seeing each other again.

In the past four years, I've grown a lot. She's grown a lot. But that feeling is still there. We're good together. Each day we're together is just smiles. We learn each day something new about each other. We push each other to be better people.

End of summer comes and her dad finds out. He flips. Refuses to talk about it. Says I haven't changed. People can't change. He's a leader at his church now. Apparently in Christianity people can't change. I forgot that part of the bible.

They give in. Say we can see each other, they guess.

So school starts. We're happy. Spend every weekend almost together. Every weekend is better than the next. We go to crazy places in Austin. Every weekend is just an Adventure. We haven't fought. At all. We just laugh all the time. Its hard to be down around each other, no mater what's going on.

She's told me before, "We were forced to break up...I always wanted to know what'd be like to get back together. Look at us...we're meant for each other."

I've heard this stuff before. Many a times. For some reason I buy into this.

I admit the first time we went out, we weren't a healthy relationship. Mainly because her dad was controlling everything we did. The more he tried to push us apart, the closer we came together. But no kid our age should've been that serious. It's creepy. But now with no father getting in the way. We're good. Great. No fights. No worries.

She even tells me, "Once I got to college I realized how sheltered I parents don't know who I am anymore." So there we go. Happy. We understand each other, tell each other everything.

Then the worst week of my entire life begins. My bike gets stolen thursday, had that thing for less than two weeks. She comes that weekend, everythings fine. Perfect...she makes me forget about the stupid bike, and we have fun. She leaves sunday, her parents know about us. They're cool.

Monday she's having a bad week. I feel bad. So Tuesday I decide to start my thanksgiving break early and go see her. 5 hr car ride later through traffic I arrive at her place. My phone is dead so I can't call. I go to knock on the door, I have a sick feeling in my stomache. I see one answers. Well..she must be joking around. I open the door. Find her ex on the couch.

Emotions swell. I leave. Go charge my phone. Call her..nothing. Text her..nothing. I can't take it. go back. knock on the door. She comes out. Tries to explain.

..lots of stuff happens..

An hour later we're fine. That's how we are..we talk things through. MY point is..we're human...we make mistakes. Let's just get past it. Move on. We go see a movie. Get back to the movie..find out more bad stuff. I feel like she needs to be alone to think about how many times a person can lie to someone in one effin' night. The next day I come back. We work it out again. THat's how we are. Her parents want her to come home. They find out about the whole situation. Flip out. Claim I haven't changed. That's right. The guy that kept his cool, and tried to work things out, saying "hey we all make mistakes..lets work past it." I haven't changed.

I don't hear from her for 3 hours while her parents talk to her. Then I get a text. Not even a phonecall. "I'm sry, we can't do this anymore. I'll pay you back for everything you wasted on me. I'm sorry again..bye." I shit myself. 5 hours ago we were smiling saying this is going to work happens y'know. Let's get passed it. Now I don't even have an explanation. This doesn't settle with me.

She finally answers and is crying. Saying she can't. No real reason. I go to sleep with a sense of hopelessness. She finally txts me. Doesn't help. 24 hrs of torment later we talk on the phone. Apparently "God" spoke to her father through a book, and "God" told him that this wasn't the "wise" choice. He doesn't believe people can change. Four years later after everything I've been through personally, and he says I can't change. Everything I've learned as a Christian has taught me that people do change. I got baptized my senior year. I've done a lot of changing.

But for him to say that is like a kick in the face. To have to break up a almost perfect relationship because of these "feelings" "God" gives him.

I thought adults were supposed to be mature and level-headed. I give up my pride. I tell her "y'know what. I lay it down. I'll do anything to appease him. I'll talk to him, I'll work this out..just let him know."

His repsonse, "No, the past is too hard, I don't want to talk to him." ...the past is too hard? I was 14 when he told me I was in a cult. I've looked past his douchebaggery. But he can't see his own daughters happiness.

So me and her start figuring out ways to make it work. She sees me on friday night. I haven't seen her in two days. That hug seemed like a lifeline. We talk for hours at night on the phone. She tells me she loves me. It'll work out. She doesn't care what they say. It isn't fair.

Yesterday She comes over. They know. But they allow it. We Smile. Everything is great.

Last night, she randomly asks me to go see a movie at night. I thought she wasn't even supposed to talk to me. Her dad specifically told her to stop talking to me completely. So I oblige, just to see what the deal is. We walk into the movie fine. Just like we always do. Smiling. Laughing.

Halfway through the movie, I see a change. Don't really know what happened.

Car ride home, we talk. More of me asking what's wrong, and her not even looking at me.

Each mile is like a step closer to a death sentence.

She tells me her dad is basically making the "It's the family or him stance." and if she chooses me he will take away everything. The car, the money, her apartment, college, etc.

The silence is deafening. I ask her "are you just going to call this off later?" ...nothing.

"Just shake your head yes or no, are you just going to call this off later because you can't now."

The girl I thought I knew better than anyone in the world did something that'll haunt me for a while. She just shook her head up and down. I tell her to pull over. I don't wanna do this.

I get out on the side of I-80, and just walk away.

Half expecting her to try and stop me. That's what happens in the movies, right?

It's 2am, and I'm standing on the side of the road. 46 degrees outside. Middle of nowhere. All I can hear is the whistle of the wind through the trees. She never calls to make sure I make it home alive.

She doesn't even text me, what she's famous for, to see if I'm okay.

I walk down a nearly deserted service road at 2 in the morning by myself.

She didn't even slow down.

So here I'm thinking now. Do you just give up on people as a whole?

Her dad is supposed to be a great Christian man, preaching forgiveness, right?

I've forgiven him. Why can't I get a little help.

4 years later, and I'm back to square one. Her great christian dad, making these wise choices for her.

We're taught as kids that, "Love conquers all." Every reggae, cheesy 70's song, and any romantic movie just has happy endings. This situation just shitted on my childhood, and all of those songs.

The sad thing is. I still feel like I'm the level-headed one. I don't hate him. I pity him. To live with that kinda hate for over 6 years must be a poison.

Learn to forgive someone before it's too late. Learn to TRULY love before it's too late.

There's still hope for humanity, right?


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