Thursday, March 29, 2012

What Happens After the End

I have to be honest with everybody who has taken the time to stick it out with me and read this blog, if only even small portions of it. I’ve been working on this since about November, so about 4 to 5 months, taking my time, searching for the right words to describe what all has happened. Now that it’s all almost over, in a way, I almost don’t want it to be. If you can try to understand, this is my story, and of course it carries on, but there are some things you have to let go of that no one necessarily wants to. And that’s what I made this blog for, so I can let it go, let go of all the hell I put myself through over the situation, let go of the tears that fell because of this situation, and over all, let go of Ruben. They say that when someone dies, the loved ones left behind never really let go until the person who died does. I believe that’s somewhat how situations like this happen. In a way, there’s still that short thread of a connection left between me and Ruben. I don’t believe he will let go until I finally do.

            What makes this hard isn’t the fact that I don’t want to let go of him, it’s the fact that I don’t want to let go of those moments, those short little wisps of time that I was in his arms believing that it would never end the way it did. Those are the things that one would obviously try to continue grasping to. I want to keep holding onto what was good about me and Ruben, but letting go means everything, good and bad. The only thing I’ve held completely onto throughout this time is the image of Ruben I wish I still had.

            I go through these old videos remembering how I used to look up to Ruben as a poet as well as a person. Doing so, I realize that there were other poets that I should’ve looked up to that I truly didn’t. I listen to some of Jess’s poetry now and wonder how I was able to not be so attentive when she read, and other poets, I listen to the words, watch how they present. I realize now that Ruben’s poetry, while it was amazing, was always simply shouted at the audience. And maybe it’s my lack of intrigue with him now, but I now find myself appreciating his poetry much less than I once did. Of course, he could definitely say the same because I was a lousy poet compared to him and the rest of them, but I think that at the very least, I can say that I’ve come far since then.

            It was this past fall that I was in a used book store when I stumbled across the title, movie and book sitting side by side on a crowded shelf. I took the movie home with me; I had never seen it and wanted to know just how much I had in common with Lolita the girl. The entire time I sat in front of the movie screen, I wondered when I was going to run into an instance where she and I were the same person. And when I finally did, I couldn’t handle it.


            Now, the picture I’ve placed next to the one of Lolita is a cropped picture of me wearing my skirt. It’s a very old picture, and a little blurry, but it’s me nonetheless. It was the only picture left that I have of this skirt because I gave it away shortly after watching the movie, finding my skirt, holding it up to the screen, then quite literally crying myself to sleep. Because the picture is blurry, you can’t clearly see the similarities as well as I once could. The bows on mine are smaller and more plentiful, my skirt is shorter, and mine has a small crown at the top of it. But when I was watching this movie, the skirts (at least to me) were completely identical. What made me cry when realizing this wasn’t the fact that I shared a characteristic with a girl in a movie. It was the fact that I had never seen the movie before, nor had Nabokov mentioned this skirt at any point in his book (and even if he had, I had bought the skirt before the book anyway). It was the fact that Ruben, at least at one point in time, had had me spot on and that disturbed me very deeply.

            What frightened me the most about this movie was the thought that I had once been almost completely absolved in becoming what I believed Ruben wanted me to be. I had once obsessed overlooking perfect for him, buying the right skirts and stockings and panties to show off to him. Sometimes I’d even buy ribbon to put in my hair while I took my pictures, and once or twice I dyed it completely. Around Halloween I dyed it a full bright red, putting hair mouse in it to make it look almost what I would’ve called California like. Just as the man from “Fight Club” finds himself becoming more and more like his imaginary friend Tyler Durden, I had once allowed myself to become more and more like his Lolita. But it never really bothered me until I realized exactly what I was doing.

            I cannot tell you that I never felt guilty because guilt always set in somewhat after the pictures had finished being sent away for Ruben to do whatever he pleased with them. I felt it all the time. But it was almost like an addiction while I was doing it. When you’re someone like me, you almost feed off of the sweet compliments you get from people, blushing anytime anyone says anything nice about you, and never pushing a compliment to the side. It was something I almost couldn’t help but love. I guess I just wanted to be loved and cherished like I suppose any woman would want. But sometimes I guess that’s wrong.

            Now that the spring has set in, I’ve begun reading “Lolita” again. After all, it was around this time last spring that I read it for the first time. I remember giving it away in the summer last year to a transvestite named Danni who had a lot in common with me, a former love of a significant age difference who went by the same name. Sometimes it’s pretty appalling the similarities you’ll find yourself sharing with people you don’t even know.

