Dear Bitch: A letter to my daughter’s bully

Dear Bitch,

Are you a good bitch or a bad bitch? You have got to get your shit straight. This is projection. This is about your ego being so fucking emaciated, that you were forced to trade in your empathy for blood.

And you think you own her. You think she is yours. You think you can just crawl up to the surface of your empty shell and help yourself to my daughter’s bones? You should have looked closer. I was watching, just like you. But I have time on my side and I knew what to look for. You have overestimated yourself. You need to correct yourself, Bitch. You are not the first troll to cross our path.

I will sweep you out of our lives, like a broom sweeping the dirt out of your empty soul. This isn’t about you or that swamp you come from. This is about your need to polish your dirty ass ego with my daughter’s sparkle. You think she is yours to terrorize and feed off of. But it would be a cold day in hell if I let you mop up that scum of yours with my girl’s heart. You are nothing more than a leech, a swamp thing parasite. You will never shine like she does. And that is what really bothers you, isn’t it?

Don’t worry, she will be long gone from your life, and you will find another and another. Some will stick around and feed you forever, it gives them validation. Who I am I to decide if that is fair trade? But that’s not my girl. Her blood is too sweet for your vicious fangs.

Go ahead. Step right up and feast your eyes on what you will never be. You will never glow so brightly, no matter how many shadows you cast away. She is divine and guided by love and strength. She is Sublime. You are not even reggae. You are subpar and it shows in the way that you carry yourself, always hungry for more. This is projection, Bitch. It’s a game that I can play very well. Projection is my specialty. Rejection is yours, so get used to it. My girl will blaze past you in the game of life. And again, you are swept away in her dust.

Later, Bitch.

I don’t have the time or the energy to spend on this fucking Lifetime original drama anymore. I am working three jobs and I am so fucking tired of your high school bull shit. I’m too exhausted to bother with trolls. But you fucked with my kid, and that’s not okay with me. And you think that you are going to keep fucking with her, because it’s a game for you.

That game is over, Bitch.

You don’t matter to us. You don’t matter at all. And as soon as you realize this, you will see how stupid you have been.

I tried to tell you, I thought you knew. We don’t negotiate with terrorists or trolls. I’m not scared. I know that your stories fall short of the truth, just like your beauty falls short beyond that pretty little shell you hide inside of.

You thought you could break her, but you were not even close. You can’t even touch her. I’ve broken my back laying the bricks for that pedestal she stands on, a pedestal that you thought you were entitled to. Stupid bitch. You see, I grew up building pedestals for everyone else, and I made sure that she never will. So go on and step on your own cracks, bitch. You are not welcome in this house.

You have no power here. Be gone before she drops a house on you, too.

But before you go, take some gratitude on the way out. Thank you for showing up while I am still here to teach her how to bite down on the first taste of betrayal. She carries a weapon now, your knife that she pulled from her stiffening spine. You know, that spine that you had mistaken for a ladder. Your mother should have told you, it’s a long way down from the top.

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Where The Wrong Roads Lead


When I was in high school, my friend was dating a guy in his early twenties. We would hang out at his friend’s apartment.  I’m not really sure who lived there, but it was dark and empty, like a bad movie. There was always a couple of strung out girls with babies on their hips. The furniture was always mismatched. It looked like a place that people were half moved into or half moved out of. There was nothing on the walls. Even the bedrooms were empty.  
I met some real characters at that place. A skinny guy with messy black hair and eyes that matched. He had piercings all over his face and bad tattoos painted across his entire chest. If I was to see this guy today, I would definitely keep my distance. But at sixteen, I was intrigued and entertained by his dark and mysterious tendencies.  

There was a duo of goofballs who always hung out. I have no idea what their real names were. We called them Frog Man and Chaz. They had to have been in their thirties, a couple of dried up, old school eighties rock protégés. They had good pot.  

And then there was a guy who sort of stole the spotlight. He was a very big dude with a Cheshire Cat smile. He was always smiling. He always made everyone feel like family. He was the kind of guy who used charm as a tool for survival. He was good at it, and I always got the impression that he had to be.  He had nothing.  That guy grew up in a completely different world than I did.

 One night while I was over there, that guy went around hugging everyone goodbye and then took off with a backpack and a couple of people I had never seen before. About twenty minutes later, seven cops went barging through the apartment looking for them. Apparently the girl was a run away. I didn’t see him again until a few years later. I was nineteen and he had hired into the furniture factory that I worked at. He and a few of his buddies hired in through a temp agency to help with some increased production demands.

