Sarah took another drink trying to drown away her sorrow. It's been a year to this day that she ended up there. The worst part was having to stay in the same town. The place where people used to know her. The place where people knew what happened to her, but continued to judge her. Doing exactly the opposite of what members were supposed to do. They were supposed to be there for her. They were supposed to be her rock, her comforters. Instead, they were more like the rock that tripped her and caused her to tumble over the edge.
Sarah hated that town and everything it reminded her of. Just as her thoughts were starting to make the pain worse, the alcohol kicked in and she became intoxicated.
She could hardly remember her aunt and uncle finding her and taking away the bottle of Jack Daniels. That was the millionth time they found her that way, but yet they still got all worked up and angry every time. You'd think they'd just expect it by now.
They just didn't understand how she felt. The pain and deep sorrow she was carrying with her with every step she took. Everyday was just a reminder of how she was alive and they weren't. It was hard enough losing her entire family. Then she also lost herself which led to her losing her friends. Sarah became the most hated person at her almost all Mormon school. The only place she ended up fitting in was with the "bad" group of kids. They introduced her to a whole new world of things. They gave her things that took away the pain. The feeling of finally being somewhat happy was indescribable. She finally stopped caring about what she put into her body and was just looking for the sense of relief and painlessness that came with the stuff she was given. The more she did the more she felt the sensible Mormon girl leaving her.
Everyone knew her as the 'Jack Mormon'. They didn't care about what she had been through. They only cared about what she was doing and who she’d become. She used to be the good Mormon girl that would never swear and could never imagine breaking the Word of Wisdom. One day and one event was all it took for that to go away. She used to love The Lord and spend every day trying to be like Christ. Those feelings quickly turned into bitterness and anger on the day she lost everything. No one seemed to remember that she lost everything. They just remembered what they heard about her and gossiped about it to all their friends. Not even caring that inside it tore her apart. Not even realizing that it was making her want the things more and more just so she could drown out their words.
She woke up with a pounding headache. It was normal. She grabbed a water bottle from her nightstand and opened up the bottle of Aspirin that was kept on the nightstand. She felt the contents of her stomach coming up and ran o the bathroom where she threw up everything she’d eaten in the past day. She stumbled down the stairs and the lights blinded her as she came into the kitchen.
"We're going to church if you'd like to come." My aunt asked sounded hopeful.
"Never going to happen. I'm sure I would look great walking into church with a clear hangover." Sarah said sarcastically.
"Sarah, it's been a year. I think a year is enough time to recover."
"You think so? What would you know? You have both of your parents, all your siblings, and even your children. My mom was Steven's sister not yours. You only saw her on holidays. You barely knew my family. I lived with them for seventeen years. They raised me and I raised them. We grew up together. We loved each other. I lost them all. Not just my mom or my dad or Ricky or Jeanie. I lost all of them. You have no idea what that feels like. You've never felt the crushing and dropping of your heart as you wake up in a hospital only to be told that your whole family is dead. They all died, but as some form of hell you survived. Every day you get to live with the reminder that they all died, but you survived. You think you understand, but you don't. You didn't lose your family. I did." She said coldly.
Steven came into the kitchen with the kids and saw his wife crying.
"Sarah, what did you say? Mel, what did she say?" He asked his niece harshly, but asked his wife kindly.
"You're right, maybe I don't understand what you're going through. We're all here for you. I wish you would understand that. You don't have to live life this way. You can go back to the carefree, loving girl that used to be you. I hate to see you this broken all the time." Mel said honestly.
"What can you do to help? I feel like I've tried everything I can. Nothing would get rid of these stupid feelings except for the alcohol. I can't live with these feelings. They are making me crazy and I am literally going insane. I am doing whatever it takes to make it stop. If that means doing something bad then so be it. It is worth it for the temporary feeling of happiness." She said with a voice that sounded broken even to her own ears.
"We can try some other things. We can get you help." Steven told me earnestly.
"I'm done with being let down. I've lost the hope of finding something that can help. I'm okay with where I'm at right now. I feel kind of peaceful with where I'm at. I just want to enjoy that before God rips that away from me too."
"Sweetie, God didn't rip anything away from you. Is that how you feel? Is that why you've fallen away and won't go to church?"
"God decides what happens in this world. If he doesn't want something to happen it won't happen. If he wants something to happen it will happen. He wanted to take my family away from me. He wanted me to die inside and become this person. I'm just giving Him what he wants."
"No. That is most certainly not what God would want. He loves you and wants what's best for you. The accident was just a test that was supposed to make you stronger and draw you closer to Him."
"See, even you're saying it was His plan to kill my family. If he wanted me closer than he really failed. He only pushed me away. Go have fun learning the lies they feed you at church. You better hurry or you'll miss the liar- I mean the first speaker."
She walked off to her room angrier than before. That was the most heart to heart conversation she'd had with them since she moved in. She searched their room for her bottle of alcohol, but never found it. She slammed her door shut causing a sheet to fall off the wall that was covering a picture. The sheet fell revealing a family photo that was taken only a couple months before the accident. Tears spilled down her cheeks as she ripped the picture from the wall and threw it across the room. She heard it hit the floor and shatter, but it just seemed like background noise. Her heart pounded and here breathing became fast and shallow. She felt claustrophobic in her room and her vision went blurry. She realized she was having a panic attack from the memories of the accident flooding into her mind.
She ran out of her room and out of her house. She didn’t pay attention to where she as going. She just wanted to get as far away from that house as possible. She tried to stop the tears that were blurring her vision, but couldn’t. She made to the park and collapsed behind an oak tree with her head in her hands. She slapped herself trying to get a grip.
“Get a grip Sarah.” She told herself coldly. “No one cares if you cry or if you don’t cry. Actually no one cares about you at all. That’s why they talk about you all the time. Everyone wants you gone even Mel and Steve. They don’t want your bad influence on their children.”
The tears stopped as she told herself she didn’t matter and no one would care if she was crying or not. Still being a bit upset she didn’t pay attention as she crossed the road. She didn't even notice the car coming at her until it hit her roughly in the side knocking her on the ground, but not running her over.
"Are you all right? I didn't kill you right? Can you stand? Oh my gosh I killed someone. I'm going to jail for murder." A male voice said in a very panicked tone.
"Quit being such a drama queen. Obviously, you haven't recognized me yet, but once you do you'll realize you should have run me over and then backed over me to make sure I'm dead."
"How could you say that? I'm sure no one here feels that way." He said as he helped me stand.
"Okay, then you obviously aren't from around here then. Don't worry you'll hear about me soon enough and hate me like all the rest of them."
"I wouldn't do that."
"Oh right, you're one of those goody two shoes Mormon boys. Well, just you wait you'll turn against me. I'm sure kids will tell you all about me, but won't mention the accident. You may not even hear my real name; they all just call me Jack. Anyway, that's enough talking. I’m sorry you didn't kill me. Now, the others might be mad. I hope you don't have to see me again."
I started to walk off, but he followed me.
"Wait, you can't just walk home. I hit you with my car. Let me at least drive you home."
"I'd rather not get into a car with a stranger. Let alone a stranger that hit me with their car." She said without even turning around.
"Let me walk you home. I don't want you to suddenly collapse since I hit you."
She just continued walking and pretended that she couldn't hear his footsteps behind her. His footsteps followed her for the two blocks it took to get home. He didn't say anything or even acknowledge that he was following her. When they reached her house his footsteps followed her all the way to the door.
