Alley of Salvation

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


(Note: This is not based on a true story. It's just a story I thought up. Again, this is not a true story) Alley of Salvation is my first short story. In fact, it's my first written work. (For
those you have read my poem "Grass and Sidewalk", that was written after Alley of Salvation. But published before.) I didn't plan on publishing this, as I wrote it for myself, but a few of my
friends that have read it enjoyed it. And, because I enjoyed making this story so much, I decided to share it. Just as a heads up, this work does contain the message of Christianity as part of the
story. I wrote this in Microsoft Word. So, it is best read from that program. If you wish to read it thus, here is a link where you can download the Word file:



https://drive.google.com/open?id=13QD0GlOAhQIcayqKVJUrIcWxw-MaEoSP



Lastly, I know this is not a perfect story, and that I could improve it. But, I am quite happy with how it is. So I won't be changing it. (Unless there is a spelling error or something. Which there
might be. I had this proofread a few times, but you know how things are.)



Jacob


To the reader:

 

I would like to thank you for picking up my little story to read. I hope you find it as pleasurable to read as it was for me to write. Enjoy my first work.

 

Alley of Salvation

 

I stuffed the shiny, six round hand-pistol I stole from my dad into the depths of my backpack. Leaving the house without being noticed was easy, my family didn’t care about me. Especially not my slime of a brother, Joseph. I hardly noticed the sunny day as I stepped outside. Head down, hood up, I made my way to the lakeside town near my house. Not too many people lived on the lakeside, making it the ideal location for my demise. Just on the other side of the circular bay, a waist-high brick wall stood. Immediately behind it was an old, slightly overgrown, alley garden that was built before the new houses were constructed. Up over the wall, I went. Just to my right was another a waist high object, a patio of sorts. Unslinging my pack, I took a seat. The gun came out. A metallic click sounded as a bullet was loaded. Then I pressed it against my temple. Tears hit the pavement.

"Three......two......o---"

"Yeah, um…maybe you shouldn’t…"

Reflexively jumping up and whirling round, I relocated the gun’s aim at the source of the surprise voice. It was a boy my age, around eighteen. Laying down with his head propped up on a backpack and hands behind.

"W-who are you? And what are you doing here?"

The boy smiled casually, despite the firearm pointed at his face. 

"Sorry, didn’t mean to make you jump. Although to be fair, you did sit right next to me without noticing. To answer your first question, I’m Jacob. As for your second question, this is about my second time here. It’s a good spot to be outside but by yourself at the same time. But what about you, what’s your name?"

I bowed my head mumbling.

"It doesn’t matter. No one cares about me."

"There are at least two."

Losing it there, I lifted my head and intruded in Jacob’s personal space while yelling.

"You think my parents care about me!? Easy for you to say, I bet you have good ones. Lucky brat! Everyone has a good life but me!!"

Once more I pressed the weapon against my skull. But Jacob was too fast. Quick as a bolt he grabbed the gun and flung it out into the lake. Splash It submerged. I didn’t know what to say. Jacob, however, had not lost his composure.

"My bad. Didn’t think that one through. But I wasn’t talking about your parents."

My reply was broken by sobs.

"I–I don’t have a-any f-friends."

"Neither was I talking of any."

"Then w-who does?"

The boy resumed his reclining.

"Well, first off Jesus does. And at the very least, I do."

Unconvinced and trying to recover from my fit, I began playing with my long, brown hair.

"Don’t know about that God stuff. But you don’t even know me."

Was managed between sniffs.

"Cared enough to prevent you from killing yourself, didn’t I?"

"But I wanted to die!"

"Yeah, but people sometimes make bad decisions based on emotion."

My reply was muttered.

"Sure. I guess."

* * *

Monday. School. Hate. Unhappy thoughts filled my head at school the next day. Life is cruel. Thinking that things were as bad as they could get, the discovery of an empty seat next to mine made it worse.

