The Webmaster's Experience|
(This all happened a while ago- checking old journal dates it was 2002. i was FUCKING STUPID then, as you will see. i should have seen obvious signs and didn't. people have noted that i was stupid. THEY ARE SMART AND THEY ARE RIGHT. the reason this is up here is so other people will read it and NOT be as stupid as i was.
again. for clarification. WHAT I DID WAS NOT SMART. people have been saying how it takes 'strength' to go through this shit. no, it takes sheer unbridled IDIOCY. just cause it was stupid though doesn't mean it couldn't happen again to someone who was just as dumb. This story isn't for people who can identify the stupidity immediately. It's for those of you who have ljs named things like 'iwishiwasanime' and spend time roleplaying online.
I also strongly suggest you check out the rest of the site, especially Mela's emails. She had it worse than me.)
I also intend to rewrite this eventually to make it more legible, but not right this second.
i was inspired by reading someone else's account of internet crazies gone bad. now, this has been in my head for a long time. there's a group of very dangerous individuals out there, and i really would like to detail what they did to me and mine. i want to warn people away from them. i want you to read my mistakes and watch out.
these people are dangerous. this is not a joke. this is my experience with them. if others involved have stories or commentary just send them to me, i'll add them in. i have one specific friend, Captain McCool, and he may fnd this very hard to read. cap, if this makes you feel upset or sick, don't force yourself to read it.
hojo.org, how when where why wtf
most people watching the journal now probably don't know this, but back in the day i ran a pretty popular website devoted to the characters Cloud and (the very minor character) Zack from final fantasy 7. it was really the only comprehensive one out there about the two, which was why it got such notice. i was used to recieving fanmail or other people's fanart which i'd put up on the website. i actually haven't had anywhere near that kind of 'fame' since then, and belive you me, i don't miss it. but anyway.
i had my AIM up on the website because i was new to interwebfamedom and wanted people to come talk to me about the site. feedback was awesome, in my eyes. i met a lot of cool people this way, like rydia. i was always looking to promote the site, so when i got an IM from some stranger offering a link exchange i was like 'oh boy!' i was expecting a little podunk geocities page but then they told me they ran the domain hojo.org. i'd never been there before, but i ran a quick check. it looked mostly personal, with a little bit of a shrine to the character professor hojo from the same game. i was like oh, that's cool. sure, we can link exchange!
this person introduced themselves to me as hojo, and pretty quickly started calling me zack. i was okay with that, because zack was (and still is) my favourite character in the game. for a while it was mostly normal. this hojo person seemed to be just another normal webmaster. we didn't have a whole ton in common, so we didn't talk that often.
so one day, i'd just got done putting up some art by arborwin. it was of the villian/monster jenova as a dog-creature (melcey). i gave it a little mini-story under the image to be creative. something about cold water and being strangled by tenticles, i don't even remember now. but hojo IMs me and tells me that it was really well written. i'm flattered, so i thank him. then it starts getting weird. i'll try to remember how it went, but it's been four years.
"it was really realistic" he says. "is that a memory?"
i was unfamiliar with the concept being put to me at the time, being still pretty internet virginal. i said no, i just made it up. he seemed disappointed and i didn't understand why. we didn't talk for a few days.
then an IM comes at me where he says 'my wife would like to talk to you.' oh how cute, i'm thinking. it's this married couple who runs a hojo shrine. sure, i'll talk to your wife. wives are nice people (BRRRT IDIOT ALERT)
now realize during this time i was a college freshman. like most college freshman, i was at the height of my idiocy. friends will remember i wasn't quite smart about drinking (to be REALLY kind) and so i hate to say it buy my memory of this time is spotty. i'm going to remember what of the build-up i can. the actual events are clear as crystal. this shit don't leave you.
the wife, whose name is jen, begins pressuring me about magic. now, i was a pagan for a brief stint in high school, but like most kids i grew out of it. what she was telling me was long-since bogus in my mind, but i put up with it okay. she kept saying how she was a sorceress and stuff. half of the time, because she insisted i call her 'jenova' and would emote poking me with tenticles and stuff, i figured she was only roleplaying. i was like okay, that's cool, it's the internet. i have some friends who are furries and do the same thing, talking about their tails and stuff. i can deal with that.