"Okay I'm home and I'm fine. Now leave or Steve and Mel will see you." The door opened and she sighed. "Too late."
"Sarah, what are you doing? We were worried about you. Did you skip church to go meet up with some boy? Are you pregnant?" Steven asked with a hint of anger in his voice daring her to answer the last two questions with a yes.
"I haven't been to church in a year. I'm not skipping I'm just not going anymore. Whether or not I was with a boy doesn't matter. For all you know he hit me with his car then insisted to follow me home."
"You hit my niece with your car?" He stared straight at the boy who followed me home.
"It was an accident sir. My family just moved here and I was trying to find my way home. I was paying too much attention to my GPS and not the road. I am sincerely sorry."
"What's your name son? Are you a member? Most people around here are and you act like one."
"Jeremy, sir, and yes I'm a member of the church."
"Yeah, how did you know?"
"I went to college with your dad Marcus. He told me he was moving here some time ago. Invite your family to dinner for me tomorrow night. It'll be like a welcome to the neighborhood dinner."
"I'll make sure to tell them that. I am really sorry about hitting your niece. If I hurt her at all maybe you can give her a blessing to help."
"No." Sarah said sternly trying to control her emotions.
She remembered her dad giving her a blessing when she was really scared for the new year at school, when they first moved up here, when she broke her arm in middle school, and countless other times. Tears were coming to her eyes again as she pushed her way past Steven and quickly walked to her room. She shut the door forcefully behind her collapsing against it. She pulled her knees to her chest as she tried not to think of her family. It was times like these where she would put the bottle of Jack to good use. She didn't know what else to do. She still wasn't able to control all her emotions after a year of having to deal with them. She got into bed and forced herself to sleep. When she was asleep everything was peaceful. Sleeping was the only good escape she had from her problems.
Everyone murmured and pointed at her as she walked down the hallway. She wanted to punch them all. Sarah only walked to her circle of people. She never called them her friends because technically they weren't. They would just supply her with the things she couldn't get on her own. They wore black clothing, heavy makeup, and had at least three piercings each.
"Can I get another bottle?" She asked the somewhat leader of the group, Thalia.
"You went through a whole bottle already?" She asked flatly.
"They took it away again. I can't find it."
She just laughed at me. "Fine. I can get you another bottle. I'll bring it by tonight."
The day wore on and she didn't pay much attention in her classes. She was smart enough to pass the tests even if she didn't listen in class. As usual she sat alone in the back of the classroom. No one dared to sit next to her. She was the scary; Jack Mormon that would kill you if you even dared to look at her. At least that's how everyone else saw her. It tore her apart and led her further away from the path, but she wouldn't admit that to anyone. If this was how all Mormons would act when you made mistakes then she never wanted to be Mormon again. She'd become Christian or something.
"Can I sit here?" A male's voice asked her in third period.
When she looked she saw Jeremy siting in the seat next to her left.
"You can't sit there." She said plainly.
"Why not? No one else is sitting here and I don't know anyone here."
"Have you heard about me yet?"
"Then you know you can't sit here. You're a good Mormon boy; you have a future at this school. Being caught with me would ruin that."
"You know, I don't believe the things people say about you. I don't think you're a druggie and I'm sure you don't drink either. I think they made it all up."
"You're an idiot if you actually believe what just came out of your mouth."
"So, the rumors are true then?"
"No, if course not. I'm a perfect little angel." She said sarcastically.
"There's no way you are a druggie. How would you even get ahold of drugs?"
"I have connections."
"What happened? I know you used to be a Mormon, a very good one if my sources are right. They say you suddenly just went bad."
She scoffed. "Of course they told you that. I told you they would say I suddenly went bad and won't even bother to tell about what happened. They all just pretend it didn't happen so I look worse. Mormons are supposed to be good people, but the ones here are just jerks."
"What happened that they don't talk about?"
"I don't talk about it. It's not something I'd like to relive."
"If everyone could remember what happened maybe they wouldn't be so cruel to you."
"No. They all know what happened. They are choosing to act this way knowing full well what happened and how much it affected me. You can't just lose everything and expect someone to recover. It won't happen. People feed you those lies; it's going to be okay, things will get better, and the famous God will help you through this. It hard enough to go through something like that, but people didn't have to feed me those false hopes. It just made everything harder." She started talking without even realizing what she was saying. She forgot there were people around and it felt like she was alone. She was so wrapped up in her thoughts she didn't hear Jeremy calling her name.
"Sarah." He said loud enough to catch the whole room's attention.
She snapped out of my thoughts and noticed everyone staring at her. She glared at them and they all quickly looked away. She just smiled smugly to herself.
"God will help you through things."
"No, he causes bad things to happen then leaves you out to dry."
"No matter what happens and no matter what you do God is always with you. He doesn't want you to be unhappy. He wants you to grow stronger from this, learn to put more trust in Him, and to strengthen your testimony."
"I could only ever wish that that was true." Sarah said honestly.
"I know it is."
She just shook her head. He didn't understand. She didn't think he had ever been through anything hard. She hoped he hadn't been through anything as hard her. She didn't want to ruin his faith or anything, but she knew that stuff wasn't true. She wasn't going to stop him from believing that. She certainly didn’t want to be there when he realized the truth. She didn’t want to see the same broken eyes she’d seen in the mirror when she realized the truth.
The doorbell rang and Sarah groaned. She didn't want to see Jeremy again. After third period he sat next to her again at lunch, in fifth period, and in sixth. She was ready to smack him. He kept asking her questions. Questions she didn't want to answer.
She went downstairs in hopes of sneaking out and getting out of the ridiculous dinner. She stealthily made her way down stairs and was halfway out the door before she felt of hand on her shoulder. Her shoulders slumped as she turned around to see Steven.
"You are not sneaking out to go drink or party. You are staying here and having dinner with us and the Thorns." He ordered as he proceeded to drag me into the dining room.
She sat down angrily in a chair as Jeremy decided to sit next to her.
"Move." She ordered.
"Actually, I think I like this spot."
"You followed me around all day school you can at least leave me alone at dinner."
"Nah, this chair is more comfy than the other one."
She knew they were the exact same chair.
"Not going to happen."
"Okay who wants to bless the food?" Steven asked and Sarah groaned.
"Really? Non Mormon present." She pointed out.
"Oh Kylee you want to say it? Thank you sweetie." He said to eldest of his three children.
She prayed as Sarah tried not to remember the countless times her family had done the same thing.
"Something bothering you?" Jeremy whispered to her as he piled food on his plate.
"Yeah, you." She covered up for the mistake of letting her emotions show.
He sighed, but didn't say anything more. She gathered food on her plate and tried to eat quickly without looking like a pig. Everyone exchanged pleasant conversations at the table as Sarah focused on trying to finish her food. She finished just as the doorbell rang.
"I'm done eating, so I'll get it. You guys can keep talking."
She got out of my seat and speed walked to the door. She opened it and saw the bottle of Jack Thalia promised her on the doorstep. She stepped outside, shutting the door behind her before picking up the bottle and taking a nice long drink. She felt good having the alcohol in her system again. She opened the door and saw Jeremy standing there.
"What do have in your hand?" He asked.
"Nothing concerns you." She said as she started toward her room.
