The One for Me Ch. 01-03byIread2relax©
Hello, everyone. Here is a story I wrote last year. I never posted it because, I felt it wasn't good enough, but it is a story I really liked. So I decided to submit it anyway. If you like it, fine. If not, well that's OK too.
I certainly hope you read it. It's a long read, but I think it will be worth it in the end. If you are going to search for errors and mistakes, I'm sure you will find plenty, as this is self-edited, but please don't let human error distract you from the story.
My name is Ross Thompson. I am the fifth born, and the third son of Bishop Robert Thompson and First Lady Evelyn Thompson.
Growing up in a church family is no easy feat, everything relates back to the bible, or gospel. If we kids wanted to get into anything, we had to prove it was wholesome.
My parents had seven kids and we were all actively involved in the church. Even when we didn't want to, we were expected to be active members. I cannot recall a Sunday when we didn't attend The Greater Harvest Pentecostal Apostolic Faith Church of Zion, GHPA for short.
We weren't allowed to date any one that was not of the church. We could not go to dances, parties, or anything that played the devil's music. None of us were allowed to go to prom. Our friends were screened, and if it was hinted that one of them went against the church's teachings, our friendship was over.
My best friend growing up was a guy named Rory. We met in pre-K, and played together every day at school.
Rory's birthday was in early one April and he happily invited me to his party. I was so excited. I rushed home, my six year old heart bursting with gladness. "Momma, momma," I yelled. "Can I go to Rory's house for his party, please?" I begged.
Momma looked at me. Shaking her head she firmly answered. "Ross, no, you cannot go over Rory's house. His family is not..." She stopped recognizing the look of total devastation on my face. I was only six and didn't understand. I only knew Momma wouldn't let me go. She politely but firmly called Rory's mom and explained to her that because of our religion, I couldn't participate in any activities that played secular music, so although we were friends at school, I would not be able to go to his house for his birthday. That night as she tucked me in bed, she explained why I could not go to my best friend's party. "Now, Ross, I know you might not understand. But, Rory is not the type of little boy you need to be friends with. His family doesn't serve God, well, not in the right way.
"But Momma, his family goes to church, too." I tried to tell her.
"We can't be around people that don't believe in God the way that we do. You can be nice to him at school, but you cannot go to his house." Momma finally stated. Then she held me for a while as I cried, and she left my room.
I didn't understand. Momma said I couldn't be friends with my best friend. That night, my heart was crushed. It wasn't fair. It wasn't right. I sobbed. Why couldn't I go? He was my best friend. I don't care what church he goes to. Silently, I cried myself to sleep.
The next day, Momma made sure she bought Rory a nice gift. She even bought me a toy robot I wanted, but I was still hurt. I wanted to go to that party. I told Rory that I wasn't allowed to go to his birthday party because he didn't believe in God the way that we did. I could tell by the look on his face that he didn't understand it any more than I did but the thing that I remember the most was the look of hurt in his eyes. That look of hurt however, was replaced by a look of excitement when I handed him his birthday gift. It was as if the hurt of my revelation was never there.
We remained friends until he moved away. I remember the day that Rory told me that he was moving. My heart actually hurt. He had been my best friend and confidant and now I had no one. The day he left was probably one of the worst days in my short life. I remembered trying not to cry, to swallow the lump in my throat but I failed. The tears came and you know what? I didn't care. My brothers tried to cheer me up, but they didn't get it.
Growing up was difficult for me. I fought with my brothers, argued with my sisters because I was so angry. I didn't have any friends. No one wanted to be around me. Momma had so many dumb rules and I was always, always in trouble.
Overtime, I learned to sit when told, listen when grown folks were talking, and keep quiet unless I was asked to speak. Did I agree with everything they did? No, but to keep the peace, I went along whatever they came up with. One day when I was in Junior High, after being teased all day, the anger that was seething inside me came to the surface.
You see, church people wore two faces. On one side they appeared caring and loving, always saying nice things to encourage others. But when they were away from the church, some of them were the meanest, most conniving people you'd ever meet.
