So was all of this just to "get back at daddy"?
No! I was not bitter about what they did or how they treated me... I was just sad. At the time I felt as though my family hated me and anyone that I tried to form lasting relationships with treated me like shit.
So you don't regret that those things happened to you?
Not at all. Those experiences made me who I am today. I am grateful for everything my family has ever done for me. I loved them then and I still love them now.
Yeah? And who are you today?
Not sure yet.
Not sure? You spoke confidently before about how your experiences make you who you are today and now you say that you don't know?
One doesn't find themselves overnight. Just because I don't know, fully, who I am doesn't mean I can't like who I am so far. I have new experiences everyday and I cannot wait for what experiences await me in the future.
I've pored over these case files and I have to say, I'm a little more than shocked.
Why is that?
I'm trying to figure out how someone goes from an innocent girl straight out of high school to... to this.
It didn't happen over night.
You will have to be more specific.
Well... no one just does these things without knowing they have a bit of a dark side in them.
No, they do not.
What do you mean by that?
I have always looked at life differently than how I was raised. It is similar to my curiosity being piqued by sex solely because my parents made it out to be this huge secretive thing that I should never do. They taught me the same way about how to treat others. They burned it into my memory that you treat people how you want to be treated. This piqued my curiosity once again because a true bully treats you awful, regardless of how you treat them. I learned later on how true this is. You have to treat bully's how they treat you and go as far as they will... otherwise it will never end.
But what if they don't stop. How do you know when you've gone too far.
When it comes down to it, there is no "too far". There is only 'far enough'. It is the only way you can come out on top.
The first few weeks of college were spent alone in my dorm room crying and wishing I was dead, barely getting out of the house for class once or twice a week. I went from valedictorian to flunking all my classes in less than a month. It was not all bad though... it was at college that I learned who I was and lived up to my full potential.
I thought about what Scott and Graham had done constantly. I hated them for what they had done to me and wanted them to hurt just as much as I have. My parents' teachings, regarding treating others with kindness regardless of how they treated you, were always in my mind and I hated that too.
It was week six when I forced myself to leave the house for something other than school. I was determined to cheer myself up. I walked to the closest coffee shop and ordered a large Lavender Chai Late with four shots of dark espresso. I probably would have had a good time if I weren't feeling so awful but life is what it is. It was 4:30 and the place was packed. I only saw one person there who looked like they weren't in college and everyone else was either my age or just a little older. They formed little cliques and groups, pushing tables and chairs together. A few boys pulled out guitars and played horribly in attempts of impressing the girls around them. But it was fun. Even though I reverted back to my thoughts of high school and secluded myself in the furthest corner, it was nice to be around other people who did not have the same problems as myself. Even in the midst of all these people I still felt lonely. I pulled out my phone and text my old friend from high school, Spencer.
-Hey what are you doing?-
I have not talked to him since graduation but I did not have anyone else to turn to. Spencer decided not to take the college route and instead went to the police academy. Since he was so young and inexperienced the only job he could find was with campus security here at Stanford. We have known each other since we were both ten and in the same Sunday school class. He has had a crush on me since we first met, that was why I had not called him until now. I did not want him to think I was giving him another chance but god knows he deserves it. He's a good person and a good friend.
I watched everyone around me but it was still too much to forget about Gram. I started to cry and everyone turned to look at me. Just as I was about to run out, as I always had before, a girl took a seat across the table from me. I figured she just needed a place to sit so I turned my head to hide as I sniffled quietly to myself. Everyone was having such a good time, I didn't want to kill the mood for her or anyone else. This made me more embarrassed and I cried even harder.
"Are you okay"? I heard her voice quietly from across the table. For a moment I didn't realize that she was talking to me. When I finally turned to her, she was looking at me with empathetic eyes, holding a cup of coffee in her hand.
I stuttered a reply through the sobs, "Wha... what? Uh... yeah, I... Sorry, I'm just having a bad day".
"You don't need to be sorry, honey." The girl scooted her chair in and asked, "Did something happen?"
I gave her a look before I replied. She took it as if I was offended and spoke before I could say anything, "I'm sorry I don't mean to pry it's just that I'm in one of your classes and I've only seen you like 3 times and you've always looked so stressed. I just wanted to make sure you were doing okay with school and everything."
