So, I had fallen in love with the son of the people I was staying with during my school exchange. It was all hush-hush and devastatingly romantic...until his mother had found a poem I had written to him. She really gave him shit, but hadn’t confronted me about it. We knew we had to put the brakes on our relationship – or at least be much more cautious about it. Over the past few weeks, we had become rather risky and stupid with our liaisons. We really didn’t know how to act casual with each other; it wasn’t as if we fell out of love and gone our separate ways like a normal break-up. One night, Jim was working in his dark room and I knocked to come in. I went over to sit on the chair and said nothing. There were only the red lights on in the room. He looked over at me and started to cry, hard. Then he came over to me, knelt down before me and through his tears, he professed, “I’m so scared that I won’t be able to live without you. What we have is more than I ever thought was possible. You are my whole life and I want to be with you for the rest of my life.” He then rested his head in my lap and we just sat there and cried together in silence.
Although we did make a fair effort into calming down our physical relationship, we had made strategic arrangements every couple days to steal some time to be together. Sometimes it was just long enough for an affectionate kiss, and sometimes we had time for more. I wished those moments with Jim could have lasted forever.
As I was coming home from school one afternoon, I saw him over the hill. As he walked towards me, I could see he was pale and looked like he had been crying. He grabbed both my shoulders and caught his breath long enough to look me straight on and explained in absolute panic, “Mum knows everything. She might be having you sent home!” My stomach churned over and over. I really thought I was going to be sick right there on the sidewalk. My skin felt like it was on fire and I was slightly disoriented. Jim grabbed my hand and we walked slowly back to the house together, as if we were walking towards the noose of our death sentence. I wanted to run away, but really, where were we going to run to? I was 17 and in a completely different continent than my entire family.
Jim’s father was waiting at the door. He escorted us into the living room and sat down. “We should very well have you on the next plane home! Do you have any bloody idea what you have done?” His voice escalated the more he continued, “What the hell were you thinking? Ya know, for once I wish you god damn teenagers would think with your brains instead of your bloody hormones! I won’t decide anything until Mum gets home. She is the one that figured it out. The both of you have hurt her beyond words! As for me? I’m just absolutely blown away with all this!”
The minutes up to, and including her arrival were an agonizing blur. I was kneeling beside her chair, and we were both crying. I think I said “Sorry” at least 20 times. Although the major feeling was panic and fear, I was also a bit resentful that I was put in this situation. I mean, really... Hurt you beyond words? We didn’t murder someone, we fell in love! Why was it so terrible? Unfortunately, I knew it was far too risky to ask questions. I was fucked already; I needed to keep my big mouth shut and not rock the already-sinking-ship.
“I already had had words with my son, but apparently, that wasn’t enough! Since I discovered the condoms in his rubbish, I could not deny the situation any longer. I am so disappointed in both of you!” She paused to compose herself.
I was screaming inside my head, “WHAT? Condoms...in the rubbish? We had given up on condoms weeks ago – it took too much time. He hadn’t disposed of evidence from 3 weeks ago? What an idiot!” I couldn’t believe how careless he had been; my mind was racing.
She then delivered her decree, “Now, I did a lot of thinking and I’ve decided I don’t want anyone to know about this entire mess. It would make our family look bad, so we are all going to pretend that it never happened and try to make the best of the next month before you move on to your next placement... Is that clear to the both of you?”
“Yes, thank you!”
Jim also had let out an injured, “Yyyyyes.”
After her decision was made known, she got up to leave. Jim’s dad had left the room and she leaned over and whispered to the 2 of us, “I knew every single time that you thought you were sneaking up to his room at night. I just couldn’t ignore it any longer.” Eick! I cringed when she said that and became VERY grateful to her that she had never chosen to bust in on us. I don’t know who would have been the most dramatized by that– myself, Jim, or her?
The remaining time I had left at their house was a depressing eternity. I never wanted to be apart from Jim, but at the same time, I couldn’t wait to leave! The entire situation was toxic. Every time either of his parents looked at me, I felt them psychically attempting to burn the word ‘whore’ into my forehead. Jim had chosen to pretend that I didn’t exist; he spent most of his time in his room. The 4 of us had become emotionless zombies when we were forced to share each others’ company, like at family meals. His brother, however, remained totally oblivious throughout the entire ordeal.
I was emotionally exhausted by the time I left. It was like living every day only 6 inches away from the one person I loved the most in the world, but there was a piece of bullet-proof glass wedged in between us. I could see him, but couldn’t touch him, and he wouldn’t let me talk to him either. I would break out into random fits of tears at any given time, at home, on the train, in the middle of class – it didn’t seem to matter; I had totally lost control of myself. I knew one thing for certain: There was no way in hell I was going to let a love like what Jim and I had just die without a fight. It wasn’t like a breakup where one person was over it and the other was in denial. We both felt the same way about each other, yet we were apart. It was an impossible situation, and it wasn’t over... not just yet.