"I'm not going to leave you alone until you tell me what it is."
"I don't care. Soon I'll be too buzzed to even be bothered by you."
She took another drink as she reached the top of the stairs and headed down the hallway to her room.
"Why are you doing this to yourself?" He asked her quietly as he followed her to her room.
"So I don't feel anything, duh."
She was getting a bit tipsy and was losing control of her words.
"What are you trying not to feel?"
"The pain, the sorrow, the abandonment. I don't want to feel any of it. This is one of the only ways I know how to get rid of it."
"God didn't abandon you, Sarah. I wish you could see that."
"I waited for something, some kind of sign that He was listening to me and understood how much I was hurting. I got nothing. Those weeks were the loneliest weeks of my life. I didn't want to give up hope. I had so much faith back then. I loved the Lord more than anything. He abandoned me when I needed him most. He's not supposed to do that. When I finally realized that he wasn't going to be there for me, I gave up hope. I tried so hard to stay strong. I really did." She whispered as her eyes glistened with tears. "After so long I just couldn't take it anymore. I lost all hope and became this." She took another long drink.
"I can help you. I can help you get your faith back. I can show you all the blessings you have. I can show you that God didn't do anything to you on purpose."
"I feel like it doesn't matter anymore. It's not like anyone cares about me anyway. You've seen the way the kids at school act towards me. I mean nothing. I hate what they do. I pretend like it doesn't bother me, but it kills me. I won’t admit that to anyone though. They were supposed to be there for me when it happened. Instead they turned their backs and were too upset with their own pathetic problems to help me. Maybe if someone had shown some sympathy to me then, I wouldn't be where I am now. I thought Mormons were supposed to be good. I was good and nice to everyone. I helped others when they needed it. Why wouldn’t they? Mormons aren't supposed to treat people this way. Why do they all hate me so much?" She asked as she leaned against his chest. Something she wouldn't have done had she been sober. She took another drink wanting to feel even less.
"Not all Mormons are nice. I agree that they shouldn't treat you that way. I'll stand up for you okay? I won't be like the others. I'll help you get better, I promise."
"Don't make promises you can't keep. Even if I went back, I've done bad things. God would never forgive me." She slumped against the floor completely drunk, but still sipping on the bottle.
"No, God will forgive you for anything. I promise you that. No matter how bad you mess up He will always forgive you." He said sitting down next to her.
She put her head against his shoulder sighing heavily. "I wish I was still like you, so carefree and happy. That stupid day changed everything. If I could go back, I would change it so I would die. Let someone else live this life of pain. It's just so hard. Waking up every day just to be reminded that you survived and they didn't. Having to live the rest of your life without the ones you loved the most. Knowing they won't be there to see me graduate, get married, have kids, or anything else. I won't get to see my little sister grow up, or my older brother go on his mission. If there's Heaven on Earth, then this must be Hell on Earth.
"I don't like the drunk you. You're too sad. I like you better when you're acting like you hate me."
"I don't hate you." She said as she took another drink.
"Okay, I think you've had more than enough of that."
He took the bottle out of her hand, but she was too drunk to care.
"I don't really hate you. It's just... jealousy I guess."
"Why would you be jealous of me? You don't even really know me."
"I know you're happy. Happier than I could ever be. You have a family. That is something I know I could never have. Life is too hard." She decided as she felt some tears roll down her cheeks.
"Hey," Jeremy said softly kneeling in front of her and wiping away her tears. "Don’t cry. I'm not going to lie to you and say everything is okay because I can tell it’s not. I will tell you that everything will be okay. It may not be now, but it will be."
She stumbled to her feet and Jeremy had to steady her. She liked the comforting feeling she got as he held onto her. She felt compelled to hug him so she did. She stumbled forward and put her arms loosely around him. He put his arms further around her and she melted into him. Suddenly, he sighed and let her go.
"You're drunk, Sarah, go to bed."
"I’m not tired.”
“You need to sleep this off.”
“I don’t want to. Then I’ll be able to feel again. I don’t want to feel.”
“I know you’re tired. Just go to bed.”
Sarah was too drunk to put up a fight. She changed her clothes in the bathroom and got into bed. She laid there waiting for sleep to overcome her. As she drifted off to sleep she felt a pair of lips touch her forehead. She smiled for the first time in a while as she fell asleep.
Jeremy lightly kissed her forehead before leaving her room. He knew he technically wasn't supposed to be alone with a girl, but he felt that this was different. He needed her alone so she would open up and allow him to be able to help her. He entered the dining room his head swimming with thoughts about what she had told him. Everyone stared at him and he could tell they were wondering about why he was gone for so long.
"Sarah has a really bad headache so I told to lie down for a moment. The bottle of Advil she had was empty. Can I get some for her?" He lied to them. It felt wrong, but he didn’t want them to know the truth. It was somewhat true; she was going to wake up with a bad hangover.
"Of course follow me." Steven led him to the kitchen.
He opened up a cabinet and grabbed a bottle. He took out a couple pills and handed them to him before putting the bottle back and grabbing a bottle of water.
"Is she drunk?" Steven asked me.
"No she's probably asleep by now." He wasn't technically lying.
"Why were up there for so long?"
"We were talking."
"Talking? What did you talk about?"
"I don't think she'd want me to share that."
His eyes widened. "She actually talked to you? Did she express how she's feeling? I want to help her so badly, but she won't open up to me. I don't what to do, but pray for her."
"We talked about how she's feeling. I want to help her too. Everyone else at school is so mean. I don't want to be like that."
"She told you about what happened didn't she?"
"I only know that her family is dead, but nothing else."
"Okay, then she's definitely drunk. She would never tell someone that willingly."
"Don't do anything about it for now. I don't know why, but I feel like I can really help her. I don't even really know her, but I feel like I was meant to be here. To be here for her."
"If you are the answer to my prayers then be my guest. Please, do anything you can to help her. I can't stand seeing her like this."
"I'm going to do everything I can."
He nodded and composed himself before going back out into the dining room. Jeremy took the water and pills up to her room and set them on her nightstand. He grabbed the bottle she had been drinking out of and hid it in her closet behind some clothes. He found a piece of paper and wrote her a quick note before leaving.
Take the pills on your nightstand. I hid the bottle in your closet. Don't worry I didn't tell anyone.
Everyone talked happily at the table, but he wasn't in it anymore. He heard all the things at school about her. The warnings to stay away and that she was trouble. Everyone was more than willing to tell him all the bad things about her. How she was into drugs, wild parties, and excessive amounts of alcohol. No one bothered to mention that she lost her whole family. That qualifies as a hard time. He could see why she felt the way she did and acted the way she did. Not that the way she was acting was okay, but it was understandable. He knew exactly where she was coming from.
A pounding headache greeted Sarah as she woke up. The lights blinded her as she tried to open her eyes, but she soon dismissed that when she saw the water and pills on her nightstand. She gratefully took them as she wondered who put them there. She hoped it hadn't been Steven or Mel. They would have taken her bottle. As she set the water bottle back on her nightstand she saw a small piece of paper. She read the note before crumpling it up and throwing it away. She didn't need his help. He was intruding. She was just fine.
She looked in her closet where he said he put her Jack and was surprised to find that it was there. She took a small sip to start her day. She wasn't completely wasted last night so she remembered what happened. She swore loudly not caring if anyone heard. She couldn't believe she had almost told him everything.