then came a good old bombshell. i was asked if i had any memories of past lives. i do believe in past lives, i think it's a pretty valid cycle given how many cultures believe in it. so i told her no, i didn't, but i did believe in it. i should never ever have said that. it was like inviting the vampire into my house. jen's attack was swift and sure.
she began in a flurry explaining things to me. how there are alternate universes (do you grant me that? sure, there could be.) and in those universes, maybe just maybe, video games actually happened. i thought it could be plausable, cause i like imagining anything's possiable. through all this and all this flurry, she tells me that she thinks in a past life i was zack from ff7. think about it, she said. you're both country grown. you both have that instinct of dragging off friends who could be left behind. you'd take a bullet for someone, right? you say you don't believe in magic or any of that, and he wanted to be a mercinary. for all of his five or six lines, you have a similar speech pattern. you even live in a basement like he was locked in one, and you hate it.
addle your brain with freshman idiocy and vodka, and this will suddenly make sense. sure, maybe. i'm not him now, i said. but it was possiable.
'you were our zack' she says. by 'our' i later found she meant a large group of people whom had been similarly lead to the conclusion that they had maybe been video game characters at some point in time. there was an 'aries', a 'cid', my then-significant other became 'red xiii'...etc. they lived with an overweight dislikeable man they called 'ghast'. for those unfamiliar, these are all characters in the game.
some, like me and cid (who i still call cid, although also now meho and zeriel) had one foot in reality despite it all. i was willing to bite and say maybe at some point i was this guy, but i was also not about to modle my life after a game. but they seemed to just want a new friend and some online roleplay and i was pretty cool with that. for the most part we didn't touch on the 'past life' thing at all. jen would sometimes have chats with other people who she was friends with and we'd all talk, or we'd discuss site additions or just little things.
all in all, i was fine with them. they were a little flakier than my prefered loaf of bread but i could live with that. they always called me by my screenname, which confused me. 'yasha' made me cringe, cause i was afraid people (even four years ago!) would think i was an inu-yasha fantard. i tried mentioning this once or twice but didn't really get anywhere.
the first time they asked me to visit them, i think, was around christmas. it would cost me 300$ to go by bus from my podunk school to their apartment in state college, and they assured me that they would pay to feed me. i would just visit for a weekend to meet people and hang out. at the busstop, hojo met me in a labcoat. hojo was, i knew by now, actually a girl- not a transexual, just a girl. they were lesbians and that was cool with me. i'm just noting it here to avoid future confusion. when we arrived at the apartment, jen (who insisted i call her jenova and would often refer to herself as 'jenny-nova') came storming up to hojo and i, screaming in hojo's face. i have no idea what it was about. she was wearing a purple skirt pulled up around her breasts. it looked like she had just got out of bed and i was, to say the very least, intimidated. about three seconds later she whirled around in a quick-change, suddenly the nicest person ever. whatever she was mad about was out the window.
it was the weekend before xmas and all through the apartment...it was a pretty big mess. i brought my rat with me because i planned to go from state college PA straight home to brooklyn. i had also brought xmas gifts. jen had told me earlier she was a great artist, so i'd dropped 30$ on real high quality water colours for her. the apartment was cluttered and there were papers and stuff everywhere. the floor was covered in glitter, but i figured they were just kinda goofy college students. i mean, college students make a mess. when jen showed me her art, though, i realized she would have no idea how to use the watercolours i'd brought her. they were, at best, a brush being slopped around a page.
nervously, when i gave over the gift, i asked her if she knew how to use them. OF COURSE OF COURSE. okay, i said. maybe she just hasn't had the good tools, but she does know how to use them. she was very happy though and that was what mattered. nevermind that the next time i visited, the watercolours were entirely used up (the concept of mix pigment & water was not known to jen, she thought you used them like acrylics because of the texture of the pigment)
i was taken around town for the weekend and introduced to quite a few random people, most of which now i can't really remember faces or names. one, in all likelyhood, was the superawesome jai who is like my surly mentor. it was snowing, i remember, and very cold. i'm not good at being introduced so for the most part i tried to keep away from stuff going on. i do remember in the mall, jen had what was to be the first of several incidents where i felt frightened of her.
