Trust takes time

Published on 5 December 2022 at 01:24

Chapter 1: Ouch! 



Faith was in elementary school trying to survive like she had been for the past few years. Moving to a new country was not going the way her parents had made it seemed.  She was a very charismatic child.  This quality helped her relate more to adults, and being around adults most of the time did too.  But when she had to socialize with children her own age it was mostly a horrible experience.  It was like she was talking another language. Being a new girl and being different was something that made her the target of bullying.   


She went to bed every day thinking that at least she had two friends and that would bring her comfort and bravery to face the day that followed.  What mattered the most to her, was not the number of friends she had, but that she had friends that she knew wouldn’t betray her.  Most of the bullies where from one girl and her followers. Those were the ones that did the physical bullying, and she was the one that manipulated the rest.  Faith had many things done to her throughout the year. Her notebooks were thrown into the school roof, or her notes lost between the black markers they would use on them, specially with homework and projects.  They put gum on her hair every few weeks, spit on her hair, put whiteout on her school uniform, cut her backpack with scissors, put stuff on her food on lunch time or simply made it impossible for her to finish her class work on the time period before lunch and she didn’t get any food.  By this time even boys would bully her to the point of one slapping her in the face in fourth grade. 



Chapter 2:  Again 



This year she is sitting in class on the first day of the semester when she turned back to look at the teacher talking with this kid at her desk. “You assign seats in your class? That’s fine and look I have the textbooks, and enough notebooks, there is a lot more than I’m used to” He kept talking as fast as she spoke which made Faith giggle. The teacher stared him down “Sit down we are about to start class I’m going to start by telling you about the classes you will be taking this year and about the schedule”.  Faith already knew the information, so she started thinking about the new student.  


By this time Faith knew everyone in that school and notices he was the only new student in her grade. But that wasn’t what she noticed the most because there had been other new students before him, but he was different. And this would be a problem for him. He had the potential to become a target of bullying himself.  She first noticed his eyes, they were full of things she had seen in the mirror herself many times, a deep sadness buried in the hopes of a new beginning and hidden with the brightest of smiles and a voice that sang whenever he spoke.  She felt a deep connection with him at that moment.   It wasn’t that she had developed a crush for him but something else that she couldn’t describe. It was like she understood him without knowing him.  She resolved to help him if he ever got bullied in any way she could, and as a kid the only way she knew was by being a true friend. 



Chapter 3: What?! 



A few weeks later one of the teachers was going to give them a school project in groups.  Because of her good relationship with her teachers, she knew this before her schoolmates.  She asked her teacher to put him in her group as he had already been teased and she thought he might need a break.  The teacher always made groups of five; faith, the teachers daughter Isabella, Faith friends Angel and Jazmin and another girl that had transferred to another school. This gave her the opportunity to get to talk to the boy and maybe they could be friends. 


Faith had no problem talking or being bossy when she wanted. Whenever she did school projects in groups she was always put in charge of the group and since everyone's grade depended on it, she wanted everyone to do their best job, or she would just complain about them not pulling their own weight until they chose to do the work or continue to listen to her nag.  “Listen this project is due in a week and we each need to talk in front of the class “ she continued “ she said it wanted to make sure we all knew the information and not the parts we each read so I think” The new student which she learned was named Liam cut her off, “ We have to talk in front of everyone and how about instead of saying just one part we read a few lines at a time and take turns? ‘This was a great idea and Faith being a bit competitive thought to herself why didn’t I think of that before?  He immediately looked at her waiting for her approval or maybe expecting her to call him names or something. She just smiled at him “that sounds great and since Isabella doesn’t live at walking distance, we can work with her just at school and the rest of the time we can work from my house if you guys want. “They all agreed and met later to start their research at the library. 


Two days later they reunited at Faith’s house as they had agreed the day before.  Her parents had gotten her the best encyclopedia program they could find online, and her mom let her use her home office. Isabella just glanced at it “My mom got the same one she says is very good that’s where I got the part I researched.” Faith was glad because that made things easier for them. They had to put all the information together and turn it into an oral report. When she turned around, she noticed that Liam wasn’t in the office with them. She went to the kitchen to find him chatting with her mom. Her mom asked him “Is Faith behind me?” When he nodded, she continued “she is going to kill me of a heart attack one of these days I can never hear her come into a room” To which he just laughed, one of those laughs that made you want to laugh even if you don’t know what you're laughing about. “yeah yeah you say that, but you always know I’m there what are you guys doing? Faith asked curiously. He blinked a couple of times before getting the words out “I’m having coffee, cheese and crackers with your mom,“ he finished with a bright smile and pointing to her mom making the coffee. Faith laughed “Oh that sounds good ill have just the cheese “and she walked back to the office. On her way, she thought to herself; is easier talking to adults right no wonder he has the same problem fitting in…  



Chapter 4: Welcome 


A few days after their oral report Faith invited Liam to the store near the school to get candy to which he agreed. “You know you can come to my house whenever you want to hang out or do homework with “He looked at her with a bit of apprehension “what do you mean “he rapidly asked her. Faith stopped walking and turned to face him, “Is not easy being in this school they don’t bother me as much as they used to, but they still do I just ignore them “without missing a beat she continued “if they see that it bothers you, they will keep doing it if not they mostly stop so I get it.” She knew there was a lot that he would never tell her because as her he seemed to tolerate and have some trust issues, but she didn’t need him to tell him to understand him somewhat.  They stayed silent the rest of the way. When they arrived at school the bell rang and just before they entered the classroom without looking, he said cheerfully, “thank you. “  


A few days later he heard someone calling from in front of the house. “go check who is there“ Faith’s mom said with a hurried voice, “I don’t recognize the voice” Faith looked at her mom with the same look she gave her every time she was worried for nothing. “that’s just my new friend Liam the one that was in the school project group.” Her mom came around the kitchen counter and took a peek out a window, “ don’t be rude let the poor kid in” While going to the door Faith muttered under her breath “you’re the one keeping me from getting the door.”   


