There comes a point in every human’s life where they find themselves at a crossroads. A fork in the road. There are two (or more) clear paths ahead of him (or her) that go in completely different directions. The question is, what is at the end of each road? And, can you live with the consequences of whatever that thing is? Can you live with missing out what’s on the other road? What regrets will you have if you make a choice full of folly?
Many times, there is nothing to clearly distinguish Path A from Path B, at least not when there are so many bends and turns that you cannot see down either one very far. We know where the end lies, we know where the paths begin (from our perspective, anyway), but we don’t know what’s in between. If you could know all the things in-between, how would you make your choice to pick a path?
I was at a fork once. It was a really important fork, at that. A life-altering decision had to be made. I had to choose to become a man or stay a boy. I clung to boyhood, terrified of becoming a real man, despite my accumulation of years on this planet. Despite knowing in my heart that I really, truly do wish to be a real man, I cling to a teddy bear, a single comfort, kicking and screaming about how I don’t wish to grow up.
I chose fantasies to comfort me. I chose anything but reality. And I hurt someone in making that choice. I hurt her so terribly that there is literally nothing I can do to make it any better. Not ever. My mistakes are too numerous, my issues too large. I’m an idiot, in a word, and I don’t deserve to live anymore.
She was wonderful, that woman. She was funny; she put a smile on my face and made me laugh a-plenty. She was magical and mysterious; she broke into my house once just to surprise me in bed. I left the door open, so it wasn’t exactly a B&E. She wanted to be with me and that made me feel special. And then I ruined it. I made the biggest mistake of my life. I told her she was enough when I didn’t truly mean it. Ever since that day, she declined bit by bit. I think she might actually be dead now altogether. And it’s my fault.
It’s my fault, for telling her I didn’t know if I wanted to be with her. I said it too many times. I watched her die a little every time, withdrawing from me step by baby step. Then, one day, she was gone. She left. She was the one who got away.
There’s nothing I can do or say that can reverse what’s been done. Still, I am sorry. I’m sorry I did all these things to kill the wonderful little angel that landed in my lap quite by accident. I destroyed her, one errant word at a time. I watched her eyes die. I took the light out of them all by myself, grinning all the while like nothing was happening. Pretending I wasn’t breaking her fragile little heart.
It was all my ego’s doing, too. I decided I was smarter than her, better looking than her, better equipped than her. I decided I was better than her in so many ways that I found myself looking down my nose at her. Well, she gets the last laugh. I’m broken, now. I’m done for. I can’t function anymore knowing what I did to her. I raped her. And I loved it. Now, though, I know it was wrong and I need to let it go. I need to let her go completely, even though I desperately wish to tell her that I’m sorry that I did it.
I can’t because she’s missing. She disappeared without a trace, as far as I can tell. I went by where she used to work and where she used to live, hoping she’d give me one last opportunity to tell her I’m an asshole. I imagine that’s not what she’d think I’d want to say, though, considering how callous and cruel I’ve been. I never looked at it all from her perspective before, but now I have no choice. I’m a convicted rapist and I understand that gravity of my actions just a little more today than I did yesterday.
The worst part is that I’m not even in jail yet. They’re full of other miscreants and evildoers that I never saw myself becoming lumped in with. I’m a washed up has-been and that’s all I will ever be going forward. I sincerely doubt my cushy six figure income sort of job is going to understand that I need a six week unpaid “vacation” to serve my time for my malfeasance. It looks like a slippery slope to me, especially after I used some vacation for the trial itself. You see, I raped another woman. I didn’t intend to, but it’s what happened.
I really wish people would have explained rape to me better. On television, it’s people using knives or scissors and forcing themselves on women they don’t even know. It’s hardly ever date-rape drugs that would make it make more sense to me. It’s never the kind where it looks like the person is consenting but they’re not. That’s the kind of rapist I am, sadly. The kind who can’t tell the difference between overwhelming a woman and doing it right.
I can still hear the echoes of her scream in my ears. It was disturbing, honestly, hearing a woman scream at the top of her lungs while I was on top of her. I didn’t understand it was rape then, but I sure do now. Her friend even told me she knows she’s been raped, which makes it worse for me to face. It’s like everybody but me knows it and I’m the odd one out. I’ve felt like that my whole life.
