Sweet Pie and French Fries Part 2 – Nuggets

There was an interminable pause.

Had T-Mobile’s spotty beachfront reception sandbagged me yet again? Or perhaps saved me from an embarrassing calamity?

It was a really good first date. The kind where you actually have fun. Where you maybe drink a little too much, but somehow don’t make a total ass of yourself. The kind where you decide early on, I’d better behave myself, and for the most part, you stick to that. She laughs at your jokes, you roll a decent bowling score, and at the end of the night, after you let her know you’re about to leave town for a week, she lets you plant a kiss, right on her… cheek. And after she drives away, and you hop in your ’02 Prius, you sit there thinking, I want more.

Then you drive home thinking, I want more.

You get in bed, and then lay awake thinking, I want more.

And then, I woke up with a crazy idea. So grabbed the phone and called her.

“Hello?” She sounds – what? Surprised? Unsure? Weirded out? Shit. NEVER call the next day, let alone the next morning, LET ALONE before 7 am on a Saturday! SHIT!

“Hey, it’s me – sorry, did I wake you?”

“It’s okay, I needed to get up.”

Liar! “Cool. Well, listen, I had a really good time last night-“

“Me too,” she chimed nonchalantly. But did I detect the whiff of excitement in her undertone?

“Good, good. Um…” I was stalling. Was I really going to go against everything I’d learned reading Neil Strauss? “So you know how I’ve got this trip up north today?”

“You might have mentioned it one or twenty times last night, yeah – how drunk were you?”

Shit. “Not very, but maybe a little… I don’t know; I was nervous.” ‘I was nervous?’ Did I seriously just tell her I WAS NERVOUS. Pack it in Rookie, you’re headed back to the locker room.

“Could have fooled me,” she proffered the words like a carrot dangling in front of a jackass.

Okay, here goes nothing: “I don’t know what you’ve got going today, but how’d you like to take a ride with me?”

There was an interminable pause.

Had T-Mobile’s spotty beachfront reception sandbagged me yet again? Or perhaps saved me from an embarrassing calamity?

“Hello?”

She was still there. “TO SAN FRANCISCO???”

Uh oh. “Yeah. I mean, just for the night, and I’ll fly you back tomorrow, so you’ll be back in time for…”

“Work,” she finished for me. “I have work. Tomorrow’s Monday.”

I scrambled, frantically clicking through Virgin America’s website to find an acceptably priced one-way fare. Lucky for me, the early morning flights were still open and cheap. “No problem. We can be there by 4 or 5, have the evening, get a good night’s sleep, and I’ll drive you to the airport in the morning. There’s 6 am flight, you’ll be in Burbank by 7.”

Another long, breathy moment passed by. Then she asked me a question I didn’t expect: “What’s your mother’s Maiden Name?”

Now there was a question I knew better than to answer.

“Cohen.” What the fuck?!

“Social security number?”

Okay, she caught me off-guard with mom’s name, but no way I’m going to give her my— “Four-one-two-oh-seven-oh-nine-three-eight.” SHIT!! What kind of Jedi mind-shit is she pulling on me?

In 60 seconds she pumped me for enough information to take out a mortgage, enlist in the Marines, or have me declared dead. Then she told me to, “Hang on – I’ll call you back in thirty minutes.”

My plan was coming off the wheels. I had hoped for a little more time with this girl, some company for the ride up to San Fran, and maybe a little action on my friends’ couch if everything went well. Now I was sweating bullets, packing my bags and debating whether to call Equifax to put a freeze on my entire Identity. Despite my frequent check of the clock, my mind insisted that hours were flying by, yet a mere 29 minutes later, my phone buzzed. I answered before it had the opportunity to let out an audible ring.

Be COOL. “Hey!” You sound like a tool.

“I checked you out, and gave all of your information to my roommate and also to my mom. They know I’m coming back in the morning.”

“Cool.” Yeah, that sounded real cool. “I already bought your ticket.” That actually did sound pretty cool. “Get packed. I’ll pick you up in an hour.”

“Great, see you then. I’m texting you my address. Bye.”

HO-LY-SHIT. Did that actually work? Is this really happening? Am I taking a girl on a date to San Francisco and then flying her home the next day like I’m Richard Gere in ‘Pretty Woman?’

I bought the ticket. I finished packing. I showered, brushed my teeth, ate cereal, brushed again… I hit the road.

