I’m Sorry

She watched him get shoved down.  She watched him get tortured every day.  She saw him shoved into lockers.  She heard what they called him.  She saw how much it hurt.  She did nothing.   It had always been this way.  She was one of the popular kids, and he simply wasn’t.

His clothes were obviously hand me downs or recent purchases from Goodwill.  Her clothes were all designer, her walk in closet full to capacity.  He was small and weak.  Her boyfriend was an all star athlete who looked like he had hit puberty at age ten.  He barely talked, sat in the back of the classroom, ate lunch alone.  She was constantly deep in mindless conversation, sat surrounded by friends whether in class or not.  He was rarely seen outside of school.  She was at every social event of the school year.  He worked at the local bookstore.  She would never need to work thanks to her parents money.  They were polar opposites and somehow, they had gotten stuck together working on this English project.

She always invited him to her house, even though the expansive home obviously made him uncomfortable.  He always looked as if he didn’t want to touch anything for fear of ruining it.  Her mother, shocked at first that she would associate with such a boy, still managed to be welcoming and inviting.

She did her best to converse with him.  But it was difficult.  He never spoke about his family.  He never mentioned any friends.   She couldn’t bring up school because she knew it was hell for him, in fact she was one of the people who made it that way.  Mostly they talked about the project.  That was the one thing that connected them.  They both loved English.

Her friends told her how sorry they felt for her.  They told her how awful it must be to get stuck with him.  They told her to ask him to do all of the work.  She had parties to attend and shopping to do.  He’d obviously comply because he was obviously in love with her, who wouldn’t be?  Just blow off the project.  I can’t believe you invite him over.  He’s been in your house?  I hope you disinfected everything that came in contact with him.  What does your mom think?  Well, at least she’s being nice.

That night she was supposed to go to a party.  Instead she called him and invited him over to work on their project.  He declined.  She was shocked.  He claimed he was too busy to leave his house, so she offered to come over.  He immediately became furious and hung up.  He had told her to keep her conceited head out of other people’s business.   She took serious offense to this.  Conceited?  If she was conceited, she would have gone to that party and left him to do the work himself.  Determined to show him she really did want to work on their project, she gathered the pieces from her room and drove to his house.

Everyone knew where he lived.  It was the only house with no car in the driveway.  The only house that never gave out candy on Halloween or put up lights for Christmas.  It was, by far, the smallest house in town.  Peeling paint, weeds,  a screen door hanging on for dear life.  The curtains were never open.  You rarely saw a light on.  This is what he biked home to after being tortured all day at school and working his after school job.

She pulled into the empty driveway and knocked on the door.  No answer.  She rang the bell.  No answer.  Then she heard the crash.  She opened the door and ran inside.  There she saw him trying to help his mother off the kitchen floor.  There were liquor bottles lining the countertops and littering the floor. We all knew his mom had gotten sick after his dad was killed in action, but we didn’t realize this was her disease.  He looked up and ignored her, intent on getting his drunken mother to her room for the night.  He was struggling under his mother’s weight.  She reached out to help him, but all he had to do was look at her for her to know he didn’t need or want her help.  He did this every night.

After he disappeared into the hallway with his mother, she began to pick up the chair that had been knocked off its feet and the empty bottles on the floor.  She looked around for a trash bin as she carried the empty bottles through the kitchen.  This is why he wears hand me down clothing.  His mom can’t take him shopping.  She obviously doesn’t work, so he had to pick up that job at the bookstore.  This is why he looks so tired.  This is why he’s so quiet.  This is why I was never invited here.  He goes to school, and we make it hell for him, then he comes home to this.

She found the trash bin outside and emptied her arms of the bottles.  As she turned to come back inside, he was standing at the back door, silent.

“I’m so sorry,” she managed, before breaking into tears, “I’m so sorry for everything.”

Fear Factor

What are you afraid of?  Heights?  Spiders?  Th Dark?  I’m afraid of all of those things and a few more.  We all have reasons we are afraid of something, and no matter how strange they may seem, they’re usually valid reasons.  I knew a girl in high school who was afraid of balloons.  BALLOONS.  Why?  When she was young, she was at a birthday party and someone popped a balloon in her ear.  A small piece of latex from the balloon actually entered her ear canal due to the force of the balloon popping and became lodged there.  She actually ended up needing surgery to have the latex piece removed before it caused any sort of infection.  Even the strangest fears are founded on something.  I’m going to share mine with you.

 

The dark.  Mirrors.  Open doors.  The edge of the bed.

These fears are all related.  As a kid I had night terrors and one of the things suggested to help me get over them was to open up about my dreams.  I would talk to me mom about what happened and why I was afraid.  My mother, being the great mom she is, decided scaring me in the same way I had been scared in my dream would help.  Once I dreamt about man eating plants growing in my bathroom (I had the master bedroom in our old house because it was at the back and my mom wanted the front room for safety reasons) and in the dream I had opened my shower curtain to find a bunch of plants there, waiting to consume me (I had read this in a book the night before).  My mom decided to fill my shower with potted plants while I was at school, knowing I’d shower later that night after dance class.  As stupid as it sounds, pulling back the shower curtain to a shower full of plants was so terrifying, I didn’t sleep in my room for two weeks.  My mom also liked to force me to watch scary movies, knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep afterward.  A lot of these movies involved seeing things run past open bedroom doors, reflections in mirrors, etc.  As a kid, my bed was always against a wall, and I slept as close to that wall as possible.  Doors were shut, closets sometimes had a chair in front of them.  Mirrors were covered in pictures and things cut from magazines.  To this day, I am 23 and sleep  with a light on.  I literally panic when the power goes out.  I can’t sleep in a room alone if the doors aren’t closed and it’s pitch black.  Even sleeping with someone, the doors will still bother me and there has to be some sort of ambient light.

