Late post!! The kids were into all sorts of trouble this morning keeping me away from my keyboard. lol. Anyway…
Yesterday I wrote about how I was just beginning to come to terms with some unexpressed emotions surrounding my grandfather’s death. That happened on November 14th, 2010. The event I’m reminiscing about today, happened on November 15th, several years prior.
By itself it doesn’t seem significant, but it’s one of the most poingant and influential nights in my life. The night I invited a coworker to Thanksgiving Dinner. The same coworker who would later take me in, giving me shelter from my mother’s abuse Thanksgiving Night, becoming my hero and best friend for the next three weeks; until the night he made a sexual advance without consent. He raped me. Three days later he tried to turn it into a causal sex, friends with benefits type deal and having repressed the memory of the violence that occurred between us just a few days before, I agreed. The casual relationship eventually gave way to a dysfunctional dating relationship, which ended in a horrible break up aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand it all goes back to this night, 11/15.
We both worked for a small fast food franchise at the time. I’d been with the company for several years in all levels of management below store manager. He had started a few months before, and was still learning the ropes so to speak. I didn’t think too much of it when he called me one evening and asked me if I would come in and help him with some of the weekly closing procedures. Most of the time those things were done by the store manager but I had been around long enough to have learned them. Being a fairly new employee he didn’t have much practice and counting the entire inventory for the store was a fairly big task. So, even though it was my day off I went in after the dining room closed under the guise of helping him with the counts.
The night went like most other nights we worked together. Most of the closing procedures were completed to the bare minimum standard, he and I spent a lot of time in the back store room while the rest of the crew kept an eye on the front end. The only thing that happened was counting, but there was also a lot of teasing, joking, and laughter. Enough that the crew came to their own conclusions and began to circulate rumors. This was before they installed security cameras through out the store so it was their word against ours. What did show up on the stores cameras didn’t really do much to defend our case since I hadn’t brought a jacket and he and I ended up sharing his, arms wrapped around each other by the front register, and I ended up sitting on his lap in the manager office while we waited for the computer to do it’s polling.
We were friends at this point, with a certain level of platonic physical comfort. We’d spent one evening together outside of work and that was it. Most of the time we saw each other was at work, and I was very relaxed and casual as far as physical contact. From anyone really, but most other people didn’t cross that boundary into contact that could be perceived as intimate. While our behavior was unprofessional for sure, it wasn’t inappropriate as far as personal boundaries.
While we were standing up by the front register, sharing his coat waiting for it to poll the topic of Thanksgiving came up. I was having a difficult time that year because I had recently ended a relationship with someone and his birthday happens to be on November 24th. 2005 was the first year Thanksgiving actually fell on his birthday so it was weird. Oh! Wait! Yes… I did have a relationship before I ended up dating my coworker. With a 34 year old man. Thank God it had primarily been online, and I eventually realized how weird/wrong it was which is why I broke it off. Part of the unaddressed childhood trauma… ANYWAY… I was talking with my coworker and explaining why that year was particularly difficult and he responded with: “When’s this guys birthday? November 24th? My sister’s birthday is the 24th.”
Now read that carefully. What he said would imply that his sister’s birthday was on November 24th, no? Yeah, well it isn’t, but he never bothered to correct himself until years later. I called him and asked if he remembered to wish her a happy birthday, and he replied confused: “Well no, why would I wish her a happy birthday today? Her birthday is in October.” Yep… two years, later.
That’s really what struck me as significant about the memory of that night, more so this year than in years past. Much like his request to come help him with closing paperwork, never being forth coming with his sister’s birthday was a misrepresentation of the truth. It wasn’t technically a lie, but ever so vague and just slightly misconstrued. That night was the first time he was dishonest about himself and let me believe something that wasn’t true. If I had known that he completely understood the closing paperwork before hand, I probably wouldn’t have come to help him. If I hadn’t come to help him we never would have been standing there in our embrace talking about Thanksgiving and birthdays and I probably wouldn’t have invited him to dinner.
That instance is fairly innocent all things considered, but it set up the next two years of so much more. It’s not so much that he sat down and spewed blatant lies, but instead he neglected to come forward with the truth. Even still, he can’t accept the truth about himself during that time in his life and paints beautiful, vivid, stories to compensate. I just happened to remember the paintings he made during our time together and rewrote them here as facts. Until recently, as far as I was concerned they were facts. Now, after spending a few days in Ohio reconnecting with memories and digging through public records I’m not so sure. Most of the events I was able to go back through and pinpoint what actually happened spurring his dishonesty. He was broke, and he needed my disposable income to pay court fees for various traffic violations. It wasn’t just sex. It was sex and money which should have made me angry, but instead it just made me really sad.
The stuff he lied about was so trivial. If I’d known the truth it wouldn’t have changed a thing. He never had to create this huge elaborate charade of a relationship and future for us together, if all he really needed was a little money and somebody to talk to on lonely nights. But for whatever reason he did. I liked the guy, because I liked him. Even when he was broke, unemployed, unfaithful and dishonest. Something shone through the cracks in his armor of false bravado and nihilistic attitude in quiet, vulnerable moments. That’s what I fell in love with. Not all the bullshit it’s buried under. I’ve never liked that. lol. Whatever it is he works so hard to keep hidden, the part of him that I fell for, he hates it. He hates that part of himself with a fervent passion that I’ve never seen from anyone else in regards to self perception. I have no idea why that is, but I can at least theorize that the self hatred is behind most of his dishonesty. At least from my experience it seems to be.
Even when we split up, he never came right out with the truth. It was every possible scenario he could come up with aside from: “I was using just you.” He could tell everyone else, but he could never come out and say it to me until this year. Almost eleven years after the lie of our relationship began. I don’t understand. I don’t understand at all. But I also don’t understand how looking some one in the eye and telling them you love them when you really don’t is easier than simply asking for help when you need so… I guess I never will. I just know now, moving forward that I can’t continue to allow whatever his issues might be to get in the way of my own healing. I still don’t really dislike the guy, but I am going to hold him to a higher level of accountability than I have in the past. That’s not for his benefit in the way my defense of his actions over the years has proved to be. Nope. That’s all about me, and my transition from victim to survivor.
Argh… this week is a real winner as far as emotions go! It’s been a rough one, but it’s positive over all. I’m beginning to really break through the other side. I can finally talk about this stuff without being lost in overwhelming emotions and giving misplaced loyalties to people who don’t deserve them. The pain is still there, but mostly… It’s liberating. That year, 11/15 was a day foreshadowing in tragedy, but this year 11/15 was a day of triumph. Even though it took me two days to finish writing about it lol.