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Thought Experiment (4)

Saying sorry will never erase what I’ve done, I know that. And now I know a few more things I need to be sorry for. First and foremost, I told her that I was not sexually active with Jessica even though I kept going to see her for six hours at a time. I merely convinced Jessica to have sex and shower up front, that’s it. I took all the same bath products I used over to her house because Crystal told me if I came home smelling any differently than I normally do… well, I don’t really know what the consequence would have been, but I didn’t want to examine it up close and in person, so I avoided it by being an asshole and doing whatever I wanted to while telling her lies.

I lied to her so many times that I don’t even know where to begin. It started long before she even moved in. I told her she was what I wanted, or I thought so. I also thought that if she moved in, we’d have more sex. We did… but now I’m finding out that I most likely raped her. She told a mutual acquaintance that I’d raped her over 200 times. When I heard that, my first response was WHEN?! She was always so willing!

Well, I’ve put a lot of thought into it, and I don’t think she was always so willing anymore. I compared being with her to being with Jessica. I hate to say that because it’s the last thing Crystal had wanted — to be compared with my “new bitch.” I can’t help it. Without comparison, I cannot tell you what I did wrong. I didn’t even know it was wrong until I had all the puzzle pieces fed to me.

I ruined Crystal. She used to be just like Jessica… full of life and happiness. She had a whole network of her own friends that she was engrossed with outside of me and I acted like a petulant child. I never told her I wanted to be with her, yet I blocked her from seeing her friends, ultimately. I changed her for the absolute worst, it would seem, and it’s all my goddamn fault. I have nobody else to blame. And maybe that’s why I wanted her to find another boyfriend at all. I knew I was making her miserable, but she declined vehemently. She told me she would leave, essentially, and then find someone. That’s exactly what she did, it turns out.

Crystal was a complete sweetheart. There are so many layers to that woman, I have no idea where to begin. I want to call her a girl because she has such a youthful appearance, but she is all woman. I know that now, now that I’ve been with a girl who ought to be a woman. Incidentally, I gave her herpes, and that’s how I ended up being sentenced to some jail time. I really don’t want to serve it; I have all kinds of anxiety about it. I know the point of jail is to make me think about what I’ve done, but I’m doing that now. I don’t see how it’s actually going to make anything better by anyone, honestly, but go I will. The alternative is to be marked as a wanted criminal and have worse consequences.

Crystal was a large lady, that is absolutely true. I used it as an excuse not to love her. I used it against her. I made her self-conscious about it all the time. I know that because I look back at how she changed and it is not pretty. She used to be so confident, just like Jessie is. She used to be so defiant and devious and delightful. And then, day by day, she became less than she was. She was deleting everything about herself in front of my very eyes. She stopped painting, she stopped writing, she stopped doing much of anything that didn’t involve sitting in one place, binge-watching television with a slight frown.

I remember we used to do puzzles together while listening to audiobooks or the radio. I preferred audiobooks because I absolutely hate commercials, but she loved music. She even asked me once to take dance lessons with her. I realize now I should have done that because every traditional wedding has dancing. I could have at least gotten a start on it. I’m two left feet. I remember telling her once that someone told me to dance like nobody’s watching, so I did… then they told me to dance like one person is watching. Ever since then, I never wanted to dance again. In retrospect, I think they were just trying to be funny, but it hurt my fragile little ego somehow. Many things do.

Pretty much everything but Crystal did. I keep looking back, looking for a reason to hate her. Looking for a reason to be bitter about her. Looking for anything to cling to in order to use it to pole vault over this and move on. There is nothing. She didn’t do a fucking thing to agitate my ego. She just cried a lot. And, near the end of our relationship, her hygiene started to suck. I know now that was a sign of her getting incredibly sick. And I did nothing for her. Not one thing.

Well, I did one thing: I told her to go to the doctor by herself.

I’m such an asshole. She was already going to the doctor monthly and I knew that. Why on Earth after four years did I tell her to go alone? I didn’t know how much that sounded like “Fuck you” until I told my therapist about it all. I basically told her in one exchange that I was never going to be her partner. The therapist has opened my eyes up to the fact that Jessica was more my partner than Crystal ever had been.

She had to have seen it. She had to have known it. She had to have felt it. I single-handedly killed a woman. A woman who loved me. A woman who wanted just me. I had been enough. Now? Now I am not enough. Jessica is still dating so many women and men and I’m not a priority. It’s still just six hours a month with her, no more or less. Crystal gave me everything she had and I just threw it away for a woman who couldn’t care less about my heart, specifically.

