Mixed Reactions: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #25 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)
So any newcomers are aware, this post is a chapter in my story. To go back and read from the beginning of the narrative, click the "My Journey" link directly above.

Now that I had a ring on my finger, I was obligated to start calling certain people with the news.
One of my first calls was to someone that had been “praying for me to find a husband” for a while. I thought she would be thrilled to hear my happy news, but… apparently she had been praying for a different kind of man than the one I had snagged.

“He what?! You know the reasons older guys go after little girls, don’t you, sweetheart? He’ll abuse you and your kids until you finally leave him! I’m telling you!” the woman declared.
I stuttered, trying to find words to explain that Blackbeard was definitely not that kind of a guy. The lady would hardly let me catch my breath though. She went on and on about the dangers of this relationship, and had all sorts of advice to give me. When I finally, respectfully, hung up the phone, I breathed out a deep, long breath through my nose, and then slumped my head on the wall.
Oh Lord… they judge him before even knowing him…

The first call I made outside of the family was to my very best childhood friend. She lived a couple states away, and was on her way out the door to a basketball tournament, but she paused to say hi.
Apparently, I didn’t reply hi to her in my usual way. She instantly knew something was up.
“What’s wrong, Jess?!”
“Nothing! Just… you want to sit down.”
“I’m running out the door-”
“You want to sit down.”
“Oh… okay…”
I waited a little bit, then sighed out, “I’m engaged.”
A couple brief moments of silence passed, then there was an excited squeal.
“What?! I didn’t know you even had a boyfriend yet!”
“Well…” I smiled and twisted the phone cord around my finger. “It’s been moving along pretty quick.”
“That’s great! Tell me about him!”
“He’s neat, a really good guy… you should know though, he’s like… nineteen years older than me.”
My friend didn’t miss a beat. “So? I know he must be something special to capture your crusty little heart. You’re so cold towards guys, Jess! I can’t believe you’re engaged to one!”
We shared a laugh, she had to go, but I hung up the phone feeling sooo much better than before.
I had a date for the wedding growing on my heart. And it was soon... really soon.

Mom taught me to sew when I was a pre-teen. I’d been making my own formal clothes for years. So it wasn’t a big surprise to anyone when I announced that I was going to make my own wedding dress.
I studied a couple different dress patterns and drafted up my own design. My little sister stood beside my sewing machine and watched me work. She was old enough to understand that I would be getting married soon, but young enough to not quite comprehend how big of a change that would make in the family.
While she was standing there, I inexplicably lost an important piece of fabric.
“Sweetheart, do you see the bodice anywhere?” I asked, looking around.
“What’s a bodice?”
“The… front part.”
She squinted and randomly glanced around my room. I got up from my sewing machine and looked around. Then I noticed that there was a scrap of white underneath her muddy galoshes. (We lived on a goat farm, remember?)
Sure enough, it was the bodice to my wedding dress.
I breathed in and out a deeep breath as I picked the piece out from under my sister’s foot. There was a perfect bootprint in the middle of the bodice.
I’m leaving home soon. This will be one of the last memories she has of me living here, I reminded myself before patting her shoulder.
“Honey… how about you go play now?” I suggested between clenched teeth.
“Okay!” She skipped off.
I tossed the piece in the trash and started cutting a new bodice.

We set the wedding date. Mom was a champ and invited everyone for me. Dad said that Blackbeard needed to come over so that we could talk over wedding plans.
Surprisingly though, when I called Blackbeard about coming over, he didn’t seem very enthusiastic.
“Aw… Jess… my stomach hurts. I don’t think I can make it tonight.”
I winced, got off the phone, and went to Dad. “Um... Blackbeard says he can’t make it tonight. He doesn't feel good."
Dad had some choice words to mumble under his breath about how Blackbeard better not be getting cold feet. Then he glared at me. “You tell him that he better get his butt over here, or else I’m going to go over there and have some words with him.”
I dutifully plodded back to the phone. Blackbeard was driving up to our house within the hour.
He looked sick alright, but it had to do more with dread than anything.
“I’ve never done this before!” he whispered to me as he came inside. “I’m scared!”
“I’ve never done it before either!” I hissed back. “It’s new for both of us!”

We all stayed up late that night, making plans. Blackbeard and I demolished a box of vanilla cookies, and he fell asleep with his head on my shoulder before we were finished.
“I think he’s given up on us, guys,” I remarked when I felt how heavy my fiancĂ©e was leaning on me.
Mom and Dad smiled. Then Dad nudged Blackbeard. “Hey. You can go home now.”
Blackbeard shook himself awake and started to stand. Mom suddenly got an idea though.
“We need to take a picture of you two! Stand over here together.”
Blackbeard and I moved to stand where she had directed. He showed her how to take a picture with his phone, and then he scooped me up into his arms.

I didn’t think there was greater happiness than the way I felt while that picture was being taken. It’s still one of my very favorites of Blackbeard and me. It seems to symbolize our entire, crazy courtship.

Click here to read the next post in this series: The Big Event

P.S. I wrote a post about love that went live today on Kindred Grace. Click here to check it outhttp://kindredgrace.com/second-place-love/


  1. Beautiful! I love your story! I can't wait to read future installments! :)

    1. There's not many left. We've got two more posts until the end of the series! It's been going on for two months, so I figured that was probably long enough. haha!

  2. Beautiful picture! :) I love how you responded to your sister when you found her footprint on the bodice of your dress. It's so special to have been so loving and gentle!

    1. You're sweet. I certainly didn't FEEL loving and gentle. My big Papa must have helped me. :)