Divine is in the house today to share another of her, It-Could-Only-Happen-To-Me, moments with her regulars and those of you surfing in looking for a little Fall Giveaway fun! While humorous, it does bring to mind the questions, "What are we teaching our teens today? Is chivalry or decorum obsolete? What about selfworth?" And yes, the characters names are Mary and Jesus, but before you run away saying. . .ooo. . .she talking bad about Jesus. . .that's Hay-suce not Jesus. . .LOL. So read on...
Divine inserted her key and pushed open the storage-room door. It slammed shut. She turned the key and pushed the door again, and just as quickly, it slammed again. After trying to figure out how a storage room catches a wind, she dismissed that idea and reached into her pocket for the original set of keys. She inserted the key and pushed the door in, applying more pressure this time, and came up against resistance accompanied by a faint rustling noise. Again the door slammed shut.
Okay—the wind can’t be blamed for all of that. There’s someone in there! Now curious, she once again turned the key, and as she was about to put her weight behind her push, the door gave way and she was eyeball to eyeball with two flustered teens. As Divine opened her mouth to speak, the slender, fair-skinned young lady’s eyes slid away from hers. The girl fixed her disheveled shoulder-length hair, slid past Divine, and disappeared down the nearby hallway.
“Oh my gosh! Were you locked in there?” Divine asked, looking at the remaining teen. He shrugged his shoulders, nodded his head, and said, “Uh . . . yeah.”
With forced nonchalance, he walked around Divine and headed in the opposite direction. Divine left the storage-room door ajar and was halfway down the hallway when a thought occurred to her. Wait—don’t those doors look from the inside? She turned around to check, ensuring that she had her cell phone with her in case she got locked in. The resident manager getting locked in a storage room wouldn’t exactly be good press.
Back at the storage room, she pushed the door in and looked at the other side. Sure enough, there was a perfectly functioning lock in plain sight. Disturbed at where her thoughts were taking her and the conclusion she was drawing, she returned to the rental office to ponder her options. The young lady was familiar to her, but she did not have a clue in which apartment she lived.
Rushing from the bathroom, Divine reached over to grab the phone before it got to the third ring, “Thanks for calling Brentwood Apartments. Divine speaking. How may I help you?”
“Miss Divine?” asked a croaky male voice.
“This is she, who’s calling?” I replied.
“This is Jesus in 12B. Maria’s son?” he continued.
“Oh, right, hi Jesus. What’s up?”
“Miss Divine, my sister lost her ID and was wondering if anyone turned it in?”
Divine’s eyes flickered to the driver’s license sitting on her desk. “Actually, yes, someone turned it in about an hour ago. She’s in luck.”
“Cool. I’ll be right down to get it.”
Divine drew a breath. “Um . . . Jesus?”
“Do me a favor and tell Marietta that I’d like her to come get the ID herself.”
“Oh, all right.” There was a slight pause and the sound of a throat clearing before Jesus asked, “She’s not in trouble or anything, is she?”
Divine sighed inwardly. Not exactly. “No . . . not at all. I just want to talk to her for a minute.”
Divine replaced the phone and marveled at the providence that had brought the license into her possession. As far as she was concerned, it was a sign. As she placed her papers in order for filing, she pondered how she would approach the topic and whether there was a clause in her nonexistent job description that covered well-intentioned meddling.
As she was about to shut off the lights to leave the office, Divine caught a shadow out of the corner of her eyes. Turning around to see who it was, she recognized Marietta standing hesitantly in front of the office door. Divine pressed the buzzer to release the lock and reached for the ID on her desk. She motioned for Marietta to have a seat.
“Hi, Miss Divine,” the teen girl said, pushing her hair over her shoulder. “My brother said you wanted to speak to me?”
“Yes. I was a little concerned earlier because I didn’t know your name or apartment number, and I wanted to make sure you weren’t traumatized from being locked in the storage room.” Divine looked Marietta in the eyes as she spoke. “You were locked in the storage room, isn’t that right?”
“Umm . . . yes, we were.”
“Okay, so that’s your story.” Divine exhaled, then continued.
“When I checked your ID, I saw that you were eighteen, so I won’t mention this to your mother. Lemme just say this to you—woman to woman. You are a beautiful young woman with the world ahead of you. Having sex in a storage closet does not do you any justice.”
As Marietta leaned forward and opened her mouth, Divine held her hand up to forestall the interruption. “So you weren’t having sex, this time or yet, but that’s where you were heading. Let’s keep it real, okay?”
Marietta nodded with her eyes on the floor. Divine continued. “First of all, I don’t think anyone under twenty-one ought to be messing around with something as powerful as sex, but that’s another argument. Aside from that, a guy who invites you to get intimate in a storage closet where your privacy is questionable doesn’t think much of you. And by consenting, you’re telling him and anyone who discovers you—in this instance me—that you don’t think much of yourself either.”
Marietta looked up. She was listening.
“As women, we define who and what we are going to be. We determine how we will be treated. It’s up to us to accept no less than the best, no matter how persuasive or fine he is. I know your mother has probably said this to you before, and I’m saying it to you again. You’re worth dinner and a movie, chocolates and roses—not a storage room. Your reputation should be worthy of holding your head up, not worrying about who knows what you’re doing where with whom.”
Divine wound up for the final punch.
“If a guy doesn’t yet have the funds for an expensive restaurant, he can afford at least a hamburger Happy Meal!”
Divine extended the ID card to Marietta, looked her in the eyes again, and said, “You’re worth so much more. You need to believe that.”
With tears in her eyes, Marietta nodded in Divine’s general direction and silently left the office.
Divine wasn’t sure if her words had been heard or not, but she was glad God had provided the opportunity for her to pray and have a say.
It was up to Marietta to listen.