She gave me a crossroads. She told me to pursue open relationships or to pursue a singular relationship (her.) I said I’d try her. But then I didn’t actually do that, I just made out like I did.
I remember one night, we got back from a party at her friend’s place. Her friend’s name was Megan. The party was kind of small — there were only two other people there aside from myself and Crystal (and Megan and her husband, Bill.) I recall there was a lady there named Shannon, who was dominating the conversation. I thought she was flirting because of this, but now I know I’m wrong.
Crystal was extremely upset with me when I brought her up later, after the party. I was so excited, thinking this random good-looking stranger had flirted with me, I thought to share it. I chose all the wrong words, indicating I wanted to sleep with that woman rather than the naked woman in front of me. I remember clearly how she put her clothes back on, a tear rolling down her face, and leaving me there to think about what I said to her. I cock blocked myself. It was far from the first time and I knew it.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the girl at the party, though. Her skin shone like a polished jewel and she was so full of life. Crystal, of course, told me she was an alcoholic that only cared about drinking, her cats, and the bar. I didn’t believe her… not until I met her again. Megan threw another party and sure enough, Shannon was telling the same stories she told the first time I saw her. She was exactly the same, actually. It was like she was untouched by time. She had nothing new or captivating to talk about at all.
She was nothing like Crystal. The woman was dynamic and always changing. I miss that… I think it helped me grow. No, I know it helped me grow. I just didn’t want to grow at all; I wanted to resist and stay a child forever. A teenage boy on the inside that never grew up due to heartbreak. I wanted to park in Never Never Land and throw my keys in the ocean. I did, too, and that’s what’s gotten me into this mess to begin with. I just know it.
I told Crystal so many times that she was unwanted, she believed it. I didn’t even mean to do it. I didn’t want to tell her anything of the sort! But I did. I kept ruminating on that Shannon girl, long before I got another dose of crazy cat lady alcoholic, slamming back beers as she talks about going to the bar. Again. It’s five years later, for fuck’s sake! Why hasn’t the woman grown even a little bit?!
I had imagined taking her home with me one day, you know. I imagined it so frequently I am completely ashamed of myself now. I thought about her so much, how she had the “perfect body” and how pretty she was. She didn’t have the perfect brain, not even close. Now I know that’s what I want: the brain of a woman who is probably dead now. No one can get a hold of her, if they even try. Not even her friend Julie. I checked.
I miss her. All I want to do is apologize. I knew I’d done something wrong, but I didn’t know it was almost everything. I look back and I can see her beautiful smile turning to a frown or a neutral face every time I admitted I found another party breathtakingly beautiful and I wanted to take whomever it was to bed. I’ve looked through all my memories and I found something devastating. I never told her that I wanted to take her to bed. It was always everyone but her. It’s shameful, in a word.
I don’t know how our relationship went on for so long, knowing how much I fucked it up. I really did. Single-handedly, I killed the actual woman of my dreams because I would rather look for the body of my dreams instead. If only she was a few inches taller, if only she was a few pounds lighter, if only she was this or that. What I wanted was an intelligent blow up doll, I’ve discovered. And, in the end, that’s what I got… except her intelligence seeped away before my very eyes, it seemed.
In my heart, I believe she’s dead. If even Julie hasn’t heard from her, it’s got to be true. She loved Julie mightily, that much I do know. I can’t find her anywhere to deliver an apology of any sort… not that I think I can even apologize correctly. And I don’t believe she’d ever want to see my face again. She deleted every picture she had of me that I had access to. Or, she deleted my access… either way, that screams “I’m hurting.” I know that much, even if I couldn’t figure out why she was hurting so badly.
I treated her as if she was disposable and now she’s been disposed of. Now I know how awful I am as a human being. Now I know how much I hurt her. Or, at least, I think I do. I hope I do. If not… well, it’d be nice if she’d just tell me again how much of an asshole I am for hurting her. That’s something she did on the regular and I just dismissed it out of hand. I didn’t even really listen to what she had to say. She cried and eventually it’d stop, even if I did nothing, and then I’d be relieved because I had no idea what to do at all.
Comfort. That’s what I was supposed to do. Jessica taught me that… the woman that Crystal left me over. In the end, I’m the worst kind of human being there is, I’m pretty sure. The kind that kills a woman and doesn’t bat an eye until long after, when it sinks into his pea brain.