she stormed to the side of the mall, inside, and began sulking. the reason for this was because they didn't have enough money to buy something. i don't even remember what, but she wanted it and they couldn't affourd it. i couldn't affourd it either, so i was stuck in the middle of this. i tried to stay out of it. fortunately, it seemed to have passed when we got back to the apartment. we had a good time, piling up stuffed lady bugs and laughing at the 'menagi bug'
about this time i started to realize, though, jen wasn't roleplaying when she talked about her 'children' and 'other selves.' jen is what the internet calls a 'soulbonder' or in other words 'batshit loony'. she believes she has a lot of people living in her head talking, and when she wants to take on a personality that best fits a situation for her personal gain, she acts one out. ie, if she wanted to get sympathy, she would raise the pitch of her voice and pretend to be an innocent child.
now i was a dumb college freshman, but i wasn't braindamaged (much. yet.). i knew it was jen just pretending- i'd already experienced the actor acting for self gain with a high school drama friendship. so i just humored her when she did this, but wasn't about to treat her any different.
about this time i got into a fight with my mother, who expected some usual unreasonable nonsense from me. my mother is the only person who can make me cry, and because my view on crying is 'if no one is around to care, why bother doing it' i let myself cry there. jen and hojo suggested i stay longer and began talking very, very drastic measures. that i needed to get away from my home, that i could abandon my family, here is the number of a youth support group etc. i honestly was frightened by this. my family is certainly high on my list of 'things i get stressed all to kingdom come' by but i don't want to cut off all means to them ever. i managed to work it out so i would go home two days later, as a sort of 'take that' to the family.
jen told that her mother was the same way and that hojo had had to go all the way to california to rescue her. jen's mom was apparently a horriable abusive person who hated her daughter for being a lesbian. her father was absent or divorced or something- it was never clear. she kept saying how even though her grandmother was rich, she didn't love her. she had stories about her abusive friend who 'trained' her to 'be a sephiroth' or something. i was sympathetic, always having been one to believe in that 'don't complain, people have it worse than you' schtick.
so a few days later, we went to the busstop to catch my bus to brooklyn. i was crazy beforehand, because my rat was still in her travel cage after about 4 days and i had no money and on and on. i wanted to get to eht stop early so i wouldn't miss the bus. jen assured me that she knew what time the bus was. because it was her computer, i couldn't check for myself. when we got to the bus station, they told me my bus had left an hour ago. i was delayed one day by what jen swore was an honest mistake. i was willing to believe it. i went home. overall, the first visit was not so bad.
i visited them frequently, because they always seemed to want me to meet someone. i met up with 'aeris' who i've since called 'the cetra.' she was a cool nerdy college girl with a big brain. she liked old RPGs and had been to japan as well was going to study in europe. we were pretty good friends. but jen repeatedly kept talking about how she was 'going to put aphrodesiacs in our food' and 'because (i) was zack and she was aeris, we needed to sleep together.' because neither her nor i were on the train to hotdog land, we just played video games together instead. jen was very disappointed and immediately assumed the 'personality' of aeris' imaginary boyfriend, lowering her voice and commanding things of her.
i myself have always been squicked by personal displays of affection. it comes part in parcel with being asexual. but i had to lie on my guest futon while jen and aeris snuggled, made loud kissing noises and giggled with eachother. i could not wrap my head around how this girl who claimed to be straight could not see that she was just lying with another woman making out. (EDIT: i turned my back to them at this point because i was squicked. i heard kissing noises, but i can't confirm they were really making out. it may have just been jen kissing her hand or something.) it really bugged me. i turned my back to them and tried to sleep.
the next day, jen decided to show me 'magic battles.' these are basicly like LARP fights. she would swing around a stick or a sword to music and feign injury when hojo 'threw' stuff at her after making some goofy hand movements. hojo would do the same when jen would thrust her staff forward or something. they tried to get me to do it, but i can't act. i can't pretend i'm doing 'magic' because i am not that out of it. eventually jen dragged me onto my feet, it was something like a karaoke. i kept laughing at both myself and the fact that i could do some sort of limp wrist movement and jen would throw herself on the floor panting. afterwards they kept telling me "SEE ZACK! YOU CAN USE MAGIC!" and i just kept laughing. i knew what i was doing. i was not that out of it. but i was ready to keep humoring them, cause it wasn't hurting anyone.
