Welcome to Episode 5! If you’re just joining us, feel free to read the earlier episodes to get caught up. Hope you enjoy!
When I was eight or nine years old I stole a Hot Wheels car from one of my friends. It wasn’t particularly new or shiny, but I thought it was cool and I thought I couldn’t live without it, without being able to play with it whenever I pleased.
I slipped it into my pocket and feigned concern when it couldn’t be found. I knew it was wrong, that it was one of the Ten Commandments even, but I thought I couldn’t live without it. I took it home and played with it and didn’t tell anyone.
It was fun for about a day, and then the guilt came. Waves of guilt washed over me for a week, and I constantly worried about getting caught or going to Hell—or both—until I couldn’t take it anymore.
I ran to my mom one afternoon—car in hand, tears already streaming down my face—and came clean. The words rushed out of me through chokes and gasps, and the second I let it out another wave washed over me. Relief.
There was something freeing about getting that secret off my chest, about confessing and letting someone in on the thing that had consumed me for that week. My mom grounded me for a week, but that week was a breeze compared to the week I’d had before. And I never forgot what that wave of relief felt like.
That’s how it felt to talk to her. I never talked to anyone about the accident, but Olivia had a way of pulling it out of me, of pulling everything out of me. And that’s how we spent dates two, three, and four—her asking and me answering.
It wasn’t completely one-sided. I got my questions in and she shared plenty too—about her dad and her mom, her brother who she didn’t talk to anymore, her job. But it all seemed to come back to me sharing things with her that I had hardly even shared with myself.
I don’t know how she did it or how it happened, but I looked at her across the table on our fourth date and thought, wow—this person knows more about me than anyone else. This person I’ve known for a little over a month knows things that some of my best friends back home don’t even know the half of. Am I losing it? Am I actually telling her all of this?
She looked at me from her side of the table and smiled and three little words that had been exclusively reserved for someone else popped into my mind. Then I really thought I was going crazy.
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