            We’re almost to the end, and you should know that doing what I did wasn’t easy. I remember not being able to keep food down for over a week, I was always sick to my stomach, and hardly spoke to anyone.  Losing Ruben wasn’t easy. But I still had a life to continue living.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Saying Goodbye

I remember believing once that nicknames like “Lolita” and “doll” were cute, even endearing in some way. I remember thinking that things with Ruben would go on until we were finally able to be together for real. In fact, I had planned to stay with my friend Romero and take a week to visit the city so I could see all my old friends, so I could see Ruben again. We talked of almost nothing else. Ruben and I discussed how we would get together and what would happen when we were finally able to meet again. Of course, as mentioned in an earlier post, he had made it clear that we might get a chance to see each other for mere hours at a time because of other obligations that he had. For some strange reason, I came to accept these terms though I didn’t like them.
            It was May 9th of last year that I was sitting in my creative writing teacher’s classroom at the computer working extremely hard on a letter that I wasn’t terribly sure I’d actually send. After all, I had written many before, possibly dozens of letters saying goodbye to Ruben that simply never got sent to him. This one did:

                         Ok, here's the thing. I really, really like you. like really like you....alot.
And I can't say this to your face cause I'd probably just cry and I wouldn't be able to do it and this would all just be a big mess. And I'll more than likely regret sending this as soon as i hit the send button. So, um, yeah...
You and I both know what risks there are to us (seeing?) eachother. We did it anyway. And I've thought about this more than once, I just never quite get the strength to actually click send. And God knows I probably won't be able to do it even this time... It sucks.
But the bottom line is that you and I both established in the beginning that this wasn't going to go on forever, and well, it hasn't even really started yet, and I don't think it should, like ever. I get that you're risking way more with the bullshit than I ever would've. But I don't want to sit and wait for shit to hit the fan. Cause I know that if I do, I'll be the victim....and I don't play that. But you...I don't want you to have to give up your friends and possibly your kid. And...I just don't think this should go any farther.
I would've waited til I went to visit to say something, but like I said....
            I absolutely HATE having to do this. But I've realized that what's kept me holding onto this entire thing is just that the idea of being in a relationship with you, and the possibility of it happening despite the fact that we said it wouldn't.....because I've been in so many shitty relationships with guys that were nowhere near what you turned out to be. And when you came along, things just became so much easier....But after thinking it through, it's not up to you to save me Ruben...

                                Maybe we just need some time to really think about whether doing what we're doing is worth it. And at some point, maybe we'll look back and laugh at the stupidity, but for now....I just hope that we can stay friends for as long as we know each other. And this summer, we'll chill...maybe. hopefully. I just hate that I've changed so much. I'm not a woman Ruben, no matter how many times you tell me I am... I'm just a kid. And for now, that's all I want to be.

                                                        I'm so so sorry. I just really don't want you taking any big chances for me. If this blew up, I would feel horrible, and I'd never ask for you to have to deal with such shit. You mean way more to me than that.
                        <3 <3 <3 <3 way more love then a little….Lili

            I was crying when I left school, the bad kind of crying. The crying where you’re sucking in air like a dying fish and those terrible noises start bursting forth from your body. It was so bad that even my mother noticed that something was wrong with me and wouldn’t let up. I called my friend Daniel who had given me the advice to do what I did. He was proud, and perfectly willing to explain enough to help me feel better about what a terrible decision I had made. He explained that I was an alpha-female while Ruben was an alpha-male. Now, because girls matured much faster than most boys did any alpha-males that were my own age weren’t mature enough for me to want. Oddly enough, if I had known Ruben while he was in high school, I probably would never have dated him.
            I’m going to point out now that I realize how terrible that letter is, and I almost can’t believe that it was actually written by me. Of course, my writing skills are far better than they were at the time that I wrote this letter. I suppose I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to use beautiful words to let Ruben know that I was ending things with him. Now, as ridiculously written as the letter is, I meant every word of it. I didn’t want to be the one waiting around for shit to hit the fan; after all, I had been told by a very good friend named Brian that nothing good could come of it.
            Of course, I say this now, but when I finally admitted to Daniel who this mysterious poet I was having inappropriate relations with was, he couldn’t believe it. Of course, he told me that there were a few people he suspected, but when I told him it was Ruben, he was blown away. Ruben? Not Ruben!
            I recall Daniel mentioning (without my knowledge) to a certain feminist female poet that he knew someone who was having some trouble and may possibly need her help. Of course, when he recommended I talk to her, I was against it. He continued to recommend it after he found out about Ruben, and after enough persuasion, I texted her. It did not go well. Now, because I don’t have my phone anymore, not that I ever kept the messages anyway, I can’t tell you exactly what was said, but I do recall asking her for advice because I had done something stupid. When I finally, after beating around the bush for a while (which she hates), told her exactly what had happened, she told me that I needed to talk to someone else about it, and said not to contact her any further. She wasn’t about to get in the middle of what had just happened.
            That night, I received another text from Ruben:
                        I understand more than you know. I don’t want to be the one responsible for hurting you. Did you say something to someone because Jess is calling me.
            Word for word I remember only because it hurt to read that text. He didn’t want to be responsible for hurting me, and also didn’t want me to be responsible for hurting him. I had done exactly what I told him I didn’t want to do. It was mean, it wasn’t fair, it was wrong, and I wasn’t okay at all. I broke down and admitted everything to my mother who called my stepdad, who told her he knew something like this would happen. For weeks after, he would take pleasure in ridiculing me over what I had done. I’m not saying I didn’t deserve it, but I am saying that it was as humiliating as if he had found my pictures and used them as wallpaper in my room.  I was sure that everyone in our close family knew about it by the way he spoke of it. I remember preparing that night for him to come in my room and beat the living hell out of me, take away my phone, break it, and all that other nonsense. Now, I sincerely wish he would’ve and then simply left it at that.
            Now, I’ll openly admit that ridicule I received from my own family was probably well deserved, but that didn’t make it hurt any less. And it sure as hell didn’t make me feel any better about what had just happened. I was simply content with the fact that neither my mother nor my stepfather knew Ruben’s age. If they had, well, I can surely say that this blog may never have happened…
            This, my readers, truly is not the end of this story. If you’ll stay to listen, I’ll stay to tell you about it…