 

She was waiting on the front steps when I pulled up, wearing a tight t-shirt, jeans, and backpack. She looked even better in the light of day, as she bounded down the steps, her long blonde ponytail bouncing behind her. My trance broke in time for me to pop out of the car and open her door. But first, the obligatory guy-and-girl-who-aren’t-kissing-yet hug.

We hit the road.

We plowed through the small talk… quickly.

Before the Ventura County Line, we grow quiet.

We drive in silence, letting the radio do the talking for us.

What the hell have I done?? We’ve got 4 and a half more hours and nothing to say to each other? DAMMIT!

She glanced over at me, wearing a smirking smile that was impossible to read, but my frantic mind only saw the worst. She knows I am full of shit. She knows everything. And then I started talking, and no matter what I said or thought, I just couldn’t stop myself. I started telling her everything. My divorce, my parents, my past, my truths, my lies – it all just poured out of my mouth like floodwaters through a broken dam. And when the floodwaters finally ran dry, we fell into another silence. I drove on, like the survivor of some disaster, still reeling from the devastation, knowing I would have to eventually pick up the pieces and rebuild… or move on.

Then she spoke. “Are you hungry? There’s a rest stop.”

I could barely nod my agreement, so I flipped on the turn-signal to acknowledge her request, and pulled into the first open parking lot: a Wendy’s. I hate Wendy’s. But I was so desperate for the distraction, I would have eaten a Double Baconator and Fries just to plug up my blabbing mouth. Fortunately, we opted to split some chicken nuggets, and she insisted that I let her pay.

As we sat there in that roadside stomach fill-up station, taking turns dipping crispy nuggets and sipping Dr. Pepper, somehow the conversation continued.

“Why did you tell me all that stuff?” she asked me kindly, but bluntly.

I struggled to find an answer that would let me keep a shred of status, but when nothing came to mind, I resorted back to the truth. “I don’t know. I just really like you, and I wanted to start out on the right foot. I want you to know the truth about me.”

She slowly chewed her nugget and stared at me from her sea-blue eyes, sizing me up. It seemed like she was making a decision, but what? Finally she responded, “Okay.” She gathered our trash. “Should we keep going?”

We did. We kept going to San Francisco.

the Habitation Game – Book Synopsis

Were you hoping to read something from me today? Well, I really hoped you were because I realized I haven’t released my book synopsis to everyone yet! What better way to do that, than right here on the blog?! I hope you enjoy it and are ready to read this bad boy soon! 

Xo, Jaime                                                                                                                                                         

the Habitation Game by J Parker Sticklethe Habitation Game – Book Synopsis

Emily sits, staring at the clock on her computer screen, counting down the minutes until she can leave for the day while musing on how she ended up working for Corporate America. Little did she realize the worst part of her day was yet to come when happy hour obligations put her front and center with the woman who would put the word dead, into Emily’s dead-end job.

As Emily recounts 30-years of roommate relationships, some worse than others – like the time she lived with a nudist, whom she suspects was also a Nazi; to the times she unwittingly allowed an alcoholic, a drug dealer, and a couple of mobsters’ kids to live with her. Nothing could have prepared her, though, for Adeline.

Not only did Adeline manipulate Emily into living with her, but she also moved in with a secret boyfriend and an oppressive personality disorder. The worst part – Emily and Adeline work only three desks away from each other.

As anxiety begins to knot and twist around Emily’s stomach, the fear that she’s made a grave mistake by moving in with Adeline is validated when Adeline’s mood swings start to manifest themselves and secrets of her own past roommates are revealed. At least that’s how Emily sees it when Adeline starts to communicate with Emily using a butcher’s knife instead of a Post-it note.

As Adeline continues to mind-fuck Emily, she is unaware that she is playing with fire. After years of living with crazy people, and months of putting up with Adeline, Emily may have the motive to strike back.

Book coming! 2018! Woohoo! Make sure to follow me here or on Instagram for updates!

Fluff

I sit adjacent to her long, sinewy arm, our legs brushing against each other’s by force of proximity, and I stare into her piercing, icy blue eyes – I’m not going to back down this time. Her character assassination, though disguised as a general opinion of sorts is nothing more than her own insecurity of self worth and value.

“A writer isn’t much more than fluff for entertainment. Anyone can write about anything, it doesn’t take any sort of talent, or skill… you don’t even need an education. It’s not a profession,” I felt her words bunch up my guts like red meat: tough to swallow, hard to chew, regretful.