She hoped she wouldn't have to see him once she got to school. As she got to her locker, she saw him standing there. How he even knew where her locker was, was beyond her. She ignored him as she got into her locker and he got into the locker next to hers. She groaned.
"Are you okay?" He asked.
"Seriously, out of all the lockers in this stupid school you got the one next to mine."
"Now, I can see you every morning to help you."
"I don't need nor want your help."
"Last night I was drunk. I didn't know what I was saying. I don't need your help anyway. I am just fine with where I'm at."
"No you're not. I know you were drunk yesterday, but I could tell that it just brought out your true emotion. I know inside you don't like where you are and you want help."
She slammed her locker shut and glared coldly at him. "What I said meant nothing. Don't ever pretend like you know how I feel. I don't need your help. I am not some vulnerable girl who secretly hates her life. I am who you see. Just leave me alone." She snapped.
"I just want to help."
"I don't need your help! God, can't you take a hint!"
She stormed off, but not without noticing all the stares she was getting. She ditched first hour and went to the back of the campus that was covered by trees. She took out the small flask she kept in her backpack and drank it dry. The familiar feeling of being lightheaded washed over her and she felt like she was floating. She laid back against the tree and relaxed forgetting the world and just enjoyed the feeling of not feeling. She saw a figure approaching her, but with the alcohol in her system she couldn't focus enough to tell who it was.
"I didn't see you in class. I was worried about you." The familiar voice of Jeremy filled her ears.
"What are you doing here?"
"I was just worried about you when you didn't show up for class."
"I thought something might have happened to you."
"Why do you care? No one else cares, what makes you so different."
"You told me how much it hurt you to have everyone ridicule you. I don't want to be one of those people. I'm better than that, and I know you're better than what they say."
"Why do you even still think that? You've seen me do the things they talk about. You should just join them and be done."
"I'm not going to. What they're doing isn't right and they shouldn't be treating you this way."
"They shouldn't, but they are. Look, I appreciate you being all noble and wanting to be my friend, but you can just drop the act. It's not that big of a deal if one more person joins their side."
"I'm not acting. I'm not going to join their side. No matter who they are bullying I wouldn't stand with them."
"You're ruining your whole reputation just by talking to me and siting with me in class. You need to stop."
"Do think I care about my reputation? I would rather be kind to a friend than be popular. When it comes down to it, God won't care how popular I was in school. He will care if I didn't help a friend I knew was in need of help. Whether you know it or not, you need help. You want help and friends. I know you do. All you have to do is let me help you."
"You don't want to help me. You might think you want to, but once you realize how much of a mess I am you won't want to anymore. I'll lie and tell you it’s okay, but it won't be. I'll be even worse than before you came. I've lost enough people in my life I'm not fond of losing more."
"I won't just leave you."
"Why can't you see that that's not true? Everyone leaves me. Everyone gives up trying. Even my own family." That last part just kind of slipped out, but it was too late to take it back.
"Why can't you see that I want to help you?" He asked softly kneeling in front of her. "Not everyone in this world is as bad as you think. If you let me help you, I promise I won't leave you." The sincerity in his voice made her choke on her words.
"Why do you want to help me? I don't see anything in it for you. Why would you want to do this so willingly?"
"I don't care if there's nothing in it for me. I don't want to look back and regret not helping you. I don't care if everyone hates me for being kind to you. What happens to me doesn't matter. I just want to help you, that's what matters."
"I'm unfixable, Jeremy. Besides, even if you could fix me it's not like God would forgive me anyway. I've done bad things. Everyone hates me for them so why wouldn't God?" She whispered.
"No, that's not true. Don't ever think that's true. God will always forgive his children. That's why he sacrificed his only son for us. You are fixable and you are always forgivable. Don't you ever think anything other that."
"You're too nice for your own good Jeremy."
"I should probably take you home. I don't really want you going back to class."
"I'm fine I can go back to class."
"Really? Do you really think you're okay? Anyone with eyes can tell that you are not okay." He countered as they walked toward the school parking lot.
"I don't think anyone can tell. If they did they wouldn't treat me like I’m a worthless piece if trash."
"I can tell." He said simply before getting into his truck.
She smiled bitter sweetly at the car. Her dad had had one just like it when she was a kid. It got her thinking about all the late night trips they had made to go get candy or food.
"I think that's the first time I've seen you smile. You should smile more, you have a beautiful smile."
"My dad had a truck just like this when I was kid."
"What was your dad like?" He cautiously asked.
"He was one of those cool dads. We'd go out at midnight and go to Sonic for soda or ice cream. He would scare the crap out of guys when they came by to take me out just to laugh at them when they got scared. Everyone loved him. He was just so easy going and so easy to talk to. No one disliked him. He was too good of a guy to dislike. He always knew what to do. He gave the best advice. He was such a good guy I don't see why he had to go." She willingly told him. It felt good to finally let some information out.
"Your dad sounds wonderful. I wish I could've met him. He raised a beautiful daughter. I know he would want the best for you. He would want you to be happy. He wouldn't want you living this way. He would want you to love your Heavenly Father and live a happy life full of wonderful memories. He wouldn't want you to have this kind of life. A father always wants what's best for his daughter. He wouldn't want you to be this way. He would want you live on without him and be happy."
Tears filled her eyes as she choked back a sob. "How can I be happy? I lost my entire family. My mom, my dad, my brother, and my little sister. I survived that accident and none of them did. I have to live everyday knowing that if I hadn't lived one of them could have. How do you deal with that kind of pain? There's no one out there like your family. You only get one family, and if you lose them you don't get another one. I will never get to harass the girls that mess with my brother or the boys that mess with my little sister. How do I deal with it Jeremy? If you can tell me, then by all means go ahead. I can't take this anymore. It's literally tearing me apart. I'm going insane."
"You can't live in the past, Sarah. You have to move on and live life while you still can. I'm willing to do anything I can to help you."
"I'm not going to stop you from trying to help me. If you are in this then you're in this. I will not have you leave me. Tell me one of your biggest secrets and I'll trust that you won't leave."
"How will that make you trust me?"
"If you ever do leave then I can just tell everyone your secret and then we’re even. You get public humiliation and I get emotional scarring. Not exactly on the same level but good enough for me."
"I won't just ditch you, but I'll tell you something anyway. I had a seventeen year old girlfriend when I was only fifteen. That got me a lot of crap at church. I had to talk with the bishop and discuss the things I'd done with her and it was extremely awkward. I was forced to break up with her and she hated me after that. I got crap about it for at least a year after it happened."
"Really? That's the worst you've done? You look like a saint compared to me. I guess it'll work since it would still ruin your social status here. That is if it isn't already ruined by talking to me."
"Are you going to be okay here?" He asked as they pulled up to Sarah’s somewhat house.
"Yeah, I'll just slip into my room and hope I don't get caught."
"My house is always open if you need me. Let me give you my number." She handed him her phone and he quickly typed in his number. "Call me if you ever need anything. I don't care what time it is, if it's you calling I'll answer. I want you to know you have someone here for you. I want you to know that your family didn't give up on you. Your aunt and uncle care about you more than you know. They hate seeing you this way. It's tearing them apart to see how broken and hurt you are. I want to help get rid of the broken feeling inside of you. It'll help you and the family around you. Whether you know or not, they love and care about you. Seeing you this hurt, hurts them too."