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sometimes Pretty Words Aren't Enough

I remember reading the very end of “Lolita”. When Humbert finally tracked her down, she was 17 years old, living with her husband, and pregnant. She had sent a letter with no return address asking him for $400 so she and her husband could move to Alaska. Now, aside from the fact that she refers to him as “Dad”, the letter was actually quite sweet. The end of the book, though it was my favorite, was the saddest thing about it. I cried every time I ever read it. The letter Lolita writes to Humbert is his first hint of her whereabouts in almost 3 years. By now, he’s already living with another woman, but when he receives the letter, he immediately leaves her and tracks down Lolita. The letter is as follows, and only because I rather like the idea of letters:

Dear Dad:

How's everything? I'm married. I'm going to have a baby.  I guess

            he's going to be a big one. I guess he'll come right for Christmas.

This is a hard letter to write. I'm going nuts because we don't have

enough to pay our debts and get out of here. Dick is promised a big

job in Alaska in his very specialized corner of the mechanical field,

that's all I know about it but it's really grand.  Pardon me for

withholding our home address but you may still be mad at me, and Dick

must not know. This town is something.  You can't see the morons for

the smog. Please do send us a check, dad. We could manage with three

or four hundred or even less, anything is welcome, you might sell my

old things, because once we get there the dough will just start

rolling in. Write, please. I have gone through much sadness and


Yours expecting,

DOLLY (Mrs. Richard F. Schiller)

            So, moving on with the story, and I assure you, this is crucial to the story you’re currently reading because this was a moment when I learned a great lesson that I still carry with me today and that even inspired a poem I later wrote that I very well may post on here.

            Humbert finds Lolita; she lives in a small home with her husband and dog, a giant belly filled to the brim with baby. Before now seeing her, Humbert had believed that he would be done with her by the time she was 15, and he would impregnate her in order to provide himself with another young nymphet to entertain him. But seeing her now, Humbert comes to the realization that he will always love Lolita. To quote the book actually:

                        “I looked and looked at her, and I knew, as clearly as I know that I will die, that I loved her more than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth. She was only the dead-leaf echo of the nymphet from long ago - but I loved her, this Lolita, pale and polluted and big with another man's child. She could fade and wither - I didn't care. I would still go mad with tenderness at the mere sight of her face.” 

            This is one of my favorite quotes from the book, and really, there’s no possible way to properly tell the story of Lolita without simply handing you the entire book and telling you to have a go at it. Because of this, you’ll have to excuse the excessive amount of quotes that I shall put into this particular post. It was horrifyingly sad, yet so very hopeful toward the end when he found her yet I still knew that somehow, he would be unable to take her except by force.

            Of course, I ended up being entirely wrong. He gave her $4,000, made her tell him who it was that she ran off with (oddly, enough, it was a playwright who ended up throwing her out after her refusal to take part in an orgy), and wished her all the best. Well, that is, after he begged and pleaded with her to come back with him and leave her inconsequential Richard. It was sad, very pathetic, and it still makes me tear up a little bit just to simply read the quote, and think deeply about it.

                        "One last word," I said in my horrible careful English, "are you quite, quite sure that—well, not tomorrow, of course, and not after tomorrow, but—well—some day, any day, you will not come to live with me? I will create a brand new God and thank him with piercing cries, if you give me that microscopic hope" (to that effect).

            And when she said no, I cried horribly. I recall texting Ruben while I did this, asking him how Lolita could possibly tell Humbert no after hearing such things. I don’t believe I could have (at this point in my life) turned down the meanest, ugliest man in the world after hearing such a speech (if one would call it that). I went on to say many other things about this particular situation as well. Humbert had used such beautiful words, and Nabokov had to have been one the most talented writers of his time to come up with these kinds of words.

             Ruben’s response was as follows:

                        “But baby sometimes pretty words aren’t enough.”

            Now, these few words didn’t mean much to me at the time that they were sent to me via text message. But they sunk in a while later.  What blew me away about this was the fact that Ruben was one of many writers who basically made his living off of pretty words. Pretty words were a part of what made Ruben special to me. Granted, I know that many of you reading will probably tell yourselves that you already knew that, but did you? I mean, most people aren’t quite as good at word play as someone else like Vladimir Nabokov. Of course, that’s not to say that most people aren’t as smart as him, that’s more or less just to say that he was an absolute literary genius and the words he uses in his literature are very well planned and thought out. Ruben was a master at word play. I would know. I had heard him speak and had read his poetry as well as the messages e had sent me on a not so regular basis. Anything that wasn’t sexual was often beautiful.

