I never was one to back down from a dare – don’t want to be a wimp, you know – so I went along with it even though I wasn’t real thrilled. Tessa followed me like always. She musta been watching for me to walk past her house cuz she came out her front door that night right when I crossed her driveway.
“What’s going on?”
“Nothing you need know about. Whyn’t you stay home tonight?”
“Pah. I’m going.”
Tessa don’t babble on like most girls. Mostly she likes to talk about Jesus and Bible stuff. She didn’t even pester me bout where we were heading, just talked about how Jesus’ dying made her feel. I didn’t mind – Jesus was a pretty cool dude, and she knows a lot about him. I wasn’t sure I bought it all, but her big brown eyes get even shinier when she’s talking bout him. I’d been wondering lately if maybe it is all true.
When we hung a left on Turner and saw Charlie and Rick hanging out in front of First Pres, she asked me, “We going to church?”
Her eyes lit up the night, and that’s when I had my first second thought about this dare, and specially bout letting her tag along. I told her, “Sorta. Just come on.”
“They know you been going here with me?” She sounded shocked, and I reckon she had reason.
“Nah, I haven’t told no one. And you don’t need to neither.”
Charlie flicked his eyes at Tessa when we came up, and asked me, “What’s SHE doin here?”
“Chill, Dude. You check it out?”
He grinned at Rick then at me. “Yah, Dude. Wide open.”
“Let’s do it.”
Rick started baying like a banshee and we had to hush him up and hustle around back before anyone saw us.
Sure nuff, the back door was unlocked and we snuck in. I had to grab Tessa by the hand and tug, but she came too. We started with the big blackboard in the hall, Charlie grabbed a piece of chalk and wrote in big letters, “Jesus…” He only got the first two letters of the next word down when Tessa grabbed my hand and drug me away.
“Come on,” she said. “I want to do something.”
Well that got Charlie snickering and Rick hootin and hollerin. “Go on you two – and have fuu-uun.” I turned around to give ‘em what for, but seeing those words so big…well… I wanted to throw up. My second second thought.
Tessa didn’t let go of my hand, or say a word, just drug me all the way to the sanctuary, right up to the altar, and dropped to her knees. She looked up at me with those big shiny eyes, cept now they were shiny with tears. “Pray with me?”
I figured, what the hay, I wasn’t too much into the dare anymore anyway. She still had hold of my hand, and I got on my knees beside her. I wasn’t sure what to do next so I just bowed my head to wait till she was done. I didn’t know she was planning on praying out loud. I’ll tell ya, I never heard no one pray like that before. It was like she was talking to a friend. She said “Father” like God was her real daddy. She’d even stop ever once in a while like she was waiting for Him to answer. I started getting more comfortable, and that was weird.
Then she told Him about Charlie and Rick and me. She asked Him to “open our hearts to His truth.” And it hit me like a hammer. All those things we’d talked about, bout Jesus, and Him dying and why, and how He was really God. I felt like my heart ripped open and before I knew it I was praying. Me! And it wasn’t weird at all; matter of fact if felt real right.
That’s when the cops busted in and hauled us off. I’m thankful to the preacher for getting out of bed to come get us. My folks wouldn’t have believed it, but the preacher did. Course, Tessa was there to back me up. We tried to get Charlie and Rick to see the truth while we waited at the station, but they just laughed.
So, anyways, that’s why I’m standing here in this big bathtub in a white nightgown today. Jesus is my Lord now. No more second thoughts.
Besides, Tessa dared me.
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