It started out like any normal Sunday, if normal to you means being awakened at 8:30 am by an unexpected knocking at the door.
“You’re not going to believe this,” Henry said, after craning his neck around the bedroom blinds to get a glimpse of the knocker. “It’s Christina.”
He might as well have said it was a pan of cooked onions, an iceberg, a water tower, an entire dead-body filled river. Because that was how disgusted and full of dread I felt to learn that one of my least favorite things was sullying my front porch right there at that moment. Suddenly, I felt very unsafe. Suddenly, 300 miles didn’t seem very far.
All those weeks of lamenting that she was so far away, and suddenly – she was entirely too close.
Since we had “broken up,” we had attempted to remain friendly, but phone conversations mostly unraveled into her whining and me getting really fucking pissed off. The past couple days, she kept suggesting that we hang out in person, that maybe it would make me see that we should be together. I was pretty sure that all that would accomplish was me punching her in the face.
“Just let me come there,” she’d cry. “I just need to see.”
See what? The weathered veneer of my front door?
While I was having a panic attack in my bed, she was still outside knocking on the door.
“I’ll handle this,” Henry said, clearly at the end of his rope with this whole girl-on-girl Lifetime drama.
“Don’t make her cry!” I called to him as he reached the bottom of the steps. By this time, the knocking had woken Henry’s kids, who came into my room and hid with me on the floor. I still don’t know why I was hiding on the floor. She couldn’t see my bedroom from the front porch. But it made me feel safer down there. Words can’t properly convey the other emotions sucker-punching me. But I felt violated! Like I was visitationally raped.
“Is that the weird girl who was just here from Ohio?” Robbie asked.
“Why is she here again?” Blake wanted to know, and I was at a complete loss for words. I couldn’t tell a 10- and 12-year-old that, “Oh, it’s nothing really. She’s just a crazy lesbian who I led on for a few weeks and she’s probably here to shoot your father.”
After a few minutes, I heard the door close. Henry came back up to the bedroom with a letter, a bottle of Propel, and two CDs: James Taylor and KC and the Sunshine Band.
“She claims she came all this way just to bring you this stuff.”
I sat on the bed and looked at the CDs. Sure, I like James Taylor as much as any grocery store sound-system, but KC and the Sunshine Band? I looked at Henry quizzically.
He shrugged. “Who knows with her. That girl has some major problems, Erin.” And he proceeded to tell me how he lectured her on the front porch.
“Did you make her cry?” I asked accusingly. I didn’t want him to make her cry. “You made her cry.”
“Well, I didn’t yell at her,” he said exasperatedly. “But I was stern. I had to be. She’s nuts, Erin.” During the big show down, which sounded more like a meltdown to me, he drilled it into her head that I was with him, and that I was not going to leave him for her, and that if she ever wanted to remain friends with me, she was going to have to understand that and let it go. She tried to convince him that that was why she came here, to prove to me that she my friend.
“And so I asked her, ‘Don’t you think this looks weird? Don’t you think this is going to freak Erin out?'” Henry relayed. “It’s not like she drove here from across town. She had to have left Cincinnati around 3:00 am to come here. Who does that? That’s a little unstable,” he went on. I felt like I was talking to my dad, but it was comforting all the same. What if Henry hadn’t been home? I shivered a little.Think back to the time you crouched behind your locked door when the Jehovah’s Witnesses came calling, flapping their literature in the wind. Now, add to that the way you felt when you learned you lived next to a halfway house for sex offenders. Got that? So, multiply that stomach-churning, genital shielding sensation with the way you felt the last time you hid behind a tree at Camp Crystal Lake while Jason Voorhees stood six feet away, wielding a whirring chainsaw, sniffing the air for the wafting stench of your soiled panties and fear-induced pit-sweat.
And now you know how I felt that morning, as I sat in my room with my knees drawn in close to my chest, reading Christina’s letter while Henry lectured me about laying in the bed I made for myself.
3:06am: So – I’m leaving my house right now. I’m coming to bring you your CDs. I don’t even know why I’m doing this. I’m so scared. I’m sweating and my heart feels like it’s going to explode. It’s kind scary feeling. To be honest…I DO know why I’m doing this. I love you. And…I miss you.
3:15am: I’m still so close to home. Should I chicken out? no.
I didn’t even know I still had this. I actually forgot it existed, really. But I found it in December, about a month after our friendship ended, when I was cleaning out a dresser drawer. I felt sick and repulsed when I saw it, much like I did all those years ago. To be honest, I didn’t even re-read it, just sort of tossed it aside. I’m glad to still have it now though, if only for the sake of this story.
5:58am: I keep thinking about you – and what you’re going to do. Just don’t hate me. I love you, Erin. I want you to see that. I hope this proves it to you, too. OK- back to the trip. See you soon.
Well, Christina, what would you do if someone invaded your privacy?
7:23am: We’re like 2 miles from West Virginia and I’m so panicky now. My heart is crashing against my chest. I know we’re so close now. I feel like I’m going to puke now.
Guess who the other part of the “we” was? Sylvia. Hahahaha. What a dumb bitch. “Yeah, I’ll take the girl I love more than anything to see the girl she loves more than anything.” What a spineless ginger cow. Although, she had to have known it was going to blow up in Christina’s face. Maybe she had hoped this would be it, that I would never talk to Christina after that, and then for Sylvia, it would be smooth sailing in an Erin-less sea.
It’s not that I”m afraid of you or anything. I guess I’m more afraid of your reaction. Of course I’m running all sorts of scenarios through my head. The one I think I’m most afraid of is you slamming the door in my face. Not that I really think you’d do that —
Does she not know me at all?
— but God, I really think you’ll be very surprised. I guess I’ll see very soon, won’t I? I love you, Erin. I can’t wait to see you.
7:36am: Pennsylvania just welcomed me. I hope you do too, haha. I’m always so good at playing it cool. But…for some reason, when it comes to you, I can’t maintain my composure. You shake me.
7:44am: I’m so close right now. My blood is rushing all throughout my body, but I can’t feel anything. I keep thinking that I’m going to wake up. This isn’t a dream though. I’m almost there. I want to pass out – literally. This like, one of the craziest things I’ve ever done. You drive me crazy though, so I guess this makes sense.
7:57am: Whew…I’m probably…20 minutes from you or something. I hope you’re awake, hoe. I’m so scared that you’re going to be mad at me. Just chock it up to the romantic in me…or something. I wonder if this trip is a metaphor for this experience. I started out late at night…kinda secretly. I hope that by the end of this trip…I’ll be in the light. I’ll know. Maybe — I’ll understand. I’m totally overwhelmed right now. It proves to me that not telling you was a good idea. Otherwise, I could only imagine what you’d be like. I’m practically pulling out my hair. You’d be pulling your whole face off. Seriously. Just kidding, but I do sort of feel brave. I love you so much, Erin…this much…and I’m willing to prove it. You’re the best you little bitch. I’m so thankful to have you in my life. Thanks for being my best friend. This Sunday should go down on the history books (or journal). I love you…and I’m almost there.
Oh it’ll go down in the journal, alright.