"Why would it? It's my life that's messed up, not theirs."
"They lost family members too in that accident. The lost their niece, nephew, sister, and brother. All they have left is you. They are slowly losing you too."
"They aren't losing me. I’m still here."
"Are you really here, Sarah? Yeah, you’re physically here, but I don't think you're mentally here. Your mind is stuck in the past even though your body is moving forward. Why would you want to be stuck in the past when the present is so much better?"
"How is the present better? In the present I don't have a family. In the present everyone hates me. In the past I had a family and I had friends. Why would I want to live in the present when my past seems better?"
"The present can get better.”
"Okay Mr. Prince Charming, whatever you say.”
“I noticed you’ve been hanging out with the Jack lately. I know you’re new here, so I know you don’t know how bad a person she is. I just want to warn you how bad of a person she is and that you really should stay away. She’s not someone we should associate with.” A girl Jeremy had never met decided to voice her opinion.
“Why shouldn’t I associate with her?” Jeremy asked as if he was genuinely curious.
“She’s not a good person. She’s not like us.” The girl seemed to be satisfied that he was interested in what she was saying.
“What are we like? As far as I can tell everyone here is rude to her for no reason.”
“We’re Mormon, Jeremy. We’re good people. She isn’t a good person. She’s into bad things.”
“She’s Mormon too. Sure, she fell away, but she could be brought back. It’s people like you pushing her away that makes her not want to some back. There’s no reason to hate someone just because they sin differently than you.” She opened and closed her mouth like a fish. To be honest, she looked stupid. “Bye.” He said rudely opening his locker to block her from his vision.
She left, but not before glaring at me and Sarah as she walked up. Sarah didn’t say anything as she opened up her locker and got some things out.
“You heard that didn’t you?” He asked.
“Doesn’t matter. It’s not like it isn’t anything I haven’t heard before.”
“It does matter. They should know better. They should know not to treat people like they’re worthless.”
“When are you going to get your head out of the clouds, Jeremy? Can you not see that they don’t care? There’s a chance they don’t realize what they’re doing, but that’s slim. Maybe where you come from Mormons are nice and do care for each other, but not here. The sooner you get that through your head the better.”
Sarah stormed off to her first class just wanting to get away from him. She didn’t want to have to tell him that the religion his spent so much time practicing and loving wasn’t as great as he thought it was. She didn’t want him to know that not everyone is as great as they act at church. If he could have a happy life believing all was great with the world and everyone acts like the church tells them they should, why should she change that? How could she take that away from him?
“Would you do me favor?” Jeremy asked as he sat next to her in third period.
“That depends on what the favor is. Before you ask I refuse to go to church, talk to the missionaries, go to mutual, or go to seminary.”
“I just want you to read a talk.”
“You want me to read a talk? A church talk?”
“Yeah, I think it could help you understand things better.”
“Whatever you say.”
“Will you read the talk?”
“Who's it by?”
“Henry B. Eyring.”
“He was my dad’s favorite.” She spoke quietly not looking at him. She sighed. “Okay, fine. What talk is it?”
Jeremy pulled a small stack of papers from his bag and handed it to her. “It’s called ‘In the Strength of the Lord’.”
Sarah stared at the small stack of paper. The familiar layout of the paper made her remember countless church lessons and family home evenings. The familiar face of Elder Eyring made her remember watching General Conference with her family throughout her life.
The talk Jeremy gave her made her backpack feel fifty times heavier. The talk seemed to be burning a hole in her bag and taking over her mind. The normally peaceful walk home was filled with thoughts about the talk. She wondered what it was about and wondered why she even agreed to read it. She really just wanted to rip it up and forget about it, but for some reason she couldn’t. She distractedly walked into the house and to her room. She set her bag down and tried to forget about its contents.
After purposely avoiding the talk all day she finally sat at her desk and took out the talk. She got out a pen ready to mark the talk with all the things wrong with it that she could relay to Jeremy. As she read it she didn’t mark anything. She read it and thought about everything that was being said. A familiar feeling washed over her as she read it. A feeling she hadn’t felt in such a long time that she almost didn’t believe it. It was close to midnight, but she texted Jeremy and him she’d read it anyway. He called her only minutes after she sent it.
“Hi Jeremy.” She answered.
“You read it?” He asked sleepily.
“Yes. It’s late and I know you’re tired, so we can talk about it tomorrow.”
“No, I’m not tired. We can talk about it now. What did you think?”
“I’m not really sure what to think.”
“Did a certain line stand out to you at all?”
“Look, I read the stupid talk like you asked. If I had known it would include a discussion I wouldn’t have agreed.”
“Okay, sorry. I’m just glad you read it. If you ever do want to talk about it sometime, just call me.”
“Don’t tell anyone about this, please.”
“I won’t tell anyone.”
“Thank you. I’ll see you at school tomorrow.”
“Yeah, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She still had the same feeling even after she had hung up and gotten in bed. Honestly, she loved the feeling and didn’t really want it to go away.
Jeremy hung up reluctantly. He wanted to talk to her about it and he wanted to know what she thought. He could hear something different in her tone as she spoke. He knew she felt something. He could hear it in her voice. He just hoped it had been enough to get her interested in the church again.
Sarah awoke with puffy eyes that stung. She had cried herself to sleep after getting off the phone with Jeremy. She didn’t expect the talk to mean anything to her or to give that feeling again. In all reality she hadn’t expected to ever feel that feeling ever again. Feeling the overwhelming urge to do so, she read the talk again before she got ready. Once again it brought tears to her eyes. She got ready hoping the puffiness and redness of her eyes would go away. As she went downstairs for breakfast it still hadn’t gone away.
“Sarah, why are your eyes red?” Mel asked clearly angry. “I swear if you have been doing drugs as well-“
“I wasn’t doing drugs.” She interrupted, sick of her voice.
“Then why are your eyes red?”
She ignored her and ate her cereal. Steven decided that then was a good time to enter the kitchen.
“Steve, her eyes are red. I think she’d been doing drugs.” Mel immediately told him.
“Have you been doing drugs?” He asked with anger.
“My eyes are not red because I was doing drugs.”
“Then why are they red?”
She ignored their questions again and continued to eat her cereal.
“Sarah you will answer me this instant or I will kick you out and you’re not allowed to come back until after school!” Steven yelled. He never yelled at me.
“I was crying okay?! I was crying! Don’t bother kicking me out. I’m leaving.”
She grabbed her backpack and left the house ignoring their calls. She slammed the door behind her. Tears came to her eyes again and she slapped herself hard.
“Get a grip. You should know by now that they hate you. Stop crying like a baby. You’re not a child anymore.”
“Sarah. You okay?” Jeremy asked as he pulled up next to her.
“I can give you a ride to school if you’d like?”
“Sure.” She wasn’t in the mood to argue and she really wanted to get away from that house.
They rode in silence for a moment before Sarah got the courage to ask him a question.
“Would you mind if I came over to your house after school?” She did not want to go and see Mel and Steven.
“Yeah, I don’t think my parents would mind. Is there a reason you want to come over?”
“It’s not about the talk if that’s what you’re thinking. I just… I have an issue with Steve and Mel right now.”
“Want to talk about it?”
“They just accused me of something without any evidence. I guess I should be used to that by now, everyone thinks I do drugs. It just hurt coming from them.”
“I knew you weren’t as bad as everyone says you are.”
