Three Steps Forward and One Giant Step Back

As much as I wished, this would be the post that I tell you we finally got together and lived happily ever after, it's not. We still had at least another year of growing pains to go through. When Earl left that evening, obviously we were in a much better place. We were finally talking after five months of silence. It was a wonderful feeling, but I had a lot of tears to shed. Tears of happiness and still tears of grief...mostly for my attitude with GOD. HE had done nothing but try to comfort me in those months and I'd done everything to make sure HE couldn't. Even today when I look back, I wonder why HE even bothred, but now that I have children, I get it. HE bothered because no matter how horrible my attitude was, HE still loved me.

A couple of weeks passed and around Thanksgiving his dad, Adam, his brother and him decided to go visit some family they had in Virginia. They left Knoxville late that night, around 8 or 9 pm. The only reason I can come up with why they did something so silly is GOD. Because they were tired before they even started, Earl suggested they stop and stay in my apartment in Bristol while I was at work. So he called asked if that was possible and I said sure.

They got there around 10 that night. They came in settled and I finished getting ready to leave. When it was time to go Earl offered to drive me. I told him he didn't need to. It was just across the street and I could walk, but he insisted since it was dark, he should drive me. I gave in and we left.

We pulled up and instead of me getting out, he asked if we could talk before I went in. So I sat there in the car with him and listened more than I talked. He finally told me he was trying to get out of his relationship with Amy but he didn't know how. He shared how mismatched they were and how miserable he was. But of course, as I told you earlier, Earl hates hurting people and of course the thought of hurting her was his biggest obstacle. We ended up sitting there talking for the next four hours. He detailed all the fighting they had done and still did at that point. He explained that despite having severed all communication with me, I was still very much a problem in their relationship. Everything she did, he compared it to me and they way I did things. He even told me at one point during an argument she even told him, "I'm beginning to think you two are meant to be together."

Finally, the conversation came to a close and we held hands and I prayed for him. I asked GOD to help set him free from the guilt he felt for hurting her. He hugged me and told me he'd see me in the morning. That coversation left me on an emotional high for sure, but it still took him at least a month to break things off with her. I kept my distance until I knew it was really over.

It was around January 2003 and I began spending all my weekends in Knoxville again. Earl and I still weren't a couple, but we would spend all the time we could together from Friday to Sunday night. I'd leave and head to his mom and dad's as soon as I got off work at 7 am every weekend. I guess the excitement of GOD doing this great work kept me awake as I drove an hour and half with virtually no sleep. I'd get there and pass out, sleeping half the day. When Earl got off in the evenings we'd hang out with everyone, just like old times. Sometimes we'd do things alone, but most of the time it was always with a group. As much as I wanted it to be more, it just wasn't yet. I kept telling myself I had to trust GOD and that Earl was still healing from his relationship with Amy. It just wasn't time, no matter how much I wanted it to be.

In February, he went on a retreat with the youth at church. It was the first weekend in almost two months that we hadn't been together. I still came to Knoxville and spent it with his parents. I'll never forget when he came back how excited I was to see him. We'd talked on the phone while he was away and he told me he missed me and wished he'd stayed there with me, but that just wasn't an option.

The retreat had been planned for a few months and Amy's younger brother, Brandon, had signed up to go. Earl really liked her family and had kept in touch with her brother after their breakup. I was okay with that. I knew where his feelings for her stood and it just didn't bother me. Perhaps it should've because when he came back something changed. I still to this day don't know if it was something Brandon said, something else that happened or just GOD's way of putting the finishing touches on a story only HE could have written, but when Earl came back he gradually began to be distant.

At first, I was okay with that. I chalked it up to him still trying to work though what he felt for me and anything that was left over for Amy. However as time when on, it became more and more apparent he was pushing me away on purpose.


  1. I can't wait for the next installment. This has been very interesting to me. An unique way to get to know my cousin and see into her life.... <3



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