I really debated about doing this post or even making it into a mini series. It may be more revealing than I might be comfortable with for all the Internet to see, but I think it will help with closure for me on a personal level.
Birthday's were always a big deal in my family, mom dad always strived to give me the best to celebrate Mom and I's special day. Whether it was Showbiz Pizza aka Chuckie Cheese at 5, a brand new bike at 7, Putt Golf at 8, Big shopping trips at the mall with friends, birthdays were always a hit. At 18 the novelty of my birthday changed in a different way.
When I was 16-17, I became, which I thought good friends with a guy 7 plus years my junior. Normally this would be something frowned upon with a girl my age, plus the circumstances surrounding the way we became friends would be cause of alarm. My parents were good trustworthy people and faithful and trusted in me and those in my care. We saw each other regularly on Saturdays, the only time that he was off and I wasn't at school and working etc. He would drive up early in the morning and expect me to be completely ready and out the door by the time he pulled up the driveway. There would be no coming to the door to get me. I believed this to be completely understandable as he was making a 30 plus minute drive to get me and had lots of errands and what not to do. I seemed to always make excuses for him.
We would start off with whatever morning errands he needed to run, grocery store, pay bills or whatever and then we would get to his apartment and thoroughly clean it from the baseboards to the electric sockets everything would be clean. After all the chores were done we'd go for lunch, and then rent and watch movies for the rest of the day. All was really well and I didn't mind doing these things with him. We would do this same routine every Saturday.
Our "friendship" grew and soon and he told me he had really grown a fondness to me and wanted more. I was ok with this and somehow fell head over heels for him. In my naive mind an older man would probably treat me so much better than someone my age. I really felt he would take care of me. We agreed we'd go further on my 18th birthday. As the weeks came along I began to almost dread it, though we discussed it often. I should have known in my mind that this wasn't going to be right, and that this person really didn't love me and my body the way I thought he did or the way that I thought I loved him. My heart took over and shoved my mind out of the way.
After my 18th birthday I shut down. The sun wasn't as bright any more, the birds no longer seemed to sing and I became robotic, just going through the motions. We continued our Saturday visits, and I pretended things were ok and nothing had changed. I just assumed this was the way things were and that's how it was going to be. I continued to believe he did love me. Though those words were never spoken. I wasn't his pride and joy or anyone to bring home to momma. When his friends would call he'd make up an excuse to prevent them from stopping by. He was almost paranoid to the point that if he had any inclination that someone he knew would be coming over, he was on high alert and I was instructed to prepare to be "hidden away" in the bedroom. I was mentally led to believe that I really wasn't the brightest bulb in the light shop and I felt he was ashamed or embarrassed of me for whatever reason. He never out right said the words but did so in his own way. The whole age thing obviously was a problem. Yet I understood this craziness and accepted it as the norm.
Weeks went by and I continued my robotic state and closed completely up. I dug my hole, lied down in my coffin, shut the door and locked it shut. I was not going to let anything, or anyone in, or let them know anything was wrong. I simply just existed. We did our regular Saturday routine as normal and he decided it best we be just friends with benefits. I let this happen over and over for to long and felt somehow that it was ok to let this happen, I didn't care anymore. I was numb, more or less dead.
Then one day, which happened to be the first day of Spring Break, something inside me changed. I was off work that day at the computer lab, and decided I needed to go up anyway to check my e-mail. This was a time when the Internet was still the new fangled thing and there were only 4 computers in the lab with Internet accessibility at school. Just as I began to enter the lab a sense of something uplifting almost euphoric overwhelmed me. Something I had not felt in a very very long time. I shook it off as looking forward to the break ahead and walked on.
----To Be Continued...