"Crud! The only time there is an empty seat is when a new student transfers or starts here. And if it’s a boy - oh, and it will be! – He’ll hit on me for sure. Of course, fate would choose me to be a pretty girl. I hate my life! Shouldn’t have let that boy talk me out of it. Well, there’s more than one way to skin a cat."

With this resolve, I sat down. A few minutes of animated talk passed. After which Mr. Edward came in. Followed by…Jacob? The teacher explained.

"Alright, listen up. A new student is joining us as of today. Please, introduce yourself."

"Sure. So I’m Jacob. I just moved to here so that’s why I’m a bit late getting started. And fun fact about me. I like C# programming."

Edward pointed at the empty seat.

"You can sit there. Next to Rachel."

Once settled in his seat, the new classmate turned to me.

"So that’s your name, Rachel. It’s pretty, I like it."

"Listen, don’t talk to me right now, ok?"

Jacob looked surprised but respectful.

"Oh, yeah sure."

* * *

It was heavy rain on the way home. Water drops poured down upon me, thus adding to my depression. As usual, I had been hit on a few times by the dumb guys. Who seemed to get some sick pleasure out of my torment. I hated them. So, with bitter thoughts I continued walking along, soon the bridge in my route came into view. I started to cry again. Less than a minute passed before making to the edge of the wood railing. Heaving my body up, I was halfway over when suddenly, an umbrella shielded me, a warm hand clasped mine, and a familiar, cheerful, voice spoke from behind.

"Don’t want you dying or catching a cold!"

"Let me go!"

I snapped. Pulling away.

"Sorry. Can’t do that."

Jacob’s seemingly iron grip backed up his words. Though his voice remained normal.

"I said let me go!"

Nope. The aforementioned iron grip relentlessly held me in place. After a bit, my classmate pulled me down off the railing while protecting me from the rain.

"Here, you hold the umbrella. Listen, despite what’s happening now, you still have a good life ahead of you. Plus, I want to be your friend."

All the negative emotions built up by unfortunate circumstances finally overwhelmed me. I wept uncontrollably. So bad in fact, that Jacob ended up taking the umbrella back to hold. One, three, five minutes passed. Slowly, I regained self-composure.

"So, you think you’re a nice guy, do you?"

This question confused the lad.

"Sorry, what?"

"I know what you are doing. Being nice to me because you think I’m pretty and want to go out with me. So, you show kindness to try and earn it."

My classmate chuckled.

"That’s what a selfish person does. I’m not saving you for me, I’m saving you for you."

"Of course, you would say that."

"Yeah well, I figured you’d think that. Anyway, you can take the umbrella back home. Just bring it back tomorrow."

Handing me the rain shield he walked off, calling over his shoulder in that friendly voice.

"Oh, and change your clothes when you get home. George Washington died from wearing his wet coat for too long, you know."

With nothing left to do, I made my way home. Pop, as we use to call him, was in front of the TV filling his drunk mind with senseless garbage. Mom was working hard on something or another for my brother. Who else would she dream of caring for? And Joseph was probably studying. Or coming up with nasty backhand retorts to throw at me in his low, cold voice. Grabbing what could be found from the kitchen, I had a late, lonely dinner in my room. Flopping down on my bed I was about to take a depressed nap when the feeling of wetness on my back and legs brought back what Jacob previously said.

"Dork. Well, if I’m going to sleep might as well be comfortable."

* * *

The next grueling day I was walking to my seat when I heard;

"Hey, Rachel! How’s it going?"

"Not good."

"I’m sorry to hear that." he paused for a second. "By the way, what do you like to do? Any hobbies or anything?"

My answer was a little cold in tone.

"Why do you want to know?"

Jacob’s reply was relaxed.

"Just being friendly. That’s all. But if you don’t want to tell me that’s cool. How about I tell you mine. I like to program computers, and write short stories. And watching unhealthy amounts of YouTube occasionally." Here he laughed heartily.

 The genuineness in the tone of my classmate’s response was enough to sway me.

