I was fifteen years old and totally naïve. I had just gotten out of a six month long relationship with my first ever boyfriend, and I thought I was ready to take on the world. The preppy Carly phase was done with and of course, when a boy with snake bite piercings on his lower lip, and tattoos all up his arm came up to me and showed any interest in me, I was hooked.
Chris was a few years older than me age wise, but only one grade above me in school. He had always said that the reason he was so far behind was because he had issues with authority figures, and thought he was too cool for school. He was a narcissist in the worst way, and was just getting clean after years of drug use. Chris had the most piercing green eyes and the most exact features, and was clean-cut and scrawny. He was the poster child for “suburban kid turns bad boy”. I’m still not sure exactly how much older than me he is, but I know he’s definitely at least 23 now. Everything about him screamed “bad news”, and to run the other way, but for some reason I was completely under his spell. Whatever, I was totally tired of playing it safe and always having the phrase “such a good girl” attached to my name, so I thought hanging around Chris was a good idea.
Soon enough, Chris started to make advances towards me, and I wasn’t exactly rejecting them. I was awkward and gawky, and didn’t know what a hair straightener was, so just the fact that a boy showed ANY sign of interest in me was a huge plus regardless of anything else. I knew Chris had a girlfriend from another town when I first had met him, but he had told me that their relationship had fizzled and that he had dumped her because he wanted to be with me. Trusting him, I went for it, and I began “seeing” Chris. We were never officially boyfriend and girlfriend because quite frankly, my parents would have absolutely killed me if I brought him around the house because he was known around town for being bad news.
I began to hear rumors about Chris from other people – that he was a schizophrenic, that he was bipolar, that he had an anger problem – but I brushed it all off because I felt like no one knew him the way I did - the basic ‘teenage girl interested in bad boy’ line. He knew the perfect way to craft every word he said, and I saw no flaws. Chris set me up with a job babysitting his sister’s kids, who were babies, so I was always around the house – so we were always together. While the babies were sleeping, Chris would tell me these outrageous stories about his old school, that had to have been something straight out of a movie, and he would tell me even more outlandish adventuring stories, that now that I look back upon and realize were nothing but lies, but I believed every single word that came out of his mouth – and he knew it.
About a month in, I started seeing pictures of him and his ex, Gina, around Facebook, and they had to have been recent, because he had just gotten a haircut. I was furious, and unable to hold in my anger, I confronted him about the pictures I saw. I remember screaming at him at the top of my lungs asking him if he lied to me all along, if they were still together, and if he was just using me. He insisted they weren’t together and that he actually wanted to be with me, and angry and teary-eyed, I accepted his sweet-talker’s apology and walked home alone.
After that night, even though I had accepted his apology, the trust was gone. I started wondering why the only time he was able to see me was right after school while I was babysitting, and why he never wanted to get together later at night. I started wondering why he would always turn his shoulder slightly to the left and tilt his phone downwards while checking his messages. And most importantly, I started wondering why I wasn’t his girlfriend. I was growing tired of the rebellious girl phase, and no matter how much I tried to hide it, I was a nice, safe girl, who would get nervous over just about everything.
Two and a half months in, I was sitting in Chris’s room when I decided to confront him once and for all about why I wasn’t his girlfriend yet, and if it was because he was still with Gina. I was leaning up against his huge “Blood On The Dance Floor” poster on the wall, when he flew into a rage. I knew Chris had anger problems, but I had never worried about my safety before. All of a sudden, Chris charged at me with a face I’ve never seen before, and threw his fist into the wall just millimeters from my head. I was absolutely frozen. I didn’t move. I didn’t breathe. I didn’t blink. Then, Chris backed up and took a swing at me. Totally baffled and stunned, I stood unmoved until his fist flew into my stomach, knocking the wind straight out of me. I remember him screaming some expletives at me, then the sharp sting of his bony, cold knuckles grazing the side of my face, and slinking into the ground more in disbelief than pain; but after that, all I remember is getting free from his grasp and going home.