My Dad had just been named Pastor of GHPA, and everyone in the family was expected to be actively involved in the church. I just wanted to be left alone. Mom wanted more and like always she pushed. I was fourteen, with out of control hormones, so I pushed back.
In a fit of anger and hurt, I told her what I thought of her so called holiness, and how she was only nice to people she liked. If they didn't go to our church, she treated them like crap. I expounded upon her ill-treatment of my best friend. I simply told Mom how I felt.
She screamed for my Dad and he came into the room. My fist were clenched and drawn into my sides. My heart pounded. I inhaled a deep breath as fury consumed me. My eyes were filled with rage as I stared at the one person who was the target for my ire. I just had to get the feelings off of my chest.
Dad stepped in. He stood between Mom and me, effectively blocking her from my view. "Go to your room, Now! Ross." He ordered in a calm voice. I've never been more afraid than I was in that moment. I looked at my father. I was frustrated, tired, and hurting. I wanted to scream at the injustices that were being done, but I said nothing. I simply stood and walked to my room barely holding in the tears of defeat that threatened to fall.
Both parents followed me to my room and walked in. Dad told Mom to leave the room, but she wanted to see him to beat my behind; he told her he would handle the situation. So, she finally left. He didn't yell just stood silently. My heart pounded as I began to sweat. I stood stoically waiting.
Dad looked at me and shook his head as if he was tired and then finally spoke, He told me he understood and we talked. He also told me if I ever disrespected his wife, my mother again, I'd need to find someplace to live because I would no longer be welcomed in his home. That was the first and last time, I ever talked back to Momma. After talking to him, I realized that silence was golden. Mom would tell me what she wanted, and I'd just do it.
One day at school, I was in gym when the football coach asked me about trying out. Normally church kids didn't join teams, so I was surprised at first. The next day, I stayed after school to try out. We didn't have service or practice, so I could get home a little late as long as I explained my whereabouts.
The other players seemed to dislike me on sight. "Hey church boy, we aren't thumping any bibles out here." One guy called, while the other players who were just as condescending jeered and taunted me also. Coach told me to play left tackle guard. This made me happy because the guy I was facing was the first guy to taunt me, and I took him down.
I had to stay late a few more times, but I explained to my parents why. They both wished me luck and after a couple of weeks of getting beat Coach presented me with a jersey and told me that I'd made the team. That day I went home and excitedly told my family about my accomplishments.
Dad was excited. He cleared his schedule to make sure he came to my games. Being with the guys on that team was the first time since I was little that I felt normal. The team was close, but I knew my education was extremely important. We played games, practiced, hung out at school, but where my teammates partied on weekends. I was studying.
I managed to earn all of the required credits to graduate by my junior year in high school. I even graduated with my older siblings, Carl and Carla. Everyone was so happy. My parents were a little worried about paying for all of us to go to theology school. Carl and Carla planned to go to theology school and become minsters. I wanted to go to university.
At first, my Mom was against me going to University, but my Dad talked to her. Eventually, they told me if I could find scholarships, I could go. At that point, I presented both parents with my scholarship packages. They both hugged me and told me they were so proud of me.
I left home and went to University. Four years later, I graduated top of my class with a degree in Finance. I had secured a job at a firm in the city. We traveled there, Dad and me, two weeks before graduation. He wanted to help me secure an apartment and see where I would be working. Once we got to the office, he saw an old friend of his and he seemed relieved that he knew someone at the company.
The first Saturday in August was the day that I moved to the city. I was twenty years old, in a strange city, and knew virtually no one except a few of the people whom I was affiliated with through church.
For the first time in my life, I felt alone. Alone is the worst feeling a person can have. It didn't last, because soon I reported to work and that's when I saw her. The most amazing creature God has put on this earth, Annalise Rainer.
I am Annalise Rainer, Anna to most. I have parents, not sure if they wanted a kid, but they ended up with me.
My Mom is not what you would call nurturing, so she made sure I was independent from birth. I have had to basically take care of myself since I was little. My Dad was a little better than Mom, just not as much.