            So when Ruben had said that sometimes pretty words simply weren’t enough, I guess it hit me after a while that maybe that was all I had been getting from him. I started to rethink my relationship with Ruben some time after this conversation.

            I read “Lolita” several times after this, and came to different determinations each time I read it. Maybe Lolita wasn’t as much to blame for all these things as I had first thought. It sounds stupid now to think this, but it took me a while to realize that she probably wasn’t supposed to be the one to dislike when reading the book. She was just a young immature girl in a situation that she didn’t really have a way of getting out of without getting hurt.

            So, when Lolita told him no, Humbert accepted this answer from her for possibly the first time since he had ever been with her. Although he claims that it was her who constantly controlled him, it wasn’t so. “Lolita” was a story told from the perspective of a pedophile, one that the reader, after having read the entire book open mindedly, could not hate. I suppose that because I was with Ruben, I sided almost too immediately with Humbert in his story. Anyway, reading “Lolita” changed a lot about how I thought about some things. I had to look at myself and wonder whether or not I was thinking as rationally as I usually thought I was. Then again, are any of us?

            Many of us, when in a relationship, spend so much time trying to justify everything wrong that the other person is doing, we forget just how wrong they’re being. We often get blinded by what we think we have rather than what we actually have. I guess that’s somewhat how I behaved with Ruben. I wanted to tell myself that Ruben was just as in love with me as I thought I was with him, but looking back, can I honestly still tell myself that?

            I’ve read “Lolita” more than once, and have to admit that, with the spring coming back in, and his birthday so close, I’m currently reading it again. It really brings back memories. I remember what made Lolita so captivating. I guess I remember what made Ruben so captivating…

                        I suppose spring is always going to feel like this….

Monday, March 19, 2012

El Paso Town Tale

Now, because I know that, although I’ve referred to my former home as “the city”, I’ve also called it by its name on at least half a dozen occasions. And well, though I’ve vowed to remain as anonymous as possible, I know that only a select few people from that city would even have the faintest idea of who I’ve been writing bout in these blogs. Those people are as follows: people who directly know him on a very personal level and people who directly know me on a very personal level.
             So, this post is not so much about the atrocities and the wrongs that went on behind closed bathroom doors because that’s the only place where the lighting was ever half descent. This is about the poetry read. This is about the April teen poetry slam at the city library where I took my competing poem and slammed against at least 15 other teenagers both older and younger than me. This is about the four days a spent rewriting an extremely old poem that I had once read in front of at least twenty or so poets at the Perk and sounded completely ridiculous. This, my readers, is about how close I felt to Ruben.
                                     El Paso Town Tale

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.” – Allen Ginsberg

I heard the meaning of sound
become no more significant than the words spoken into it,
saw the library building
become an empty abandoned warehouse
of which no one knew the location
much less spent any time in.

I saw Ginsberg
after the poetry had left our minds,
watched his ideas die
like the stars faded into the Sun City lights.

And I saw the famous Sun City
mold or melt
into crowded streets of violence
where a bad enough argument
ended with a bang, a gun.
and to them,
that was fun.

I saw the laughter of pleasantries
turn into screams of pain,
and I saw children born of children,
baby falling from child womb
again and again and again…

I watched the poetry forgotten
and words burned from the pages
of the souls of our fellow
Gentlemen Junkie artists of rage.

And I howled
for the deaths of the recognition
of the hero beatniks
of my generation.

I stood on the mountainside
and watched the divide
destroy my child mind,
with its shootings,
and forced fucks
as well as those given away by people my age
just to gain a quick buck.

I saw kids sitting on their ass in class
on their phones
laughing about the last bad joke
with not a worry in the world
while our dreams and friends go up in smoke.

I saw hearts stop
and bodies drop
at a party where everybody there
was too doped up to notice
not that they would’ve actually cared.

And I swore to never give in
to this life style development
but after so much of this
self-abused and over-used
way of life, on a frame of time,

I became what I swore I’d never become
did things I never would’ve done
with the influence of my Sun City.
My Chuco Town, my love, my drug,
my home where I would never be alone.

I betrayed you for my lies and highs
and soggy stares at a people gone bad
through my over-intoxicated eyes
and I realized
that I was becoming just another piece
of my age of wealth gone awry.

But I could never blame my Sun City,
my generation or the times
for making my quicker than heaven
drag me even faster to hell
but let me tell you…

I saw the smartest people I knew
become the maddest people I knew.
I saw child come from child,
love mold into hate,
death melt out of life.
and I watched people drag their sorry asses
back to those who caused them the most pain.
And did I learn my lesson?
Well, shit,
I’m entertained.