"The rest of the school knows already. He’d probably find out anyway. I hope I don’t regret this."

"I like photography. Ok?"

"That’s neat! Do you use one of those big cameras? Or your phone?"

"I have a small hand-held camera."

"Do you post photos you take online? Or share them anywhere?"

"So you can cyberstalk me? Yeah right!"

"No." I lied.

Before anymore talk could be done, class started. And the rest of the day went as normal. From that point onward, Jacob seemed to disappear between classes. Late for lunch, coming out of random classrooms, and carrying odds and ends around. It was a little weird. What was also weird was that I was unable to convince myself to try suicide a third time. Whenever those thoughts came up, Jacob was inevitably brought to mind. And even though I acted like I disliked him, there was something about him. Something different. Something happy, joyful and honest that kept me from another attempt. Eventually, my curiosity brought me to Edward.

"Excuse me. Do you know where Jacob keeps going between classes?"

"Ah, yes. He helps rearrange the chairs and tables in some of the rooms for the next class. Or he’ll run supplies to someone. Always helping."

"I see. Well, thanks."

Walking towards the door, Edward called out, stopping me.

"You know, it’s rare that you talk to anyone. If I may, I think you should make friends with Jacob. He’s a good, kind young man. You can find him in room 121 right now."

"Um…sure, thanks."

"Is that really what he’s doing? Is he really a nice guy? No…it’s an attempt to impress me, I’ll bet."

A few days later, just as I was about to round a corner of a hall, the voices of the school's gossip girls, Kathleen and Jesse could be heard. Along with…Jacob’s?

"Ah Ha! Now I can catch him in the act! Those two are bound to bad talk me. Jacob won’t be able to resist, this is perfect!"

Keeping behind the corner, I listened in. The boy’s voice was first.

"Yeah, what’s up?"

"We heard your friends with Rachel. Is that right?"

Kathleen asked.

"Well, friend isn’t really the right word. But yeah."

Jesse was next.

"Has she told you she is a photographer? And that she posts her pictures online?"

"Yeah. She told me that she didn’t post online. But one of my friends texted me a link to some photos. When I asked, he told me that there were Rachel’s. Why do you want to know?"

I could almost see the smug look on both their faces as Kathleen replied.

"We had hoped to save you the embarrassment of looking at them. But since you have, I’m sure you’ll agree that her pics are trash."

"That’s right. Now say it! I know you want to!"

The response Jacob gave totally stunned me.

"No way! Have you seen them? Those photos are awesome!"

A short silence made it clear that my classmate had taken the wind out of both the girl's sails. Kathleen re-composed herself with a small bit of laughter.

"Really? Is that what you think? All she takes pictures of are trees and the sky and stuff. You’re an idiot!"

Instead of getting angry at the insult, Jacob chortled himself.

"You’re probably right! But those pictures, they really are good. Anyway, I have to finish setting up this room. I’ll talk to you guys later." Then he added. "Oh, also mayyyyybe you shouldn’t gossip. It’s generally frowned upon."

I quickly walked away before the girls discovered me.

"There’s no way he saw me. Was he-? Why did…I guess he really was trying to make friends with me."

All at once joy and happiness rushed upon me. Was someone really concerned about me?

"I shouldn’t be too hasty. I’ll just hang out with him some. We’ll see what happens."

The next day as class let out, it was easy asking my acquaintance to hang. As he was walking right beside me.

"Hey, um, Jacob. Do you want to eat lunch with me?"

My classmate smiled.

"Sure!"

In the space of ten minutes, we were both seated off in a corner. Near a window.

"Just us two huh? Good. To be honest, I don’t like being around too many people."

The boy commented.

Not use to talking much, I brought up the only thing I could. The weather.

"It’s really nice out today. Hope it stays that way for a while."

"What am I saying? That’s such a cliché thing to talk about!"

"Unlikely. It’ll probably rain within a few days."

"Why’s that?"

I asked, floundering.

