X: Minor Catastrophies

I dated Jeremy off and on from the time I was 14 until I was 19. We had wonderful, sweet times, and we had times when things would fly past my head or sharp objects would dig into my back. It started out wonderfully. Then he wanted to have sex.

He was 18. Three and a half years or so older than me. He had moved to Houston from a coast town in south Texas. My friend, Liza, had met her now-husband Jim online. Jim moved to Texas from up north, with the intention of marrying her. He moved in with Liza and her family, and Jeremy joined them shortly after. I met him and we became inseparable.

Liza’s mother didn’t get along with him. Jeremy didn’t have a job, so he wasn’t paying for his stay. He was eventually told to move out and my parents agreed to let him live with us temporarily. Instead, he stayed for three years.

Our first kiss was everything anyone could hope for. He was still living with Liza and Jim  at the time. He’d walked down the street to see me. We would sit on my porch for hours and talk, sneaking tiny touches at each other’s fingertips when we could. I’ve always had an interest in martial arts and weapons, and he had a collection of swords and smaller blades. On this particular night, he gave me his butterfly knife.

He was good with the butterfly. He’d dazzled me with tricks that he’d learned from a Navy friend, who was also the man who’d given it to him. Jeremy gave it to me and I’d kissed him. I was thrilled. Soon after, we were a couple.

A month or so after he moved in with my family, he decided that he wanted to have sex. He said that he was a virgin, but had told Liza differently. It didn’t actually matter to me, but that one lie, be it to Liza or to me, was the start of mistrust.

My brother, father and mother worked during the day. Jim had become engaged to Liza and he had moved in with my family as well. Annabelle and I slept in the living room, Brandon kept his bedroom, and Jeremy and Jim took over what used to be the room that I had shared with Annabelle.

One morning, Jeremy took me into Brandon’s room and shut the door. He talked me into it, and I said yes. His pleas of, “I’ll be gentle, I promise,” convinced me to lie on the floor next to the bed while he pressed himself into me. It hurt, but it wasn’t the first time. I winced. It became a regular morning practice, and I hated myself.

Eventually, we moved to a bigger house down the street. Jim and Liza married, and Jim moved back in with Liza’s family, eventually moving into a place of their own. Jeremy stayed with my family. The new house had five bedrooms, and we each had our own. My parents assigned the bedroom right next to theirs, to me. It was the smallest, little more than a large closet, but it was mine. Silently, I thanked them for locating Jeremy on the opposite end of the house.

One day, while my mother was out running errands with Brandon, and Annabelle was in the living room glued to the television, I made my way to Jeremy’s bedroom. It started out as normal, with me lying down for him, silent as always. This time, he pressed my legs above my head. It hurt. I pushed at him, cried, squirmed, hit him. He didn’t stop.

Afterward, he cried when he realized what he had done. He left, walking down the street, and came back some hours later.

I hid in my bedroom, unsure of what had just happened. I didn’t want to believe that he’d done what people go to jail for. It was the first time that he did it. Eventually, I would learn to get used to it.

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