Crystal saw the end of the road. Both roads. She knew what the paths led to. She even told me and I ignored her, chasing fantasies like butterflies. Making sure Crystal knew she would never be enough for me because she was just one woman. That is all she could ever be; nobody has two bodies, not in reality. And I thought for sure my life would be more complete if I just slept with two women at the same time. Well, I’ve done that now. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t the thing I needed. It was merely the thing I wanted.

I hang my head in shame every time I see my dad now. I know she’s the one that got away. I know I blew it. That she was the real deal. I know she deserved more from me. Like, me trying. Ever. She deserved that and I never gave it. Instead, I implied endlessly how much I deserved whatever it was I wanted. All the words I ever said amounted to, “I don’t love you. You’re just a place holder while I look for real love.”

I’m an asshole, plain and simple. There is no other way to interpret these events, no matter how I try. I’ve tried talking my therapist’s ear off, my friends’ ears off, even my dad’s. All I’ve discovered is how epically I fucked up with the perfect woman. Not only was she actually, factually beautiful, she was wicked smart, too. The only thing that could have been any more perfect about her would be to see her smile more. I don’t even believe she needs to lose weight anymore… I used to, though.

That was before she went on a diet that changed her forever. I don’t know if it was just the diet or if I am just that big of an asshole, but I think she killed herself trying to get skinny. She knew she was sick. She knew it! She kept doing it anyway. I was absolutely no help whatsoever. I never stopped to tell her I appreciated her. I never stopped to tell her how beautiful she is — or was. I have no idea if she still lives or not. I hope so… because if she’s dead, then I’m a murderer, too. I killed a beautiful woman because she wasn’t a super model. At least, not on the outside. She was on the inside.

She figured out a way to lose a lot of weight very fast. That much, I do know. She lost like a hundred pounds before she even moved out. Every time I looked at her again, it was time to buy new clothes at Torrid or Hot Topic. Every few months, nothing fit anymore. Nothing on the bottom, anyway. Those pants are not cheap, either, so she was spending $300 every few months just to keep clothed. She could afford it, but still… that’s a lot. She kept donating her old clothes to Goodwill, too, even though she could have gone to a consignment shop. There was one not even a mile away, too.

She had a giving heart. She gave away so much stuff, I can scarcely believe it. She gave away everything, pretty much. She gave it all away. She even gave me back the things I wanted the most that she took with her. It was about two years after she left my life. I just found the stuff sitting on my front porch. She could have put it inside, you know. She could have even said hello. She didn’t. She just came and went like nothing ever happened, like I was nothing. I had been missing these things, too. I was just thinking about them when I went outside and stumbled across them the same day. It was like she knew before I even knew that I was going to miss that black bag with the hot air balloons on it that we bought in New Mexico when we went to the balloon festival together.

I remember telling her something stupid… It cost more to get on the hot air balloon the fatter you are. I told her that. A woman insecure about her weight… and I told her it cost more in St. Louis than in New Mexico and that’s the exact reason we’d never done it before. We could have died that day because I lied to the man who was operating the hot air balloon. I told him she weighed thirty pounds less than she actually does to save twenty bucks. And it’s my fault. Nobody else can be blamed at all. And, on that morning when we took off, he even said someone ate a heavy breakfast. She was so ashamed of herself… again… for eating.

The woman barely ate anything. I should know, I watched her. I wanted to see why she was so heavy, but there was no reason. She hardly ate! And then she went on a stupid diet with her doctor, lost all kinds of weight crazy fast, and the life in her eyes dwindled to nothing. Would she have done that if I wasn’t such an asshole? Would she have done that if I didn’t cheat on her? Would she have done that if I just told her that I really did love her?

I didn’t tell her, though. I said the words but she knew they were hollow because I never backed them up with anything substantial. In fact, I remember for Valentine’s Day 2020, the last one we spent together, I got her a card and just wrote “I love you.” in it. That was it. Like those three words meant anything while I was gallivanting around, fucking women behind her back. I’d leave her to sit around my house, crying. She always cried when I left for a date. I never said anything about noticing it. I never told her I saw her struggle. I just told her to go to a fucking doctor when she puked in the toilet thanks to her new diet. I just yelled at her for flushing a tissue when I saw she was sick as hell and needed help.

Her eyes just became more and more dead. She became more and more determined to lose weight. It came off faster and faster. I saw then when I should have seen all along: she was drop dead gorgeous. And now, everyone else saw it, too. Everywhere we went, guys drooled over her. She wasn’t even aware of it. She just kept looking at everything, stoned off her gourd. Some of the clerks even asked her if it was okay that I was leading her away. She said nothing and just allowed me to turn her around and take her away from the man admiring her tits and ass.

