You’re 18 and he’s your first. First boyfriend. First love. First one to call you beautiful. First one to call you his. You’re not supposed to go to his house when his parents aren’t home but you tell yourself it’s fine, he loves you. His eyes don’t look right when he opens the door but you tell yourself it’s fine, he loves you. Then he’s on top you of you’re screaming and crying and he won’t look you in the eye anymore.
You’re not fine. He doesn’t love you.
You’re 19 and away from home. Away from him. It stings when someone tries to take your hand, but you feel nothing as you cut your thigh with a razor blade. One, two… twelve times. You think you’re strong because you don’t cry. You don’t cry that he hurt you. You don’t cry that you’re lonely. You don’t let anyone close enough to see the scars, anyway.
You’re 20 and broken. You look up at the sky and your heart screams, Do you love me, God? Am I saved, God? Do you even hear me? Am I a sinner? Am I still a sinner, God? You don’t hear a response so you keep living in the world the way a religious person should, just in case. You try to remember being 17 when God felt alive to you.
You’re 23 and He’s your first. First Love. First one to call you beautiful. First one to say you will always be His. You cry because He loves you. Because His grace extends beyond self-inflicted scars and scars inflicted by others. You realize forgiveness was never a matter of persuading God to love you. It was always there for the taking.