As my story unfolds, the focus shifts from the tender moments shared with Jonathan* to a broader introspection of my journey within the world of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the institutional walls of Bethel. Jonathan, in a twist of fate, found himself reassigned in December of 2009, his chapter at Bethel closed abruptly just as our love had begun, sending him back to the lush landscapes of Hawaii. It was a bittersweet turn that would lead to our final time in person, a fleeting chapter in paradise and in our minds some kind of long distant relationship.
I meticulously planned a vacation to his island, hoarding vacation days with the singular goal of rekindling what Jonathan and I had, but now amidst the tropical beauty of his island. My arrival on Oahu was in the dark of night, yet the sparkle of Waikiki Beach under the bright moonlight set the stage for what I hoped would be a romantic vacation, despite the pressing knowledge of our limited time and being around Jonathan’s family.
Long Island Iced Teas were our drink of choice. Jonathan had introduced me to strong drinks, his ‘cosmopolitan’ was a strong concoction that was pretty much vodka and a splash of cranberry.
The moment of our trip that became a formative core experience began with a night of music and “revelry”, a concert where my desire to dance with him was extraordinary strong and fueled by all the drinking. Alcohol became our uninhibited companion, and later, perched upon a rooftop looking at the Hawaiian sky, we found peace under the stars and in our promises of love forever—a bond we believed transcended even the most intimate of human connections.
Yet, as dawn approached, so too did the end of our story. Fear and guilt, those twin stewards of our faith, crept into Jonathan’s heart and mind. By the time light broke and I woke up, he had already reached out to his elders, confessing what we had shared that night.
The divide between us grew as I faced the inevitable—my departure from Bethel loomed, and with it, the daunting prospect of confronting my family and friends.
In the silence that followed, with Jonathan’s decision echoing in the void, I was left to grapple with the reality of our diverging paths. It was a poignant reminder of the delicate balance between my heart’s desire and the constraining doctrines of our faith—a balance we could not maintain.
And so, as Jonathan dropped me off at the airport, both of us confused and sad, I whispered a final, silent ‘kemps’ to Jonathan, and to a life that would never be the same.
To be Continued…
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*Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals who may be impacted by high control groups.