I’m sure Crystal tried to teach me how to comfort in her own way, but I wasn’t able to learn from her exactly what it was that I was supposed to do. I failed her so miserably. I think she must be autistic or something, this woman I lost. It’s the only thing that makes sense as I look back to what happened. As I digest the fact that I’d only ever raped her; I never made love to her. Not until the end, when she was already mentally out the door… and even that was rape, I have decided. I should have known better, but this does not get taught in school. Just a court of law, when it’s too late, essentially.
She makes me feel stupid. The woman I keep pining for. I’m a certified genius with tests to prove it and she made me feel inferior. I was always the top of the class with next to no effort all my life… until college, that is, when I stopped going to class and just dicked around all night on the computer, playing EverQuest with my friends. I got to the point where I had to try and I stopped trying. It taught me some hard lessons.
Crystal was like that. I got to the point where I had to try but I didn’t even start trying. I never tried. And I was wrong to do that to her. I should have let her go when she gave me the ultimatum in April of 2015: Choose a path. That’s what she was saying. Choose a girlfriend and where that goes or choose the open relationship model and see where that goes.
I tried to choose the middle. I tried to make her go along with it, too. I tried to make her compromise everything she was just so I could have a few “key experiences.” Read that as “fantasies.” I needed my fantasies to become reality, or so I thought. I needed scenarios with group sex… or so I thought. I needed a threesome! Or so I thought.
Now that I’ve done those things, I’ve figured out that it wasn’t worth losing the one woman who had been at my side for years, patiently waiting for me to get my shit together and forge ahead. It wasn’t until she told me how she aborted her pregnancy on purpose that it really sank in with me that she might have had a child with me if I just said that’s what I wanted. In fact, I’m convinced she knew that’s exactly what I really wanted. A family.
Somewhere, that all changed. I don’t know when it got away from me or us. I don’t know what, exactly, I fucked up. I always told her all about my fantasies, and she always left when I did. I should have seen that as a sign, I really should have. Eventually, my fantasies were eating me up and I couldn’t continue the way we were: exclusively. I encouraged her to find more people to date, but she said she wasn’t interested in that. She accused me of wanting to find someone to replace her with.
She wanted to replace me with someone better. I know that now. She was ashamed of me, she had to have been. And here I was, marching to my own tune, ignoring this perfectly wonderful woman to chase… her clone, as it turns out. I’ve looked back now and I can see the woman I started dating was exactly like the one that was leaving me, one step at a time. The one who had dead eyes and a lifelessness that I just cannot convey in words.
I met a second Crystal somehow. And that made her cry and cry. She cried so much. She cries constantly, actually. I should have known better! What the fuck is wrong with me? I kept seeing Jessica, too, telling her it was celibate. It wasn’t. I lied in order to get my own dick wet over and over. Well, now I’ve got an unintended souvenir. I have no idea if I’ve given it to Crystal, either, since it was exactly the reason she didn’t want an open relationship.
I remember one day, she asked me, “So, how many partners does Jessica have?” and I said, “I don’t know.” And then she asked me the worst question, I realize now… “How many partners do her partners have?” I didn’t have the faintest clue. I really should have stopped and listened to that, I should have tried to extrapolate. Now I know exactly what she meant: I was literally playing Russian roulette. No matter how well I thought I could protect myself from disease, there is no way I could actually, factually ensure that I would never get one… not without knowing all the partners I was inadvertently allowing into my bed without even knowing them. One woman in a very open relationship equated to sleeping with over 150 people, it turned out. All at once. Every time she spread her legs.
I exposed Crystal to disease. That was the exact reason she didn’t want to go along with it, too. She was using her head and her heart and all I ever used were my loins. I had to have those fantasies, don’t you know! I can’t even believe now that I turned her down when she told me she’d take me to a brothel in Vegas for a threesome with a lady. I turned that down for an open relationship, thinking that giving oral stimulation with something between me and the lady made it less of a thrilling experience. Now, I have no choice, if I don’t want to spread herpes to my new partners. My only other option is to find someone who has herpes already, of course.
Some say that oral herpes and genital herpes are not the same, but they are. If you have one, you’ll get the other. It’s just a matter of time, honestly.