As a little girl, I did everything I could to get my parents' approval. I made straight A's, painted, played piano, and even tried to join social groups, but no one liked me and I had a hard time making friends. I even tried to impress my parent's friends with my intelligence and abilities, but that only seemed to annoy them even more.
My earliest memory with my parents is when I was five. Mom, who is a scientist, decided to have my IQ tested. They learned that I was well advanced for my age, and because of this my parents had me skip kindergarten and move to first grade.
The first day they took me to school, I was terrified. My heart pounded so loud that it seemed as if it was about to leap from my chest, as I shook uncontrollably. I reached for my Dad's hand and he held my hand tightly. For a moment, I felt calm. Then my mother looked at us, and he let my hand go, suddenly. I gasped when he let me go. Didn't he know I was small and afraid. How could he just let me go like that? I wondered not understanding why he let go. They walked me to my classroom and introduced me to my teacher.
She greeted me and seemed nice and then told me to have a seat at anyone of the tables that I wanted to sit at.
Nervously, I walked to the red table and sat down looking back at my parents hoping this once they'd comfort me in some way. Dad looked over at me and smiled. I smiled back, praying they wouldn't leave me again. However, they had a few words with the teacher and then quickly left. They didn't even give me a hug goodbye, or a kiss. I was crushed; my five year old heart was broken.
As I grew older, I learned not to expect too much from them. We didn't hug in my family. We told each other I love you on occasions. We were just not very affectionate. But I knew that deep down, my parents loved me.
I graduated high school at the age of fifteen, and started college at sixteen.
I applied to University and my parents granted permission for me to attend. Because of my age, I could not live on the campus until I was older, so we had to arrange transport. While I was on campus, I was assigned a counselor whose main job was my supervision.
I had no friends and was so alone, but I was used to fending for myself. Most of the time, I would read. The college students were much older and many felt uncomfortable around me so most of them just left me alone; however, a few bullied me.
The next year when I turned seventeen, my parents had to travel to Armenia in Asia. I was allowed to move on campus for the next two years, and I attended both regular sessions as well as any extra sessions that were offered. By the time I turned nineteen, I was graduating from college. My department was hosting a dinner to honor all of the sponsors that gave donations to the school. It was at this dinner that I met Mr. Smith and his wife. They seemed nice and really enjoyed talking to me.
One of my instructors told Mr. Smith about my work and the fact that I was the youngest person to graduate from University with a degree in Finance.
Mr. Smith was impressed. My love for numbers helped me secure a position at his company.
He and his wife offered me the chance to visit them in the city and to interview for a job in his company. Of course, I went and love it there.
My parents accompanied me, per his request. I don't think he liked my parents. They weren't rude, just uninterested. Mr. Smith and his wife weren't used to people like my parents. The Smiths had three children and the lack of interest my parents showed in me seemed to disturb them.
So, at nineteen, I was moving from my parents' home to an apartment in the city and started working. Did I make my parents proud? Hmm! I don't know, but I like to think I did. They did come to my graduation and my father hugged me as he cried.
My mother even accompanied me to the city and helped me find an apartment. She was determined that I find a place in a safe neighborhood. We talked during this visit and I understood my Mom a little better.
"I am so proud of you, Annalise. I know I don't say it often, but you are a special young woman and I am honored to be your mother." Brenda Rainer told her daughter, Anna, as they drove to the city.
Anna basked in her mother's praise. She loved when she spent time with her mother, because it gave her a chance to just get to know her better.
"Momma, I love you. You know that right." Anna told her mother softly.
Brenda laughed. "Anna you mean everything to me. I never thought I'd be a mother, but I was blessed with you." Sighing Brenda continued.
"I know I didn't hug a lot when you were growing up, but I love you." Brenda explained.
"Growing up in the deep south, I didn't like hugs. The men in my family...well, that's history. When I met your father, and he hugged me the first time, I hit him. I thought he was trying to do something to me. It took years, and even now, I don't like hugs.
I didn't mean to not hug you, I just..." looking carefully at Anna, "I'm sorry, I am like this , but I love you Anna, even if I have a hard time showing it."