I sniffled and wipe my nose while I explain, "You're fine. Something just happened right before school started. I can't seem to get past it. I have not even gone to my other classes."
She leaned in and set her cup to the side, "Oh sweetie what happened?"
"I caught my fiancé with my best friend from high school." I don't know why I spilled the beans like this. I think I was just so alone and haven't vented to anyone about this yet. My parents look down at people for things like this and think of it as a weakness so I have not even told them what happened. I have never told my parents anything that was important to me. I have never told my sisters either, for fear of them telling my parents. The only person I have ever opened up to was Gram and I quickly learned what happens when you trust someone enough to tell them everything.
"Oh my god," she blurted out. "That is bullshit and unacceptable. Do you want me to help you go kick his ass?"
My crying turned to a few giggles, "No, but thank you. The last thing I need right now is to see that jerk ever again. Even if it's in a pool of his own blood." I appreciated the offer though and God knows I have thought about it. I could already tell that I liked this girl.
My phone rang, letting me know I had a new text but I knew who it was and did not want to be rude to this girl so I just put my phone in my purse.
The girl nodded and smiled, "I'm Stacy." She reached out a hand to shake mine but I had been blowing my nose into a napkin so I just showed her the tissue. She winced and pulled her hand away.
"I'll shake your hand later - after I wash." I said playfully.
Stacy smiled and replied, "Deal." She twiddled her thumbs for an awkward moment and then asked, "This your first time to Lavender Bean"? Referring to the coffee shop we were currently sitting in.
I sniffled once more and nodded my head.
"It's pretty cool," She started to explain. "Everyone here is so happy and full of energy and on their own for the first time. It's exhilarating." She started bounce in her seat as she spoke.
And it was. Even while she was explaining it, I felt a rush of energy and happiness. I have not felt that in a long time.
"And every guys here is horny as hell and ready to fuck." Stacey turned to me, shocked and covering her mouth. I could tell right away that she had no problem with speaking her mind. It made me laugh and she smiled and apologized, "Sorry, I hope you're not too offended by that kind of language."
I smiled back at her and replied honestly, "Well if I had not just gone through all that crap with my fiancé, I probably would have stood up and walked away."
Stacey thought that was weird and gave me a look accordingly, "Really? Why?"
"Just how I was raised, I guess." I said, again, not knowing why I was telling this stranger so much about my life, but it was exciting. It was new and something that I had never done before. I grew up believing that others judge you solely by what they see and what you do: Church, service, prayers, etc. I tell this girl that I catch my fiancé cheating on me and instead of judgment and a long lecture about the wrong choices I made in life, I get acceptance and intrigue. She wants to know more and I want to tell her more. It feels good to tell someone about my life and not have to worry about the consequences afterwards.
"well, not to be rude hon, but if you're going to survive in the real world ya, need to get used to people using foul language." She paused to take a sip of her coffee before continuing, "There's some filthy shit out there."
My phone rang and I ignored it once again.
"I know. I guess one good thing that came out of all this is that I learned that no matter how 'good' someone is, bad things still happen." Stacey nodded her head while I continued, "Makes me wonder what it's all for? Did I just waste the first 19 years of my life?"
"Look at you being an optimist," She said, upbeat. "Plus, it's just like you said. You learned something from all this, so no, it's not a waste."
I liked her perspective. I had been too focused on Gram for too long. Sitting by the phone, waiting for a call from him that was never going to happen. I did not even want it to happen. I needed a change but god knows I was not going to do it myself.
Like she was reading my mind, Stacy grabbed my arm and asked in a very serious tone, "Do you want to go do something? It'll get your mind off things."
"But I don't know you." I replied hesitantly. "Won't it be weird?" I immediately regretted what I just said. I must have sounded foolish. But not to Stacey. She is too happy-go-lucky and care free to worry about things like that. I had a lot to learn from her.
Instead of being upset, Stacey replied with, "What? Why would that be weird?" She smiled and continued, "This is college, nobody knows anybody here." She looked into the coffee shop, and took notice of a couple kissing. The boy reached down and squeezed the girl's ass. Stacy looked back at me and continued, "Well... at least not at first."
She made a good point. I giggled and asked, "Well, what do you want to do?"