Outside Liam stood by the main gate in his blue t-shirt and faded jeans. It was surprising to Faith that he came by since no one visited her home unless it was a school project. She opened the door for him “I’m glad you came by I didn’t think you would.” He smiled like he did with most situations and simply responded in a sarcastic way, “ my grandmother lives two houses away from here that was a very far way to go.” With a smirk and a smile, she told him to come upstairs and hang out. 



Chapter 5: Always 


In the next couple of years, they would attend the same middle school too. Throughout this time, they would hang out almost every day and they would talk about many things. But like her he wouldn’t share much about his time before moving to that country and she didn’t ask much because she knew how much some things can hurt when you spoke about them. She hoped that one day they would be able to talk about what bothered them so much and always tried to make sure he could always trust her and that their bond of friendship where important for her. 


They made new friends on the way, and they had different things going on but in their free time they would hang out with their other friends. Faith’s life was changing because of her parent’s marital status, and it made her distant in many ways from her classmates and friends. Faith didn’t want anyone to know for fear of being bullied again since after having to assert herself it happened much less.  Once in a while they would hang out after class too.  


In the next years that passed Faith’s social life became very busy. She had made many friends outside school. She spent her free time talking on ham radio or in computer chatrooms between her studies. Her friendship with Liam wasn’t as close as it used to be mainly because when she was home, she was always busy and when she went out, she went out with people older than she.  Even with all of that she still took time to make sure how her friend was doing and if he needed her for anything. 


After graduating from high school, they had both moved. Faith left for another city without most of her friends knowing. She wanted to go to college and get a job that paid enough to help her mom after her divorced had left them in a bad economic situation.  Liam had moved back to his country which they had learned was the same one. They didn’t speak for many years.   



Chapter 6: Surprise 


Faith’s mom called her in a very happy mood, “guess who came to visit me?” In the other end of the line Faith was getting ready to leave to work, “how should I know who came to visit mom, too many people go to the house for me to keep up.” Her family would drop for a visit unexpectedly, her friends liked visiting her mom for some reason which she greatly appreciated, and her mom had her own friends including those who came from out of the country for a visit. “Whatever you say no one ever comes by and Liam was just here, he came to visit his family and I gave him your phone number.”  


Faith smiled, grabbed her keys and headed for the door “thanks mom I hope he calls.” Her mom smirked over the phone “I have his number just in case I'll talk to you tomorrow.” “Ok have a good night, love you.” Faith looked to her phone to make sure the call had finished and hoped her friend would call her soon or she would have to call him and give him an earful for not calling her after having her number. 


Two days later her phone rang with an area code she was familiar with. “Hellu” was her way of answering her phone. “Faith is that you?” She heard a stronger tone of voice of what she was used to, but she recognized that voice, “No this is her answering machine!” She heard a chuckle on the other side and laughed a bit herself, “You haven’t changed much have you.” She was happy to hear her old friend but that didn’t mean she had to be serious, “what for? How have you been? Where have you been?” He laughed this time and loudly, “and I'm fine too!” They both laughed.  

That night they spoke for an hour. She told her about her parents divorce, the impact it had on her life. “I'm sorry to hear about that, you know my parents divorced years ago and I still think about it sometimes.”  He told her about his job, his mom and his brother. “My mom has a boyfriend and I'm happy for her and I like him.”  Faith told Liam about her recent breakup with a boyfriend she had for almost three years. “ he is a great man but I feel like I'm holding back his happiness and in doing so I could never be truly happy.” When Liam spoke, he seemed sadden for her, “don’t worry you will be fine.” At that she laughed, “I’m fine, when I made the decision, I was sure, and we are still friends which is better for us.” He knew her enough to know that there wasn’t any more to say in the subject.  


Liam seemed happy but there was still a sadness in his voice, but she knew that real trust took time. She knew that as long, as she didn’t share some of her own experiences, he wouldn’t either but as he she wasn’t ready. They spoke a couple of more times over the years but mostly basic catching up. 



Chapter 7: 



After a couples of years of losing contact again mostly because of Faith changing her phone number and losing her contact list. But sometime later they found each other over social media. This had opened an opportunity for them both to keep track of each other lives and talk on the phone sometimes. They were older and had dealt with their own childhood problems. One day with a simple phone call their friendship evolved. “So before we even met, I had been raped by two different people, and I considered suicide once when we were in school, I had a hard time getting too close to people most of the time.” Faith just blurted out like she was saying “I just had lunch.”  


Liam stayed quiet for a bit which in her experience was a normal response to anyone in shock. “I do not need pity or anything alike I’m just telling you, so you know me better since we have known each other for such a long time.” Liam scratched his throat before saying “I was raped as a child too and I don’t talk about it.” Faith never thought that this man that she had known for most of her live and spend so many hours with had gone through one of the worse experiences a child could have.  She told him about some of her other childhood scars that she too hid behind a smile.  


They learned that they had both struggle with their sexuality. She had to work hard to restrain herself from dating guys randomly because of her high sexual drive. He was dealing with identifying which gender he was attracted to. Both where things that when they grew up wasn’t something people would casually talk about. 


That day they spoke for around two hours. They discussed how this had an impact on their lives. And how they had both turned to art to let go of the past and enjoy the present.  By then they had both learned to love themselves and how to trust others. They both knew what their strengths and weakness were and most importantly they knew what kind of life they wanted to live and learned to really laugh.  



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