I smiled in spite of myself, favoring the approach of niceness and I questioned her, “do you read? Books? Fiction? Creative non-fiction? Do you? Any of the great works of literature past or present?”

She stares at me, a smirk passing over her lips that make her eyes dance a little in the light. It’s her tell. I know she’s going to come at me swinging. I’m ready to take a blow, as I see her thoughts passing through her expression. What would she say to cause me injury? Is she so eager to make another hit so early in the conversation?

“No. I suppose I haven’t and I don’t care to. My schedule doesn’t permit the luxury of books. I’m in the business of making money. I suppose that may be an excuse and I could make the time if I thought it were important, but I don’t. Don’t misunderstand me – I don’t think books are important.” She giggles and picks up her wine. I think she may have had enough. Drinking makes her bold and unfiltered and while that can be charming on some it is not the case with Lily.

flowers-2067604_640Lily is an aging beauty. I make-up her past based on stories and photographs. A woman that men adored for her physical attributes and exotic accent, but Lily chose to live life on her own. Her life has been ruled by her fears and anxieties. It feels like a great loss to me. She could have been so much more, a soldier in the fight for humanity, the arts, feminists. She could have been a source of inspiration, but instead she’s a tale of warning.

“We aren’t learning anything new in this conversation, so we should just stop talking about it,” Lily offers as I am distracted by thoughts of who I wish she were.

“Okay,” I too easily agree, regret even, but I know better than to push for more. I know I won’t change her mind, or prove her wrong, but I wish I could point out the masters of the trade and what makes them great. I wish I could find the words that would sway her and make her understand why the world needs writers… my mouth is opening to speak —

It’s too late.

I’ve lost her to other interests. Lily rises from the table, and is moving onto a discussion regarding the inadequacies of individuals that work from home, “a luxury afforded to less ambitious people,” she determines.

I look at her wishing the conversation had not taken place.

I think less of Lily when she makes remarks like this.

I glance at her with a weak smile.

She silently smiles back, her eyes twinkle. I can see she wants to spar.

I decide to go to bed.

I know tomorrow will produce more of the same logic from Lily and I want to point out to her that The Grapes Of Wrath is critical to our country’s history, and how James Baldwin makes us cry as a nation and the influence Ayn Rand has had on politics or Orwell – how can she live in the dark not even considering what these authors left us with?

Not a reader, that’s fine, but to criticize writing as a “lackey’s ambition” is too far. I’m sweating under the covers unable to sleep or calm myself. My frustration turning into anxiety, I reach for my Kindle and pull up a book and I begin to read. My heart rate slows as I lose myself in the beautifully crafted prose of Sedaris. Laughing at the humor of ignorance – or, arrogance? I know I will not change Lily’s mind, but I can write about it here on this page and feel safe knowing she’ll never read what I wrote about her…

On Account of Ghosts

By Michael Chrobak (Guest Author)

There are times when life moves in such a way that it becomes impossible to deny there’s a higher power. Relationships that come at the exact time you need them, or resources to help complete a project you thought might be dead. We’ve all had them. You take a wrong turn while driving in a strange city, and you end of finding the best jazz club you’ve ever been to. Call it a predestined moment, or divine guidance, or just old-fashioned good luck, but it’s clear something outside of ourselves had to be involved. That’s how I came to live where I do now; in a beautiful, loving home; with a ghost.

Let’s go back fifteen years. I was married (still am) with four kids (two of which I shared custody of), all trying to co-exist in a 1400 square foot house. There was barely enough room for our furniture, let alone ourselves. Then, I became a Realtor, and my income jumped. This was during the years when a blind monkey with one arm could find success as a Realtor in the super-hot California market.  I did better than most. After a year or two helping other people move into nice, new homes with lots of extra space, I decided it was time to do so as well. So, I started looking. (It was kind of hard not to be looking, since looking at houses was my job.)

I found a house that seemed absolutely too good to be true. For one, it was quite a bit larger; over 1,000 square feet larger, actually. It had an incredible backyard, and was in a very quiet neighborhood, too. I went to look at it, and immediately fell in love. I told the owner to let his agent know I was submitting an offer, then I went and got my wife and kids so we could all see it. She loved it as much as I did. It was the house we had been dreaming of and one we knew we might never leave.

I went back to the office and called the agent. That’s when he told me there was a ‘mistake’. The price listed was $100,000 under what they were really asking. He says it was a typo, I think it was a brilliant marketing scheme. I wouldn’t have even looked at it at the higher price, thinking it was out of my price range – way out. But, by that time, my wife and I were too much in love with it to pass it up, so we went for it. And, using some creative financing (not illegal!!) we got it.