            Now, I’m not going to act like it’s the greatest poem of the century but I’m not going to sit here and behave like it wasn’t a good poem either. This poem, along with a few other not so good ones I had written, won me third place in a poetry read where the students were allowed to read from other books. I know, I saw them. I went home with my prize consisting of a book written by the hosting poet (not the best book I ever read, but I kept it) and a $10 gift card to Barnes & Noble which was quickly spent on two Starbucks coffees for myself and my mother.

            Anyway, I posted on Facebook as soon as I arrived home:
                                    Teen poetry slam. Won 3rd place.
            I thought it was a fairly nonchalant thing to post, and to be perfectly honest, I may have done it just to see how Ruben would respond to it both on public Facebook, and in messages on my phone. He immediately asked for pictures. He called it hot that I had won such a mediocre award, and the night ended with me once again on my bathroom floor, taking pictures from all angles of me in this or that outfit, waiting for feedback from Ruben once he was done with me for the night.
            I know it sounds horrid, but I guess there was just something I loved about it. I liked feeling wanted, and I loved hearing Ruben tell me how hot I was. You hear a lot about how immature boys are because they act so sexist, but you always hear that girls are far worse because they don’t simply tolerate it, they eat it up. For some reason, girls always seem to be the ones willing to do just about anything to gain some form of affection from the man they love, and I guess this is proof. I did far more for Ruben than I ever should’ve been willing to do for any man I was ever with. And I did these things almost every night….

