While the darkness increased at my own home, the ‘light’ seemed to be getting steadily brighter at my new-found family’s home. They were intoxicating.
I had come from seemingly such a rigid background where we could hardly watch TV or movies and weren’t allowed to have friends over or have parties or even have a sip of alcohol. And we prayed and prayed; not that I didn’t enjoy praying or being with the family (most of the time), but it seemed that to them, this was all there was to life. Rules and prayer. Now that I was nearly 20 years old, I was growing tired of living by someone else’s standards. And I was really starting to like the ‘new’ standards being set by my boyfriend and his family.
Up to this point, I had so far been successful at avoiding drugs and other elicit activity with my boyfriend, because I still knew in my heart what was right. I knew from Nancy Reagen in the 80’s that you ‘say NO to drugs’ and that as a Catholic you should ‘save yourself for marriage.’ (This is not to say that I had a proper understanding of real purity or chastity… I just had the idea of trying not to reach ‘home base’, which I know now to be like playing with fire and expecting not to get burned.)
But gradually, ever so gradually, I began to question my own beliefs. This family was having fun and doing drugs and everything else, and they seemed just fine. I couldn’t believe how much fun they had. Every day there was an excuse for a party or for fun. They grew their own… shall we say ‘herbs’, and at first I always turned down their offer for a free high. But over time, I began to think, what is so bad about this anyway? They seem to be just fine! And they never pressured me… it was just as if they were enjoying chocolate and were offering me a piece. It was my decision whether I wanted to indulge or not. Perhaps it was like that beautiful fruit in the Garden of Eden…
And so one night, I gave in and accepted their offer… and we all smoked after a glorious dinner, with smiles on all of our faces. And, it seemed to me to be ‘no big deal’… and… positively pleasurable. And then we all ate a huge dessert (chocolate did go very nicely with the ‘herbs’), and listened to WONDERFUL music (clarification: all music sounded wonderful when we were high.)
As far as physical intimacy, my boyfriend was very possessive of me, but he was thus far respectful of my wishes to ‘not go all the way’ … We continued to simply have lots of fun, which seemed innocent enough. Every day was a new exploration in pleasure and adventure. It was like I was all of a sudden crowned queen, when before all I had known was how to be a poor and miserable servant. It was everything in every fantasy I had ever dreamed, just like Cinderella. Heck, there were practically birds landing on my shoulder.
Meanwhile at home, the darkness was becoming thick, and my dad had to travel for heart surgery. He and my mom would be gone for three weeks, leaving my siblings and I the home to ourselves. Of course, there were tons of strict rules laid out, which I expected from my now very un-fun Catholic family.
But my heart had already begun to turn away, and I had already planned to disregard their wishes to ‘not have anyone over’ or ‘have any parties’… Frankly, I was sick and tired of the strictness and didn’t care anymore. I was in love with my new family, and could only see that obedience and prayer was only leading everyone into misery anyway. What was the point?
And so my parents left for Germany…
…to be continued…