It was about 4 or 5 months after we moved in that I first felt it – the ghost, that is. I was on the couch watching TV when I caught something out of the corner of my eye, and I felt a chill down my spine. There was nothing there…nothing visible, anyway. But I could tell it was there all the same. I didn’t feel afraid, or worried, just a little curious. “Where did the ghost come from?” “Whose ghost is it?” “What does it want?” I never got the answers to those, and I never talked to anyone about it…not even my wife.

Over the course of time, that ‘something is there’ feeling continued to happen, over and over again. And then, pardon the phrase, but shit got real. No, blood didn’t start seeping out of our walls, nor did my daughter’s baby dolls start chasing us with a butcher’s knife. What did happen was worse. Our appliances started breaking down.

The a/c went out, and we replaced it. The stove went out, we replaced it. The dishwasher, water heater, garage door opener, you name it, we’ve replaced it, or repaired it, or both. Blenders, hair dryers, electric shavers, televisions, computers, anything with power was at risk. Either our ghost doesn’t like technology, or it just didn’t like our bank account. I’m not sure which. Fifteen years we’ve lived here, and we’ve replaced every appliance at least twice, and repaired them multiple times in between. And the repairs have always been the kind where the maintenance guy says, “I’ve never seen a (enter appliance here) do that!” Lucky us! We not only have an appliance killing ghost, but a creative one at that.

This year alone we’ve had two repairs on the dishwasher, two on the oven, bought a new fridge, replaced the furnace and the a/c, have burned out three (yes – 3) blenders, 2 immersion blenders, a food processor, and at least one cell phone. This year has definitely been the worst year so far, and though I’ve never done anything about it before – don’t want to upset the ghost, right? – I intend to find out whose ghost this is, track down whatever relatives they have left behind, and hand them a list of all the items I want reimbursed. I have all the receipts saved in my banking software, in a folder entitled, On Account of Ghosts.

headshotMichael Chrobak has been involved in working with Youth and Youth Ministry programs since he was a teen himself; a long, long time ago. He has held the position of Director of Religious Education and Youth Minister for St. Bonaventure’s Parish in Concord, CA, and also as Youth Minister for St. Michael’s Parish in Livermore, CA. He has survived raising four children of his own and now lives in Oakley, CA where he continues to stay involved in Youth Ministry through his blogs and books.

How to Connect:

 

Travels With Animals

By Chelscey Clayton (Guest Author)

Take a road trip, they said. Use your move as an opportunity to explore, they said. Except that those people didn’t travel with 3 pets. Or if they did, I guarantee you none of those animals were cats.

First, a little context: I have never lived more than 60 miles from Los Angeles. When I travel for long distances, it’s me and my dog (and sometimes husband), because he’s a good dog and loves being with me at all times—literally (this applies to the husband, too). Then, the husband got a job in New Orleans and I said, “Well, why not? Let’s do it!” And so, we packed up our life and started to drive. This included packing up our 2 cats and our dog, and drugging them for 4 days straight because oh my God, those cats were driving me crazy.

My dog, on the other hand, was a saint.

I don’t have children. I imagine my cats crying all through the night in every hotel room was akin to a baby crying and keeping parents up all night.

The pet sedatives that we had—because, fun fact, cat’s won’t stop meowing for 8+ hours of driving if you don’t mellow them out—always wore off at about ten at night. Just about the time when we were settling in, and preparing for another long drive the next day. At which time, my little balls-of-fluff were just beside themselves.

I get it, they were scared, and didn’t know what was happening. But while my dog would look at us and decide “Well, if Mom and Dad are here, then I’m good.” My cats would look at us and think, “OHMYGODWHEREAMI?! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!”

Did I feel bad for them and wish to ease their discomfort? Of course! I’m a devoted pet parent. But I couldn’t figure out what to do. They didn’t want to cuddle with us, they didn’t want to eat, they just cried, and cried. Again, I assume much like a teething toddler where there is just nothing you can do to make things better for the suffering child. Unless you employ some shady methods—usually involving whiskey (I won’t judge you).

We passed through beautiful states, we saw some amazing vistas, but all from the “comforts” of our car because we couldn’t risk leaving the cats alone for a moment, and this included the hotel rooms. We couldn’t take a stroll through the city, dine at a local haunt that was just-to- die-for, because if we did, the cats would lose their minds, and the dog would respond by trying to “play” with them—which the cats would hate even more.

