Little things frighten me. When my boyfriend drives too fast, or when I see a spider, or when I’m alone and my house makes a noise. I’m not, however, afraid of many big things. Reality doesn’t scare me, because I’ve been through enough of it. But you scare me. You, with your twisted compliments and your manipulative ways.
I met you officially six years ago. You were an awkward preteen with a lot of pent up rage and anger issues. You got in fights and you ran your mouth, and you were punished. We weren’t friends, but I knew who you were. Everyone knew who you were. That never changed.
We went to high school together, and soon we were inseparable. You channeled your anger onto the stage- the same place I channeled out my depression. We quickly became king and queen of the drama department. Our only competition was each other- we were constantly beating each other out for top marks, highest praise, the most remembered performances. It made sense that we became close.
That was five years ago. We were awkward teenagers who didn’t know up from down. We would flirt occasionally, and I thought it was funny because you were so awkward. You were my best friend, like a brother, so your flirting must be another in your long string of jokes. You began flirting with the other girls we knew, and it made us nervous, because a boy had never really said those things to us before.
As the years continued, I dated around. You were always single, and still you were flirting with everyone. No one thought it was a big deal, because it was just you. It was among the many other things you began to get away with in high school. Teachers thought you were charming. Girls thought you were awkward and funny.
You kissed me. Well, you kissed us. I think you almost kissed all the girls we knew. It made us nervous. You never asked permission, you just did it. You hit my head on the lockers when you did it, but I didn’t say anything because I was sad, and it was nice to have someone notice me. The other girls let it slide too, we made excuses for you, saying you never had a girlfriend, so you were just lonely. We were pretty naive back then.
Still, as time passed, you became more aggressive with your approaches. You sent texts out of the blue, and you were more up front about what you wanted. Every word out of your mouth was provocative and foul, and yet you still got away with it. It got you into trouble on occasion, and yet we stood up for you. We made more excuses for you, we told people it was a mistake. You were an excellent actor, and your best role was when you claimed to be an innocent man. You mastered playing the victim in all of these endeavors.
Now it’s been six years since I met you. I haven’t spoken to you in almost a year. You still text me out of the blue with something vulgar on your mind, and I ignore it, because I don’t want to be impolite.
That’s the problem. No one wanted to be impolite. We didn’t want to hurt your feelings, or make things awkward, or make things a big deal.
It’s been six years, and we’re just now realizing it is sexual harassment.
It’s been six years, and I’m just now finding out about the disgusting lies you told people about me and you.
It’s been six years, and you’ve gotten so good at playing the victim that we catch ourselves feeling bad for “leading you on”.
It’s been six years, and we don’t know how to stop you, because we are scared.
Society has taught us that no one will listen to the woman. No one will punish the man.
It took us six years to realize what you were doing; how you were tearing us down to create us from scratch. You were around every corner, and at the end of every sentence. You never left, you were always there. You told us what you liked, and we tried to please you. We fought each other for your attention. I wasted years of my life calling you my best friend, when all you did was try and get me into bed.
Someday, everyone will know the truth. Someday, we will come up with a plan. And when that someday comes, we will destroy you. And that awkward preteen from six years ago, he will never hurt an unsuspecting girl again.