W and I walked up a long dark staircase. I was a little nervous. I had never been there but she had. We were going to a guy’s house to hang out. His name was J. W knocked on the door and it opened like he had been waiting his entire life for us. To him we must have looked like fish or the freshest meat to come his way in years. We were 16/17, both blond, both had jobs, she had green eyes I have blue, the only difference was in our size. She was thin and I wasn’t. For some reason it didn’t seem to matter for awhile.
J was a gentleman, polite, and charming. He was around 6′ tall with a slim to medium build that would get heavier as the years went by. His hair was his pride and joy. You have to remember it was the early 90’s when we met. His hair was halfway down his back. It was shiny and chocolate brown. He spent more time on his hair than I did on mine. He also spent more time in the mirror. He had a weird instinct about people. He knew what they wanted. If he could provide it for them and gain an ally or money all the better for him. I don’t think there was one person in his circle that wasn’t there by his design. This included me.
When J and I first became friends I was attracted to him. I was young and never had anyone flirt with me. He knew this. He called me all the time and we fell into a routine. I took him to the laundry mat on Wednesdays and the market on Thursdays. We spent a lot of time alone together. I knew he always had a different girl every week. I ignored it. Sometimes he did more than flirt and I would think that there was more to our relationship.
One year J threw me a birthday party. I can’t remember how old I was turning. I know it wasn’t 21 yet. For some reason 18 sticks in my head. When I walked in there was a gigantic banner with “Happy Birthday Daner!”, there were balloons everywhere, and food. It didn’t end there. J had the entire football team from that town’s High School show up at my party. Just the Seniors really. One of them was probably my age and the Quarterback. He was friendly, attentive, kind, and handsome. There were so many people there I was overwhelmed. It was the first time I didn’t want to hide from my own Birthday Party. J made sure everyone knew it was my party and they were my guest. I’m not sure what he told people or what he threatened them with but it was my best Birthday ever.
That was the problem. J would be like that for a few months and WHAM! The next thing you know you’re on his shit list for something you didn’t even do. Or he’s just bored with you and feels like creating drama. Drama was his favorite. If he found out any type of dirt on someone he would wait for just the right time to use it. If W and I were having too much fun and he wasn’t getting enough attention he would try to sabotage us.
W and I always told each other that when we first had sex we would tell each other. I thought someone was her first. J knew from the guy that he wasn’t. J decided after I had a few drinks and before W arrived to say to me “Do you really think W is as good of a friend to you as you are to her?” my answer was “yes, why?”. He said “Because P wasn’t her first. She’s been lying to you the entire time. Doesn’t it make you think what else she’s lying about?”. Was I hurt that she felt she couldn’t tell me? Of course I was. I thought we told each other everything. If I hadn’t been drinking and if J hadn’t kept running his mouth I probably would’ve let it go. By the time W arrived I was worked up into a frenzy. It was an ambush as soon as she walked in the door. The one thing I remember is the smirk on J’s face.
We were sick of it after awhile. W and I decided one night as a joke but also because people kept trying to test our friendship to make a statement. W made a large sign saying “W loves D and no one else. D loves W and no one else.” She then hung it on the refrigerator. It caused quite a bit of emotion. Some were confused, some were excited because they thought we had decided to come out as lesbians, and others were pissed. Eventually “someone” set it on fire.
J was good at the punish and reward system. Sucker punch you with public humiliation and an hour later tell you he had to do it because he loved you so much and he didn’t want anyone else to hurt you. Blame you for something that was stolen while you weren’t there and then when you get out of the shower, wrapped in a towel he surprises you by coming into the bathroom to tell you how beautiful you look just like that. No make up, wet hair, and vulnerable. He then holds you for what feels like forever and says ” I love you”.
There was a time when I didn’t want to drink but went to J’s one night. I was drinking soda and I could tell J wasn’t happy. I went to the bathroom. When I came back and took a large gulp of soda there was rum in it. I looked across the table at him smirking. I kept drinking.
J and I would often just sit and watch movies together. We talked about everything. The only time we fought was when we were drinking which was daily at some point. There were times when just looking at him made me want to smash his face in. Then I would find myself defending him to someone and getting in a fight.
There was a guy who lived upstairs from J. He was very attractive, had a good job, I knew some of his brothers, but he was less than intelligent. Some of the things he would say made me laugh so hard I would have to leave the room. He did smoke large amounts of pot. If ever there was a case of what pot might do to the brain he would be it. He took W to a Carnival one time. She was worried about getting a sunburn because she has fair skin. He said “Don’t worry. When we’re on the rides the sun can’t get you because the wind blows it away”. I can’t tell you how many times I watched him spray himself in the face with something because he was trying to smell it. He had a theory about windshields and the sun also but I can’t remember it. He was also in a band that did pretty well. I bring him up because I heard him in J’s kitchen one night talking to a girl. The girl was saying what a bitch I am and that I’m mean. The guy from upstairs said “Don’t be fooled by what J tells you. D is one of greatest people I’ve ever met. She would give a friend the shirt off her back. She’s a beautiful girl inside and out she just doesn’t know it because of J”. First I didn’t know he could speak like that. Second I started to cry. I couldn’t let them know I was awake so I tried holding my breath to stop the crying.
I knew something had to change. Subconsciously I knew it wouldn’t unless the situation was forced. It was. With violence.
I have not seen or talked to J in about 16 years. I’ve seen pictures of him. W has a friend from when she was a toddler that she has maintained her friendship with. W runs hot and cold with her. She isn’t fond of many of her friend’s choices specifically because she has a child to consider. This friend knew J when we did but was married at the time. Now she isn’t and is dating J. I don’t care who he dates. What I do care about is the fact that W has been to his house recently and he’s been to her house. I asked her yesterday if she had any pictures of us from back then. She said no but knew who did. I asked her how she knew and she confessed that she had been there recently.
I don’t know why I detest the thought of him having pictures of me from over 20 years ago but it does. He’s the type to sit around drinking with his buddies and laughing at the “good old times”. Which to me means laughing at my expense. I’m not paranoid. I know this person well. I know how he thinks. We could communicate without speaking most times. That makes me ill also. I was at that low of a level of humanity I was thinking like a narcissistic sociopath. I went along with things he did to people knowing it was something I would never normally do. But as long as he was focused on someone else he was leaving me alone.
I take full responsibility for all of the things I did. Whether I was drunk or had an undiagnosed mental illness. I still feel guilt and that word I hate, shame. It never goes away. I also feel an anger that scares me sometimes. I hate that the only way I can express it is with tears. Why can’t I be like Jason Statham and do a roundhouse kick upside someone’s head? I know, because I would get arrested. And I’m not as flexible as Jason Statham. I can still dream.