“I never said I hadn’t tried them. Thanks for the ride.”
She hopped out of the car and made her way into the school.
“I really appreciate you letting me come to your house. It all just becomes too much sometimes at my house.” She thanked him as they were on their way to his house.
“It’s no problem.”
“Who’s this?” Jeremy’s mom asked as they walked in the door together.
“This is Sarah. She lives with Steve and Mel.”
“Oh, that’s right. It’s good to see you again.” She didn’t look happy, but Sarah was used to people not liking her. Not that it made it any easier.
“It’s good to see you again as well.”
Jeremy took Sarah to the living and they sat on the couch.
“Want to watch a movie and do some homework?”
“I’m up for a movie.”
“How does Red Dawn sound?’
“Depends. Is it the new one with Chris Hemsworth?”
He started the movie and soon homework was forgotten. They both watched it intently and Sarah couldn’t help but laugh at the bleeped curse words.
“Of course you would have the clean version.”
“I’m not the one who bought it.”
“Don’t tell me, goody two shoes Mormon boy has a bad side.”
“Maybe I do.”
I just shook my head and went back to watching the movie. The credits started rolling just as Jeremy’s dad walked in.
“Hey dad.” Jeremy greeted his dad as he started working on his homework again.
“Can I talk to you in the kitchen?” Sarah could hear the hint of anger in his voice.
They left leaving Sarah siting uncomfortably in the living room. Jeremy followed his dad into the kitchen and saw his mom waiting for them.
“Jeremy, we don’t feel comfortable with you hanging out with that girl.” His mom started.
“We don’t think she’s a good influence on you.” His dad added.
Sarah cringed as she heard their voices.
“You what?” Jeremy was shocked that they would say that.
“We spoke to Steve about this and we know about the stuff she’s into. We don’t want you going down again. It was hard enough the first time.”
“I’m not going to stop being her friend.”
“I’m afraid you don’t have a choice in the matter.”
“I chose who I do and who I don’t associate with.” Jeremy couldn’t keep the anger out of his voice.
“You will not disobey us.”
“You will not take away her only friend.”
“You will obey your parents. You will stop hanging out with her, end of discussion.”
“No, not end of discussion. I made a promise to her that I would be there for her because no one else is. You don’t see the way people treat her at school. They treat her worse than they treated me! No one can see how much it hurts her but me! I will not become another person that bullies her. I was raised batter then that. I was raised to befriend the friendless and help the helpless. I am going to do just that with or without your permission.”
Jeremy was livid when he left the kitchen and went back into the living room. His anger disappeared when he didn’t see Sarah. He ran out of the house and saw her down the street. He ran after her not without noticing the shaking of her shoulders. She was crying.
“No. You heard that didn’t you?”
“Why does it matter?” She asked turning around and glaring at him. “You’re just going to be another broken promise. The sooner you leave the sooner I can forget you.”
“I’m not breaking my promise to you. I am not going to become another jerk that bullies you. I was raised better than that.”
“Raised by the same people who don’t want you to hang out with me. I should have seen it coming. Everyone hates me! Everyone thinks I’m the worst person in the world! I’m not really that bad am I? I know I’m not on the greatest path, but it’s not like I’m a murderer. I am just so done with this! I’m tired of everyone hating me! So what if I’m into the wrong kind of things! It’s none of their business! I only do it to forget about the things they do to me! To forget about the words they say behind my back, to forget about my family, to forget about the living family I have that basically kicked me out today! I’m just so sick of it! I’m done. I-I’m done.” I was done with it. I wasn’t going to live like this anymore.
Jeremy wasn’t used to seeing her cry so much. “I’m here. I’m here and I don’t hate you. I don’t think there is anything wrong with you. You are fine the way you are. I’m not leaving just because my parents told me to. I promised to help you and I plan to keep that promise. What do you mean you’re done?”
“I appreciate your help Jeremy. You’re the kindest anyone has been to me in the past year. I don’t have to live like this. I can run away and live somewhere else. I’ll steal some money and make a new life somewhere else. I’ll go to another family member’s house if I need to. I don’t think I can stay here.”
“You can’t just run off.”
“Why not? No one would care. Steven basically kicked me out today. That’s why I wanted to come over. He told me he didn’t want me to come home until after school. Everyone wants me gone. I’ll be doing everyone a favor.”
“I don’t want you gone. I’d like for you to stay. You can come to my house every day after school if that’s what you want. Forget what my parents said. They’re just worried about me. They’re just afraid I’ll go down the ‘bad path’ again.”
“You went down a bad path?”
“That’s why we moved. I lost my little brother a few years ago and I got into some bad things. Pretty much the same things you’ve done. Even after I cleaned up my act the kids at school still tormented me. So, we moved. I got a fresh start and finally made a friend.”
“Now, if you break your promise I’ve got loads on you.” Sarah joked. “Honestly, even if you were to break your promise I probably wouldn’t even tell anyone you dated an older girl. I wouldn’t want to see anyone else bullied. Those guys can be pretty harsh.”
“Do you not care about what I’ve done?”
“Why should I? I’ve done all the same things you’ve probably done. It’s kind of nice to know I’m not the only bad Mormon in town. It makes me feel less worthless.”
“You’re not worthless.”
“Thanks Romeo, but that’s the opinion of one. It would take a lot more to actually make a difference.”
“Can I share a scripture with you or would you hate me?”
She just smiled. “You’re too good of a friend for me to hate you. Go ahead and share the scripture.”
Jeremy smiled and took out his phone. He opened up his scripture app and went to the Doctrine and Covenants. “Okay, this is D&C 18:10 ‘Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God’. After I cleaned up my act I read this scripture all the time. I just wanted to remind myself that even though everyone else hated me God knew my worth and loved me.”
“I’ve always loved that scripture. Can I tell you a secret?”
“I basically shared all my secrets with you. You can share yours with me.”
“I felt it last night after reading the talk you gave me.”
“What did you feel exactly?”
“The Spirit. I almost didn’t believe it at first, but I knew what it was. I hadn’t felt it in so long I didn’t think I could feel it again.”
Jeremy smiled brighter than she’d ever seen. “Sarah that’s fantastic! That means the Spirit was testifying to you that the talk was true.”
“I know. I really liked that talk.”
“Yeah, it was really good.”
“Would you read another one?”
“Only if it’s as good as the last one.”
“Would you want to go back to my house and pick one out together?”
“I don’t know. Being totally honest, I get enough harassment at school. I’d prefer not to get it from your parents.”
“They won’t say anything. I’ll make sure of it.”
“Is there a topic you’d like to read about?” He asked as they made their way back to his house.
“How does something on God’s love sound?”
“Corny, but I’d read it.”
Jeremy smiled and brought her into his house again.
“Jeremy you do not walk out…” Jeremy’s mom’s words trailed off as she noticed me with her son.
“I promise not to corrupt your son, Mrs. Thorn. If you’ll excuse us we have some church stuff to do.” Sarah told her politely.
Jeremy held back a smile as he led her to a room with a computer. He sat at the computer and started searching for a talk. They spent the next ten minutes trying to decide on a talk. When they finally chose one they printed it out and she put in her bag.
“I really appreciate your help, Jeremy. It means a lot to actually have one person on my side that knows where I’m coming from.” Sarah confessed as he drove her home.
