We had American History together my freshmen year. We were seated in alphabetical order, so his desk was right next to mine. He had curly blond hair, laughing brown eyes, and a quirky smile. And he always needed a pencil.
I always had an extra pencil.
I was desperate for love and attention. I needed more than anything to matter, to be something to someone. And he was cute and he made me laugh….this couldn’t be wrong, could it? To have a crush on a boy…that was normal, right?
I think the first time we hung out outside of school was purely by chance: we were both walking home from school in the same direction, and we ended up walking together. We started spending time together and I fell for him HARD. I dated his friend for a little while, but I knew who I was really interested in (and maybe dating his friend was just an attempt to get him to notice me). He was smart, and so fun and exciting, and those EYES…..
It wasn’t long before I dumped his friend and told him how I felt about him. He wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about it, but he didn’t push me away, either, so I fell even deeper. I was a pathetic mess, but desperation and hormones are a toxic combination. I had so much love to give, and I felt sure that he was worthy of my love. Being around him made me so happy, how could he be anything but my Prince Charming?
He was the first person I ever smoked pot with. We would roam the streets of our neighborhoods in the middle of the night, being silly and making memories that I was sure would last forever. One time I played connect the dots with the moles on his back while he took a nap. Another time we got into a shaving cream fight at his mom’s house. It was a huge mess, but it definitely made the place smell better.
We started having sex. He didn’t want to call me his girlfriend, but he was WITH me, so I let it go. Sometimes we would chat online. I loved our private conversations, but if we ever ended up in the same chat room, he would pretend he didn’t know me. I told myself it was ok, it was just the internet, it didn’t have any bearing on real life….
His home life was even less stable than mine at that point. My dad had given up on disciplining us (because we fought back), and had basically checked out. His dad COMPLETELY checked out by up and moving away one day. He and his mom didn’t really get along, so he ended up moving in with me. I was ecstatic to have him so close all of the time. I cooked for him, cleaned his room, did his laundry, washed his dishes…. there’s nothing I wouldn’t have done for him. Loving him gave me purpose, and maybe if I could just love him ENOUGH, some day he might love me back…. some day.
He told me he never wanted kids. He believed this world is too cold and unfeeling to bring a child into it. I told myself that he’d change his mind some day when we were older and ready for kids.
He told me he was a sociopath, that he didn’t know if he would ever feel anything for anyone. He told me he enjoyed the misery of others. I told myself that couldn’t possibly be true. He was so fun and bubbly, how could he have such darkness inside of him? And if he did, surely I could love him enough to heal him.
I should have listened. I should have seen all of the signs pointing to what a bad idea this relationship was. But I was blinded by my loneliness, my fear of abandonment, and my need for purpose. I wasn’t willing to see the lows because I lived for the highs.
What should have been the end was the time he offered to let his friend sleep with me if his friend would buy him a bottle of vodka. When I got upset with him, he wouldn’t speak to me for days. I was devastated.
He and his mom made up and he moved back in with her. Soon he was dating someone else. The desperate loneliness that he left behind was what led to the shitty choices I made that ended with me being raped. I wanted to reach out to him about what had happened, what I was going through, but found myself unable to tell him. He already thought so little of me, this would be one more thing to be repulsed by. It would be better to just kill myself. But I even managed to fail at that.
Shortly after I turned 16, we got back together. We ran into each other at a local event and hung out for the first time in months. He told me that he had missed me, and that he loved me. At long last, the words I’d longed to hear for so long, all of my unrequited love would finally be returned….
Except that didn’t happen. I was his girlfriend in private, where he loved me and kissed me and stared into my soul with his deep brown eyes. But in public I was no one. He would go days without getting in touch with me, ignoring my calls and messages. When I’d see him in a chat room, he’d flirt with other girls and pretend not to know me. If being raped and a failed suicide attempt hadn’t broken me, the mind games he was playing with me surely would.
And then he was leaving. His uncle in St. Louis offered him a job, so he packed his things and moved out-of-state. I fell into a deep depression that I felt certain would never end. I called him every day and he assured me he loved me, but by then I was too broken to believe him. I was certain that he would meet someone else and leave me again.
For 3 months we talked on the phone nearly every day. When I couldn’t get ahold of him, I would cry, certain he was with another girl. I carved his initials into my arm. It was insane, but I was in so much emotional pain that I felt I DESERVED the physical pain to go with it. By myself I was nothing. Without him, I had no purpose.
He came home for Christmas. The first thing we did was fall into bed. I would have stayed there with him forever, I was just so grateful to have him back home. Maybe all of my wild fears were completely unfounded and he really DID love me!
3 days later he went to his mom’s. He wouldn’t return my phone calls. And then I got the news: my sister (who was dating his brother at the time) walked into his mom’s place to find him in his underwear sleeping on the couch with his ex.
That was the final straw for me, the proof I finally needed to know that it was all a lie. I broke off our relationship, even though it killed me to do it. After the initial bout of depression, I just went numb. I felt nothing at all, was just going through the motions…. at least until my boobs started to hurt.
Sure enough, two weeks after I finally had the courage to stand up for myself and end a toxic relationship, I found myself pregnant with his baby. At 16 years old. I was still in high school.
I worked up the nerve to call him and tell him the news. His response?
“It’s not mine.” *CLICK*
As if there was even the slightest possibility that it was anyone else’s. I once again fell into a deep depression, but this one didn’t last for long. Despite his attempts to break me, he had finally actually given me something to live for. I graduated high school a full year early, with honors, and when I walked I was 5 months pregnant.
He tried so hard to dehumanize me, but in the end he gave me the source of my strength. When my daughter was born, I took one look into her laughing brown eyes and knew I had finally found my first true love.