"All right, I’m going to get technical for a second. A few days ago, it stormed. Then turned cool. That indicates a cold front. Once it blew past, we get nice weather. However, I’ve noticed that some high clouds are turning into low clouds and it’s starting to get warmer. That indicates a warm front. And a warm front brings low clouds and rain."

For the first time in years, I managed a smile. A thin one, but a smile none the less.

"You sound like a teacher."

My lunch partner chuckled.

"Yeah, sorry. I like to explain stuff. Especially if it’s science or programming related."

"No, that’s alright. Stuff like that always was interesting to me."

"Got you. I’ll keep that in mind."

From there our chat went on in a typical fashion. With the boy leading it most of the time. After that, we ate lunch together most days. As we became a little more familiar with each, I found it easier to talk and hold a conversation. And found that Jacob was an easy person to talk with. He was always ready to listen to what I had to say, without judging. Or, to say something. Of course, he wasn’t like that all the time. On occasion, he’d clam up and not say anything. Or not come at all. It was one such day that led to trouble. Having walked into the school cafeteria, Jacob was nowhere to be found. Until, by sitting down, I saw him outside. By himself.

"I bet he’s having a difficult day. Perhaps I should talk to him."

With this resolution, I made my way over to him.

"Hey Jacob."

Without even looking, my classmate responded shortly.

"Social interaction is at zero. Leave me alone."

"But you---"

Pounding a clenched fist on the outdoor table, the boy turned to face me, his eyes hardened. Giving a look that sent shudders throughout. It felt like Joseph was talking to me.

"Go away!"

The instructions were followed hastily. For the rest of the school day, the lad did not speak to me. I started having doubts.

"Is he turning out to be like all the other boys after all? That…that really hurt. Wonder if we’ll ever talk again."

From that moment onward, I started to despise Jacob. At first, it wasn’t bad. I just kinda ignored the boy. But after a while, it got worse. I thought my "friend" would apologize. But no. He seemed to ignore me just as much as I was. Then, unexpectedly after school a few days later, I heard someone call my name.

"Rachel!"

It was the offender himself.

"Do you have a second?"

"Well, yeah, I guess. What is it?"

"I would like to apologize. I’m sorry I didn’t do this sooner. But I wanted to mean it sincerely. Not like everyone else does. Because, you know, they do it cuz that’s what you’re supposed to do. So, I’m sorry. Would you forgive me?"

This was a relief. I had missed being friends with the lad. Even if we weren’t super close. Yes, he had hurt me. But he was apologizing. And I could tell he meant it.

"Yes. I do."

Jacob’s smile indicated gladness.

"Thank you. So, are we good now?"

"Yeah. Um…by the way, do you have some time? I’ve had some stuff I need to get out there for a long time. But I never had anyone to talk to."

"Sure. I assume this is some private-ish stuff. So, did you want to go somewhere with fewer people?"

"I would. There’s a park that’s usually empty about 5 minutes from here."

"Alright then, let’s go."

The walk was traveled in silence. When we arrived, the park was indeed void of people. I indicated a small wooden shelter with two benches.

"Let’s sit there."

"Ok."

Jacob sat on the left, with me sitting a reasonable distance beside him.

"Are you ready?"

"Yes."

"Ok." I took a deep breath. And began to relate my story. There were a few times where crying was unavoidable. "I only have one sibling, Joseph. My mom and dad are still together. Well, we used to be a good family. My dad worked as a banker for his company. My mom loved us all. And my brother took care of me when I was little. Then, one day, one of my dad’s friends started doing drugs. He wanted my father to do it with him. He said no. But compromised by agreeing to drink with him. Now, there’s hardly a day that he doesn’t come home drunk. Sorry. Give me a second…later, without a good man in her life, my mom started taking extra care of Joseph. She didn’t want to leave dad. So, she doted on him instead. I tried to get some attention, but it didn’t do me any favors. Joseph now hates me. I don’t know exactly why. But, I think that he might have a bitterness towards me because I was born after him. And our parents paid all their attention to me. And left him out."

