Sneak Peak Inside If Only God Would Give Me a Sign! - EXCERPT #3
My best friend in high school, Arlene, and I were both cursed with the label of “level-headed and responsible,” which meant that the adults in our lives trusted us without reservation. It was a heavy burden for two teenage girls struggling to be as rebellious
and “normal” as our angst-ridden friends.
Opportunities to exert our power and defy those who would suppress us typically slipped by unused because we were complete cowards when it came to facing the consequences of disobedient acts. Still, we were also teenagers, and where there are teens, drama follows.
It was a simple “parents are out of town and the teenage daughter is left home alone” scenario. Also left at home was the family truck, which my friend’s father had expressly forbidden her to drive except in case of emergency.
That emergency arose within an hour of her parents’ departure. An urgent call from a classmate, insisting that we come over for an impromptu late afternoon gaggle-of-girls gossip fest, sent us into action. Clever and resourceful as we were, we hatched a foolproof plan to borrow the truck and return it to the exact same location in the garage where we found it. We ingeniously marked the wheel placement with masking tape and prepared to remove the vehicle from its parking place. Although we’d both watched dozens of episodes of Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best, where ill-fated teenage deceptions ended in disaster on a weekly basis, we boldly moved forward with our plan.
While my friend got into the truck and started the engine, I ran to the far right end of the driveway, where I was strategically positioned to keep an eye out for tattle-tale neighbors and then quickly hop into the cab once the vehicle was clear of the garage. Arlene turned on the engine, put the truck in reverse, and slowly began backing up. The radio was up loud enough to drown out a drum and bugle corps, and Arlene was overly focused on not running over the trash cans at the end of the driveway—which may explain why, when she began backing out of the garage, she failed to notice that the right side of her front bumper had gotten caught on the frame of the garage door. As she backed out, she had her head turned sharply to the left so she could check the edge of the driveway and the street behind her, which meant she was totally oblivious to what was happening with the right front bumper. I stood there helplessly as the entire garage door frame began, slowly, to pull away from its moorings as Do Wah Diddy Diddy played loudly in the background. Although the total collapse of the frame took less than a minute, every excruciatingly painful second would be etched in my memory for a lifetime.
It played out like an episode from one of those funniest home videos shows: me flailing my arms hysterically, my friend backing out while the radio blared, the door frame ripping itself from the garage opening. . . . It wasn’t until the truck finally came to a full stop at the edge of the sidewalk that Arlene noticed the doorframe, which was now mostly detached and teetering on its side in the driveway.
I almost burst into that awkward, self-conscious laughter, but the reality of what had just happened set in quickly, and instead, I became mute and motionless, frozen in a shock/panic pose as I witnessed our carefully conceived plan unravel right before my eyes. There was little chance this mishap was going to slip by unnoticed. No matter how carefully we repositioned the truck back in the garage, the significant alteration to the outside of the house was bound to expose our intentions.
When it came to demanding our power, we not only hadn’t won the war, we hadn’t even made a respectable showing in the battle.
Fortunately, my friend’s parents had a lenient punishment policy for first-time offenders and she was only grounded until she raised enough money from babysitting at twenty-five cents an hour to pay for a new garage door, or until she turned thirty— whichever came first.
Let’s face it: even as adults, getting us to surrender what we perceive to be our power to anyone or anything would take a loaded weapon or one of those personal trainers on The Biggest Loser. It makes no difference whether the power struggle involves parents, friends, family members, bosses, co-workers, or even people we’ve never met. We not only resist relinquishing control, but we deny even being able to see that Yield sign twenty feet in front of us.