"Hello": The Almost-Lover
How powerful can such a simple word be? Let me share the ways it's affected me. (Part 3 of 3)
Someone starved of human affection will latch onto the first person to give it to them.
I learned a lot about myself after turning 21. I started questioning my life with my mother, I began to pity my father, and my brother was becoming my enemy. I guess all of these could be best described as an epiphany; being blinded all my life by rage and deceit, I'd never had such clarity as I did at the age of 21. This epiphany, paired with the confusion about who I was or could be, led to a gradual distancing from my family. I could feel myself pulling away, and I didn't want it to stop. Of course this meant any interaction with either parent (separated from each other by this time) was brief, if even existent. This included physical interactions, conversations, and affection.
We're going to focus on the affection, because this was the reason for my decline in mood and, at some points, mental health.
I knew I was losing my mind because of it, seeking it in new friends and replacing it with praise on social media. I needed to feel, to love and care and have it returned in kind. I was suddenly starved of something I received almost every day growing up. I didn't know what to do with this change or how to handle it. So, naturally, I lost control of myself a bit. And who better to lose my control with than a dear friend?
We'll call this one Playboy, because it's the nickname his friends gave him, and I like to think they gave him the name because of the way he acts like such a "lady-killer."
I had known Playboy for years already; five years or six, I can never remember. We all knew him to be very handsy, or touchy, with his friends. Not in a perverted way, a playful way. A childish way. He was always playful and childish. And sweet. And charming, and caring, and he always knew how to make a friend laugh even when he himself wasn't feeling it. I could never stay mad with him...
Right. Getting off track. Sorry.
There was a time in this friendship when he treated me...differently. When it was just us, there was a difference in him. He was gentler. Kinder. He hugged me and held me in his attempts to comfort me when I needed it. I remember joking with others that I knew the feel of his embrace better than my own mother's. I thought it normal until I brought it up to some mutual friends, people who'd spent time with him one-on-one as well. After long discussions and some further analysis, it was confirmed—this was not normal. Still I dismissed it, as one in denial would.
Then came the first incident, the one that, in the future, would become the most significant moment of my life.
Like nearly every incident in my life, there was more alcohol in my system than I'd ever experienced in my life, and, like always, I barely remember anything. He was well past the limit himself, making this memory slightly more painful to think back on. It was two o'clock in the morning. We'd just finished a night of drinking at a friend's house and were parked outside, trying to sober up. We sat there in silence, he in the driver's seat and I in the passenger's seat. I kept my chin to my chest and my hands between my thighs, shivering in the winter chill even under my warmest black jacket. I can't remember what was said, but suddenly we were stepping out into the even icier air. I remember staring up at the starry nighttime sky, a sight I hadn't seen in a long time.
He called me over to his side of the car and opened the door to the backseat. He gestured for me to get in, and I did so as quickly as possible. He climbed in after me, and, once the door was shut, he guided me until my back was pressed to his front. There was shifting, and fidgeting. He had maneuvered himself until I was snug between his legs. He snaked his arms around me and clasped his hands together over my stomach. We were comfortable against each other, and we stayed that way for...God, I don't even know how long. Once we were still again, my mind and sight blurred. All I could focus on was how cold I was.
As the alcohol burned away and my senses very slowly began to sharpen, I became faintly aware of what was going on. I saw everything, yes, but it was if I was watching a movie. I was not myself. I could not control what was happening. I just remember the feel of him, the racing heartbeat my ear was pressed against, and my episodes of uncontrollable shivering. I spoke...I was speaking to him. Yes, we were conversing. He was coming to as well, enough to properly form sentences. There was giggling, and...and moaning. "Your heart is racing," I'd mumbled to him, still finding my way out of my trance-like state.
Next thing I knew, he'd turned me around. I was straddling him, and my face was buried in his neck. And, in his hoarse, exhausted voice, he asked his permission to change my life with one simple, dangerous word, "Hello."
I hated myself, and I still do. Because when I said my response, it was a smirk dripping with the knowledge of what was to come, "Hi."
There was moving, and grabbing, and moaning and sighing, and even the faint memory of his hands on my body is as strong as if it'd happened yesterday. I can't say I know what more transpired after my response, but everything came to a halt before more than a shirt could come off. I remember watching in utter confusion as he dragged himself out of the car, and I remember the pain that washed over me the next day at the recollection of him shutting the door in my face; I was to numbed by the alcohol to properly feel it at that moment.
Nothing happened, not really. One moment he wanted me, and the next he wanted to get away from me. And I, a damaged fool, played the memory over and over again in my head. It was the feeling I was craving, the feeling I was so desperate to get a taste of. This was not our only encounter, and, as a result, I became addicted. I started searching for it again with a clear idea of what I wanted. I took his affection like a starved child took a loaf of bread. I wasn't satiated, and I wouldn't stop until I was.
Wouldn't...no. I won't. I won't stop until I am.
"Hello" can appear in many forms, its shortened "Hi," a question, a statement, a compliment. "Hello" is a request, a way of asking permission to enter someone's world, someone's head. When it is said, there is the option to acknowledge it and allow its speaker entrance, and the interaction, no matter brief or long, or major or minor, will impact your life whether you know it or not; and there is the option to ignore it, deny its speaker's entrance or even the ability to have a chance at any kind of access, and your life will go on unscathed by the asker. "Hello" has more power than it lets on; it can quickly become the beginning of an adventure.