Anna gasped, "Momma, were you molested? Is that why you don't like touching?"
Lost in a memory, Brenda shook, shuttering at an awful memory, "Yes, it as so long ago. When I tried to tell Momma about Uncle Dan, she didn't believe me at first. Then one night he snuck in my room and granddaddy caught him. Boy, was he angry. He screamed and he and Daddy took Uncle Dan outside.
His wife, Aunt Sally said I caused it, but Momma told her it wasn't my fault. They stopped speaking and Momma never talked to me about it.
Uncle Dan, Aunt Sally and their son moved away soon after and never came back.
You know Annalise, I was lucky. A lot of girls weren't lucky at all because their abusers never got caught. When my parents moved, I never had to worry about that happening to me again." Brenda explained.
"Momma," I cried softly. " I am so sorry someone... Thank you, Momma, for keeping me safe. " Anna whispered as she gripped Brenda's hand in hers.
I was stunned, because Momma never mentioned her childhood to me before. I was also angry. Her parents should have protect her. She was not to blame and to think that someone could blame her, Arg! But, Momma is strong woman and she survived. I am so proud of her.
We arrived at my new place and Momma and Daddy made sure I was moved in. Having learned what I had about Momma's past, I really didn't want them to leave. I wished I had more time with them. But like always, they had other obligations.
They informed me that they would cover my expenses for a few years, after that I would be completely responsible for myself. It was important to them that I be able to care for myself. Soon after that, their cab arrived, Dad looked at me and hesitated. For the first time since I was little, Mom hugged me and told me she loved me. I held my mother close and wanted to beg them not to leave me again, but I knew it would serve no purpose. After a heartfelt farewell, I stood and watched as they left for the airport.
A feeling of loneliness and despair engulfed my entire being as I stood on the sidewalk after they left. Although, I understood a little better, understanding did not replace my need for them. I don't remember how long I stood on the sidewalk staring in the direction that the cab had taken my parents away from me yet again. But, eventually, I walked back to my apartment and sat for a moment.
I touched my cheek and realized that I'd been crying. A feeling of utter despair and loneliness engulfed me as I lay on my sofa and allowed myself a moment of weakness. Then, my doorbell rang. I peeked out and saw the Smiths. "Just a minute." I called out and went to clean my face.
When I let them in, Mrs. Smith embraced me immediately and told me I was going to be Ok. They would take care of me. Mr. Smith made me some tea and the older couple comforted me while I cried and then invited me to dinner with them and their daughters.
Their daughters, Farrah and Kelly, were older than me and at home visiting from college, but they became my two best friends. Because of my age, nineteen, Mrs. Smith insisted that I work in her husband's office. So he assigned me to the position in his office as his personal assistant. Since I had a degree in Finance, they placed me on entry level pay which was a bit more than a personal assistant usually made. He and his wife were adamant that I return to college for advanced degrees. So I had to take online classes as well as work full time.
Before long, I had worked for the Company a few months and November came around. I was about to turn twenty. I knew my parents would call and wish me a happy birthday, because they always called. Imagine my shock when Mrs. Smith demanded that I join them for dinner. Mr. Smith made sure I attended because he drove.
When we arrived at their house all of the lights were off. "Hmmm, strange." Mr. Smith mumbled to himself. "I'm sure Majorie will be back soon. She must have gone to the store. Come in and have a seat in the family room." He offered.
I walked in and jumped as everyone leaped out of hiding and yelled. "SURPRISE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Farrah, Kelly and Ross planned this for me. No one had ever done something like this for me before.
Wow! I was so shocked. A party for me! Wow! I can't remember the last time someone, anyone, celebrated my birthday. I felt special in that moment, as if I mattered. The smile that came across my face magnified the enormity of emotions that were cascading inside of me at that moment in time.
I was so overwhelmed that I almost could not open the gifts they bought me. While attending my party, Mom and Dad called to wish me a happy birthday as well. Momma said they were returning to the states in December and couldn't wait to see me. That phone call and the kindness extended to me by the Smiths still warm my heart today.