*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I haven't forgiven my boyfriend's sister for ruining my first real relationship.
A few months before my seventeenth birthday, my boyfriend said he was buying me a diamond engagement ring. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were walking down the sidewalk in my neighborhood when he mentioned it. He was cool and casual about the whole thing.
Meanwhile, my heart was pounding as if I were running a marathon. My boyfriend was buying me a diamond ring! I couldn't have been happier.
Imagine, I said to myself, engaged at seventeen!
We even looked at rings at the local shopping mall. So when my birthday finally arrived, and he walked into my house carrying a large box that was far too big to hold a diamond engagement ring, I was more than a little confused.
I reasoned that he must have the ring in his pocket. Either that or the ring was nestled within layers of tissue paper and progressively smaller boxes within the larger box.
As it turned out, the large box did contain a layer of tissue paper, but the only thing beneath the tissue paper was a denim jacket and a pair of jeans.
I looked up at him. "Where's the ring?" I asked.
He didn't answer.
"You said you were buying me an engagement ring," I pressed.
"My sister said you weren't worth it." He shrugged.
With those words, our relationship would never be the same again.
I don't know why his older sister was convinced I wasn't worthy of her younger brother. She herself was no prize and had issues that far outweighed whatever her problem was with me.
Nonetheless, she was his older sister, and he listened to her.
"My sister told me not to buy you an engagement ring," he said. "She helped me pick out this jacket though."
It was the ugliest jacket I'd ever seen in my life, and it was made uglier by the fact it had been picked out by his sister in lieu of the diamond engagement ring I'd been promised.
I thought it was a good thing I hadn't told any of my friends or schoolmates about the ring I was expecting. It would have been humiliating to walk into school on Monday morning without it.
On my seventeenth birthday when I expected a marriage proposal and a diamond ring, I received instead the words that would lead to the demise of our relationship.
"My sister said you weren't worth it."
Why hadn't he simply told his sister she was wrong?
For me, things were never the same after that day. Our relationship staggered along for the next six months before ending for good.
To this day, I think we could have had a future together if his sister had given us a chance, but she didn't. I'd like to say things worked out for the best, but he and I both divorced the people we went on to marry. I guess we will never know what could have been.