Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bad Decisions

I began grad school more broke than is normally the case. To cut down on expenses I signed up for a room in the oldest and most dilapidated dorm on campus, one that had been designed forty years prior for nursing students. I was substantially older than the freshmen who made up most of the dorm. A year before they’d been in high school and it showed.

They’d been looking for a way to fire her long before we were an item. She was an alcoholic who had begun her tenure with great promise, but had succumbed to addiction. The fellow RAs planned an intervention. They’d tipped me off, but I had no need, nor any desire to participate. I was just the boyfriend and agreed only to get out of the way.

She fooled me. I knew at the outset, but didn’t realize the extent of her addiction or the temper of the one who came before me. Mississippi natives who have settled one state over are considered to have made it good. She’d bargained her way into a job with the great skill and poise that she showed when she chose to use it. Otherwise, she was incredibly lazy. If lazy was the extent of the problem, she’d probably be retained. Many university workers had bad attitudes and were given chances they didn’t deserve.

The students were protective of the both of us. We’d planned and held a dance in the basement, transformed for the night into a ballroom. During the course of the event, she’d begun to bump and grind on me during one song. It caught me completely by surprise. We had only recently started dating. Even though we were the same age, I was technically one of her residents, an offense that would have led to immediate termination. 

No one was willing to snitch on her, but it probably would have been better for everyone if someone had.

Her ex-boyfriend had been extremely possessive and controlling. I had been warned. No one knew how bad it had really gotten because she hadn’t talked about it openly. Campus police had received many calls from her when he had threatened to burn her with a cigarette or pinned her arms down. She always backed down and reconsidered, hanging up the phone before filing charges.

My motives and intentions were in the right place, but they took the wrong form. The worst thing about it was how competitive my motives were. I hated him for what he had done to her. I wanted to make him know that I’d stolen his woman out from under him. The message was received, but my tough guy stance proved in the end to be not as noble as I had originally thought.

His conduct towards her had transformed a person with low self-esteem to a person with low self-esteem and strong dependency. She always had to be in the same room as me, minus the bathroom. If I went out for cigarettes or food, she could not be left alone. I enjoyed being needed, but eventually found this annoying. 

He moved out and I moved in, almost immediately. It was like the changing of the guard. I dropped my bags in the front room. She went to take a shower in the back bedroom.

Bored, I found a DVD in the drive attached to the television and pushed play.

I love his cock. It feels so good inside me. I can’t wait for yours.

Her feet were up in the air, another unknown man fast at work. I recognized, to my horror, that the amateur snuff film had been filmed here, in this very room. I hadn’t felt jealous until that instant.

Over the course of an hour or so, she addressed the person manning the camera, who appeared to be sitting a few feet back in this very room. This was for his benefit and as far as she was concerned, there were only two people present. She couldn’t care less for the man doing all the work, as though he was some disembodied thrusting force reduced only to his genitalia. Every party seemed to be receiving great pleasure from this act, but it was more than I could handle.

I immediately pressed stop, wishing for all the world that I had not seen this.

It was a kind of meta pornography, though I could not for the life of me understood how anyone could enjoy it. This was a side of her even I hadn’t seen. I realized to expect more challenges, but I wanted to punish him. In my mind, he deserved it. He could not have the satisfaction any longer of traumatizing her.

And I began to postulate why this had happened. Was this the product of an alcoholic mother who was too damaged herself to keep her daughter safe? The way they showed each other love, as I would learn, was by covering the other’s nightly bar tab. No boundaries. This is what happens when adults act like children. What on earth was I doing here?

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