Here I broke down sobbing. My friend spoke after a recovery was made. His voice full of gravity.

"I’m so sorry to hear that. It must be tough living in such a house. Hey, would you mind if I prayed for you right now?"

"No. I’d like that."

"Ok. I’m going to bow my head and close my eye so that I’m not distracted. You can do whatever when I’m praying."

"Are you sure? There isn’t some ritual we have to do? Or like, make ourselves pure or something?"

My classmate smiled.

"No. I come to Jesus with my sin, junk, emotions, all that stuff. He does the work. Right, let’s pray."

Bowing his head, Jacob started. "My father, good evening. I’d like to pray for Rachel. Lord, she’s not in a good place. Her home life is less than good. And school is not the best place ever. I ask that you would bring people into her life to love her. And take care of her. Thank you for the friendship I have with Rachel. Please help me to be a blessing to her. And everyone else too. Amen."

"Thanks, Jacob."

"Sure. And hey, listen, you can always knock on my door if you need to talk again. Or if you just want to have some fun going out and doing stuff that’s cool too. Also, we should hang out outside of school."

I smiled. This time, it wasn’t thin. Gradually, I was starting to enjoy life again.

"Yeah. I’d like that. By the way, do you have a phone?"

"Yes. Why?"

"I would like to exchange numbers. That way we can keep up with each other."

The boy pulled out his phone. "Sounds good. Here’s my number." He read it off for me to type in.

"Seven…seven. Ok. I just sent you a text to check if I got it right."

A ring on Jacob’s phone confirmed my success.

"Alright, do you need anything else?"

"Oh, yes. I was hoping you could take me to the computer club after school tomorrow. I’ve always kinda had a dim interest in computers and stuff. Plus, I’m curious to see you program."

"Yeah. No problem! Are you sure you want to see me program though? Most people don’t like that stuff."

"I’m sure. Don’t worry about it."

My classmate stood up.

"Ok. Tomorrow it is. Here, before I forget, let me text you my address so you can come over if you like."

"Thanks. Well, see you later."

"Bye."

* * *

The subsequent day at lunch I made a request.

"Jacob, when you introduce me to the computer club will you, like, contain the guys?"

"Yeah! But I’m sure the members will treat you well. They know my philosophy about getting girls to date. So, they’ll probably behave. At least, they better. Or I’ll throw them out of a window!"

I shook my head jokingly.

"Wow. You’re so violent all the time."

That had the desired effect. Jacob responded in a fake offended voice.

"What! I’m not violent all the time!"

"Yes, you are. You’ve taken my gun and chucked it. And now you are going to throw people out of a window."

"That’s only two times."

"You’ve threatened to beat people’s tails, knock heads off, and to destroy people more times over lunch than I care to recall."

"I was only joking!"

"Didn’t sound like it to me."

My companion groaned aloud.

"Well I guess I’m the worst person then!"

And all at once, I found myself doing another thing that hadn’t happened in years. laughing. What a relief it was! A rush of gladness for meeting Jacob came over me. I was thankful that he didn’t give up on being friends with me. Even when I had been cold to him. After that little exchange. We made our way to the computer club room. Jacob opened the door with.

"Hey guys! What’s up?"

A few of about seven people responded.

"Hey."

"What’s up?"

"Hello."

My friend got the attention of the whole room.

"Alright, if everyone could stop what they are doing for a second. This is Rachel. She wants to check out what we do. So make her feel welcome."

After a round of introductions, Jacob sat down. I pulled up a chair beside him.

"Let me know if you get bored, ok?"

"I will."

For the next thirty minutes, I watched my friend program. Asking the occasional question here and there. Then I walked around a bit to see what the others were doing. After school, we met up as we walked home.

"So, what did you think? Boring, interesting, what?"

"I actually liked it. Kinda wish I knew what it all meant."

"Yeah? Well, I can teach you if you want."

