This is Part 6 in a multi-part blog post. If you've stumbled across the page without reading Part 1, click the link below to go to Part 1.Act One, Scene One
Despite the fact that Amber had been encouraging Max to stop drinking and get more involved at church, the idea of having a house all to ourselves for a week was too much not to do something with, and there was that fully stocked bar. Max and I decided that we should have a party. We decided to do it as soon as the family left. That made more sense and gave us more time to clean before they came back. It was Friday, July 19th. I’m making a deal about the date because the events in this post will have significant impact on the event that I relate to you in my next post. I was bummed because I had to work that night, but I knew that things would still be going on when I got off work at 10:00.
About 8:30, Max called me at work. Things were getting out of control at the house. One of the guys there, Bryce, one of Max’s best friends from childhood, had been drinking a lot, and Max was afraid something was going to get broken. He wanted to know what he should do. I told him to cut everyone off. No more drinking. He said that he’d try and hung up.
Max called back a few minutes later. He was even more concerned. Things were getting even crazier at the house. I still, to this day, don’t know exactly what went on. I told him to tell them that the people we were housesitting for we on their way home. I told him to tell them that they had just called me at work to tell me that they’d be home in about an hour. Max didn’t seem to get it at first. He reminded me that the family wouldn’t be home for days. I told him that, while he and I know that, his friends did not know when they were coming home. At that point he said he had it under control and told me that he’d call me when he got them somewhere else.
When he called me back, they were all at Amber’s house. He had gotten everyone down into their family room in the basement so that her parents wouldn’t realize what was going on. I wasn’t sure that was the best idea either, but I liked it a whole lot better than having them in a house I was responsible for. Apparently Bryce had drank more, too. The only way they could get him to leave was to let him take a bottle with him.
By the time I got there, Bryce was pretty subdued with the occasional outburst that had to be subdued. I’d been a part of this group long enough to know that, if he got caught being drunk in Amber’s parents’ house, this would not go over well. Amber’s older sister, Angela was there as well. She’ll play a significant role in the next few posts. Her older brother, Andrew, was there as well. About this time, it was beginning to become obvious that something was going on between Andrew and Max’s older sister, Michele. They weren’t admitting it yet, but something of a romantic chemistry was brewing.
There were some others in the room as well. At this point, it’s difficult to discern between who I recollect being there that night and who I just remember being there on other occasions. That night would not be my first, nor my last, gathering of friends in that basement.
I felt a weird mix of relief and anxiety that night. Plus, I was wrestling with my own internal questions. The stress over having people possibly doing damage to a house that I was responsible for brought back the worries that I used to feel in high school over getting caught when I would be out with high school friends and there would be alcohol in the car. I hadn't experienced that kind of stress for a while, and I hadn't missed it. I also spent time thinking back over my conversations at work with Mark in my head, and I also began thinking about the fact that I knew Max had given thought to quitting drinking, too. Maybe it was time for me to give it up. If I did, that would be an act of encouragement for him.
I began thinking more and more about whether or not I wanted to go further into my commitment with this church thing. Earlier that week, I had purchased my first Bible. I had agonized over which translation to buy. A few people had suggested a more contemporary version, but I opted for King James because people said that was what Pastor Rob always used when he preached. He would relax on that as time went on. At the time, knowing little about church and nothing about Bibles, I wanted something that I could at least follow along with when I was at church. I reverenced that book. I never laid it on the floor, and I wouldn’t place anything on top of it.
I spent a lot of time on Saturday mulling these things over. Max didn’t stay at the house with me Saturday night. I stayed there alone. Someone needed to be there because they had a dog. Having the place to myself gave me a lot of time to think. That weekend I was going to be able to attend the service Sunday morning. This would be my first Sunday morning service. It would also mark my first time hearing Max’s father preach. I would take all of these thoughts and questions with me that Sunday morning.
© Joshua Culbertson 2014