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Being Lolita

I recall that the first really crazy thing about the book that made me feel as if Nabokov had scooped my entire life story out of my head and placed it in a book was where he had written, “Humbert was perfectly capable of intercourse with Eve, but it was Lilith he longed for." I remember feeling so mind fucked when I read that because I had spent such a long time obsessing over the idea of Lilith, the story, the absolute possibilities of Lilith truly existing in Bible times. I pondered the very idea that Lilith may have been brought about before Eve, and even searched scripture looking for some type of hint. Now, I’m not going to tell you what I read about the story, or how I depicted her in my own writings at home, just that my small obsession with the Lilith story was one mere thing that made “Lolita” mine. Of course, there were several other things. The way Nabokov wrote, the way Humbert narrated the story; I could have sworn it was Ruben whispering in my ear, and in fact, I heard his soft voice whispering to me every time I sat down to read the book, practically felt the warmth of his lips moving against my earlobe as he spoke. Reading “Lolita” made Ruben exist just a little more to me every time lifted the pages to my lap…
            I would text Ruben all the time while I was reading with questions. I wanted to understand Humbert, absorb his words as closely and deeply as I had always absorbed the words of Ruben himself. I wanted to remember every moment between Humbert and Lolita as if they were every moment yet to be enacted between myself and Ruben. One thing I must point out to the reader though is that the first time I read the book, I had a burning hate for Lolita, what one would almost call jealousy. Obviously Ruben wasn’t about to scoop me up from summer camp and take me away for two years to become his young little sex monkey for him to use as he pleased. But one thing I disliked about Delores (Lolita) is that she was so demanding, and seemed downright bratty.
            Of course, this was just the first time I read the book. I’ve found when going anywhere with my current boyfriend that I always read almost every billboard I see on the highway, peer into every store my eyes can possibly capture; and god help us all if I see a sign that says “free puppies”. Now, I’ve obviously grown up enough to know not to behave that way, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want (with an almost unhealthy desperation) everything I see. I simply have enough control to not voice my desire for most things. Then again, I’ve made my share of mistakes; I recall one day driving home from a friend’s house and being in mid conversation when, out of nowhere I suddenly screamed “Oh my god, free puppies!” He found this hilarious and never lets me forget it. “[Lolita] was to whom ads were dedicated: the ideal consumer, the subject and object of every foul poster"
            Humbert describes her as wanting everything she sees, demanding to go to almost every store they happen to pass while on the highway headed toward wherever it is they planned on going. Of course, one could say that what goes through my mind when traveling anywhere could be an obsessive thing, or possibly even my unconscious need to become more like Lolita. It may very well be that, yet, I must say, I highly doubt it.
            In short, Lolita was messy yet somehow extremely seductive; she was carefree but extremely deviant; at her young age, she seemed to know exactly what she was doing most of the time. I remember reading that Humbert knew she cried every night after they left her home. I asked Ruben why she did that, not realizing that I had forgotten how young she really was; he had said something along the lines of “she’s just a little girl who’s been pulled from her home, her mother’s dead, she’s scared.” While now, I have my own ideas over why Lolita cried so much, (mostly having to do with guilt, self-hatred, etc.) I do still somewhat agree with what Ruben said. After all, he knew the book far better than I did; he recommended it to me after all.
            I remember crying at the end of the book. Now, I’m not going to describe to you what happened at the end (before everyone’s eventual death) because it’s just such a crazy ending that took me so long to understand that I feel it should couple somewhat with my own. Then again, your wait shouldn’t be too terribly long for my own ending is relatively close…
            For now, I will share with you yet another moment when I admitted to being in love with Ruben. After all, I must admit that, though it was wrong and probably one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made, I was honestly and quite inelegantly in love with him. It was a night that I had spent with my Aunt Mary that I realized that he needed to know more than ever that I felt so much more deeply for him than just sexually. I was watching a movie (“Welcome to the Rileys”) that probably had nothing to do with how I was feeling about Ruben, but probably made me question my actions to some degree. Later that night, when I had gone upstairs to go to sleep, I sent Ruben a very heartfelt text message about how deeply and affectionately I felt for him. The words border on the line of love, but I never really did use the word love if I remember correctly.
            Now, because I no longer have the phone that I used during this time, I can only provide information taken from my email. When he responded to the message I sent him, I forwarded it to my email, but was only able to retrieve about half of that message because my phone would only forward a certain number of characters. Obviously it was a pretty crappy phone, but half his response is posted here for all to see:
                        Im flattered, plain and simple, I do,not deserve such attention, especially by someone as caring and kind as you, for all your cynism and bravado, your heart and soul are gentle and whole, not fragmented or broken as you might think. Its too late for me to believe that I can change or be saved, too late to believe that happiness is something I can attain, but the path I followed to get here is littered with all of those I used and was used by. I dont expect you to understand sweetheart, but where I find myself now I have no idea how or wheb I got here only that through my actions was I brought here. I am in no viable position to love or be loved, and even caring is dangerous...i do not want to fill your heart with allusions or delusions, and it has to be by my terms if we meet and enjoy each other because my life at the moment, or rather my obligations will only alliow me to escape for a handful of time...literally for a few hours a day... I enjoy our conversations and especially…
            Now, as much as I hate to have to admit this to all of you, when he wrote “and especially”, he went on to mention the pictures that he had been receiving from me. He still went on to tell me that I was a very strong person, and that he felt very deeply for me, but that what we had now was basically all we would continue to have for quite a long time. It hit me hard, and I’m not going to sit here and lie and tell you all that it didn’t hurt because it did; it really did. Later that day, as we texted each other, he would send me a text saying something that I only remember ever hearing one time while I knew him. He sent me a text saying “You are beautiful Lili.” Now, while I was with him, he did tell me that I was attractive; I was sexy, hot, amazing, what have you; and all were things that really boosted a woman’s ego, but they were always very sexual. Seeing a text from him saying that I was beautiful meant more to me than a lot of the other things he had said to me during this time in my life.
            That night, I went home, put on a skimpy outfit, went into my mother’s bathroom (she wasn’t home at the time), and took several vulgar pictures as I slowly undressed. Once again, I sent all of these pictures to Ruben, smiling as he sent me messages telling me how great the pictures had been, how much he loved them, etc. again he requested a new outfit that I should go out and buy, another pair of stockings he thought would look good on me, a choker that I hadn’t yet found at any store in the mall, a smaller skirt that he would love to see me in…
            It was probably around this time that I first began to really feel guilty about what was going on between Ruben and myself. That night I went to bed crying, wondering if Ruben was ever going to love me the way I wanted him to. I wondered this while at the same time knowing that it was probably never going to happen. Nevertheless, I would still daydream about things every chance I got to stop and think of him. Often I would imagine running off to Chicago just after high school. I wanted to go to DePaul; I would leave for college in the summer and that would be where I would meet who I thought would be the love of my life. We’d get married and 6 or 7 years later, with or without children, divorce. When this happened, I would move back to the city where it all happened, the city where I first fell in love, and I’d spend my time falling in love all over again with Ruben. We’d still just be friends, but there would always be that something more between the two of us. Obviously I knew that would never happen, but in stories I wrote alone to myself hidden within the protection of my bedroom, I would write all of these things down.
            Lili & Ruben. Even then, that was what I called us. We were an awkward teenage girl named Lilith by her mother who mysteriously ran into a young girl with that same name just as she was headed into the delivery room and thought the name was so beautiful, she just had to give it to her daughter. Ruben was a hometown hero with a large outer ego but inside is really just searching for something perfect, something real… In all honesty, I made Ruben in my stories what I truly wanted him to be in real life; I wanted him to be as hopelessly in love with me as I was with him.
            But like I’ve said a great many times, I knew deep within my heart that these things were never going to happen. Ruben’s email may have been hacked, and there might have been someone who knew about what was going on between us. He told me that he wanted me to keep coo, but secretly I believed I might know who, if anyone, had some idea as to what went on between Ruben and me. Granted, I could be wrong; I never got the chance to find out…

