It was summer. High School was over, and University would begin in three months. My best friend, Steve and I would go to different Universities in different states. We were very close and I was sure to miss him. I actually only had two close friends in High School and he was the closest. Both of us knowing time was short, we decided to enjoy the summer and spend lots of time together. His parents had given him a brand new car for graduation so we had wheels and we agreed to get together every other day after work to do stuff — we golfed, weight-lifted, went to libraries and stores and chatted a lot. We also double-dated. My girlfriend lived next door to him — he had introduced us– and his girlfriend, very conveniently, lived in the house next to hers.
Steve was from an Evangelical Christian family and had gently tried to draw me into their church during the last two years. I was a self-declared atheist but was not afraid to explore anything. I had started reading the bible seriously about three months before the summer — besides, his neighbor (my new girlfriend), was a devote Baptist. Learning the Bible could benefit me in several ways. Having a few devote friends, made me wonder if there was something to this religious stuff. And sometimes when Steve and I met, we discussed the Bible — though he was more the non-debating type. We were very close, even when we disagreed.
So we met every other day and enjoyed our summer. Steve’s parents took his sister and went down to Kentucky on a two week vacation and left Steve home because he had a job. That made it even more fun to meet up — we felt like adults. But one day Steve broke our pattern — It had been three days since he contacted me — which was very odd. So I went to his house to call on him.
Three days worth of newspapers were piled up inside his screen door, the house doors were all locked and no one answered my knocks. I could see his car was in the garage so I figured he might be down at his girlfriend’s house.
I walked down to his girlfriend’s house, Tina, and she told me that the last time she saw Steve was three nights earlier after a great date when she walked home after they parked in his driveway. So rather puzzled, we decided to look around. Tina, her brother, her sister decided to visit other neighbors and ask, while I said, I would go back check his house again.
Since the house doors were locked, I went to the garage to look for hints. I could see Steve’s new car in the garage, but the door would not pull up. As I walked away from the garage I heard a voice say to me, “Check the door again.” It surprised me. Dismissing it as just my own mind talking to me, I turned back to the garage, and this time the door lifted. I went in. Steve was lying peacefully on the front seat of his car. I tried to wake him – he was stiff. When I tried to lift him but I tore his skin off his face as it stuck to the hot seat. He had been dead for three days. I stared, startled.
I heard one of my friends coming toward the garage – John, the girlfriend’s brother. And somehow collected myself enough to leave the garage and stop John from entering, I did not want him to see Steve as I just saw him. I told him that Steve was dead and told him to be sure his sister did not see this. I felt very shaky and falling apart. I prayed, “God give me strength.” Soon I was much more calm and able to help those shaking in tears all about the garage.
The next day I flew down to Kentucky and brought back Steve’s parents for their son’s funeral. His mom and dad were very devote Christians — the mother fell apart and would not recover for about 10 years while the father was strong and supportive of everyone.
For those who are curious: Apparently Steve had listened to his car radio in the garage but closed the garage door so as not to wake the neighbors. It looked like suicide, but all of us who knew Steve well enough not to suspect suicide and agreed it just had to be one of Steve’s last stupid mistakes. We all loved the guy and said it jokingly.
Did God speak to me at the garage door?
Did God give me strength?
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