His face lit up when he saw me.  Still smiling as always, but his eyes had changed since the last time I saw him. He had taken on a predatory gaze behind his deceiving smile. 

Working at that factory was one of the best times in my life. All my friends were still working fast food and retail gigs while finishing up college. 

I didn’t go to college.  I used my open house money to move into a shitty apartment with my high school drop out friend. We were drunk the entire time we lived there, which was about a summer. She ended up getting pregnant. I moved home. My parents were disgusted in me. Not because I didn’t go to college, but because I had whored around all summer and caught a bad reputation for my family.  

I often wonder how I went from being an honor student who was involved in all the nerdy after school activities, to literally drinking myself through near death experiences and random sex with some shady ass men. Looking back, I wonder why my parents didn’t see that drastic change as something to be concerned about, something to sit down and lovingly discuss with me. I am certain now, looking back, that my extreme rebellion was a result of nearly dying from a burst appendix. I remember thinking that my life would have been such a waste, had I died. Because I had never really lived.  

Why did my idea of living consist of following the worst behaved people into a life of drunken promiscuity? Why didn’t I see college and a career as a goal, rather than getting high and running around with strange people?

I thought working in the furniture factory was a legitimate career choice. And I loved it. I made a lot of friends there that I am still friends with today. I found a few guys to share some after work romance with. We used to pitch in for a shitty hotel room to party in on the weekends. We all got high together at lunch. And I got the summers off with unemployment benefits. It really was a good gig at the time. But everything changed when those predatory eyes and that big deceiving smile hired in.  

He was trouble, and I could smell it. And I was right. He and his friends had been dealing crystal meth in the factory. He tried to blend in, but his aura had a stench to it.  People recognized that he was not a good guy.  But he still tried to blend in.  He even heard about our hotel parties and decided to host one himself. I was the only original who showed up. I walked in the door of the hotel room and looked around at the scariest bunch of dead-eyed guys that I had never seen before. I was the only female, a nineteen year old blonde with a rack worth bragging about. I knew the moment I walked through that door that those guys were going to hurt me.  

I began to plan my escape. I acted happy to see him and ready to party. I told him that I would be right back, that I had left my cigarettes in the car. I walked out of the door, got into my car, and drove the fuck out of there as fast as I could.  

The next Monday, one of his friends walked up to me, and laughingly told me I was lucky I didn’t stick around that night because they had some big plans for me. That guy robbed the local KFC a few weeks later, by bashing the managers head in with a baseball bat. He is now in prison.  The guy who had big plans for me is in prison now too.  

A couple years after I had escaped whatever plans he had made for me, I saw him walking down the sidewalk in my hometown. He recognized my car and flagged me down. He told me to stop by later that night. I didn’t go, but a girl who went to high school with me did.  According to a witness’ testimony, she had been sitting on the couch, smoking some pot with him. The witness who lived in the house had gone to the bathroom, and when he came out, she was being rolled up in a rug, thrown over his shoulder, and carried out of the house. They found her body a few weeks later, in a thicket just north of town.  

It took ten years for the investigation to wrap up with a conviction.  He was already serving time for some other crime.  He will be in there for the rest of his life.  I don’t think he acted alone.  He supposedly wanted to murder someone simply for the experience of it.  It’s hard to speculate since I wasn’t there, but the story never made sense to me.  I remember seeing him a few weeks after she went missing.  He hugged me and my body froze with fear as I was wrapped in his big deadly arms.  My body could sense the danger in him, the primal dance of predator and prey. 

I grew up in a town like Mayberry. It was quaint and quiet. We had one bar and three churches. Nothing bad had ever happened in my town before. It is still hard for me to wrap my head around. The sweet gothic girl who shared an art class with me, who had taken her talent to art college and was just home for a vacation and to visit old friends…the girl who pulled off the goth look before it was cool, and she did it with absolute elegance. She was a beautiful person. She was someone’s daughter, someone’s sister. She didn’t deserve to leave this world so young, so violently. She was a person. And he killed with his bare hands. My world was never the same after that experience.  The kids I grew up with were never the same after that.  Our innocent little town had been diseased with murder and heartache.

