Redemptive: Ch. 9

Ty and I almost broke up once.

It was a few months after we became official, right when the initial rose-tinted rush of first love was beginning to fade. I was starting to become annoyed by Ty’s perpetual late arrival to weekend social events, and even more frustrated by the amount of excuses he used to get out of going at all. 

I didn’t understand how the boy who could entertain a crowd for hours with hilarious stories and philosophical debates could also be the same boy who would rather cut off his own fingers than attend a party. He spent all week leading the basketball team to victory, and was voted class president last year. And yet, he loathed the idea of attending the social events that meant everything to me.

“What do you get out of going to these crazy parties? Honestly,” Ty asked me one night.

“Um, a social life, obviously,” I answered.

“So, you’re saying you wouldn’t have a social life if you didn’t attend these stupid house parties?”

“Pretty much.”

“Why not?”

“Because that’s just how it is.”


"Um, because?"

“No, give me a reason. A real reason.”

I didn’t have one. Clearly, he just didn’t understand, and I was beyond annoyed with his constant questions I didn’t have answers to.

“Why does everything have to have a reason with you? Why can’t you just do things because it makes me happy like a good boyfriend should? Why does everything have to mean something?” I asked.

“Whoa. Do you hear what you just said?”

“Um, yeah. I’m the one who said it!”

“You don’t think I’m a good boyfriend because I don’t want to go to a party with you? Seriously? You can’t even tell me why you want to go to the party!”

“Because that’s what I do! That’s what every normal person with a normal social life does! If you’re invited to the party, you go! That’s it!”

“That’s it? Really? So if someone invites you to jump off a building, would you do that too?”

“That’s absurd. Of course not. That wouldn’t be normal.”

“But attending these parties is normal?”


“Says who?”

I crossed my arms over my chest, and glared at him.

“This is exactly what I’m talking about. I hate it when you do this,” I said.

“Do what? Make you think about your choices for once?” 

If I were a cartoon character, steam would be blowing out of my ears at this point. I was so mad I could practically feel my blood boiling. 

“Cam, don’t look at me like that. You know you do shit just because everyone else is doing it.”

“I do not!”

“You do. But you shouldn’t. You’re better than that.”

I started crying. I was angry and disappointed and conflicted. I knew he was right, but I didn’t want him to be. I was angry, but he was making it hard to stay angry with him, and I wanted to be angry with him. I was torn between what I wanted to feel, and what I was feeling. Between the truth and my own denial.

So I reacted in the most irrational way possible.

“I can’t do this. I’m sorry. I don’t think I can be with you anymore,” I said.

Ty looked like I’d slapped him. I looked down at my feet as I continued to cry, trying to force myself to stop the tears from falling. It hurt so much to say those words out loud, much more than I thought I could possibly hurt.

“You don’t mean that,” he said.

He reached for me, but I backed away from him, shaking my head. “I’m sorry. Please just go.”

He sighed.

“I know you don’t mean it. But I’m going to leave, and I’ll call you tomorrow, okay? I love you, Camille,” he said.

As soon as he was gone, I broke. I crumpled to the ground, clutching my chest, and trying to breathe through the sobs. It hurt so much, too much. I’d never felt anything so intensely before. 

I’d read and heard that first loves are always the hardest to lose, but this didn’t feel like losing. Losing was emptying, and you could eventually refill something empty. 

But this kind of pain kept growing and growing. The more I sat with it, the worse it felt. And it didn’t get better. Not at all.

He called me at midnight.

“It’s tomorrow,” he said, and I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was just as upset as I was.

“I didn’t mean it,” I said through my own sobs.

“I know.”

“I love you.”

“I love you more.”

We stayed on the phone until my tears stopped falling and my chest stopped hurting and we fell asleep. The next night, he went to the party with me. He showed up late, but I didn’t care. I was just glad to be with him. Together was where we belonged.

Even so, I needed him to agree to my plan. I needed to help Zeke in the only way I knew how. 

Ty was right, after all. I couldn’t just keep going along with everyone else, never thinking of my own actions.

It was time for a change.

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