Continuing...saga of my teen dating life!!
I had a couple of "insignificant" boyfriends after Jeff. The summer before my Junior year of high school we went on our annual mission trip to Mexico. My family went with our church and several other churches every summer since I was really young. We would stay in El Paso and go across the border each day and do a Vacation Bible School. It was so fun!! Each day we would drive the bus thru the streets and honk the horn and by the time we arrived at the church there was a stream of kids of all ages running behind us screaming. One of the fun things was to watch the kids grow and return year after year.
Well, summer of 1985 I fell in love with Jay. Our families had been friends for almost all of my life. His parents always went with our group as interpreters. I am sure I had met Jay before, but he apparently didn't have the impact on me before that he did this time. He was 18, and he was hot! He quickly became the main topic of discussion in the girl's bathroom and dorm! One of my best friends, Sheri, liked him. She was cute and blonde and whenever we were together at the mall, or school, or where ever, guys fell all over her. When I found out she liked Jay, even though she had a guy back home, I didn't even think I stood a chance. I was the chubby, clumsy girl after all.
Imagine my surprise a couple of days into our trip when we all piled onto the bus and Jay came and sat with me! Right beside me!! I could feel the heat from his body as we sat on that small school bus seat and my heart was going crazy. I am surprised he couldn't hear it. So, a relationship started.
I learned some really important lessons about myself through my relationship with Jay. By being chosen over the other girls that were seeking him, my eyes were suddenly opened to the fact that I MIGHT just be acceptable and lovable. The other thing was that since my dad always chose my sis, who was SKINNY and petite, I assumed all men wanted that. I now realized there were guys out there that would love me, in fact, one did already! Jay told me I was beautiful, and you know what? He seemed to really mean it - hard as it was for me to believe.
The church we stayed at in El Paso was not in a very good area of town. We had strict rules about leaving church grounds. There was a store located behind the church about a block away. A group of us decided to go over there. We got about half way and I started looking around and this place looked rough. I started feeling afraid and wondering if we had made a bad decision. I didn't say anything out loud. Everyone else was laughing and talking and seemed to be having fun. I kept telling myself I just needed to relax! We got closer and my breathing was increasing with each step. I did not feel safe. About that time I felt this large, warm hand envelope mine. I immediately felt safe and cared for. I knew right then that I was OK. My heart continued to beat rapidly, this time for a totally different reason. The store ended up being safe and we made it back fine, but I was far from safe. I was falling head over heels for this guy - I should have been afraid, but wasn't smart enough to know that at 16. He could've said "jump" and I would have said, "how high". I was setting myself up for some bad decisions - I just had no idea and was living in my own blissful imaginary world at this point.
To be continued...