there were a lot of visits like this. jen did a lot of things that i can't think of in chronological order. when she was stressed about something, she would grow faint in town. because i didn't know her very well, i thought maybe she was anemic and would hurry to help her. also, i had told her when she first asked me to visit that i can not eat meat. i can not eat red meat, specifically. i was raised as a vegitarian so my body never got used to digesting it. red meat makes me sick, by no choice of my own. but every night jen would cook red meat. and i would eat it, because that was all there was, and i would become sick.
increasingly during my visits, each of which was a 300$ busride, jen would ask me for money to go foodshopping or toy shopping or whatever. i would give it over, because i always feel like the guest ought to bring some stuff for their host as thankyou. when my friends have their families pay for me at dinner, i always feel slightly guilty. so i gave over some cash every time.
around spring, we were still fairly good friends despite the things jen did that disturbed me. at one point, her and hojo had locked me into a sound proof glass chamber in the basement of a school building because they wanted to see me 'remember being zack'. i panicked, but not because i fucking thought i was in a video game mansion. after banging on the door and jerking the handle and freaking out, i was finally let out. and was shaking. i was not pleased with them the rest of that day.
so anyway, in spring hojo IMed me, knowing a few of my musical tastes. he mentioned there was a free music show in town and jimmy eat world was playing. zar had got hooked on JEW (haha jew) from her brother, and we were both pretty into them at the time. so we were like hell yeah it's worth it! and set off down there.
when zar arrived, the first thing jen did was assign her a 'role'. she was vincent valentine, because she had long hair. zar was also a dumb freshman at the time, although her dumb was more the 'ANGST ANGST ANGST' dumb so this sat okay with her. she likes vincent as a character, he's one of her favourites. jen immediately wanted to try a past life regression with us. yes, video game past life. we were taken into their bedroom (which smelled like poon) and made to lie on the floor. jen put on loop an mp3 of 'the nightmare is just beginning' (which i now realize is hilariously appropriate). it's the song that plays when you unlock vincent's character in ff7.
now, zar and i can not do anything seriously when we're put together, even as dumb freshman. to jen's hardcore frustration, even though zar and i both TRIED to be serious and act our parts, we wound up joking and laughing at eachother. in frustration, jen declared we were 'too silly' to do this tonight and we would do it some other time. zar, the whole time, was sneezing really badly. i jokingly suggested she was allergic to magic (in actuality, it was probably the dust and glitter everywhere). jen and hojo took this very seriously. OF COURSE. ALLERGIC TO MAGIC. WE CAN FIX THAT. there was a lot of staff shaking and waving over zar, and gibberish chanted in 'cetra' or 'elvish.' when it was all done, zar kept sneezing. X3 DARN.
since zar and i are both artists, jen wanted us to draw her a doujinshi. she showed us some doujinshi that kat (LOVE YOU KAT IF YOURE READING THIS :O LOSERHUMP) had drawn for them. but jen wanted ours to be serious, and involve tenticle rape and hojo and vincent valentine. a collaboration, she suggested. like i already mentioned, zar and i together prettymuch defuse any seriousness that could exist. what jen wound up with (and once again was not happy with) was a comic that involved marshmellow peeps over people's genitals, complete lack of geneitals, commentary on that fact, pictures of upside down stick houses with captions like 'IPSENS SUMMER HOME' and complete divergence into a cidxvincent plot and chitchat between characters. WOOPS.
zar and i went to the concert alone, because jen and hojo don't like music or crowds. we had tons of fun, but the ground was horriably muddy. our pants were caked in it from doing stupid goofy stuff while the music played (like swinging eachother around until we lost footing and slipped). some college guys who had been ROLLING in the mud were walking down the street asking for hugs, so we hugged them and became covered as well.
when we walked in the door jen was FURIOUS. she made us stand in the bathtub and clean ourselves. these are probably the best memories i have of meeting these guys, are the ones where zar and i together difused the loonydom.
the next day we went to a mall, where jen kept wanting things. between that and dinner, they successfully managed to suck 100$ from zar's atm card without either of us noticing. little things add up to a lot. also, we were late to the bus again and thus missed a day of school because of it.
