My dad and Pastor Marty made all of the arrangements. We were to get together at the Church office on Saturday at 1:00 pm. The night before the meeting, I couldn't sleep at all. Memories of that day at school still haunted me. I was scared to death of meeting him once again, face to face. What will he say to me? What will I say to him? I was terrified! I didn't want to do. But the time for reconciliation had come and I would have rather died a thousand deaths.

Mom, Dad and I arrived at the Church a few minutes before 1:00. As we approached the office door, I saw Katie, sitting on a bench outside. She waved at me, but I didn't say anything to her. We entered a small conference room. Paul and his parents were sitting at one side of the table, we sat down on the other side. Pastor Marty sat at the end of the table to facilitate out talk. You could hear a pin drop.

Looking over at Paul, Pastor Marty spoke directly to him and said; "OK Paul, you told Me that you wanted this. You're here, Emma's here, tell her what you want to say."

If my looks could kill, Paul would be dead. I was angry and I knew it had to show to him. But as I looked him in the eyes, I could see his tears. He was filled with remorse and he couldn't hold it back.

"Emma, I'm sorry..."Paul, lamented through his tears, "...I realize that saying that is little compensation for what I did to you. I realize now just how much I hurt you, I was stupid, thoughtless and uncaring. But I screwed up my life as well. Like you, I have had to pick up the pieces of my life and try to go forward. But then, I saw you again the other night and the memories of my time in jail came back, it was scary, I didn't know what would happen to me there. I was scared of what those other inmates might do to me. I don't ever want to go back to jail ever again. I don't blame you for hating me, but all I can say to you is that I'm sorry. I'M...SORRY!"

Paul couldn't speak anymore an began to cry uncontrollably. As I looked at him, my hatred turned to pity, I realized that I actually was starting to feel sorry for him. But then it was my turn to speak. Wiping the tears from my own eyes I spoke up.

"Paul,..." I began with a calm tone that gradually got louder and more emotional. "...You tell me that you're sorry, I believe you. Hate you? Yes, I've hated you ever since that day you laid your filthy hand on me. I have nightmares because of you. With every time I went to therapy, my hatred of you grew a little bit more. I nearly killed myself because of you. But because of what happened, I began to hate myself, I will never be who I once was ever again. But in the past year, I found a new friend and in her example, I learned that hatred is a choice, I don't have to hate someone. Paul, what you did was to hurt me, but the hatred I feel for you is doing more harm to me than what you did. This building is God's House and Katie told Me that God is Love and we are to love each other. Paul, as much as I hate you, I want to stop. I don't want to hate anymore, it's killing me...."

Then I started to cry. Then through my tears I managed to say; "PAUL---I FORGIVE YOU. Even though we will both have to live with this for the rest of you lives, we both need to get the rest our lives back on track. Starting now." I then had nothing more to say, I was emotionally spent.

Pastor Marty then said to us all; "I think that we're done, I can't think of anything more to add."

Then, my dad said. "Then let's speak no more of this."

We closed with a brief word of prayer and the meeting was over, and we went our separate ways.

Outside of the office, I found Katie, still sitting on that same bench. She told me that she was sorry for what had happened. But I told her that it was OK, she didn't know. Yet God has a strange way of resolving issues. I told her that it's going to be hard, I had a long way to go, but the first step was in the right direction. Then told Katie; "Let's walk together, shall we."
EmmaSylvester EmmaSylvester
26-30, F
Aug 22, 2014