Monday, March 12, 2012

As The Spring Came

We all know how it feels when the spring starts to settle in. I recall it feeling then similar then to how it feels now. I would walk out to the bus stop with the sun still traveling over that short horizon, a soft breeze blowing through my hair, sweaters being banished to the closets for the next 6 months. My pictures, which were already pretty risqué, were getting even more so. Ruben constantly wanted more pictures, more outfits, more settings, more props, more experimentation; and I was constantly encouraging his requests, following through with almost every detail. This often caused me to lose sleep, which one would think would cause my grades to slip but inadvertently made them rise. I didn’t want there to be any question from my parents about why my grades were slipping (not that they really would’ve asked but I was nevertheless cautious) or why I was falling asleep in class. I tried extra hard to do everything perfectly.
            Every chance I got, I was buying more outfits for Ruben. New stockings, skirts, gloves, even hair dye. I was willing to do almost anything to keep him perfectly entertained until I was able to visit him again and finally have him fully and completely. Sometimes I would even send him pictures without having been requested to do so. Usually these pictures were taken in front of the big mirror. It wasn’t huge, just relatively large; because it wasn’t exactly nailed to anything, I would sometimes drag it to my room or the bathroom from my mother’s bathroom. She never once questioned what was going on behind closed doors. Typically, she would assume I was texting or Facebooking when I took my phone with me when I went to take baths. Granted, I carried it everywhere with me for fear that someone might pick it up and see what was going on within the confines of my relatively inexpensive flip phone. Of course, I had a lock on the camera, as well as a completely separate lock on the phone itself. It was pretty darn safe; not once did anyone suspect the possibility of me taking dirty pictures for anyone, much less Ruben.
            But this isn’t about how risky I began to get, how trusting; this is about reading “Lolita” for the first time. I remember going to the school library and asking the librarian for it. He gave me a strange look, told me he could order it from another high school for me, and then proceeded to “inform” me of the contents of the book. He said it was about rape, incest, prostitution, and various other horrid things one would never expect to read about in a book. Of course, I told him that I didn’t know that incest and prostitution were included, but he pointed out that the book was about a girl whose father rapes her and prostitutes her to other men. There were various reasons I didn’t believe this.
One of the reasons I didn’t believe what the librarian was telling me had a great deal to do with an excerpt I had read online, the excerpt which I have linked here for you to read as well:
            The content of it simply did not give me the impression that this book was to be narrated by a man who was talking about his daughter or a girl he would be prostituting out to other men. Another reason I didn’t believe this was the simple fact that Ruben had compared me to the character, which was probably inappropriate to begin with, but would’ve been worse if this girl was the man’s daughter and/or he was whoring her out. Ruben had described it to me as “a book about a young girl who seduces an older man.”
            One final reason I didn’t believe what the librarian had told me about the book was that I had looked it up several times online before asking for it. “Lolita” had been dubbed “the only convincing love story of this or any generation.” Critics wouldn’t call a book “the only convincing love story of its or any generation” if it was about a man raping and whoring out his daughter.
            So, as somewhat a summary for those of you who have or have not read the book, it’s basically about a 40 year old man who falls obsessively in love with a 12 year old girl. Now, for those of you who haven’t read the book, I’m sure you’re probably thinking that it’s pretty fucked up for a book like that to be considered a “convincing love story” above all others. I urge any of the readers of this blog to read that book. It tells a very disturbing yet beautiful story of what some will call love, but most probably will not. It’s extremely well written, a fact that absolutely no one can deny.
            Humbert Humbert is the main character in this story. In the beginning of the book, as you’ll read in the excerpt I linked, Humbert falls in love with a girl he meets at the beach when he is 13 years old. The few beginning chapters sound suspiciously like they were based off of Edgar Allen Poe’s “Annabel Lee” poem. The setting is near the ocean, they’re children who fall in love deeply and passionately, the young girl’s name is Annabel Leigh, and she dies shortly after their summer together. After all, Nabokov literally uses the term “princedom by the sea”. Anyway, after this short, yet uneventful young love affair, Humbert becomes absolutely obsessed with young girls he calls “nymphets”. Despite this, he manages to keep his hands off until final meeting young Delores, “Lolita” Haze who he claims looks exactly like his former childhood love.
            He meets Lolita (who goes by many names: Dolly, Lola, Lo, etc.) when moving to America to stay with an uncle whose home burns to the ground before he arrives. Humbert is forced to board at the Haze house, which he almost considers not renting a room in until he sees little Lolita lying in the garden reading a book. He instantly falls in love with her and forever obsesses over every short second they spend together.
            I’m just going to cut into my own summary lest I find myself rambling to say that, by some sheer form of crazy luck for Humbert, Lolita’s mother dies and he is able to claim guardianship over her by pretending to be her father. He rapes her every day for two years. The first time they ever have sex though, it seems almost playful, and he claims that it was she who seduced him. Long story short, they’re together for 2 years until she runs off with another man around the same age as Humbert. This man tries to force her into a porno with several other people and kicks her out when she refuses to do this and Humbert finally finds her at age 17, living with her husband and pregnant.
            Though I may have just ruined the ending for those of you who planned on reading the book, I want you to know that quite a bit of the events in this book will become extremely relevant to the story you are currently reading now…

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It All Started With A Christmas Gift

Leaving Ruben for “bumfuck middle America” as he called it meant that I had to keep in touch the only way I could: email. I didn’t have a cell phone, and my stepfather wasn’t about to let me use his computer to do, well, anything. On top of that, what little I could use the computer for was closely monitored by my stepfather checking the history and shouting at me for any little thing I did in addition to any homework or research my mother practically had to beg him to allow me to do. I’m not going to go into detail because it’s not important, but using my stepdad’s home computer was obviously out of the question.

