It's a new year, a new dawn, a new blah blah blah.
My new resolution is to not say/do cliché things, like making resolutions.
As I look over this blog, I realize there are many stories I've left untold. Some funny, some moving. I've decided to continue with telling my stories, because everyone's story deserves to be told.
As I was driving around my old neighborhood during the holidays, I passed by the house of one my school friends. Her name was Andrea. I met her when I was in the fourth grade.
I was a tender child back then, and I was proud of this. I remember bragging to my friends that I had yet to "ever say a cuss word in my entire life." My mom and dad fought a lot, and I always thought curse words were only for times when you were angry. I didn't like feeling angry. I was pretty happy, and I found things that continued to make me happy, like the split-level bars on the playground during recess.
I used to hump the hell out of those things, not realizing that I was experimenting with masturbation at a very young age. Naturally I thought that there was nothing wrong with this experiment. After all, it made me feel good, like ice cream, Disney movies, and running real fast made me feel good. Then one day one of my male classmates caught me in my hot metal love affair and all was lost. By the next day, word had spread of my wanton ways, and I was a total outcast. My classmates were not only cruel, they were stupid. Kids would unabashedly spread whispers about me, right in my presence.
One day I just couldn't take it anymore. It was the day two new girls had just joined our class, and we were in the middle of watching a movie. One of the new girls decided to take the spot next to me. As she sat down, Jenny Smith, the biggest bitch in our class, looked at me, and then bent down towards the new girl and began whisper something in her ear. I’d had enough.
"Jenny, for pete’s sake, I know what you are going to whisper to her. You might as well just say it out loud."
"Wha, I wasn't gonna say anything."
"Your pants are so on fire. Listen, new girl, she was going to tell you that I humped one of the poles on the playground. She was going to warn you that you were sitting next to a pole-humper. There, it's out there. Now shutup Jenny and leave me alone."
Jenny sat back down. I don't think I saw her whisper again for the rest of the year. The new girl, whose name I have forgotten, stared straightforward during the rest of the day, determined not to make eye contact with either of us. I don't remember her saying more than two words that year.
The next day I remember seeing that the whispers had died down, but the looks of resentment and disgust remained. All of my classmates looked down on me, except for one. It was the other new girl. I saw her quietly playing by herself underneath one of the big trees that just bordered a wooded area behind our school. The wooded area was one of my favorite places to play. I decided that as I passed by, I would say hello to her and introduce myself.
She was a thicker girl, but not fat. She seemed to be very strong, as I saw her split pretty thick pieces of branch in two with her bare hands. Her face was moon shaped, and her eyes were big and brown. As I walked towards her she smiled, and I thought that, besides her strength, she looked to be very sweet and gentle.
"Hi, my name is Heather. What's yours?"
"I'm Andrea. I just moved here. My dad's in the army and he was just transferred here."
"Oh really? That's cool. Say, there's this tree in the woods there that I throw sticks at while pretending their ninja stars. Wanna come join?"
"Fuck'n A! Let's wreck that shit, bitch!"
"We'll tear that tree a new asshole!"
I stared at here with admiration, as if she had just turned into the Holy Grail. My mind had been opened. She made me realize that cuss words not made for just anger, but they were meant weave a tapestry of the whole spectrum of human emotion. I was enlightened.
"Where...did...you learn to talk like that?"
"Uh, my dad's in the army, duh!"
And that was it. We gathered as many "ninja stars" as we could hold in our arms, and cursed the shit out of that motherfucking tree.
I wouldn't want to say that Andrea was a bad influence by any means. She helped me learn to speak my mind in new ways. Ways that made me feel uplifted and unashamed. I wasn't stupid though; I knew my parents were not as enlightened as me, and so I held off on unleashing my proverbial palette of profanity upon them.
Andrea and I became good friends over the coming months, until one fateful slumber party. She had invited me to spend a Friday night at her place, and I was at the age where nothing, absolutely nothing, was better than a slumber party. My sentiment completely changed after that Friday night.
Andrea's home life was, for lack of a better term, completely fucked up. To start the night off, Andrea's father asked me if I were allowed to watch movies with "women’s chests." Thinking he meant a beach movie with women in bikinis (perhaps "Weekend at Bernie's") I unwittingly said yes. We then began to watch what I would come to know in the future as a softcore porno. I should also mention that Andrea had a mentally challenged sister who would shout "Tits! Tits! Tits!" every time the movie showed boobs.
Then dinnertime came. Andrea was passing out some rice and she accidentally spilled some on the table. Her dad began to whip her viciously with a belt for her mistake. At that point I sort of mentally checked out. I felt helpless and bewildered, and everything seemed surreal. I wanted to rush into bed so that the morning would come sooner. Once dinner was over, Andrea bounced out of her chair (apparently recovered from her lashing) and shouted "Bath time, bitch!!" She grabbed my hand and dragged me upstairs. She threw a towel in my face and said, "You can take your bath first! Bathroom is down the hall."
I ran into the bathroom and closed the door. My mind was ablaze with the insanity that had occurred in the past few hours. I decided a bath would be the best thing to calm me, so I disrobed and hopped in the tub. Just as I was about to immerse my head, I received the shock of a lifetime.
"Surprise! Slumber Bathtime!" Andrea screamed as she burst through the bathroom door completely naked and holding a can of Coca Cola. She ran into the bathtub and screamed, "You look dirty! Time for your Coke bath!" And she proceeded to empty out the can of Coke on my head. And this is where I snapped.
I jumped out of the bathtub and ran my head under the sink, all the while shouting the most colorful of curse words in her general direction. I put my clothes on as fast as I could and ran out of the bathroom into one of the bedrooms. I searched the second floor for a phone in total desperation, but there was none to be found. I knew there was a phone in the kitchen, but I heard screaming noises coming from there. I wanted to crawl out the window and run home, but I didn't know the way. I stopped myself at the top of the stairs, dumbfounded was to what I should do. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder.
I turned around and Andrea stood there in a pink robe.
"I'm sorry I freaked you out, bitch. Let's just get some fucking shuteye."
I walked cautiously back to her room. She let me have the bottom bunk of her bed, and I was grateful, because I knew that would allow for easier escape. I don't think I slept a wink that night.
The next morning was weirdly quiet. I waited near the garage door, eager to hear my mom’s car engine. When she did arrive, I did something I hadn't done in a long time. I ran to her and I hugged her, I was determined not to let her go.
"Oh hi there, Mrs. Borra!" said Andrea's father. "We loved having Heather over last night. In fact, she's welcome to stay tonight as well if she wants!"
My mom took a quick glance of Andrea's family and then she looked down at me. She could see the tears beginning to wellup in my eyes.
"I'm sorry sir, but we've got a family event planned for this evening. It was nice meeting you all!"
I hugged her all the way back to the car.
After that, Andrea's and my friendship was on eggshells at best. Eventually we stopped hanging out all together. The weird thing is, I didn't really realize how seriously disturbed Andrea's home life was until much later. This is probably why a lot of abuse goes unreported. Kids just think it is normal because adults are causing the abuse and what adults do is always right. Each time I passed her house in recent years, I wished I could go back and save Andrea from her wretched home life, rather than just running away from it. But now I'm smarter and stronger. However, I still curse a goddamned motherfucking blue streak.