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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Protective Love

                         It was powerful moment in my life looking back to when I was 14 years old walking hand in hand with my beloved friend Tiffany. We had gone out with her mother for a lovely fancy dinner, dressed up and delighting in conversation over a shared dessert the whole evening had been wonderful and fun!

I had been in awe that we were out and about on this warm summer evening, I was grateful that my persistence in hoping to be friends with Tiffany had paid off as we walked arm in arm whenever we saw each other in church, in the country side, in social events and at the park. We simply enjoyed being friends, talking about so many things late in the night at a slumber party or around the fire pit at camp.

This evening was exciting because we were walking hand in hand through the city mall, we were sucked into a huge crowd as the mall was closing, we had not yet met back up with Tiffany's mother so we found ourselves outside. (and these were the years before cell phones) Tiffany began to worry about how to find her mother when I suggested we walk out to their car and wait there.

Hand in hand, we walked together as the young beautiful girls we were simply lost in our own conversation to not noticed as the huge crowd of people left the mall all around us, the parking lot was full of activity and suddenly a young man called out to us as we passed by "Hey, hey, hey YOU...are You girls holding hands?" I began to turn and look at who was talking to us as we were now out into the big wide open. 
Tiffany, being a year older always seemed to know what was going on around us faster then I could. 
So she grabbed my whole arm instead of just holding hands, we always held onto each other for companionship, for safety and for our new "sisterhood." holding hands was what friends did in my world. I never knew such a thing would stand out in public at a problem at all. 
I was startled by Tiffany warning me "Don't look! Don't make eye contact...just keep walking." I saw this young man who was calling out to us, he was sitting in the back of a pick up truck with some other guys, I quickly counted 6 of them. 
"HEY! don't walk away from me when I am talking to you!" He shouted back out as I turned around fully to see him face to face I shouted back at him  "Don't be bossy, I don't know you!" 
The group of guys came to life as if of one mind, they were laughing at me and suddenly they were all interested in what was happening. 
Tiffany had to jerk me back from them as I was ready to give them a piece of my mind! I said to her looking back at them in disgusted "How rude, they can't boss us around!" 
Tiffany hissed "No no no no don't encourage them to talk to us!" The one guy yelled "Why were you holding hands? Hey why? Are you lesbians? Why are you holding hands????"  
They all seemed to taunt us with this word I had never heard before, I called back as we kept walking by "BECAUSE we are FRIENDS!" 
Tiffany looked as if she could cry which worried me greatly and suddenly I was very angry in awareness that these guys had upset her!

The guy called back "I think you are a lesbian!" then he jumped out of the pick up followed by his buddies as they began running towards us! It was a surprise to me that a flash thought, a reminder of what my Aunt had warned me about, I could hear her voice in my head, she was warning me as she did in our last visit together "If a man ever tries to grab you, have your knees ready to kick up between their legs and have your hands out to scratch their face like this! Just in case this could happen to you, always scream out for help and never stand still! Never make it easy for them to attack you!" 
In that moment I remember what she had shared and I was ready for all of them as they came running towards us, I turned to face them head on in a strong heated rage that rushed through my veins like hot lava! I knew I had it in me to fight back! and I was ready! Just then as they came running towards us Tiffany shouted out "RUN! Debby RUN!"  
I realized that was a very good idea too! so I followed her as we ran back towards the mall.
While we rounded the corner and found the first set of doors we could find, I kept on guard facing the way the men were coming with both hands out as if this would scare them, (I rather felt like a cat with claws out warning anyone who would try to get close)
 I trusted Tiffany to bang on the locked doors to get someone's attention as she was also praying out loud for the both of us. 
The older man who had been locking up that department store came to help us, Tiffany burst into tears when he asked us what was wrong and I pointed from where a group of men were chasing us. 
He ran out into the parking lot to face these guys, but they were gone and then he was very protective of us, He kept looking alla round like he was very alarmed. He locked up the doors again, letting us stay in the protected entrance. Then He left to call mall security. Tiffany slid to the floor to listen on as I ranted and raved, she shared how grateful she was that I was so brave.
Yet I was so mad, so upset that those men would dare to chase us!?!? I paced back and forth trying to figure out what all had just happened.

"Who do they think they are?!? Scaring us to death like that!" I spatted in my fuming rage, I punched the air as I pictured hitting them right in the nose!  
Tiffany reflected back "I had thought to myself that we shouldn't be holding hands but I didn't want to get lost from each other too...I was afraid people would think we are lesbians and sure enough!" 
I paused from moving about to asked freely as I always did with Tiffany about everything I didn't understand while we were growing up.
 "What is that? why did he say a lesbian in that bad way? why would he call us that?" 
She looked at me sweetly as I was very use to everyone looking at me like that by then, (to explain that I was sheltered growing up would be an under statement.)
She explained to me with such a matter-of-fact voice "A lesbian is a woman who loves another woman." 
I snorted back in my sarcastic way saying "Also known as Friendship! Duh!" 
She burst into laughter for a moment and I went to sit beside her as she caught her breath and explained more "Kinda, not really's a woman who wants to kiss another woman like how Belle kisses the Beast, with that same passion and desire of any love story. Only it's 2 women." 
I sat there realizing that I knew nothing about the real world around me, I realized my mother would be freaking out right now that we were even sharing this much information about such a sinful word as  "desire"!
 I reply back "Well then that explains it, I guess I was able to get so mad and fight back because I had no idea what was really going on and I didn't realize we were in such danger!" 
Tiffany laid her head against mine as we waited till her mother came for us, Tiffany sighed sadly "Being a lesbian is wrong, the church talks about it all the time, as it goes against God's plan." I shrugged back shaking my head in my own doubts with a smile explaining "Everyone is so obsessed with "God's plan." it's like if we can figure that out, then we don't have to think about it ever again. We should always be ready with a plan, like my Aunt recently showed me how to protect myself against a guy attacking and look! I am glad I knew what to do tonight!" Tiffany rolled her eyes replying "I am glad you have someone to help teach you something, Lord knows your mother wouldn't want you to know about these things."
 I reflectively thought out loud as we  so often did with each other, we liked talking out our thoughts together. I shared on "I think the word "Lesbian" sounds like a type of fairy from a magical land far far away!" 
Tiffany giggled at me again, and I preferred that to her crying so we leaned side by side together She sighed "Oh, what a story we will have for tonight!" I pipped up with pride "And I can't wait to write a thank you card to my aunt for her advice in how to protect myself! Talk about perfect timing in having a plan!"

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