“I know how much I needed someone when I was going through Hell and back. I’m glad you can have someone. Now, that we’re friends and you don’t hate me, would you do me a huge favor?”
“I am not going to church.”
“Don’t worry, that’s not what I was going to say. I was wondering if you would get rid if your bottle of alcohol.”
She thought about it for a minute. “I guess I could do that.”
“Yeah, I guess I need to start somewhere. That would be a good start.”
“Do you mind if I come in and make sure you pour it down a drain or something?”
“If you really want to. I’ll probably be getting in trouble for being out late though. Be prepared for some possible yelling.”
“You had to deal with my parents. I can deal with Steve and Mel.”
He pulled up to her house and they both got out. She unlocked the door and they quietly made their way upstairs. She got the bottle out of her closet and she took it downstairs. Jeremy watched as she poured it down the kitchen sink and threw the bottle in the trash.
“There, now it’s gone forever.” She said feeling a weight lift from her shoulders.
“Sarah, here have you been?” Mel asked.
“I’ve been with Jeremy.”
“What have you been doing with Jeremy?” Sarah knew she could smell the alcohol that she had just dumped down the drain.
“We weren’t doing anything bad.”
“You better not be getting that boy into trouble again. His parents don’t want him going down the bad path again.”
“I know that okay? I all ready heard it all from his parents. I’m not in the mood to deal with more people who think I’m not good enough to hang out with him. Do you guys not realize that everyone cares except him? I am not going to let one more person tell me that I can’t have the only friend that I have. No matter what anyone else says Jeremy and I are going to be friends.” Mel just stood there staring at her. “I’ll walk you out.” Sarah told Jeremy just wanting to get away from Mel.
They walked outside and Sarah let out a sigh of relief.
“I’m so tired of people trying to control my life. Why does everyone care so much that we are friends? It’s not their decision it’s ours.”
“Like anyone really cares what we have to say. They just know that I’m bad and you’re good and they don’t want me turning you bad. I swear the people here act like I’m freaking Hitler and I’ll turn anyone who gets close to me into a Nazi.”
Jeremy laughed. “Let me know when you read that talk okay? Maybe we can talk about it this time.”
“Maybe we’ll talk about it, but no promises.”
“That’s good enough.”
She gave him a hug. “Thanks for helping me.”
“Anytime.” He said hugging her back.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“I’ll pick you up for school again.”
“Hey Jeremy, I read the talk you gave me.” Sarah called Jeremy the next day after school.
“What did you think?”
“I really liked it. I kind of keep thinking about how Uchtdorf said that Satan wants us to think that God doesn’t care about us. I can’t help but think that I’m letting Satan have what he wants by blaming God for what happened.”
“Satan wants us to think that God doesn’t care about us so that we will be more susceptible to doing wrong things. If we think God doesn’t care then we don’t think anyone will care if we drink or do drugs. God cares. He really does and he hates to see us do the things we’re not supposed to. God loves each of us.”
“I know. I can feel that that’s true.”
“Did anything else stand out?”
“I like that he said we won’t have pain and sorrow forever. It reminded me that there is a life after this and at least in that life everything will be perfect. In that life I’ll have my family again and we’ll be together forever.”
“That’s exactly what you needed to hear. I know it’s hard to lose a family member let alone the pain of all of them. I know without a doubt that you see them again someday as long as you keep on the path.”
“Do you think He’s disappointed in me? Do you think I’ve let Him and my family down?”
“I don’t think you’ve let anyone down. I think God is glad that you’re trying to be better. I know your family only wants you to be happy. I know they would hate to see you this upset, but I know they would be glad to see you interested in the church again.”
“I don’t want anyone to be disappointed in me, especially my family. They always did everything they could to give me a good life. I owe them.”
“As long as you’re trying to be better they’ll be proud of you.”
“Thank you for giving me this talk, Jeremy.”
“I told you I’d help.”
“Can I get your thoughts on something?” Sarah asked nervously as they drove to school.
“I prayed for some guidance last night. I got an answer I really didn’t want, but I know it’s the right answer. I’d like to go to church, just once. I want to see if I feel the Spirit again. At the same time, I’m scared. I don’t want to see all the kids from school. I know they’ll make fun of me.”
“If you really want I’ll take you to church with me. If anything happens we can leave. I only want you to go if you really want to go. I know it will be hard to go back.”
“I know this is what I’m supposed to do. I want to at least try it.”
“Okay. I’ll pick up on Sunday for church.”
“Where are you going?” Steve asked as he saw her try to sneak out the door.
“I’m going somewhere with Jeremy.” Her voice shook with nervousness and she hoped he couldn’t tell.
“Don’t let that boy miss church, Sarah.”
“He’s not going to.”
Sarah’s heart raced and her breathing went shallow as she waited for Jeremy to pick her up for church. She wore one of the dresses her mom had given her for her birthday before she died. The dress just made her feel warm and like she was in her mom’s arms. Jeremy pulled up and her heartbeat quickened.
“You ready?” He asked her noticing her nervousness.
“Yeah, I want to do this.”
They pulled up to the church and Sarah tried to steady her breathing. She could see everyone’s eyes on her as she walked through the doors. Jeremy took her hand in his trying to calm her down.
“I’m not so sure I can do this anymore.” She told him.
“Yes you can. I know you can. We’ll sit in the back where no one will see us.”
“They all ready see us. Everyone is staring.”
“Don’t worry about them. Your family would want you to be here.”
They sat in the back, but Sarah could still feel everyone’s eyes on her. The room seemed to be louder than normal. She heard her name whispered more times than she would have liked. As she listened to the speakers she could feel the Spirit. Tears came to her eyes again, but this time she didn’t try to stop them.
“What’s wrong?” Jeremy asked worried.
“I can feel it.” Was all she said.
“Are you comfortable going to the next hour?” He asked once Sacrament ended.
“I think so.”
They went to a small classroom and sat down together. Sarah was fidgeting in her seat as the kids who bullied her in school started to enter. Their eyes would widen as they saw her, but then they’d turn hard and hateful.
“Don’t worry about them. They won’t do anything at church.” Jeremy whispered to her reassuringly.
“I hope so.”
“I see we have a visitor.” The teacher pointed out. “Would you like to introduce yourself?”
“I’m Sarah. I’m friends with Jeremy.” She tried to sound normal and not nervous.
“Wonderful, I’m pleased to meet you. Do you go to school with everyone here?”
Unfortunately, I thought. “Yeah I do.”
“Good, maybe that will make you more comfortable.”
He had good intentions, but he didn’t know how evil those kids were. The guys mostly stayed out of her way, but the girls were plain evil. Sarah ignored their glares as she listed to the teacher speak and watched the video he showed. She stayed behind a little after class to thank him.
“I’d like to say thank you for that wonderful lesson and for being so kind.” She actually enjoyed that class minus the glares.
“I’m just fulfilling my calling, but I’m glad you liked the lesson. I hope to see you again.”
“I’d like to come again.” She said honestly before leaving. “I really appreciate you doing this for me Jeremy.”
“There’s no need to keep thanking me. I’m doing what a good missionary is supposed to do. Are you comfortable going to Young Women’s? I know the girls are the meanest out of anyone.”
“I’d really like to hear another lesson. I’m going to try it.”
“Okay, but if you need to leave just tell me.”
“I’ll let you know if they suddenly attack me.”
“I saw how they looked at you in class. They’re not very happy with you being here.”