Stacey sat back on her chair and sighed, "Well, when I get all depressed and shitty, I find a horny guy to make all my problems just disappear."
My giggle turns into a laugh. I blush at what she said. Things like sex still made me feel uncomfortable. It made me think though. I have always looked at sex as this untouchable thing that only those privileged enough to get married were able experience.
I thought that I had felt the same way as my family did but I have been questioning everything more and more since I had been on my own. Stacey kept talking but I tuned her out to think about other things. Like the fact that this girl is so happy even though she had sex on a regular basis, used "offensive" language, and wore tight and revealing clothes.
She had her light brown hair with blond highlights tied in a loose pony tail. She was wearing short cutoff jean shorts, a baggy low V cut T-shirt and turquois cowboy boots. She had two long chain, gold necklaces and a slew of bracelets both wrists. Her skin was tan and blemish free. You could clearly see that she was not wearing a bra but she did not seem to care. She carried herself with confidence and I could not blame her. She was gorgeous. She had a slender frame, with long, beautiful legs and larger than average breasts. I found myself wishing I was her.
Just then, Spencer walked up behind Stacey with a smile on his face. He was dressed in his campus security uniform. He greeted me with a cheerful, "Hey!"
My feelings were mixed. On the one hand I really like talking to him and he is a good friend but on the other, I really do not want him to ask me out again.
I reach up a hand and wave, "Hey Spence. What are you doing here?"
"Just patrolling the streets for crime." He replied with a smile. "After all the kidnappings in the area, the college decided to double the security."
The news was full of stories about the highest number of kidnappings and abductions in California and giving warnings for all girls between the ages of 13 to 20. I was about to ask more about it but Stacey turned to me and asked, "Who's this?"
Spencer takes a seat between Stacey and I.
"This is Spencer. We went to high school together."
Stacey turned to him and shook his hand, "I'm Stacey."
Spencer replied, "Spencer. Nice to meet you."
Stacey gushed as she turned to me and whispered loud enough for him to hear, "He's cute."
Spencer smiled but did not react to what she said. Instead, he turned to me and asked, "I text ya back, what's up?"
"I was just having a hard time. I needed someone to talk to."
He was sympathetic, "Oh, I know. I heard. I'm so sorry."
"Oh, it... is just fine."
He saw through my lies, "Clearly, you're not just fine."
Stacey giggled and pointed to Spencer, "I like this guy."
Spencer finally paid attention to Stacey. He gave her a smile before he turned to me and asked, "So what do we need to do to cheer you up?
That was all Stacey needed to hear. While she couldn't talk me into shacking up with some stranger, Stacey and Spencer did manage to cheer me up that night.
We all shared a quiet moment until Stacey blurted out, excited, "Bowling."
Spencer and I both gave her a look.
"What?" She shook her head. "Come on, Bowling's awesome... plus they serve alcohol so it'll be all good."
Spencer and I gave her another look. Spencer stammered, "uh I... I don't... drink."
"Yeah, me neither" I spoke quietly.
Stacey gasped lurches from her seat to stand above us, "What are you Mormon? How can you not drink? You're in college for god sake."
"Doesn't matter anyway." Spencer pointed out, "We're only 19."
"So am I." Stacey countered. "Hasn't stopped me. Plus I know the guy that serves the beer there and he doesn't care."
"Can't he get in trouble for that?" I asked.
"Well, yeah but I'm not going to rat him out." She turned to Spencer, "And you're not going to rat him out either right? Me. Big time police-y man."
Spencer smiled, "Don't worry."
A look of curiosity washed over Stacey and she ask both of us, "So you really have never tried it before?"
I answer with a giggle, "Nope."
Stacey looked at Spencer and asked, "What about you? Have you ever had alcohol?"
"I don't drink." Spencer spoke cryptically.
Stacey and I smiled at each other. I leaned forward in my chair and probed, "That's not what she asked."
Stacey asked her own question, "Yeah, have you ever had a drink?"
Spencer hesitated and averted his eyes from mine. I have known him long enough to know what that means. I gasped and call him out on it, "You have!" I take a deep breath, "When?"
Spencer looked shocked and glanced around to see who could hear or see us, as though he was a secret agent. He waved his hands at me, "No no no, you cannot tell anyone."