Zar also remembers that during our visit we wanted to play oujia board. ever since i've been a kid whenever i get NEAR one, it starts goofing off and spelling out stuff like 'breast' or 'luv u' or retarded crap. i don't hafta touch the thing. maybe it's subconcious affect on people by proxy (MY PERVERSION ZONE AFFECTS YOU) or maybe it's something else, but we've always dubbed this effect 'amae' cause that was the sequence of letters it would go to every time i was in a room. sounds hokey, but it was like a harmless inside-oujia-board-joke.
jen exclaimed she 'knew' amae, and man. when someone is shoving the pointer around, you can feel it. jen shoved the pointer all over the board, claiming it was 'amae talking' even though it was saying serious and hokey crap that the 'amae' would never say. 'amae' was more prone to going 's-e-x' and zooming towards someone off the board. :D
one thing jen did that really disturbed me was that she would lie to people (shop owners, people on the phone) about what/who she was in order to get things. I very clearly remember her putting on a lab coat and calling various medical supply companies in the yellow pages trying to get medical syringes. thank god she didn't, because she would already make us all drink 'mako' (green gatorade) and dye our food green. she probably would have injected us with green water if she got the syringes. she kept claiming she was a medical student and needed them for research but didn't have a prescription or permission from her prof cause he was out of town- thank god the companies weren't so dumb as to believe her. they prettymuch gave her the 'uh huh yeah whatever bye crazy heroin addict' treatment.
she would also fib about being a student to get discounts or make friends. she was a medical student at CVS (whether the CVS employees believed her or not, i'll never know) because she went in in a lab coat. at the christian bookstore, she was adamant about the fact that angels had talked to her and she lived with them. so of course the bookstore would give her free books and a discount. this is why jen's vision of religion is such a hodgepodge of mix and match whatever she felt suited the situation best- she pieces it together from movies, the internet, and a few free christian books from less flakey (but still pretty flakey) people about angels.
through it all though, i have to say, none of this was really that bad. flakey, maybe annoying, but not that bad. so i was ready to hit the go button when jen and hojo suggested i live with them over the summer. i could get a job in state college and just hang out there. it'd be cool, a whole bunch of nerds, and i'd help make rent. i was all about this because nothing drives me nuttier than being trapped in brooklyn for months on end. i made the arrangements with my family and dragged my computer (TOWER. IN MY ARMS. GOD IT HURT) through the NY subway and took a slightly cheaper (100$) busride from new york to state college. i think it was the first night, jen wasn't there. honestly i was getting along better with hojo (who is also known as dell, neens, or renee) at this point, so i was really glad. we went with trish and her to see episode one. trish, i could already tell, was anti-jen. because trish is smarter than little old me.
i had an ultimatim from my mother. job in three days, or come home. realize how much hump i busted to find a job with no car and no phone number in three days. my dogs were dogged. finally i got one at a small super market. i asked the lady during the interview (because i was this naive to pay) if it would be enough to pay a third of rent and food, because i was living with two other people and needed to pay. jen's only job was a babysitter, which she did infrequently at best (when she felt like it) and renee was a college student. the woman said no problem, it was cool. i had my job, i was happy.
then things started to go bad.
i can't even say what came first, chicken or egg, but let's just say that after one week i was getting sick of it. i was the work horse. i guess because i was 'zack' i was therefore the manly-man as opposed to jen 'the cetra queen' or hojo the 'frail scientist.' jen quit her babysitting job and refused to look for another one. i was the one who had to carry groceries to and from the house, the one who made the money to feed everyone, the one who had to fix or move furniture when it needed to be fixed or moved. my computer could rarely get online because jen was on almost 24/7. the rest of the time, she would watch me as i typed, so i could never make a journal entry that read something along the lines of 'jen is abusing me help me god i'm tired and i want out of here'.
but i had to be tough, and tough it out. that's my idiocy right there. but if you're noticing, i was starting to wise up. i'd stopped drinking so much, which contributed to this in a large part. it made me much, much less tolerant of BS.