I kept telling myself, “Next time, we’ll do this the right way. Next time, we’ll take the scenic route”. But that was a bold-faced lie. Why? Because I love my cats, even when they are insufferable jerks, and I wouldn’t leave them, or give them up for anything. Eventually, I stopped trying to force feed myself the lie, and my mantra became “This will be over soon. We’ll get to our new house, and it’ll be fine”.

Well, spoiler: we did get there, but it was not fine.

We didn’t have our furniture, power, or hot water for the first few nights (but that’s a different story), so we had to sleep on an air mattress, and the blankets and pillows we took with us for packing purposes. We could have stayed in a hotel and been more comfortable, but I was so tired of subjecting myself—and the pets—to that, that we just decided to “rough it”.

Again, this could have been fine. It could have been like urban camping from the “comforts” of our own home; except for the cats.

No, they weren’t crying anymore. They sensed we had arrived and things were okay by that point. Instead, our cats would see the sleeping lumps of their humans and think, “That looks like a monster. I must slay it!”

Please note: they have never thought that before when they saw us sleeping.

Cut to one of my cat’s pouncing on my foot, claws out, in the middle of the night. I did mention we were sleeping on an air mattress, right? Good. How that thing didn’t pop is beyond me, but thankfully it—and I—survived the encounter.

“So, Chelscey, would you do it again?” Willingly? No, but that’s not an option. I won’t be in New Orleans for the rest of my life, so I will be moving again at some point. Which means we’ll once more be loading up our fur-babies, and attempting to travel cross country.Have I learned anything from the experience? Sure: kitty-downers are a life saver. Will that change anything for the future? No. Because unlike babies, cat’s never grow up. They stay inconsolable little creatures who I will always have to clean-up after, and who will never be able to tell me what’s wrong, but whom I will still love fiercely.

I will tell you what I would do differently next time though; stopping at fewer hotels and just powering through the drive. Because either way, I’m not sleeping.

20171111_135442Written By: Chelscey Clayton, author of The Monster of Selkirk series.

C. E. Clayton (Chelscey) was born and raised in Southern California where she worked in the advertising industry for several years on accounts that ranged from fast food, to cars, and video games (her personal favorite). This was before she packed up her life, husband, two displeased cats, and one very confused dog and moved to New Orleans. Now, she is a full time writer (mainly in the fantasy genre), her cats are no longer as displeased, and her dog no longer confused. More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, and poetry, can be found on her website: https://www.ceclayton.com/

 

The Quickie

 

This is going to be a quickie blog post before I head out overnight to a grad school meet and greet, interview, all of the above day.

I’ve learned a couple of things about myself this past week. One, I know nothing about musicians. I listen to music and really just never pay attention to anything else. I have the same amount of knowledge regarding celebrities – including actors – no knowledge of their personal life or resume. I also realized it’s because I literally don’t care. The more I find out, the less I wish I knew.

I’ve also learned that some people just cannot stay out of the news and I’m pretty sure that it’s a nightmare for them. Maybe they thought they wanted it – fame, celebrity, to be a household name, but I bet they’re pretty regretful at this point. I mean, nightmare. Mine, my nightmare, because I have to write a million stories about you and make them sound interesting, and for you because many of them aren’t flattering.

I learned I am a super-capable and competent adult human. Sometimes I forget that. I’ll look over and see I have a dog and think, ‘my God! How have I not lost you, forgot to feed you, how have I managed to shelter you for so long?’ It’s a legit question. And along those same lines, how on earth did I manage to buy a house? Who am I? It’s absurd. Which is why I probably still wake up from naps feeling disoriented and looking around expecting to see my parent’s couch and family room… do you ever do that? It’s spooky, right?

I learned I love being a Writer, but I don’t love all the things I write. Including personal projects, but more often, the work stuff that pays bills. It’s fine it’s just finding freedom in the restrictive guidelines of a job is really hard. But I’ve been a writer for a long time, and only recently have I really dove right into author groups and graduate level course work and considered professors and published authors as my peers… and I’ve never been happier or more aligned with anything or any people in my life. I have found an interesting, supportive, and amazing world of human beings that really go the distance for one another and for their readers. And it doesn’t matter who those readers are be-it you, or a client, or any audience. Writers just want their work to be good for the reader.