I didn’t dare tell a soul. Quite frankly, I was embarrassed, and there was no way I was THAT stupid that I would have let someone do that to me and not rip their face off in one grab. No – that didn’t happen to me. I refused to believe it, so therefore it never happened in my mind. When I got home and pulled my phone out of my pocket, I had about seventeen messages from Chris, begging me to talk – that he isn’t usually like that – that he forgot to take his medicine that morning – and that it would never, ever happen again. I don’t know why I didn’t just put my phone down, but I told him how upset I was, and that we would talk tomorrow.
The next day, I foolishly went to Chris’s house. It was just the two of us there, and I figured we could talk it out and that we would be fine. Everyone has bad days, and I, unfortunately, tend to always see the good in the people that have nothing but bad coursing through their veins. Chris gave me some made up, bullshit speech about how he thought he was in love with me, and that the thought of me not trusting him drove him absolutely insane, which is why he flew into a rage. Swearing he would never do it again, we were back on.
Three weeks after “the incident”, I started to notice another radical shift in Chris’s behavior towards me. Whenever he was unpleased with something I would say, or do, or how I would dress, he would shove me or dig his thumbs into my ribs until I was bent over, wincing in pain. When I would confront him on his behavior, he would flash on a smile, kiss my nose, and tell me that it was just play, and that I had to stop being so paranoid. Knowing that being paranoid was one of my tragic flaws, I figured I was just overreacting.
Chris and I by no means had a pleasant relationship. He would constantly play mind games with me. We were constantly fighting, and everyone was telling me that his ex-girlfriend wasn’t his ex, and that he was just cheating on her with me. Hearing this for months finally led me to my breaking point. We were sitting in his room on his computer, when I finally decided to bring up the topic of Gina again. Once again, he flew into a total and complete rage, and instead of answers, I was met with his hands around my neck, tighter and tighter. I didn’t scream, I didn’t yell, I didn’t protest. I just couldn’t believe what was happening, and if getting choked to death in Chris’s bedroom for questioning him about his girlfriend is the way I was meant to go, I figured I must have been something terrible in a past life to deserve this fate.
I couldn’t breathe with his hands around my neck, but I refused to let him see me in any pain. I guess this had angered his power-hungry mind, because he decided that it was time to choke me out until my eyes rolled in the back of my head. I don’t really know what his game plan would have been if he killed me – he wasn’t the brightest soul, so I could only imagine he hadn’t thought it out past the “choke her out until she stops talking” part. I guess it really would have been a bitch to deal with the aftermath of that, and I surely would have been a chain-rattling poltergeisty ghost, haunting him for the rest of his life.
I came to rather quickly. I remember uttering the phrases, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” “Are you using again?” and “Did you legitimately just try to fucking kill me?”. I guess that last one pissed him off because he took a nice jab at my mouth and I swear to God that if he messed up my teeth after I had to deal with braces for almost two years, I would have lit his house on fire. I walked home that night with a bloody nose and lip, and just told my parents that the four year old I was babysitting got a little violent. They didn’t question a thing.
For the following year, Chris and I were on and off. Mostly off, but his behavior didn’t stop when we were on. I had been choked out, backhanded, and punched more times than an MMA fighter. The madness finally ended when he moved to Florida. He wound up getting kicked out of his house for beating up his mother. For months, he would send me text messages, and Facebook messages threatening me. I was never fully ready to cut the cord for some reason, and the day I had finally blocked him on Facebook and from texting my phone was one of the best days of my life.
Sometimes he still shows up in my hometown, sitting in his Jeep, blaring his horn at all hours of the morning until I come outside, but I don’t. Sometimes I want to just to ask him why, but for a year and a half, I let him be in total control of me, and all in all, I came out a better person. Much more cynical and jaded, I no longer expect the world from people who don’t deserve a second glance. I have him blocked 27 times on Facebook, under different aliases; because it is the only way he has figured out how to contact me. It turned out I was right the whole time about him and Gina being together, and that he was just using me, but I guess at this point, it doesn’t matter, because seeing the worst parts of a person either makes or breaks a relationship.