Like all good stories, this one starts with a boy and a girl. To the untrained eye this relationship would seem unorthodox, at the very least, odd. However, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start back a bit and get back to how it all started.
It was about half way through 7th grade and the boy (for all intents and purposes, we will call him Will) was leading an average life. Will wasn’t that terribly special in any particular area. He had a knack in English, but was often too lazy to even do his homework. He had some friends whom he held dear, but never really had a best friend to call his own. By no means consider him an outcast though; he was quite sociable. His life changed quite a bit when SHE came to town (to make things flow a bit better, we shall call the girl Elizabeth).
Little did Will know that Elizabeth coming to Shippensburg would be the single most life altering moment in his life, aside from coming to have a relationship with Jesus. She was about 5’6” and of a fairly well balanced stature. With brown hair down to the middle of her shoulders and her brown eyes, Elizabeth would come to be something of an item to him. For the sake of clarification, we shall create the example of Will being somewhat of a Bilbo (by nature only) and Elizabeth somewhat of a Gandalf (again, by nature only). Will was a fellow that enjoyed his comfortable life and didn’t have any sort of adventures; he never did anything out of the ordinary. Elizabeth was the Gandalf to Will’s hobbit-like existence. She stirred him.
Very odd indeed was the entrance Elizabeth made into Will’s life. With in-human clarity he remembers the day. It was a day like most; Will was sitting in Geography with his teacher blabbing about his “dam”-slides. However, that was far from his mind. He was pondering going home and picking up his guitar that he could barely play. While he was dreaming of guitar solos that would never be his to write and concerts filled with screaming fans that always seemed want more—then it happened. All of the sudden his assistant principle walked into the room, quite to the startle of the teacher. He pulled the teacher aside and started to whisper something to him. That, however, is not what caught Will’s eyes, it was who was right beside the principle. She was gorgeous to him. Little did he know that she would flip his world up-side down and cause him to live life.
Much to Will’s pleasure she came to sit behind him. Being the polite fellow he is, Will introduced himself and conveyed (with too much enthusiasm) how thrilled he was to meet her. She, strictly out of politeness, introduced herself as Elizabeth. You could tell that she didn’t really have much of an interest in him, though. Whether it was the apathetic way she talked to him or the way she never looked him in the eyes, Will caught the message. He merely turned around in his desk and continued to ponder his soloing.
That is the grand entrance to our character; a simple exchange of words that was both awkward and insincere. This, however, was merely the beginning.
Life continued to progress as normal, actually, too normal. Within this amount of time Will began to realize just how much of a rut he lived in. The most peculiar thing about it all was he didn’t even know what a rut was until he found out he was in one. This was a time of great reflection for him. Will began to analyze every part of him with much vigor, ripping apart every character trait he had, and then re-assembling himself. He started to compare himself with all of the things that he thought made up Elizabeth. While they were on a first-name basis, he still barely knew her. He knew this much: she dressed in all black, she had pink highlights, and she listened to music he couldn’t understand. What’s worst was he found himself becoming rather keen on the idea of them becoming an item. He knew he would have to change, and fast.
It was already halfway through the year and the year was winding down. If he was going to act, he would have to act now. So Will devised a plan that would accomplish three basic goals:
Start talking to her more.
Listen to the music she listens to.
Buy some black clothes.
Not a terribly complex idea, he would just have to act a bit faster. Within the next few weeks he had ended up borrowing many of her C.D.’s, and had acquired a few black shirts, mainly those of old 70’s bands, the bands she listened to had the most horrific shirts he had ever seen.
The time had come. It was about a month into knowing her and he was so ready to ask her out on a date (which is quite peculiar, he was nowhere near old enough to drive, nor did he have money). He approached, quite coolly, and popped the question. His mind was not quite prepared for the reaction he got: she leaped into his arms with what became a hug! He couldn’t believe it, and that isn’t even the best part. She then said into his ear, “Of course!”
The reaction he was looking for. From there a simple childhood crush turned into what would be a very in-depth relationship. They spent all of the time together, and when they weren’t together they were either on the phone, or writing notes to one another. Through time they actually created an entire click, centered around themselves. They created a group of friends that consisted of around 12. The only boys to be found were Will and Tim; the rest was a broad spectrum of girls. This was a time of much happiness, and abundant joy. All they could do was focus on each other and poured themselves into this relationship.
It was a bright sunny day and Will was over at Liz’s house. You see, she lived on a farm. As of right now they were hanging out in her barn. In the loft she had an old truck seat and they were sitting on it in a rather comfortable fashion. Something caught Will’s eyes though, she wasn’t wearing any sort of lace sleeve. Once in a while (when Liz wasn’t wearing some sort of black lace sleeves) he would see what appeared to be a series of cuts on her arms. Sometimes there would be ones that looked much fresher than others, which looked years old. One day he questioned her, and that question added a whole new dynamic to their relationship. He merely asked, “Hey, what are those cuts I always see on your arms?”
She dogged the question, “Um… nothing. I fell, yeah, I fell down the steps and hit my head!”
Will was quite confused, “Wait… I don’t get that. How can you fall down your steps, and cut your arm in perfectly parallel lines and still manage to hit your head? I don’t even see a lump.”
“Well, um… ok. I will tell you the truth. You have to promise me that you won’t freak out though, or judge me,” said Liz to a quite worried Will.
“Ok, well, out with it then!” he didn’t mean to sound rude, but he was worried.
“I am a cutter… I have been for about 2 years,” she started to tear up a bit, and her eye-liner was running now. She appeared more broken and fragile to Will than a new-born.
“I don’t understand, how have I not noticed?”
“Well, have you noticed I always have my lace sleeves on? Why else would I wear these?” she was becoming defensive.
