WARNING: POTENTIAL TRIGGERS AND SOME SEXUAL REFERENCES
I thought today was the beginning of daylight savings, so I didn’t stress the time. At nearly six this evening I realized I was an hour off; for some reason I think that threw me into a funk. My day was gone, and I hadn’t redeemed the time. I don’t know. Maybe it’s that I’ve spent too much time in this office lately.
A photo sits atop my desk. I don’t usually pay much attention to it. He’s there, watching me, but I’m busy paying bills, answering emails. Since I started writing this blog, however, I find that I write, sit back to think, and look back at him. And, sometimes I wonder………
I was fifteen years old, and my life was a living hell. My dad had beaten me so bad over spring break that I missed the first few cheerleader meetings. I didn’t learn the cheers and felt like I was just always a step behind. I was too embarrassed to go, in spite of knowing the importance of attending. I had a black eye, a broken nose, a broken toe, and my lip was split wide open, bulging outward. It looked like a hunk of raw meat was glued to my chin. Mind you, I’d done nothing wrong. My dad and his live-in girlfriend had argued. He shoved her, so she bit his ear and threatened to call the police; he quickly left. All of his anger just needed a place to go. So, it went on to my face.
My beloved former step-dad was dying of lung cancer.
My mother refused to buy food or allow me any money; I was always hungry. My grandma saw that we were not eating and offered us dinner, but my mom accused us of trying to make her look bad. She didn’t want grandma to know, so we weren’t allowed to eat dinner with grandma anymore. At 5’10 1/2″ I weighed just barely over 100 lb.
I gave the most precious part of myself to my football star boyfriend who talked marriage and babies after graduation, but he scored the touchdown and immediately threw me into the ground like a ball before moving on to the next play. When my mother suspected my “slutty” behavior she read my diary, listened to my phone calls, and enlisted my overweight brother to help her beat me. I suppose she thought I might fight her back, so she had him sit on my chest while she pummeled my face with her fists. I felt panic, true panic, as his weight crushed my bony chest, making it difficult to breathe, while her thick, hard fists slammed rapidly, one after the other, into my face and head.
I began skipping school and drinking. I stole alcohol and hid it in shampoo bottles in my locker. I drank all the time. One night I showed up to the local pizza parlor where the football players were hanging out together after a game. I was falling down drunk. Crying, I professed my undying love right there in front of everyone. I embarrassed my ex-boyfriend. I embarrassed myself. Of course, the coaches reported my behavior to the rally adviser and I was kicked off of the squad for “behavior unbefitting a rally member.”
The school and the truancy officer called in the sheriff to try to catch me skipping classes and loitering around the halls and near the lockers. I was a ninja in those halls! A skinny, drunk ninja hiding from my uniformed enemies, and they couldn’t find me. I felt powerful, lurking in the silent halls while the other students were stupidly studying and the adults were running around like chickens with their heads chopped off looking for me. I felt powerful, that is, until the counselor got a hold of my mom to bring me in during nonschool hours so that she could expel me.
They sent me to “an alternative school,” which was run by old, long haired pot smokers who taught classes on Beatles’ history and how to get your GED. I didn’t fit in there either.
A few months after I arrived a boy from another high school showed up. He didn’t fit in either. He dressed sharp. He was off the charts intelligent. He’d been exiled to hippie land for hacking into the school’s computers and for stealing a few of them. His parents were divorced, too, and his mom worked long, long hours. He was a smart kid with too much time on his hands and not enough supervision.
We clung to each other. We were tight. He was one of the best friends I’ve ever had. We got drunk together every chance we could. We listened to Ian Dury and cussed. We talked on the phone constantly and frequently had phone sex. He was my friend though, and he just wasn’t my type. He was too clean cut, too much of a city boy, a talented artist with soft hands. He just wasn’t my type.
I knew he was crazy about me and eventually nature took its course. You just can’t allow two drunken teenagers that much time alone together. I was his first, and it was insane. We experimented. We ready dirty books for ideas. We played. We snuck into each other’s houses after our moms were asleep. But, we were just friends, and he still wasn’t my type.
One day, some time in our mid-20’s, he rode his bicycle ten miles in a storm to see me. We sat outside and watched the lightening flash across the sky until evening. When I drove him home, down a flooded street, my car stalled out in the deep water. Trees were down, and the electricity was off. The wind was blowing hard, and the rain pounded down upon us. People ran about frantically. It was surreal.
The last time I dumped him for yet another beer guzzler in a white T-shirt and Levi’s with a Copenhagen ring was the last time I saw him. We’d gone out drinking and dancing, now in our late 20’s, but he was still just my friend and still not my type. He wasn’t angry. He never got angry with me. He just accepted my escapades and went home alone.
He moved out of town and sold his art in the city. He eventually had a little girl. And, then he was killed. Tragically and instantly this brilliant, talented, soft hearted man was gone forever.
As I look at his picture on my desk sometimes I wonder…..what if I had realized that he was the one who genuinely was my type. I wonder…..what if I had appreciated that he was one of the best friends and lovers I’d ever had. I wonder…..what if I had recognized that he was one of the few people in my life, the only person in my young life, who believed in me. Sometimes I wonder………would life have been different….would he still be alive today…..would those parts of me that were destroyed by violence be flourishing somewhere….would we have redeemed the time wisely together. Sometimes I wonder…….