23 May 2007
He had huge blue eyes and shaggy dark hair that grew very fast. I know this because the mohawk that he had at the end of 8th grade was gone by the beginning of our 9th grade year. He was my first boyfriend. He liked Motley Crue and squirrel hunting. He had spent most of the 14 years of his life before he walked into mine surviving an abusive father and a permissive mother. Although his parents were divorced, they were very connected until the day his father put a shotgun to his stomach and pulled the trigger. Billy was always sad after that. You would have thought he had been liberated, set free from the evil dictator, but it had quite the opposite effect. The last conversation I had with his dad as we sat alone in the car while Billy and his mom went into the store still haunts me - he asked me to take care of his son. With the pure heart, full of love and romantic notions of being with my 14 year old man-boy forever, I said that I would. I didn't. Billy got very involved with drugs. Instead of overcoming the abuser that had shaped his young life, he became him. Our lives went different ways. I saw him years later and confirmed that we had indeed gone in opposite directions - he was still a 14 year old boy in every way, and I was growing, changing, moving on. When I was 23, married and pregnant with my second child, sitting on the back porch of my cousin's house she announced, "Did you know that Billy Breeden died?" casually handing me a glass of lemonade, as if we were discussing the weather. I completely lost it. I stood straight up and screamed. It wasn't that I still loved him - but I had given an irretrievable piece of my heart to him, never to be recovered. I wish that I had known about Jesus, I know He could have saved Billy from himself. It makes me sad even today to think of how young he died, but more to think that he never really lived. Today was one of those days that he passed through my thoughts. Young love never reached the depths that I know love with my husband, but it forever changed me. I am not that girl whose heart once belonged to Billy, who wore his football jersey and carried books covered with his name, but marked by knowing him all the same. And a word of caution to young ladies who may be reading this - don't give your heart away until you are very very sure that you are giving it forever, cause you can never get all of it back.