My family isn't exactly what you'd call religious, so church is usually the last place you'd find us on Christmas morning. But this Christmas was an exception. Close family friend and talented gospel singer, Marvin Matthews, was in town to sing at the Cathedral of Hope Christmas service in Dallas, and I wanted nothing more than for Cayden to experience it. Marvin's voice could make a blind man see; a deaf man hear; a strong man cry. His voice was so powerful, it made the hair on my arms stick straight up and sent goosebumps down my spine and back up again.
I met Marvin when I was 14. His son was my first boyfriend. That relationship lasted a whopping two months a week and a day, which was a long time in middle school terms. We were friends before he asked me out and we stayed friends after I broke his 8th-grade heart. His family became my family. A few years after we broke up, Marvin jokingly tried to bribe me $1,000 to marry his son because I was his favorite of his son's girlfriends.
Marvin sang in my sister's wedding, and I was dead set on having him sing in mine one day, which was another reason I wanted Cayden to meet him so badly.
We all woke up early that morning, got dressed for church, and piled in Mom's SUV to make the drive to Dallas. I'd done some research on the church so I'd know what to prepare for, and found out the Cathedral of Hope was the world's largest liberal Christian church with a primary outreach to the LGBT community. We were sold at "liberal."
Half way to the church I received a text message from Will.
Will: Merry Christmas!
I scratched my head. I was almost positive he was supposed to be in Puerto Rico with his girlfriend over Christmas. Was he texting from there?
Me: You, too! Are you in Puerto Rico?
Will: No. We broke up.
I gasped out loud. My heart sunk. Everyone turned to look at me.
"Will and his girlfriend broke up."
My mom gasped. The rest of my family was stunned to silence. Cayden was the first to speak.
"That's awful. What happened?"
"Does he have anywhere to go for Christmas? Tell him to come have Christmas with us," Mom said.
Then Meg chimed in, "I thought they were forever."
I thought so as well. They'd been together nearly three years, and they were, in my eyes, the most adorable couple on the face of the planet.
Will: Long story. We're not speaking.
Me: Does that mean you no longer have Christmas plans?
Will: Just planning on hanging around here I guess.
Me: Pack your bags. You're coming to Texas! We'll be back at my place around 1. See you then!"
It was roughly a three-hour drive from Oklahoma City to Keller. If he got on the road before noon, he'd be just in time for Christmas dinner.
Will: You just made my Christmas :)
I couldn't stand the thought of anyone spending Christmas alone. I'd been dying for Will and Cayden to meet, and what better way than over Christmas dinner?
"He'll be here before dinner!" I announced, and the whole car broke out in cheers. My family loved Will. He may as well have been my parents' adopted son and my siblings' adopted brother.
"I can't wait to meet him," Cayden said. He sounded genuinely excited.
Then I stopped and put myself in his shoes. What if I'd been in the car with Cayden's family and his ex-girlfriend text messaged him saying she was alone on Christmas. What if he invited his ex over for Christmas dinner and his whole family erupted with joy when she said yes and then they continued to sing her praise?
I suddenly felt like I was going to throw up.