He was just as worried as I was about my parents finding out about other things. Stacey gave him a look of confusion as to why he would be so worried about something so trivial as drinking – trivial to her anyway.
I interrupted Spencer, "Look, don't worry. I can't tell my parents anything... or anyone else back home so I'm not going to say anything about you."
"Why not?" He asked.
"For the same reason you're freaking out about anyone knowing you drink."
Spencer tilted his head to the side in thought and then nodded in agreement.
"Man, you guys are like... way too worried about this. Who the hell raised you?" She took a sip of her coffee. "You guys need to lighten up... maybe a few drinks." Hint taken.
Spencer turned his car off and we all piled out in front of the Rocket Lanes bowling alley. Spencer and I hesitated to go inside but Stacey jumped up and down with enthusiasm and skipped toward the main entrance. She yells, "Come on! Happiness awaits!"
Her energy was intoxicating and I could not help but to join in the skipping. Spencer shook his head and then said, "Fuck it" as he followed suite. I glanced behind me to see Spencer skipping and waving his arms and then back in front of me to see the one who started it all. I began to laugh as I realized that I have not thought of Gram all afternoon.
At the counter Stacey got three pairs of shoes, paid for the three of us and a pitcher of beer. I tried to interject but she shewed me away with, "Nope, I got the first round, you guys go get your balls."
Spencer snickered, "I already have mine."
I slapped him on the arm and giggle, "Gross."
We sat down at the table near our lanes. Spencer and I slipped our shoes on as Stacey walked back from the front counter. She sat a large picture in the middle of the table. I could only stare at it. Much like sex, alcohol has been an untouchable thing and anyone who does is "evil". But through my experiences at home, not being able to trust my parents with anything, and watching Stacey who does all of those "evil" things, I realized something. She is not evil. She is nice. I do not know why my parents are so quick to judge the billions of people on the planet just because they drink, or have premarital sex or most commonly, because they are not of the same religion. It seems short sighted to me as well as narrow minded.
I did not know everything about this girl but the only thing that she had shown me, in the short time I have known her, was kindness and respect. She did not have a problem with who I am – at least not yet.
Stacey saw me staring at the beer and sat three glasses down beside it. "It's not gonna bite you. I've never seen anyone so new the world of beer."
I gave Stacey a smirk and stuttered, "Well, no... I... I'm not new..."
She cut me off with a laugh, "Ha, you can't fool me."
I could not say anything else, I just laughed with her and slowly moved my eyes back to look at the beer.
Stacey took notice and asked, "You want some?"
All I could do was smile as I stared at the beer so Spencer replied for me as he chuckled, "Yes she wants some." He took the pitcher and poured an even amount in all three glasses.
I picked up a glass and then looked at Spencer, "You promise you're not going to tell anyone about this."
He picked up a glass and replied, "I got as much riding on this as you do." He took a sip of beer and continued, "Don't worry, I won't tell if you don't."
Stacey's impatience was growing, "Nobody's gonna tattle, Great. Just drink your goddam beer."
I put the glass to my lips and for an instance, I feel like I was betraying my family and my beliefs and that I should do "the right thing" and put the glass down but then I was struck with a thought, I had never been happy when I made "the right choice" in the past. So why should I continue to do so?
I tilted the glass towards my lips and took a big gulp. Stacey and Spencer waited to take a drink until I had my first. It was not the best tasting thing in the world but it was definitely not the worst. I took another drink and Spencer's eyes open wide. "You'd better be careful, you're new to this." He cautioned.
I nodded my head licked my top lip that was covered in thick foam. Disregarding his advice, I took four more big swallows, sat the glass down and smiled at them both with satisfaction.
I did not feel anything, like people said I should. I sat back in my chair and felt important knowing that I just defied the world by having my first beer.
"How is it?" Stacey asked with a grin.
I was more impressed with myself than with the beer so I told her honestly, "It's okay, but it's nothing..." Just then my belly began to warm and I felt something happening. It felt like my nerves were on fire and the feeling spread quickly from inside my stomach to my chest, legs, arms, and eventually fingers and toes. I took a deep breath and open my eyes wide. Spencer and stacey just watch with evil grins, knowing what was happening to me. They both touched their glasses together and had a drink of the sweet nectar called beer.