"Oh, you wouldn’t mind?"

"Not at all!"

"Then, let’s start tomorrow if your down."

"Sure."

Over the next couple of weeks, my new teacher showed me how to program. He was patient and good at wording things so that I could understand them. While spending time at the computer club, I made friends with two of the other members, Ren and Elizabeth. Me and Jacob would hang out with them on the weekends. Go to a movie, take a walk in the park, whatever. Things were starting to go alright again. Jacob even took an interest in my photography. But with this up came a terrible down. It was Thursday. I was in my room, working on some homework. When my brother came in. This immediately made me uneasy. Joseph never came to me. Unless it was to tear me down. But…something was off. My brother’s face looked stupefied and out of it. Like he was, drunk?

"What do you want?"

I asked.

"I wanted you to know I hate you."

"Like I didn’t already know that."

Joseph smirked crookedly and raised his voice for emphasis.

"That’s not all. You are trash. You are nothing. You were an accident. Go and die!"

His words lanced my heart. It was scary to hear the furious hatred in his voice. My sibling left laughing under his breath and wobbling a bit. I tried not to, but crying was inevitable. After a few minutes, I pulled my self together enough to get my phone.

"Where is it…here. Jacob said I could visit him."

Hurriedly walking down the street I made it to my friend’s house. Barely keeping it together.

Knock Knock Knock

"Please don’t let his family answer!"

After a few seconds, the door opened.

"Woah! Um…Rachel…what’s going on? Are you ok?"

Fresh tears and breaking down again prohibited any clear communication.

"I-I…Joseph…h-he…and…"

My classmate held his hands in front of himself, making a downwards motion.

"Woah! Umm…just take it easy for a bit." a few seconds passed. "Now, what happened?"

"J-Joseph came into my room. He said I was an a-accident. And to go d-d-die!"

"Wow. That is messed up. Hmm…what can we do...? How about we go get some ice cream?"

"Y-yeah."

We went to a new café that had just opened a few days ago.

"I heard they have great sundaes there."

The boy had told me on the way over. Inside, we took a window seat. The place was small and quaint. Almost feeling like an old wooden lodge. While we waited for a server, I managed to recompose myself a bit.

"Are you good now?"

The lad asked.

"Yeah. I’m ok."

"Good."

A waiter came up to our table.

"Hello. Are you ready to order?"

"Yes."

"Excellent. What can I get you?"

"We’ll take two ice cream sundaes, please. And that’ll do."

"Alright. Are we on a date?"

I felt my face go red with embarrassment. Jacob was flustered too. He hesitated for a few seconds. But recovered nicely.

"Not at all. Sometimes people just need some ice cream."

"Oh, I’m sorry."

"Don’t worry about it."

"Right. Thanks. I’ll be back shortly."

"Sure."

My pal chortled.

"Ha-ha! Well…that was awkward."

"Y-yeah."

A few silent minutes passed before our waiter returned.

"Here you go. Let me know if you need anything else."

"Awesome. Thank you!"

"You’re welcome."

Jacob took a rather big bite into his sundae. A few moments later his face showed regret has he tried to talk around a mouth full of food.

"Ahh! Mistakes have been made! Good grief that’s cold! Braaaaain freeeeeeze! Ok, I’m good."

That managed to make my day a little better.

"Serves you right."

"Oh man! I know."

The remainder of our time at the café passed uneventfully. As we left, Jacob made a second proposal.

"You want to go for a short walk? There’s a park near here. And the weather is perfect."

I wasn’t fully recovered yet. So a walk sounded good.

"Sure."

The lad was right. Afternoon sunlight and clear blue skies, plus the temperature, made excellent walking conditions. The path we were on was nice. Rocky but covered in the shade of many trees. While on our little hike, I tried to think of something to say. Some small talk or something. But it was proving to be a losing struggle. Jacob, surprisingly, seemed to read my thoughts.

"You don’t have to say anything. It’s good to be quiet sometimes."