            Email wasn’t difficult to access at school; thankfully, it was one of the few sites that weren’t blocked by filtering. Inadvertently though, the librarians at the front had a computer from which they could not only view everything we were doing, but click on our screens and forcibly exit us out of the site we were on that we weren’t supposed to be on. When they did this, they would usually block internet access from that specific user. This happened to me several times before I got into the habit of choosing a computer close enough for me to watch the librarian and make my move whenever she happened to step away from her desk or tend to someone checking out a book. Through this technique, I was able to email Ruben almost everyday. Of course, he wasn’t able to do the same thing, so on a normal day I would check my email and only message Ruben if he messaged me. I say this now, but I remember messaging him as often as I possibly could.

            I recall one particular message I sent him:

                        Every morning, I have to get up at 5, leave the house at 6:30, and be at school before the bell rings at 7:30. Just as I’m walking out the door, it’s still nighttime, the stars are still out, and it makes me think a lot of you. And all the nights we used to sit outside the perk talking, and me looking up at the city lights and all the buildings surrounding us…it was always so beautiful. It helps me take my mind off the bullshit day ahead of me, the assholes I have to deal with, the homework, all the background; it ceases to exist for a short 10 minutes of my morning when it’s just me walking out on the empty, lonely sidewalk, only you and the city on my mind…..

            I thought of that when I was walking to my bus stop to go to school. His response to it was this:

                        Those same thoughts invade me when im at the perk and im waiting around at the end of it all, and theres no one to take home, no one to talk to on the ride away fromn downtown,,,i think of you too, and i miss you...

            One of few messages between him and I that had no sexual references in it. I guess that’s what made it mean so much to me, what made me want to share it with my readers….

            So I would sometimes send him pictures. I’d take my mother’s phone into the bathroom and take as provocative a picture as I could manage without her noticing I was trying to terribly hard to do so. I would obviously always delete them immediately after, but I didn’t want to take the chance of her somehow being able to retrieve the pictures and find out what I was doing. This obviously doesn’t sound good. Every time I would send a picture or two, Ruben would ask me to get a little more “risqué” with my picture-taking

when are you gonna send me naughty pics?

What you gonna be for Halloween, and are you gonna send me pics?

I will be waiting for your next letter and also for those elusive pix!

I think I’ve made my point here. Of course, that’s not all he would talk about. It’s simply the fact that almost every message between me and Ruben led back to something sexual, most often an inquiry in when I was going to send him more pictures and could I please try getting a little more risky with them? But I’m not completely innocent here. I gave in to these requests. I wanted to keep him happy; I wanted to hear him tell me how beautiful and sexy I was. Often he would say other things as well, such as how tremendously he missed me, or how strange and difficult it was for him to go about his poetic business without me there. I would sometimes play out old scenes in my mind, wondering if he was reenacting those same things in his. And I held onto every single word he typed into his computer, sending me messages, plucking particular words out of every message that might have meant love. And did they?? Well…

Well, I once asked him how he saw our future. Did he see us together? Did he ever imagine seeing me again?

            the future is a mixed blessing, because we hope for so much and sometimes we are delivered so little, or too much, in our future i see us always being friends, and perhaps more, perhaps lovers, perhaps more...i really like you, and i want you to pursue whatever the future brings, i cannot think to see you grounded in one place, but constantly moving, always growing and going and seeing whatthe world has to offer, and if im able to get to ride with you on occasion then it wouldbe fantastic, just know that i'll always be here to lend an ear or to voice an opinion...our future at the moment is going in two different directions, but once it is all said and done, who knows what else might happen...but your life is yours and no one elses, never get subdued into someone else's life, especially men, because men are very selfish and never do they listen to what a woman wants or needs...this includes me, i can say it openly because i have accepted my asshole-itude, is that a word?

I can remember crying a little when I read this. I wasn’t sure if he said what he meant as if to tell me to give up on the possibility of us ever truly being together, or if he simply meant that he truly didn’t want me to put too terribly much hope in him because I shouldn’t devote myself completely to him. At any rate though, I suppose I understood what he meant to some degree. Still, I couldn’t help but imagine us together somehow, someway…

We had discussed my pictures getting a little more risqué, and he constantly said he couldn’t wait until I finally had my own phone so I could send him much better pictures. Well, as a Christmas gift Romero, a great friend since 8th grade, sent me a phone so it would be easier for him to talk to me. I sent him a Bluetooth for Christmas. I received my first cell phone ever the day after Christmas. I emailed him my number and received a text back later that evening. When I asked who it was, he replied “A famous poet.” I immediately knew it was him and had responded with “OMG Ruben!!” Had that not actually been him, I would have been screwed, but I knew that though Ruben was somewhat of a hometown hero, and many people knew him, he was one of few poets I knew with such a large ego.

The reason receiving this Christmas gift is so relevant in the story is because of the fact that it is such a significant tool in explaining how this first text message between Ruben and me was the beginning of what became a spiral downward. This spiral would almost be the support beam to the relationship Ruben and I shared; the support beam that not only held us up, but would eventually bring us down…

   In my next post, I’ll discuss reading “Lolita” and what the name meant to me, especially when that spring came around…