It never escapes my mind, when I think of her, when I think of him, how easily that could have been my body in the thicket on the side of the road. It never escapes my mind, that I once called a cold blooded killer, ‘friend.’

I will never forget her.                                         

Fear


I used to have nightmares. It’s been a while. The worst one I ever had was when I first moved in with my ex-husband. I had dreamt that I found three severed heads in the dirty clothes pile in our closet. It was so real to me. I picked a woman’s rotting head up and then I realized that he had seen me discover the heads of his victims. My brain stumbled as it scrambled to piece together the rapidly approaching facts of terror that I had found myself in. I hate that feeling. When your bloodstream fills with adrenaline and your brain goes into some weird primal space to sort out your options for survival. Even worse, when your brain has finished pursuing all the routes available, and you have that strange calm feeling of knowing that you are probably going to die. It feels like your soul is stretching out in preparation for the exhilarating process of leaving your body.  

I have experienced this phenomenon in many dreams, and in a few real life situations. I hate it. My nerves are on edge, just writing about it.  

One of those situations was when I had rode along with my friend to visit her new boyfriend. She had just met him, working in a little factory in town. I should have known better. Especially after she told me that he was in his fourties and had just been released from custody after ramming his ex-wife’s head through a wall. I had seen her. She worked at a deli in town. Her face was scarred from her forehead to her chin. But we were nineteen, and nothing bad had ever happened in our safe little town. So we couldn’t really wrap our heads around the danger of a real psychopath. 

When we walked into his apartment, he didn’t look so scary. His friend creeped me out, but I also found him kind of attractive. He had long scraggly hair and faded old tattoos that looked like he drew them on himself. He was one of those guys who was probably really hot in high school, but the world grew up and around him, while he got lost in the quicksand of having a good time all the time. He was a biker, wearing ripped up jeans and just a leather vest, bearing his ripped up abdomen. My eyes were confused, following his sexy body up to an old, weathered face. He taught me how to roll a joint that day.  
My friend’s boyfriend wouldn’t stop talking. He was clearly insane. From the moment we walked in, he paced back and forth through the kitchen and living room, just rambling on and on. I was nervous, a little on edge. But back in those days, it was common to get paranoid from the pot. We didn’t have fresh,  homegrown strains like we have now.  

I remember feeling like I wanted to leave. We were only supposed to hang out for a moment, but my young friend was trying to connect with someone who I now realize was a complete psychopath. He finally sat down in the cramped living room, across from me and the biker guy. And out of nowhere, he stood up, grabbed a roll of duct tape from the coffee table, pulled out a couple feet of tape, and held it out while he asked what we would think if he were to tape us up and hide us in the closet. He stood there, straight faced, eyes looking right into mine, drinking in my fear like he was tasting a glass of elegant wine.  

All I could think about was my dad. He had always been so over protective. He was always aware of everything that could go wrong, a side effect of his PTSD from the war. He had warned me about this moment, a million times over. I just sat on the couch, frozen like a deer in the road. It felt like hours. I looked at my friend’s face, she was laughing. She thought that he was joking, but his face wasn’t giving a clue of humor. He just kept staring at me, emotionless and cold. I just kept staring at him, thinking about how I could get to the door, how I could get out of that apartment.  

And then, just as suddenly as he had bombed the room with adrenaline and fear, he began laughing hysterically. He dropped to the floor, rolled around on his back, sobbing with laughter.  

‘What the fuck was wrong with this guy?’ I thought.  ‘And what the fuck was wrong with my friend?’

I stood up, shaking from the experience, and told my friend that I would be waiting in the car. She followed me out shortly after. When she got into the car, she played it off like I overreacted.  

That is entirely possible. Being a stoner who was raised by a veteran, my nerves were always a little sketchy. But for about ten minutes in that apartment, I truly believed that I was going to die. It’s not like it was my goofy uncle playing a joke on me. This was a guy who had tried to kill his wife. This was a guy who didn’t know me. He was not a normal guy.  

I never went back over there. He had dumped my friend a couple months later. And a couple years after that, we had heard that he committed suicide. 

My friend is now married to a man who hides his crazy a little bit better. But he also has some very strange behaviors. I think she is attracted to those types.  Maybe she feels safe, having the dangerous people on her side.  I’m not like her.   I prefer to be the crazy one in my relationships.  

I don’t have nightmares anymore.  Now I dream about water.  I’m always by the water, watching the ships roll in.   I guess that means I’m starting to find peace.