I didn’t do it enough myself, I realized around that time. I never really gave her the time of day she deserved. And now? Now she was slipping through my fingers as I chased “fluff,” as she called it. A place holder with no substance. At least, I think that’s what she meant. Maybe she just meant something without a heavy heart. Something easy that didn’t require me to think too much. Something not her. She’s more like a wrecking ball. She even sent me that song the first time we broke up. It tore me up, I’ll tell you that. If she had used lyrics and songs to express herself more, I think I would’ve gotten it. Maybe I put too much faith in myself, though.

I probably do. She’s still like the ultimate puzzle or mystery. I can’t tell where the pieces go at all, even though I must have all the clues. I must! She spoke, words came out of her mouth! So how is it I raped her over 200 times without knowing it until long after the fact? I’m sure she’s right because she knows herself, but from my angle, I don’t see it. Not unless every time was rape. Maybe it was.

My gut is sinking as that sinks into my brain: every time I slept with Crystal, I raped her. I didn’t even ejaculate the first few times we took our clothes off. When did it stop being consensual? Was it ever? I desperately hope so… We had sex over 1,000 times together. I remember once she told me that after I’d had enough sex, none of it would stand out too vibrantly at all, it would kind of just blur together. I never believed her… until it happened.

I was nearly a virgin when we got together. I’d only had sex a handful of times and I told her so. I was so naive, thinking I could just take her to bed and call her my girlfriend and someday it’d just end because that’s what relationships do and until then, I could just ride the waves. It kept not ending. I wanted to try other people because of my lack of experience, and I told her that. I told her that so many times that she told me to go get a therapist. Then I told my therapist that for about two years and she asked me to bring Crystal in with me.

Crystal went twice. That was it. I thought maybe I could get through to her if she kept going, but I didn’t get the chance to try. The first time she went with me to see Linda, she made us both laugh at the start. I remember that very clearly. So does she, as it so happens, because it seemed to her that she was not the one who cracked that joke straight off the bat. She is a funny girl… but I can’t remember what she said at all. And then she said something I never wanted to hear: Raymond, if you want my permission to date other women, you’re never going to get it. Then, later, she said to me in front of Linda, “Why don’t you just do it and see what happens?” It turns out that she was fed up with my years of talking about sleeping with other women. I should just do it and suffer whatever consequences there’d be.

Well, I did. It drove her away from me completely. It drove her out of my arms into the arms of another man… a man she had tried to set me up with when I expressed that it was possible that I’m gay. I’m not gay, though; it was just a lie to get her into a threesome. That’s all it was meant to be, anyway. She stopped sleeping with me to go with a rotund man that looked even older than I do, though I think we’re the same age basically.

It eats me up inside, too, because that guy is all kinds of gray hair and I dye mine every month when it looks stupid. Because I don’t want to pay an extravagant price to do it, I go to the beauty school and pay about $15 for a cut and color every single month. For a while, I did it by ear, looking at myself in the mirror. That is, until Wonder Woman said to me, “Why don’t you just put it in your calendar with a reminder?” She did that a lot… she solved things I didn’t see as problems with a simple statement. She did that to everyone, too. She’d ask about XYZ method to automate whatever it was that was bugging someone or gave them alternative ideas whenever they were stuck with something. She was the kind of lady to open doors when all you saw was the wall.

I can’t believe how badly I’ve messed that up. She’s nothing like that, last time I saw her. She doesn’t even want to talk anymore. The last few months she lived in my house, she barely said a word. I kept telling myself stuff to keep me at arm’s length from her, reasons I couldn’t be loved, but now I know there is only one reason: I didn’t love me first. With her help, I could, but she stopped enabling me. I felt it like a cold war, like I was lost in the snow. And now? Now everyone looks at me with accusing eyes telling me I should have married the woman who left me. To be fair, they told me to marry her in the first 18 months, too. But after that, they stopped telling me to get hitched.

I should have listened to my friends. I really regret letting her go. [NAY, SHOVING HER OUT THE FUCKING DOOR, MY FRIEND. WITH A FUCKING CATAPULT.] I regret everything I did [but not enough to actually change.] Wait, what’s happening?

I’m sick of you wallowing in self-pity. You’re not actually growing up, you’re just whining about what you had being thrown away. As if you didn’t actually throw it away on purpose.

Yup, that’s all, folks! Perhaps another day, perchance another time, we will continue the apology of a serial rapist named Gregory.

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