Stacey and I were inseparable for the next six weeks. I've never had a friend like her. I am not sure what it was but we just clicked. We did everything together: Watching movies, talking about everything, clubbing and even going to class. I was still hurting from what Gram did to me but it stopped feeling like the end of the world since Stacey entered my life. Instead of being focused on Gram, I was able to enjoy the little things in life once again. Spencer joined us every once in a while, bringing ice cream and other treats to help ease the pain.
Stacey offered to be my wing man, every day, coming up with a clever new way to present her argument for why I should go out and get some "strange" from some guy. "How will you know what it's like until you try it?", "There's no better way to relieve stress" and, my personal favorite, "Come on... it's gonna be fun!" I could not argue with any of these points but I still managed to say no every time. That is until I saw him on campus.
From what I heard from my parents and other people back home, Gram canceled his plans to attend Stanford this year so that he didn't have to see me. After a coffee and a bite to eat in the union building, Stacey ran off to her next class and I stuck around to study and then, like a dream that I had no control over, Gram and Mattie strolled through the cafeteria holding hands.
My body started to shake and my world was officially rocked. I quickly put my head down and tried my best not to make any movements that would attract their attention. I just watched as they walked to a nearby table and sat down with some friends. After what seemed like days, I finally collected my things and managed to walk out without them seeing me. Once I was outside, I ran as hard as I could until I collapsed on the lawn in the quad. There were hundreds of students on their way to and from class but it did not stop me from buckling over in agony and sobbing. The pain that I thought I had left behind was back and it seemed it seemed to be worse than before.
I held back my emotions just enough to stand up and move locations but once I opened my eyes it became too much again. I cried until my stomach hurt.
But what happened next is something that I never would have expected. The crying stopped. My mind cleared and a thought formed in my head – So what? Suddenly I remember all the advice that Stacey gave me over the last several weeks and I realized that she was correct. What did it matter that I was cheated on – twice? What did it matter that my family was constantly looking for a reason to disown me? And what would it matter if I had sex before I was married? The answer? It would not matter one little bit. The oceans would not drain, the mountains would not crumble and life, as we know it, would not end.
I pushed myself up off the grass, wiped my nose on my sleeve and began to walk confidently to the library. I enjoyed this feeling. It felt good to not worry about what people thought or to regret and blame myself for what happened with Gram or Scott or even my parents. I finally realized that it was gram at fault and not myself. It was Scott who chose to sleep with our teacher and it was my parents who chose to disown me before I had even done anything wrong. They are just been looking for a reason to kick me out – the reason, I do not know.
Because of what happened, I skipped my next class to meet Stacey after hers. We walked to the coffee shop where I told her everything. She tried to jump in and give me advice on what to do and what to feel but I beat her to it. She just sat back and smiled as she watched me figure this out on my own. But it would not be without her help.
When my rant was over, Stacey gave me a smirk and shook her head, impressed.
I was confused at why she was shaking her head so I asked, "What?"
"You are not the fragile little thing I met six weeks ago."
I blushed and turned my head, "Oh, you're just teasing me".
"What? No!" She gasped. "I meant that as a good thing. You're an amazing girl and everyone who doesn't see that can just go fuck themselves."
I blushed once again, this time because I didn't know how to take a compliment. I still felt good though, about my new take on life, so I just blurted out what she had been waiting for, "I want to fuck someone!"
Stacey gasped and her jaw dropped, as did everyone else who just heard me. "Really?"
"Yeah," I replied. "What am I waiting for?" I thought to myself for a moment before continuing, "The only thing holding me back is what my family will think but I do not really care about that anymore. For the last month, I have finally been truly happy and that is only because you got me to stop thinking about Gram and my family. And that tells me that I cannot truly be happy with my past hanging on my back. I am sick and tired of feeling guilty for things that were not my fault or, when it comes to my family, something that I have not even done yet."
Before I finished speaking, Stacey was already on her phone. I leaned over the table to get a better look and asked, "What are you doing?"
Stacey smirked, as she did so well, and said, "Texting a few guys. We're gonna get you laid."
I leaned back in my chair and blushed. What have I done?
May 15, 2018 in romance