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One Bad Apple . . .
Twelve years ago, almost to the day, the relationship with my first love started. We had gone circles for over six months. He eyed me, and I fancied him. We spoke almost daily and we had become great friends. There were many late night conversations, spilling out our hopes, dreams, fears… But, he was forbidden fruit, the tastiest of them all. He was my best friend’s boyfriend. After over a month of clandestine meetings, secret phone conversations, secrets, and lies, I came clean. And within six months after that, we were no longer friends at all.
That is not to say that my relationship with this boy (because that’s what he was at the time), didn’t continue. It did. And it thrived. We were a blissful couple, filled with promise and hope for our future. We planned to attend college together and marry young. We’d start our lives together the minute we were adults in the eyes of the law. It was he and I against the world, against our parents, against everything. And the only thing that mattered was that we loved each other and love was enough to keep us together forever.
If you call three months shy of four years together forever, then sure, we were together forever. But, we didn’t love each other and love was not enough. Not to him, especially. He was cunning with a tongue of silver and a touch of gold. And when I took off those rose colored glasses many, many years later, I saw everything for what it was. Us, huddled together for warmth the February afternoon – him laying me down on a dirty mattress, in an abandoned house to fuck me for thirty awkward and unsatisfactory seconds. Two lovers kept at a great distance across the city – a conveniently placed “long distance” relationship so he could screw around with any girl who looked at him sideways. Tender words to a broken soul – patronizing speeches for manipulation of the body attached to the desperate ear. Long, painful separations due to family obligations and travel – paid time off from the relationship.
Everything looks better at a distance.
His final, parting words to me after we made love only twelve hours earlier were, “I will always be you friend.” It wasn’t until I discovered the Manslator (every woman has one, some women call it their bullshit radar), many years later, that I realized this heartfelt and endearing sentence had a word missing. I will always be your fuck friend. And he meant it.
Plus Another Bad Apple. . .
Off an on for a year after that, “Beck” had me on a string. I was young and naive. I can actually thank him for emotionally abusing the nativity out of me. And that he did. He would build me up to be the one he almost let get away, and then condemn me for being his greatest mistake. It was a painful game of cat and mouse, only with emotions. This all went with the waxing and waning of women and genitals that came in and out of his bedroom – and life. Of course, I didn’t know this. I still had the antiquated idea that relationships were exclusive and monogamous! I was his only girl . . . that night.
Eventually, I wised up a little and walked away from that madness. I was an adult now, and I didn’t have to take shit from anyone. After that relationship, I wasn’t about to. I dated around, and discovered what I considered to be a diamond in the rough while I was in college.
“Avi” was not a sensitive soul with a delicate touch and soothing words. Avi was a man. A real man, by any standard I’d ever seen. He was tough, muscular and stoic. It seemed as if he were all but impenetrable. With the exception that he had a soft spot for me. He reeled with laughter and curiosity about me. “I’ve never met a girl like you, ever before. You’re so different.’ I was different. I was a tomboy by male standards. I spat, drank, swore, and cut-up with the rest of the men-folk. I was tough and gave it right back to them. I didn’t let anyone step on me and I didn’t let anyone stand in my way. I had to be. No one nurtured me into adulthood. I used my nails to dig into the earth and crawl on my belly out into the world. And I got a lot of hard-knocks on my way in and through.
Avi and I were on our own plane of existence for about six months. We never fought, and always found each other fascinating. I had never encountered a man like him, nor had he encountered a woman like me. In the quiet, behind closed doors, in the dead of night, he would whisper beautiful things to me in my sleep. He stroked my back and hair when no one was looking. He was a gentleman who held doors, offered coats, and paid for everything, despite my pitiful attempts at declining. I was a wild woman to him. I could care less what anyone thought of my physical being. I had thoughts and opinions that would not be silenced. I feared nothing. Both farces disintegrated quickly. A year into our relationship, despite the fact that things were clearly falling apart, Avi and I were ready to start a life together and signed a lease on an apartment.
You never really know someone until you have lived with them.
Avi was charming to my friends. He held a good job and kept up on his classwork. We held the most outrageous, hilarious, and fun parties. But behind those closed doors now, he was a madman, and I was a child. Any mistakes were venomously criticized. I was berated for the smallest things. Our disagreements would blow up into full on screaming matches. He would leave without saying a word, especially when he knew he was losing. And I, being the child that I was, would chase him down. And apologize. And beg. Then he would alienate me, keeping me at an arms length and blaming me for being over dramatic and harmful to our peaceful existence, and forcing me to comply. He’d intentionally stay late at work. He would pick up extra hours and be gone more than he was around. He would stop answering the phone or texts.
Our friends stopped coming around. One by one, he picked them off, made them the source of our domestic problems, and alienated them. He couldn’t hold a job for longer than three weeks. We were drinking, a lot. And the more we drank, the less I remembered. He would encourage it too! Then there was a push, that led to a shove, that led to a slap, that led to punch, that led to him forcing himself on me . . .
I went to the only person left. The only person who knew me better than anyone else. I went to Beck. I called for help, and he came. He came with the only help he knew how to give – a stiff drink and a limp dick. It seemed that several years of alcoholism didn’t do Beck very well. I chugged a bottle of Jack and had three seconds of sex. The other twenty-six seconds were Beck viciously fucking the carpet on the stairwell to my apartment. And he was down by a second in his old age, too. Not only could I be mortified that I had cheated, but I could be dually ashamed that it wasn’t remotely satisfying. I stood at the top of the stairwell looking down on Beck as he departed. And I asked him, “Would you at least call? So I don’t feel like a whore.” He agreed. And the only word I received was a Myspace blog post declaring his love for another girl, three days later.
Another year had passed. I was about to leave Avi. I really was. I had thought about it on my long walks through the ice and snow to work. There was a lot of silence in my head and in that house to fill. I had planned that we would go to our respective family places for Christmas that year. And while he was gone, I was going to change the locks, change my phone number, change my address, and leave all of his stuff on the front porch with my father standing by with a shotgun. I had decided this at Thanksgiving when he was gone.
He always knew. Every time I had packed a bag in the past, he knew when I was serious. That’s why most of the time he just sat idly by, calling me a stupid bitch, or a dirty whore while I threw everything I could into some kind of luggage. But it was by the things that I wasn’t doing that he knew. When I wasn’t coming home until I thought he would be asleep. When I wasn’t talking about our relationship and instead about a new friend, especially male ones. When I wasn’t talking at all. He knew.
He came home from his family a new man. There were smiles, hugs, communication, and quality time. We watched movies together again. We were sober. We went on dates and made new friends. It was like a new lease on our relationship!
Until, he came clean. All of the time that I thought he held a good job was time he was using to cheat on me. He held a relationship with another girl we both went to school with. They had clandestine meetings in places that school that I held sacred to us. That was the only in discretion that he ever admitted, although I could pin several more on him. Three of my best friends and my sister all came to me when our relationship was finished to tell their tales. And the rest ,a server at the restaurant, his boss’ girlfriend, another co-worker, a few more girls from his home town, and a half-a-dozen women from the internet, were all speculation.
It was through C.S.’s love that he gave me the courage of conviction to rid myself of Avi and Beck forever. He gave me the courage to see the doctor again and get my life straightened out.
Ruins the Whole Bunch. And Barrel.
It was only when I got those first test results back in July 2007 that I had only begun to know the damage that Beck and Avi had brought to my life.
Pap result – ASCUS. Probable cause – HPV.
To be continued . . .