"H-how did you know?"

"I can, like, feel you thinking."

"Oh."

"Sorry. That’s kinda a weird thing to say."

"It’s alright. But I think I’ll take your advice."

So again the balance of time was uneventful and silent. About ten minutes after leaving the park, we were at my house.

"By the way Rachel, I think you should come to my church. It’s not too big. And the youth pastor there is super nice. I’ll text you the address when I get home."

"Sure. Listen, thank you for everything. I’ll be you have school to do. Sorry you had to deal with all that."

"You don’t need to apologize. That’s what friends do. They are there for each other."

"Right. Thanks again. See you later."

"Bye!"

I went home to take a nap. Before drifting off to sleep, the realization that I was a little happier than normal dawned on me. But the reason why escaped as I entered dreamland.

* * *

Sunday rolled around quickly. Jacob texted me early that morning.

"Jacob: Do you plan on coming to church?"

"You: Yeah. When do you need to leave?"

"Jacob: In about 30 minutes."

"You: Do I need to dress up?"

"Jacob: If you have a dress that would work. If not, don’t worry about it."

Shortly thereafter me and my friend were on our way. Sunday school there was good. The youth pastor, Josh, was indeed nice. And everyone else was, well…normal.

"So I run the sound and PowerPoint here, so I’ll be in the small upstairs room at the back of the sanctuary. If you need anything, you can come up and get me. I’m training an assistant operator. He’ll take care of things if I need to leave."

My classmate told me after class let out for the main service.

"Ok. Well, I plan on sitting in the back then. Guess we’ll meet up after, down there?"

"Sure. See you then."

Service started with a few songs, coupled with some announcements. After which the pastor came up to deliver his sermon. What he said completely transformed my life. At first, there were some general things said that most everyone would know. But, an inexplicable feeling that this Jesus and the Bible was real consumed me. Then, it was about how the first people sinned by eating from a forbidden tree. Breaking their fellowship with God and dooming them to Hell without a savior.

"Not good for them. But I haven’t done anything like that."

Now the message took a dismaying turn. The pastor spoke on that if we have ever sinned, by lying, cheating, etc. that we were also doomed to punishment, which meant going to Hell when we die.

"Ok, less good! Gosh…Um…I’ll just make up for it by doing a lot of good things."

It seemed that the Lord had read my mind. The very next thing the pastor showed is that we can never be good enough to earn our way back into fellowship with Jesus. Because we are finite and He is eternal. Thereby making our debt eternal and impossible to pay. This new info made me feel sick.

"I messed it up like I always do! What can be done?"

Unsurprisingly, the answer was next in the sermon. Jesus had come down to earth, lived a sinless life, and died in our place. That way, all who trust in Him will be saved, have forgiveness and receive eternal life. And the end, an invitation was given for those not saved to come forward to accept the free gift of salvation. I went and took that gift. The pastor prayed with me. And I accepted Christ into my life. In that moment, a great relief came over me. It was a glories time. On the way home, Jacob was thrilled about my decision.

"I didn’t expect you to go forward. But I’m glad you did! Welcome to the family of believers!"

"Thanks. Now I can see why you are the way you are. You have Jesus in your heart. So those times you helped me, you were being real. Thank you for sticking with me even when I was mean to you."

"Don’t worry about it. It’s cool. By the way, I won’t be at the computer club tomorrow. The girl trying to run the sound for the drama club needs some help."

Quite unexpectedly, for a split second, I felt jealous.

"Oh, ok."

We split off to go to our homes, with me pondering my sudden jealousy.

"Why did that happen? Jacob is friends with me as much as anyone else. Maybe it’s a one-time thing."

However, it wasn’t. In fact, this feeling grew into something more over time. I was always happier when in Jacob’s company. And the compassion he showed me, in school, texting, wherever made me smile. Plus, the boy was usually aware of my emotions. He would always notice when I was down, and text or say something encouraging. One day, after school in my room, I came to a surprising conclusion.

