by Camel Guy
You’ve never truly cared for a person until... (short non-fic story)
|You’ve never truly cared for a person until you’ve done everything in your power to avoid breaking an important promise to them --- even when outsiders threatened legal action. Until you’ve dug yourself a hole that you could never scale --- even when you wanted to stop digging the moment the shovel hit the dirt.
It was early December or late February. I can’t remember which. I was sitting in class when I received a YouTube chat message from my great friend Mikhayla Johnson. She was feeling low that day, lost dwelling in thoughts of the past. She had never known her father. He left before she was ever even born. For a time, she had a father figure by the name of Michael. But eventually, he, too, left. She and her family moved from place to place. She went from school to school, rarely staying longer than a year. Friends from these schools never tried to contact her. She felt consistent feelings of depression and abandonment.
Finally, she wound up back in Indiana, her home state. She lived at the edge of Mooresville; just enough to go to Martinsville High School. She and I met in P.E. class, and ended up becoming friends. In fact, we fell for each other. We had started dating after a few months. (That means all this took place late February of 2019.) But she was venting to me, once again, about all she’d been through. I knew it all already, but I still remained there, embracing her lengthy messages with love and care. I tried to give consolation as best I could.
Then she sent me a message that totally blew me off guard. Three simple words.
“Will you stay?” she asked.
It took a minute to process her message, it surprised me so much. “I mean... yeah, of course I’ll stay. But... as a boyfriend? Friend? Which do you mean?"
“As... anything,” she replied.
“Yeah, I’ll stay,” I repeated.
“No... that’s not good enough... Promise it... Please...” she begged me. At this point in time, I could tell --- even though I couldn’t see or hear her --- that she was on the verge of tears. So I said to her what I meant.
“I swear I won’t leave you,” I promised. Then I vowed to myself that I would do anything to never go back on that promise. I told myself I would prove myself better than anyone who’s ever left her, looked down on her, whatever. I swore I’d make her see that she was loved, by me, by her family, by our friend group “The Losers Club”. I didn’t want to ever break these promises, especially the one I had made to her.
Even when she and I broke up, months later, we stayed friends. And when her mom began hating me after I told her my biggest regret/mistake? Mikhayla and I stayed friends. Even when her mom threatened instituting a restraining order, when my step-mom threatened change of schools for me and being kicked out at 18... I adamantly refused to break the promise until it were a forced ordeal. We stayed in contact until we could no longer.
My step-mom claims I don’t care about --- or ever cared about --- Mikhayla. But the fact of this story; me waking up every morning, feeling like shit; and me going to bed with suicidal thoughts because I only seemed to let Mikhayla down; proves otherwise.