I just wanted to burst out in tears. She was going to do this; she was, really, going to do this and nothing or no one could stop her. The chapel had only a few small pews in it, though it was a lovely little sanctuary. Susan and I had led a special service for the Junior High Methodist Youth Fellowship in that very room just three years previous to her scheduling it for her wedding. How could this be happening?
“Oh, Susan. This weekend is the big game with Central, didn’t you know that? In fact, the game is on that very day you are being married. It’s an away game, or I might have been able to arrive at the game a little late so I could go to the wedding. I’m so sorry. I would go, but I can’t.” The arch rivals of our school were the teams of Central High in the next town over. Basketball games with this team were at the very top of the list for attendance. I was one of the two mascots for our cheerleading team and did not want to miss the game.
Friday afternoon, I passed by Susan’s locker as I left Chem Class on my way over to the Admin Office. It looked to me like she was clearing everything out of her locker. I had not expected that. “Hey, Susan, whatcha doin’ there? Looks like you are takin’ everything out? There’s still a few months to the end of school, ya know?”
“Not for me. I’m gettin’ married and it’s against the rules for me to go to school now.” I didn’t know that she had to quit immediately and it was a shock. “Besides, I need to prepare for the baby and all.”
So, it was true. I’d defended her against those rumors but, of course, that made a lot more sense as to why she insisted on going ahead with the marriage under all circumstances. I felt such a lump in my throat and like I would throw up. Instead, I just cried. Right there in the hallway of school.
“Oh, so there is something you didn’t know, huh? Yeah, it’s true. I’m pregnant and the rules in this school are that I can’t keep going to school.” Susan slammed her locker closed and lifted up the bag, full of her things.
“I’m sooo sorry. Please, tell me if there is anything I can do to help you. Really, I mean it, anything.” Susan gave a nervous laugh, nodded her head, and slung the bag’s strap over her shoulder.
“Yeah, I just might give ya a call. I’m not much of a cook.” Turning to go, Susan looked over her shoulder. “Have a good time at the game. Hope they win.” Funny how I noticed she said they win and not we win. She was gone from those halls, never to return.
I wish I could say I was a better person, or friend, than I was; but, the sad truth is I wasn’t. Nothing would keep me away from that particular game, as long as I could still breathe. It’s like that with adolescents, sadly. A basketball game was more important to me than the support of my good friend who was getting married. As an adult so many decades later, I’m appalled; but, well, facts are facts… I went to the game instead of the wedding.
I may as well have skipped the basketball game for all the good it did me to go. My heart wasn’t in it adn my mind wasn’t on the game. All I could think of was Susan’s wedding and, as the clock advanced, I imagined just what Susan would be doing right then. Putting on her makeup, standing at the altar, etc. for the entire time of the game. Did we win the game? Hmmmpf, I have no idea; I don’t remember. What I do remember is that my friend didn’t have me at that wedding. Whereas, even had I not gone, our team still would have had 6 girls stirring up an already-stirred-up fan club to cheer them on to victory or console them in defeat. Susan had no one. I resolved to make it up to her.
*Teen names have been changed.
****Teen Stresses: Marriage, Conclusion… Coming Tomorrow