"I – I love Jacob. And, it’s not like the, well, movie type love, or whatever. I like him because he is Jacob. I like that he is a programmer, that he is technical, and a smarty. Even though he isn’t perfect."

My face went red. I decided not to do anything yet. After waiting a few days, and talking to a trusted few, I arrived at the decision to tell the lad my feelings. In the evening of Saturday, the process began with a text.

"You: Hey! Do you have a second? I need to tell you something in person."

"Jacob: Sure! I’m actually at that park we talked in a while back. The one that has no one there. Do you want me to come over?"

"You: No, that’s alright. I’ll come down to you."

"Jacob: Ok. See you soon!"

"You: Yeah."

The walk there was aided by excitement and nervousness. I found my friend sitting under the little wooden shelter with earbuds in. Upon seeing me approach, he took out his music.

"Hey! What’s up?"

My classmate asked me as I sat down beside him.

"Not much."

I took a breath.

"You ready?"

"Sure."

Without being able to look at my friend, feelings were shared.

"Listen, I know you might not expect this, but I need to tell you that…that…I - I like you. And wanted to know if you wanted to be more than friends."

My face went so red sunsets would have been put to shame. Clearly, Jacob was embarrassed too. It took him a few seconds to say anything.

"Um…ok. Just give me a second to, like, process this. So I don’t have a weird emotional response."

Now he took a breath.

"Yes. I do like you. And want to be more than friends. But, not because you are pretty, but because I like you. As a person."

I looked up at Jacob, his face just as red as mine, and asked another question.

"So, what does that make us?"

"Well…boyfriend and girlfriend, right?"

"I guess…"

"You don’t want to?"

"No, no! I do…I…I just don’t know what to even think right now."

"I hear you."

The boy made a suggestion.

"Why don’t we stay here for a bit? I like it when it’s quiet."

"Ok. Um, do…you want to…hold hands?"

This made Jacob’s expression even redder than I thought possible.

"S-sure."

I moved closer to my new partner and interlocked his fingers with mine. My heart skipped several beats. Finally, someone to love. A moment that I would always remember and cherish.

Three years later***

I lay in bed. Thinking of all the crazy things that had happened lately while staring at the ceiling. My family was thrown apart. Mom turned out the best. After meeting Jacob, she changed. Although unsure of what to do or believe, she does attend church with us. Dad, I’m afraid, is in prison. For illegal drugs. That’s what he gets for following that friend of his. Joseph has moved out of state to restart his life. As a gang member. That leaves me. Despite my family’s current standing, I’m the happiest of the lot. Want to guess why? Jacob and I have been married! Yes, the last two weeks of my life have been a dream! My husband found a programming job right in town. (Although, he could work from anywhere. If he has a computer and internet.) And was offered the spot of CEO almost immediately after joining. But he declined it in favor of the lead developer. Saying:

"If I was a CEO, I’d have to take long office hours. I don’t want to leave my wife alone for a little extra money. After all, she’s much, much more valuable than that."

Although, he is paid well enough anyway. We’re living in a small house now, not too far from that little alley garden. We go there quite often for lunch picnics. Seeing as how it was where we first met. We usually get along quite well. Caring for each other when the other is sad, overwhelmed, etc. And Jacob still teaches me some programming here and there. However, life’s not without its flaws. Sometimes my hubby can be rather stubborn. Thinking that he is right. But I’m not guiltless. From time to time I provoke his anger. (Sometimes knowing it, but still doing whatever it was anyway.) We are still learning! Some of my favorite times are after watching a movie. Jacob and I will cuddle on the couch and chat away. Frequently falling asleep on top of one another as a result. And when we wake up, my (and I imagine his) thoughts typically turn to that little alley garden. That little alley garden that started it all.

Saying the end is too sad. Therefore, I shall say it as follows; So begins the wonderful journey of Rachel and Jacob.

^^


Submitted: November 22, 2017

© Copyright 2021 jw garner. All rights reserved.

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