You have no idea how nervous I was in going to school when I woke up realizing that I was a girlfriend and would be seeing my new boyfriend. While on my school bus ride, I told a girl who was new to the school (and was only there for about half of a year) that Rob was my boyfriend (she told me at the start of the school year she had a crush on him and could get him to like her, like so many others apparently wanted). She thought I was making things up. I had such sweaty palms all morning and thought, “What if he tries to hold my hand? How am I to be a girlfriend? I don’t know what to expect!” My mind was unraveling horror stories of scaring Rob off immediately to change his mind about asking me out.
As soon as I walked through the door into the area of the school where I knew Rob would be (where we always were in the mornings), I saw his face and he smiled at me (I didn’t know if it was forced or natural). Everything was such a blur but he seemed to have experience in this area and knew how to act and made me feel comfortable (I was shaking a little and he noticed it and told me to relax and called me “cutie”).
Our school was having a tailgate party before a big football game and Rob’s band was going to be playing in the cafeteria. I had already planned to go days before when he informed me about it. He asked me to go to his house after school to help him get his bass cab and other equipment. As I got inside his car after school, a girl who was in my art class that didn’t really seem to like me or want to ever talk to me (though I tried many times and liked her) went up to Rob, saw me in his car, and said, “You said your girlfriend was coming tonight, right?” This girl had seen and met his now ex-girlfriend when he played at a show in June (the one I missed). She didn’t know we were a couple. Rob pointed over at me and said, “There she is.” She looked so confused and said, “Shut up, seriously your girlfriend is coming right?” He said, “Vicki (which I was called at the time) is my girlfriend.” The girl looked disappointed and said, “Oh. Okay. See you later.” I started to think in my head that maybe he hoped his ex was going to come before he had asked me out and that he told people a day earlier that she was coming. Later on I found out that he talked to people about his “girlfriend” that day, but never specified that he had a new one.
Going to Rob’s house for the first time made me nervous. He pretty much had me walk through quickly so I wouldn’t have to meet his dad (because he didn’t explain to his parents that he had a new girlfriend yet until the next day) and I had to wait at the top of his basement door because he had photos of his ex still on a poster he made that was in his basement where he practiced and played his bass. I was seeing a new side of Rob that I wasn’t used to, and it was very odd for me. I thought he was perhaps having regrets about asking me out. I was so sad in my heart, yet I couldn’t stop blushing.
Once things were set up, I enjoyed listening to Rob’s band play as people gathered around to sing to cover songs of MxPx (Rob never really liked them) and Blink 182 and A-ha and a couple of their own songs they wrote. People were getting into the music and I remember enjoying it while wearing big baggy olive green pants and a blank tank top that said, “Princess” in silver letters. After the songs ended Rob was clearing things out and I sat outside for a bit with a friend who sang some hymns with me.
My mom arrived at the school to pick me up and met Rob who had blue or purple nail polish on one of his hands which took her by surprise just a little. Then she saw his shirt which was for an organization we love called Rock For Life that said, “You will not silence my message. You will not mock my God. You will stop killing my generation.” My mom instantly fell in love with Rob. He told my mom he wanted to drive me home, if that was okay with her. She told him with such ease, “Just know that you have my treasure with you, so drive carefully.” He assured her that he’d take good care of me. She drove off (and got lost on her way home). He was in shock at how easy it was for my mom to like him and trust him when she just met him and didn’t know him, because he was used to his ex-girlfriend’s mom not liking him at all. It was a grand change for him (my mom still adores him like crazy).
Rob and I went for a little walk by the school. I was so nervous about holding his hand, but really wanted him to hold it. I started to pretend to walk into a telephone pole which caused him to reach out and grab my hand, which brought my body near to his too. He said some dumb line about being careful in falling for him. It felt good to hold his hand. It made me go crazy. I was blushing and felt major butterflies (still happens). He took me for a scenic night drive and he held my hand most of the time (he drove stick shift so he had to let go often). He’d rub my fingers with his and it was so sweet. We’d talk here and there, but the silence never felt awkward. I didn’t feel pressure to keep a conversation going. It felt comfortable and natural. After a while he realized he had to pick up his sister from Jr. high youth group. I had no idea he had to do this or I would have made sure he got her on time. When we got to the youth group one of our own youth group friends was there and saw us holding hands and looked at us and smiled, knowing it was bound to happen. He said, “Congratulations.” Rob dropped me off at my house and I swooned on my way to my slumber.
On October 13, 2000 I went to Rob’s house after school to prepare for going to a show to hear some local New Jersey bands play later that night. We had been a couple for only 8 days. I was not ready to be kissed, but at the same time I also had been close friends with Rob for nine months and dreamed about kissing him for all that time. I had no idea what to expect. He kept staring at me with those hazel eyes and a grin on his face. He wouldn’t talk and would make quick exhaled breathing sounds like, “ffff” from his nose while smiling to let out that strange type of sigh. He’d say, “What?” gently as if wondering what I was thinking while staring at him.
