The Beginning (John & Chaunice)

It all started at Robert Hooks Middle school. I remember it like it was yesterday. I sat in Ms. William’s seventh grade class nervous as ever. I didn’t think I would make friends right away but boy oh boy was I wrong. The girl sitting next to me was happy and friendly as ever. Her name was Andreka Maples. Andreka was one of the sweetest girls and ended up being one of my best friends. My parents were kind of strict and church goers so they were happy to learn that my new friend and her family were also church goers. Andreka and I did everything together. She would spend the night at my house and I would stay at hers. Andreka had a little more freedom than I did. We shared a love of music. The problem was I was unable to listen to secular music at my house, but at Andreka’s house we could. I’ll never forget when Doggy Style by Snoop Dog came out. Andreka had the CD and we would listen to it every day. We knew every word. Looking back on it, it certainly wasn’t a CD we should’ve been listening to at that age. We were all of twelve. There was also Tevin Campbell’s CD I’m Ready. I remember singing the CD title track over and over again.

One day Andreka invited me to her church for bible study and I happily agreed to attend. While there, the minister announced that they would be having a teen retreat on the third Friday of that month. It would be a lock in from six pm until six am. The retreat would consist of meeting at the church for prayer then we would go skating and bowling. I immediately go home to ask my parents if I could attend. My parents call Andreka’s parents to get the full details before they would agree.

The day of the retreat comes and I’m sick. In fact I had been sick all week. I put on my best “I feel better act” so that my parents would still allow me to attend. I would’ve done anything to get out of that house. The truth is I felt awful. Andreka’s mom picks me up and we headed over to their church. Once we get there they held prayer. During prayer the minister says if you would like to be saved squeeze the hand of the person next to you. Now this isn’t my church so I only know Andreka. The person that was standing next to me was a boy I had never met. This boy yells out “this girl just squeezed my hand” I was horrified. Not because of what he said I did but because everyone looked at me. I hated to be the center of attention. I was so embarrassed. I wanted to disappear. I rolled my eyes at the boy and yanked my hand away from him.

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