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…

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