“I know that. I just don’t really want to leave yet.”
“I’m glad you want to stay.”
Jeremy showed her where to go and she sat in the back corner of the room by herself. As the girls started to come in she got glares again. She just brushed them off.
“What are you doing here?” Barbra asked rudely.
“I came to church to learn.”
“Sure you did. You should know we have a strict no drinking and no doing drugs here in the Mormon Church. I’m pretty sure you forgot that one. Now you are not only dragging yourself down, but Jeremy as well. I heard all about that party you dragged him to and how you spiked his drink. He’s just too nice to tell you to go away.” She sneered.
“I didn’t do anything to Jeremy. We didn’t go to any party together. I did not spike his drink either.”
“I’m sure you didn’t. We all know you’re a little liar. We all know you’re not really interested in church. You’re just trying to drag Jeremy down because he reminds you of your brother.” Sarah sucked in a breath at the mention of her brother. “We all know that since your brother will never be able to go on a mission that you’re trying to make sure Jeremy never gets to go on his either.”
She felt the overwhelming urge to slap her. She stood shakily trying to control herself. “I would never ruin someone’s life like that. I would never hurt someone like that. You want to know why? I would never want to be like you.”
Sarah walked out calmly, but once she was out the door she ran out of the building. She sat on the curb trying not to cry. She should have known that was coming. No one wanted her at church. They didn’t even care that she was trying to become a better person. They all just believed everything they heard and attacked her for it any chance they got. All she wanted was to go to church and try to get close to God again. She got out her phone ready to text Jeremy when he walked out the door.
“I went to make sure you were okay, but you weren’t in class.”
“Yeah, I had to leave. You know I’m not using you right?” She asked letting what Barbra said get to her.
“What? Where did that come from?”
“Everyone thinks I’m using you. They think I’m trying to prevent you from going on your mission. I just want you to know I would never do that.”
“I know you would never do that.”
“All I wanted to do was go to church. I thought that if they saw me going to church again they wouldn’t do anything. I didn’t think they would try to prevent me from going to church.”
“Next week maybe we can skip last hour and have a mini lesson outside or in my car.”
“Would you do that? I don’t want your parents to think I’m making you skip church. I’d like for someone to like me.”
“It’s not a big deal. I can deal with my parents. I just want you to come to church again.”
“I’d like to continue going to church.”
For the next couple of weeks Jeremy had her read some more talks and shared more scriptures with her. He took her to church and when last hour came they would go outside and have their own lesson. The more she went the less everyone seemed to care. She still didn’t dare go to Young Women’s.
One day while they were having their own lesson outside the Bishop came up to them.
“Would you mind if I sat in on your lesson?” He asked.
“Not at all.” Sarah said with a smile.
They continued their lesson with the Bishop. Sarah learned a lot more with the Bishop chiming in and answering her questions.
“Sarah would you mind talking to me in my office?” The Bishop asked when hey ended their lesson.
“Sure.” She said nervously.
“I’ll meet you at my car when you’re done.” Jeremy told her.
“Can I ask why you two always have a lesson outside? I’ve seen you out there for a few weeks now.”
“I don’t really get along with the girls in last hour. I still wanted to hear a lesson so Jeremy offered to teach me instead.”
“Can I ask why you don’t get along with the girls?”
“Being totally honest I haven’t been doing the best things since my family passed away. Everyone kind of stopped talking to me once I started going downhill. Now they’re all convinced I’m trying to bring Jeremy down. They don’t want me to bring them down so they tried to get rid of me. It worked.”
“Why did you go down so badly?”
“When my family died part of me died with them. I needed someone to be there for me and to help me get through it, but no one wanted to talk about it. They didn’t understand that I needed to talk about it. I started drinking so that I could forget about it for a little while. I tried it once and everyone found out. They started to hate me and they all stopped talking to me. They would call me names and I hurt me. It hurt me a lot. I started drinking regularly to help forget about what they said about me. I never really liked the alcohol, I just liked being able to forget about things for a little while. Even though I’m trying to come back they all still hate me. I’m just tired of people hating me.”
“Would it bother you if I spoke to the girls? Maybe I could get them to be kind.”
“If you’d like to try, I wouldn’t mind. I really enjoy being back and I’d like to go to Young Women’s again.”
“I’ll talk to them at mutual on Wednesday. Would you like to come to mutual? We’re going to listen to a talk and have popcorn and ice cream.”
“That was always my favorite mutual activity, but I’d rather not. Maybe once I can get along with the girls I’ll go.”
“Fair enough. Thanks for talking with me. If you ever have a problem with anyone just let me know.”
“Thank you, I will.”
“Are you ready for testimony meeting?” Jeremy asked as he picked her up for church.
“They were always kind of cool because you got to hear what the church meant to everyone. Everyone always had a different story. The only part that sucked was the no food. It’s still sucks to be honest.”
That month Sarah fasted that she would be accepted more in the church. She didn’t want to be an outsider anymore. She wanted everyone to realize that she wasn’t as bad as they thought.
They took their usual seat in the back getting less and less stares the more times they went. Mel and Steve smiled proudly at her every time they saw her. When testimony meeting started Sarah was surprised to see Jeremy go up. He smiled at her as he sat and waited for his turn.
“My testimony has grown a lot since I’ve moved here. I know that things happen for a reason. I know why I was supposed to move here. I know that I was sent here by God to be a friend and a missionary to someone who needed it. I’ve been given the wonderful opportunity to be missionary to a girl I met at school. At first she didn’t like me and she didn’t want to hear about the church. Slowly I got her to let me teach her more about the gospel. Finally, I got her to come to church again. It still wasn’t perfect. She was uncomfortable with coming at first. Eventually she started to like it. Now I don’t even have to ask if she wants to come. She’s always ready and eager to come. I’d like to thank her for coming back. I know personally how hard it is to come back after you’ve fallen away. I’m proud of her for doing so. I want her to know that I know with all my heart that this church is true. I know that by coming to church you can become closer to God. I know that our families can be together forever. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” Jeremy smiled as he sat down next to Sarah.
She could only hug him and say thank you. Without even thinking her legs moved and before she knew she was up at the podium.
“I never thought I’d be back here. After I lost my family in a car crash I went to a dark place. I was depressed and lonely. I tried to get some help from friends in the beginning, but I gave up when I realized no one cared. All my life I was taught to help those who needed it. At the time I didn’t understand why no one was willing to help me. I turned down a road I wasn’t supposed to. I started doing things I wasn’t supposed to. Inside I knew it wrong the whole time. All I kept thinking was that I wanted it all to go away. I wanted all the pain to go away. I couldn’t understand why my Heavenly Father who was supposed to love me would do this to me. I finally realized that this was just a test. This was supposed to happen to me and I was supposed to learn from it. I did learn from it. I learned that things do happen for a reason. I know that my family will be together again if I live righteously. If this hadn’t happened I would have never met my best friend. I know that at times things seem dark and hopeless, but if we stay on the path and live right things will be okay. I’m glad to have my testimony of this church back. I know that this church is true and I know that God does love each of us. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
My heart pounded as I made my way back to my seat. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I knew from that moment on that everything was going to be okay. I knew that as long as I kept getting better that everything would be okay and my life could be happy again. I owed it all to Jeremy. The one person who refused to give up on me. I could never thank him enough for giving me my life back.
So, what do you think?