Jun. 29th, 2014

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I want to tell you a story, all you young people of various genders. It's about the one time I was nice to a boy.

I was 14, he was 18, and I'm just gonna call him Fred. Fred was short. He defined himself as a writer, although he used the word "synergy" in his writing quite a lot. He loved Penny Arcade.

Fred had been in love with the same girl all throughout his high school career. (Please appreciate the fact that I did not put quotation marks around the words "in love.") She was kinda reminiscent of Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island - very pretty, very nice, good grades, brunette, boobs just big enough to be hot, but not so big that they rendered her an obvious wanton slut. Hot, but the kind of hotness a guy could take home to his mother. As far as I could tell when we all met, she had never given Fred the time of day. I didn't actually know her that well, and she wouldn't be terribly relevant to this story if I wasn't such a large, obvious step down from her in terms of attractiveness and social position. I was and am still quite fat, quite annoying, and socially awkward in a way that could never be mistaken for charming quirkiness. Because of Fred's previous devotion to this girl, and the differences between her and I, I knew as soon as it manifested that Fred's interest in me was to some degree adulterated by necessity. I was not what Fred wanted, but I was what he could get.

I don't really remember how long we had known each other when Fred made romantic overtures towards me, I think it was a matter of weeks, but I do remember that I told him that I didn't want him to settle for me. I told him that if he really liked me and wanted to be with me that I would be overjoyed, but that I doubted that that was the case and was he sure? He affirmed that it was, and he was, that he really liked me.

We dated for a couple of months (on our first date the car got stolen haaaa), and then I went out of state to visit my sister. When I came back several weeks later, we saw each other once while surrounded by classmates. It was kinda stilted, and two days later I got a break-up email. He specifically referenced my concern that he was settling for me, and stated that I had been correct at the outset: he was settling for me, and he didn't want to anymore. I wasn't really surprised. If you looked at Mary Ann and I side-by-side, you wouldn't be surprised either. It was no biggie. An amiable break-up.

We were casual friends for the next four years.

He kinda had a thing for my bestie. That was also no biggie, everyone kinda had a thing for my bestie. She's super hot and socially awkward in a way that is absolutely charming and quirky.

And then this is where I kinda lose the plot. I know something happened, and he knows something happened, and at the end of that something, we weren't speaking to each other. But based on communication we've had since then, we clearly have very different ideas about what that something was. Here's the best of my recollection. Take it with a grain of salt, I guess.

One night when I was 18 and Fred was 22, we were out with my bestie. It was a weeknight and we were all nightowls. Eventually everything was closed, but we all weren't ready for the night to be over, so we went and parked in the parking lot of the library near my house and just chatted and listened to music for a while. Bestie got out of the car to have a cigarette. At the time I had a very physically and mentally demanding job at which I worked about 60 hours per week, it was maybe 2 or 3 in the morning at this point, so I fell asleep in the passenger seat. This is probably where I should mention that I talk in my sleep, but I never remember anything I say during those times. I only know that I do it because other people have told me so.

I don't really remember much of the rest of the evening. I don't remember Bestie getting back in the car. Fred took me home.

Some time passes. By my recollection, it was at least a month, maybe six weeks, but I also think it couldn't possibly have been that long before Fred and I were chatting on AIM early one evening. We got into a debate about whether or not fate was a thing, and he set up this weird argument which he then refused to explain, saying that he was "punishing" me by not explaining it. As I recall, he actually used the word "punish." (Although I don't remember what happened in the car, my memory of the AIM conversation is pretty clear. I saved it and re-read several times over the next couple days, trying to figure out what had happened.) When I asked why, he referenced that night in the car in the library parking lot. I think what must have happened that night was: I continued to respond to conversation as I fell asleep, and he, thinking I was awake and aware, told me something important. I think it was something about his blog, and I think it was something actionable. But at the point of this AIM chat, several weeks had gone by and I had not taken whatever action he had asked me to take, because I had no recollection of that disclosure whatsoever. I told him this. He didn't believe me. He almost straight up called me a liar. I cut off contact with him. I didn't even know how to respond to someone who handled their anger like that. Weeks had passed (I think) since that night in the car, and it was clear that he had been angry with me almost that whole time. I was still working that 60hrs/week job, I didn't have the time or energy to deal with that kind of behavior. If he was gonna act like that, then I didn't want him in my life. I removed him and moved on.

Years passed.

The internet kept us vaguely aware of one another. I've mentioned him in maybe 3 or 4 blog posts, all of them within the first year or so of the dissolution of our friendship, all of them negative mentions. He popped up maybe 3 or 4 times to leave me hey-fuck-you-type comments, which I ignored. Then a few years ago, he asks my bestie's permission to message me on facebook, and then sends me this long-ass apology about our falling out, which would have been nice, except that the stuff he mentions in it is stuff I don't remember at all. There's nothing in there about that night in the car, the aim conversation, or the intervening months. It's clear from this message that his memories of our falling out and mine are so different as to be irreconcilable. We're not remembering different versions of an event, we are remembering two different events. I was so discombobulated by the disparity in our recollections that I just replied with some niceties. I didn't want to stir shit up again.

Then, a month or so ago, I got an ask on tumblr from a sn I didn't recognize that said, "I'm in your keyboard, watching your posts. Don't make eye contact." So... that sounds vaguely threatening, right? It sounds like whoever sent that might be saying that I have a keystroke logger on my computer. So I get out my secondary internet devices and make the necessary post on all my social media accounts asking people to notify me if anything strange happens, and then I spend several hours scouring my computer for malware, and once I'm relatively certain that I don't have a keystroke logger, I run down the sn. Brief googling tells me it belongs to Fred. At this point, it's been 10 years since we were friends, 14 years since we dated, and 4 years since we last spoke. I spend the next several weeks checking my bank account and credit cards from my work computer. And that brings us to now.

Basically, I dated a boy one time, ONE TIME, and 14 years later, I'm still fucking paying for it.

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