So, that all being said I invite you to partake in this awesome author Holiday Book give-away by a few great writers. It’s simple to enter and you could win up to 5-free books. I’ve entered 6-times and I’ve already read 3 of the books, hahaha! I’m always happy to help promote good work and I think it’s important that we all support each other and our indie, entrepreneurial, start-up endeavors. Enjoy the give-away and good luck! I’ll be back shortly!

Link to website hosting the Holiday Book Blog and Give-away:

https://www.chibeingchi.com/books-and-writing/2017/11/28/online-book-blog-party

Link to register for prizes:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ae36de0d1/?

This is my story. Me too.

It’s awkward, it’s difficult, and it is hard to talk about sexual assault even when you live a life of openness. Victim isn’t an adjective I like to use in any context when describing myself. I prefer quirky, funny, kind, sincere – you get the idea. And I imagine that of the women who have found the courage to speak out about misconduct and assault, feel the same way.

I remember early on in our relationship my husband and I were drinking a couple of beers and holding hands while we sat outside doing nothing. Remember that part of a relationship? When doing nothing was easy? If you’re still in that phase – cherish it. We sat there and after a beer I was feeling saucy and brave and I asked him that awkward question, how many partners have you had? He answered, unembarrassed even though I stared at him with wide-eyed shock. And I have pretty large, innocent looking eyes, so he was pretty brave. When he turned the table on me and asked for my number I started shaking, similar to the way my hands are trembling now as I type this.

It wasn’t because I didn’t know. It was because I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to count the person who had raped me.

Then I wasn’t sure if I should tell my new boyfriend I had been raped.

What would his reaction be?

Would he blame me?

Would he see me differently?

Would I be able to see this relationship until “I Do,” holding onto this secret?

Anxiety was building up inside me, as I awkwardly started ugly sweating. You know, my upper lip started dripping down my mouth, my armpits had a ring that would never wash out properly and I knew I was going to blurt it out. He would be the third person I’d told in the 3-years after it had happened. I told my therapist after 18-months of seeing her. I told a friend that grew up with me and knew my assaulter. And now I was about to tell the man I had just started dating.

“Do I count being raped as part of my number?”

“I think so?” he smiles awkwardly. “No… Wait…were you raped?”

“Yes, but I don’t think it counts. Right? You don’t actually think it counts, do you?”

“I think it counts, but not the way you’re asking.”

“I don’t want to talk about it, so don’t ask me any questions, I just wanted to know if you thought it counted.”

He laughed, nervously. Not because he thought it was funny, but because he was uncomfortable and didn’t know how to handle the information. He’s a good guy, I married him. No one had ever admitted to him before that they had been sexually assaulted. He was naïve.

I was assaulted as an adult woman, by someone I’d known since I was 14-years-old, he was a friend. I had been alone with him so many times before, we had been schoolmates. We had gone out to the movies and dinner never quite framing ourselves as dating – we were always just buds/pals/friends, over the decade plus of growing-up together.

When it happened he was engaged/about to be engaged/had a ring for his girlfriend, so there was no misunderstanding about his actions. And while there had been one regretful kiss, when he pinned my arms down and straddled me so I couldn’t kick or move, then yanked off my pants while I screamed “NO,” there was no way the situation could be misunderstood.

When he was done he cried. He told me he didn’t know what had come over him. He felt he had to prove himself to me.

I did not cry.

I flew home to L.A. and made a list of the things I had to do to prevent disease, infection, and pregnancy. I had to show up to work the next day after landing and pretend I was okay.

I had to pretend when he called several months later from an unknown number and greeted me with a giggle and an “are you feeling better?” that he had the wrong number and that no Jaime existed here. Then I changed my cellphone.

I had to pretend for 18-months I was okay, until a therapist told me it was okay to not be okay anymore.

We come from a smallish town where everybody knows everybody. I couldn’t let anyone know this happened. I would be deemed a slut, a whore, or worse a liar. That is what I had seen happen to other girls and women and I was just too afraid. I didn’t have support of family, and I didn’t know how to trust anyone.

I feel sorry for the man I dated after it happened. I was holding myself together by dental floss. He was a gentleman, and kind, and trustworthy, but I needed to be alone and I needed to straighten out the mess the assault left behind in me. I should have told him that. I was an imposter living a strange version of myself.

I had to deal with my fear, guilt, anxiety, and a biopsy on my cervix, because I was assaulted.

I hate going home and wondering if I’ll run into him, so I don’t go out when I visit. I don’t go to reunions. And I make sure he’s blocked from my peripheral.

This is my story. Me too.