 

Spiders.

I don’t mind arachnids.  I mean, fleas and ticks are gross, but I wanted a pet scorpion as a kid (and I still think having one would be kind of cool).  Spiders (I call them spideys, a childhood thing that just stuck), however, are a different story.  I don’t know if its because they bite or have so many legs or all the eyes or possibly the fangs, but spiders are just not okay in my book.  I really think its the combination of the fact that they make web (no other animal that I know of does) and how they eat their prey – mummifying it and then draining it of blood.  Fleas have eight legs and they bite.  Ticks fill themselves with your blood and also have eight legs.  Scorpions have stingers.  But spiders, they are hairy and just, awful.  Even pictures of spiders will freak me out.  I think walking into a rather large web as a kid and having to swat three or four spiders off my body is what did me in for this fear.  My mom is also afraid of them, but not even close to the extent my sister and I are.  We can’t even kill them with a shoe, for fear of the spider surviving (which they do sometimes) and coming after us since we’re so close to it.

 

Heights.

I love roller coasters, but am extremely afraid of heights.  As a child my dad left a present on the roof one Christmas and told me Santa must have left it up there.  He brought out a ladder and I told him it’s going to stay up there because I am not going up after it.  I have gotten better with this fear,  I used to be unable to walk out onto balconies, but now, as long as I don’t get too close to the railing, I can handle it.  My dad fell off a roof when I was very young and his back has bothered him ever since.  I used to have recurring nightmares about falling off of our roof, and I think that’s why I have this fear.  Although it’s common, neither of my parents share it with me.

 

Elbows.

Okay, so this one is a little strange.  I am afraid of elbows.  People pointing their elbows at me or showing them to me freaks me out.  I can’t stand having my elbows touched and I don’t like touching other people’s elbows.  A skinned elbow is probably the worst thing that could happen to me.  I would probably have some sort of anxiety attack.  My mom had severe eczema when I was growing up, and she used to tell me I’d catch it from her.  Her elbows were red, raw, cracked, and sometimes there was blood or pus.  It freaked me out.  She would shove her elbows in my face and that terrified me.  I didn’t want to catch what she had and have it all over my face.  She would try to rub her elbow on mine when we sat next to each other.  This plus the actual structure of the elbow is where my fear comes from.  Unlike a knee which has a “cap” and elbow is literally a joint covered by skin.   There isn’t any muscle there or anything to protect the elbow.  I had a dream once that I was doing something (I can’t remember exactly what now), and I somehow pulled the skin off my elbow while it was bent, revealing a cone (for lack of a better term) of white bone.  To this day I feel like that is totally possible, despite the reality of the situation.

 

I’m sure I have other little fears I have forgotten to mention, but these are definitely my biggest.  They’re all justified somehow (usually by a scarring childhood event), and I feel like everyone has something that caused them to be afraid of whatever they have a fear of, despite the rationality of the fear itself.

What are you afraid of?

Creepy for no real reason…

So, I had a really awkward experience at my mom’s house the other night and I wanted to share it and what I thought and felt about it afterward.

I’m sitting in my mom’s living room after having dinner.  Her boyfriend brings in a bottle of wine and pours each of us a glass.  We start talking, catching up.  I don’t know him very well, I’ve had dinner with him maybe four or five times since he and my mom got together almost two years ago.  I don’t know if it’s weird for me to see my mom being affectionate and showing she cares with someone (she wasn’t ever that way with my dad or rarely was with my sister and I), or if it’s because I don’t know him so well and he’s the complete opposite of my father, but I’ve never been all that comfortable around him, even though they live together now.

The conversation begins to wander toward the internet (because my mom bought me my MacBook as a combined christmas/birthday gift and before then I was without a computer for at least six months), and all of the internet talk led to watching YouTube videos.

Now, we all know YouTube videos are like potato chips, one is never enough and hours later you feel a little guilty.  Whether it be talking animals, people (my favorites are strippers and supermodels) falling down, or amazingly talented children, you can’t just watch one YouTube video.  Very much like Wikipedia, one click leads to another and soon its five hours later and you haven’t moved.

So, we open his iPad (they both have one), and he opens Safari.  I tell him that YouTube has its own pre-installed app and he seems hesitant about opening it and continues to look it up on Google.  Finally my mom nags him and he uses the app, quickly turning the iPad away from me and pulling up the video.  How he did this without clearing the search bar of “Adult porn stars” baffled me.  I didn’t point it out, but he decided it would be fine to claim he didn’t know why that was there.  This became an issue which my slightly tipsy mother decided to push.

I really don’t want to think about anything sexual involving either of my parents.  Since the divorce I’ve had to listen to the girls my dad brings home (a few of which were loud to the point I had to leave for fear of throwing up), watch my mom make out with her boyfriend, and listen to sexual jokes made by all parties that are just…inappropriate.  So this really shouldn’t have phased me, but it did.  Something about how this wasn’t just he and my mom hooking up bothered me.  He lives with her now in her tiny studio apartment, where does he browse YouTube for porn stars (because my mom was NOT happy, haha) or when?

This isn’t about porn or anything that goes along with it.  What was so unsettling as that my mom rarely leaves him alone in her apartment.  I know this, because I know my mom has secrets hidden in her apartment she wouldn’t want him to find.  So is he one of those creeps who sits at Starbucks with his iPad and looks at porn?  Why YouTube versus an actual porn site?  The whole incident set my mind off on a string of “what ifs” that just disturbed me a little bit.

I know it’s nothing to be concerned by and it’s nothing I should dwell on, but even so, my “creepy guy” meter hit the roof.  It’s just one of those things that struck me as odd and a little strange.