“Because it is attractive? I always thought you wore them because it was awesome looking. Now that I think about it, no, I guess I haven’t. Let me see you arms. I have to know what your arms look like.” He was sorry he said it. With a sigh she bared her arms and revealed what was many years of pain. Liz’s arms were nothing but scars, both of them. Will actually had a hard time trying to find a clean spot of skin. Scars layered scars; it would have taken many nights of depression to create arms such as these. Without a conscious though, Will started to cry.
Will always considered himself a very strong person, and by many accounts a tough guy. He couldn’t stop though; in the top of a barn on a very old truck seat, Will was crying his eyes out. The thought of his beloved Liz slashing herself repeatedly would not leave his mind. In fact, he slumped over on her lap, and covered his face. At this point, Liz started to cry, because Will was crying. It took about an hour for Will to compose himself. They were both red in the face from crying, and that is what took the longest to get rid of. Throughout the whole ordeal -after he composed himself- he swore to stick with her until she stopped.
They walked out of that barn changed, and more than that: closer. Will refused to leave her alone for the next two months. He devoted much of his time within the relationship coaxing Liz to stop. Every day in class Will would hold what he called “arm check”. Liz would just pull down her sleeves and show him her arms. Once in a while he would discover a fresh red line going across her arms, and he would scold her about it, but try not to appear mad.
After about 2 months of this, Will found that he was not in love with her like he thought, rather, in love with the idea of saving her from her cutting. He would often times think about ways that he could get her to stop, instead of just thinking about her. Will realized that he was face to face with a very difficult choice. If Will were to end the relationship with her, but still remain her best friend (which they had sworn to do if they broke up) then he could devote more time to trying to save her; on the other hand, he didn’t know if that would be the cause of more cutting. He decided to do it. He would break up with her.
She didn’t take it very well… in fact, quite bad.
When he said the words, “I think we should go back to being friends” all he heard was her choke up and then the phone shut off. He was sitting on his bed at the time and it hit him, she might do something stupid. He called right back and Liz’s mother picked up. Will asked where she was, and her mother started letting into him about being such a horrid person and how she ran off into the woods by her house. Then with a furious slam he heard Liz’s mother hang up on him. All Will knew to do was pray. He began to ask God that He would protect Liz from doing anything stupid. Well, Will got the answer to his prayer. He called back that night only to talk Liz out of killing herself and that night they got back together.
You would think, “All flowers and sunshine, right?” Well, no. The next few weeks progressed without incident, but Will got the sinking feeling that something wasn’t right. He decided he would call her and ask Liz what was up. During that phone conversation Liz revealed to him that she had been cheating on him and dating another guy at the same time. Then she broke up with him. Will knows he deserved it. He took it with an honorable air about him and told her that was ok. That night he prayed. He just said,
”God, take from me all that hinders me.
You have ended one era, now start another.”
The next day, Liz called and they argued about the legitimacy of God, and it ended with them both swearing to never speak again.
Years progressed on for Will like they always do. He soon moved on from Liz and rediscovered his old friends that he used to hang out with; much to his surprise they took him back after he ditched them. For the next year or so he progressed in his relationship with God and spent many times in his room praying for a change of the norm. Although, life for Will just didn’t seem to change and he was becoming ok with that. He moved from his cozy trailer home to in-town. Now he lived in a room that was nearly the half the size of his old house. He found himself becoming more and more sociable, and getting to know many people. There was one friend that was quiet dear to his heart though, Xavier. They lived very close to each other in town and found themselves together all of the time. And for a while he found himself slipping from God.
This period of depriving God only heightened when he acquired a job and then a new guy moved into town that he became friends with. Eventually he would quit his job and just lead the quiet life again, but this time it was without friends. You see, once the new guy moved into town everyone Will was friends with started to slowly drift from Will to the new guy. It was a crushing blow when they all finally told him that they wanted nothing to do with him. Much to his surprise, a prayer he prayed about two years ago came back to his mind,
“God, take from me all that hinders me.
You have ended one era, now start another”
While he was sitting up in his room thinking about how miserable he was, this prayer came back to his mind. Immediately he dropped to his knees, asking for forgiveness for the pig-headed way in which he lived the past three years. It was in that moment he found the love that he had been looking for. He had spent the past few years looking for it in girls, with friends and with things- he knew what he was missing. From here there was a very radical change with the way he lived. With a new found sense of purpose, he got off his knees and started to read his dust covered Bible.
The next month was quite interesting, with no friends and his Bible, he was the happiest he had been in a long time. Something started burning within his heart. There was an undeniable force tugging at his heart and he could no longer ignore it. By chance, in his Honors English class was the very girl he swore to never speak again to, Liz. She was different though, mature. From scattered conversations he had eves-dropped on he discovered that she was a prominent leader in the Future Leaders club and quite learned. She was much nicer, and from what he could tell, no longer trapped by cutting. He now knew what his drive was, to re-kindle the friendship they had.
What was he to do though? He still didn’t have any real friends and was pretty content with his Bible. He just thought to trust God. So, one day he started talking to Liz on the way to lunch, and they just clicked. It was like Liz was a totally different girl than when they parted. And, much to his surprise, she was more than glad to get back to knowing him. It was something magical really, a whole new set of friends, and a whole new purpose, but the same Liz.
Now, we come to the point in the story where you are undoubtedly wondering, “Well, what happened?” or maybe something along the lines of, “Is that it?” Well, yes- and no. This is not it for Will and Liz. I would love to tell you the rest of the story, but one can only write what they have seen. Their story isn’t over. You may see them in the halls laughing and joking, but more likely to see them at lunch talking. It is a rather interesting feat that two so different would be able to stay so close, even after many years of separation. We can only wish them the best of luck in their life and with each other.
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