I was sitting in Rob’s computer chair and he was kneeling with his body against my legs and his arms on mine. I had no idea what to do. I felt as if I never kissed before. In my head I was thinking I had never been kissed often enough or by someone who knew how (as Rhett Butler would say to Scarlett O’Hara in my favorite movie Gone with the Wind). I felt intimidated by Rob’s stare and by the pounding of my own heart beating loudly in my brain – oh wait, I meant in my chest. Maybe it was both. All I know is I was very nervous. I would sigh back at his noises he made every time. What in the world was going on? We always talked to each other so much and now we had no idea what to say? We just stared at one another. Rob broke the ice and said, “I want to kiss you.” I said, “Okay.”
He reached forward and kissed me. It was the best kiss I ever had in my nearly 17 years of life. I didn’t even know what I was doing and if I was doing it right at all. Rob thought it was terrible (but had kept it to himself) while I was in Heaven. He pulled away and said, “Let’s try that again.” It was deeper and more intense. I was unprepared to have a kiss so soon after the first one. I felt really faint and so out of breath that my legs literally shook and went out on me (by this time I was standing and needed to sit down since my knees went out on me). An interruption by his dad came as he asked Rob something. I felt my face turn red from embarrassment. I didn’t like getting caught. Before the night was done we had kissed maybe two or three other times. I was so dizzy every time. Just seven days earlier I was nervous about holding his hand and here I was kissed by my new boyfriend over and over again.
The next day on the 14th I ended up making out with Rob in a back seat of his friend’s car on our way home from another show. On the 15th I skipped church to go see Rob’s sister dance Irish Step at a Feis competition (my first time of church hooky). We left early and ended up at his home and somehow on his couch. There he was on top of me kissing me for a half hour. I had no idea that kissing caused guys to have physical lower-body reactions. Rob asked me, “Are you okay with this?” I didn’t even know what “this” was that he spoke of. My head was not working and I was naive. After another 15 minutes of making out as he rubbed against my leg every so often I finally understood what “this” was.
I started to cry. The problem was Rob had just been out of a relationship and I didn’t really think he was thinking about me and concentrating on who I was. I was his closest friend whom he told all his girl problems to and his thoughts about God to. He didn’t confide in other people outside of me other than perhaps to his best friend Kevin. When he saw me crying, he started to cry too. He said, “I’m getting Rob tears on you.” He was suddenly such a different person and I didn’t get it. After we talked a bit and understood that Rob might not have been over his last girlfriend yet and that maybe I was only with him because he couldn’t physically see or be around his ex enough, we started to head out of his house. He knew I liked him so he took advantage of it, though he actually did care about me a lot and didn’t want to hurt me at all which is why he cried with me. While we were leaving, his family was coming home and had a look of shock on their faces. I thought that his mom believed we had sex by the expression of her face. It was a terrible thought and I felt guiltier than ever. I was a mess. What was going on that this could happen in a weekend from feeling amazing to awful?
After Rob and I had our weekend make-out session, we decided to take some time away from being a couple. This was not an easy decision considering how long I waited to be with him for, but because I had confidence that we were going to be together forever, I was okay. It hurt and I cried a lot and could not smile very well. After a couple more days we were a couple again. Then after another couple of weeks we ended up breaking up again for more serious reasons.
On my 17th birthday I invited Rob to meet my family and go out to dinner with us to celebrate my birthday. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to be together for only about a month and expect him to meet my family. I knew Rob too well that I could read him already. He told me that his family was moving to his grandmother’s house over the summer so he had to help move boxes over. To me this was a sad excuse. He had plenty of months before summer to do all of that (this had only been early November, after all). He had something cooked up. I came home that night after a terrible birthday dinner (really badly burnt fried shrimp with french fries). I sat at my computer waiting for him to come on-line to talk with him. While I was getting sleepy, I tried to read my Bible to stay awake. It was very difficult to do. At 11:46PM (I watched the clock for about 3 hours) he came online and immediately had an IM exclaiming, “Hello, birthday girl!”
“You were with her, weren’t you?” was the first thing I could say.
“Yes, I was.”
“Why did you lie to me? I knew you were lying. I know you pretty well.”
“Look, I had a terrible time. Yes I was with her.”
“Did you see Relient K with her? You knew I wanted to see them.”
“Wow. Yes, I did, though with her youth group, so it isn’t as if we were alone.”
“Did you kiss her?”
“. . .Yeah. I did.”
“Listen, I had a bad night, I kept thinking about you, and I didn’t think I’d think about you while being with her. I wanted to be with you instead of with her. I feel awful and I’m a real idiot.”
“Yeah, you are. That is really cruel. Happy birthday to me. Thanks a lot for the great present.”
We broke up. I was so mad at him, but forgave him.
I was so hurt by our split but for some reason I had such renewed hope! God’s light was shining on me more than ever and giving me great peace and comfort. It was really amazing. This was not how I should typically feel in a break up. I went to God feeling a sudden joy and would tell Him I was putting my trust in Him because I really couldn’t do anything on my own. I was weak and useless but God was mighty. I apologized to God for how I had been acting with Rob and realized a beak-up was worth it, temporarily, until Rob got his act together and stopped being a “prick” (the word I used as I prayed).
“It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” –Ecclesiastes 7:2-4