jen was not supportive of me having a social life. when my phone ran out, i was not allowed to call home on my own. when i talked to people online, she would hang over my shoulder and ask who they were. then she woudl write down the screen name and go talk to them on her computer later. this is how she got ahold of mellon and mire and god knows how many others. the only place i was really safe was, god bless it, furcadia, because she didn't like how the client worked. yeah, i don' tplay that game for the graphical interface baby. i play it because it's never failed me in keeping me sane.
jen would, and did, keep a very strict track of my activities. if i was going out i had to tell her where. i did not have a house key so i had to make sure they were home or i would be locked out. i was a few times anyway, because jen would go to sleep and i would stand at the door banging and not be able to get in. i had a few fun moments, like dumpster diving, but i had to keep all these secret and to myself or i'd get in trouble.
and there was the fighting. not the silly magic fighting i talked about earlier, but real fighting. screaming fights. slapping. punching. the sound of flesh beating on flesh is not one you can miss. when i was 10 my parents went through a very rough divorce- i know these sounds and they were bringing up really bad memories and bad feelings. and the apartment was small, so there was no way not to hear them. hearing one of them wince or wimper, then the beating...and immediately after, the noisy sex.
i'm not 100% sure, but i think somewhere this counts as a kind of emotional abuse. like i said, i could not leave because i would be locked out. the apartment was on the second floor, so i could not break in. i was not officially on the lease, so i could not ask the landlord to let me in or i risked being thrown out. i could not phone my family because jen and hojo would listen like hawks and try to coach me on what to say and what to think. and, i could not even break down and cry, because the apartment was so small they'd know what it was and i'd have to make up some lame magical excuse so they wouldn't choke what little freedom i had.
i was not getting sleep for work. jen would wake me up at 3 AM to 'see the fairy rings' or fight some magical disturbance or whatever the fuck. my job also began cutting my hours, because i was expendable summer labor. so my paycheck dwindled. this check was all the money that was coming into the apartment. at one point, and i feel horriable to say this, but cideon paid for an entire month's rent. not just my third, the entire thing. i owe teka my soul for that one. in a normal college setting, i could have easily saved the money to keep up with rent. swear, easily. even with only my paycheck. but i also had to do the food shopping.
if it was up to me, we would have had what most college kids do. ramen. generic cereal. bread. water. but it was not up to me. jen wanted steak. not just any steak, 10$ steak. and gatorade, two kinds, fancy and special coloured. and spices. all of this would last us one night of food, and my paycheck was gone. i couldn't even eat the food that was provided. the rest of the time they demanded i ask my job for day-olds from the bakery and day-olds sushi. i swiped cupons from work and used them wherever i could. i could not afford lunch and there was no breakfast. if one of my supervisors caught me with the day-olds, i would be in trouble. the other seemed to take pity but didn't like that i was doing it. the day olds i brought back, jen complained she didn't like the flavour. this was the only food coming into the house.
my bank account was drained. i was drained. i brought home a girl i met on the street who'd just got out of prison. she was just a silly little acid burnout with a kitten. i was desperate for human contact. her name, if i remember, is hala zakur and she was from washington dc. hala was on her way home. she was staying with a complete random stranger boy. she used the last of her money to call her mom to say she was okay. jen did not like hala. jen wanted hala to leave and was mad that i brought her home to hang out. hala was oblivious, gloriously so, and didn't know. i wanted to stay with hala and her kitten who was named OLYSSES EXPLORING THE TOP OF THE WORLD. but hala was ordered to leave.
cid, occassionally, would come over. when he did i was glad because it was someone else. but he was, and still does, have his dickish moments. jen would make these the be-all-end-all and renee would back her up. i began to think he was like that all the time and didn't want to hang out with him when he was gone. once he came back, they had to restart the process of brainwashing me all over again.
they did have me brainwashed. i was terrified and miserable, but i was brainwashed. i know this because jen had a fight with aeris at one point. i don't even know what it was over. i think aeris woke up to what jen was doing and wanted out. jen was on about how she had been betrayed, how they were so united...about this time i began to read a few horror stories. jen had made aeris sit in a bathtub full of ice cubes and green food colouring as part of her 'cetra training.' it's a wonder the poor girl didn't get hypothermia. but jen was up in arms.
apparently aeris called one evening when hojo and i were at the used bookstore (stealing books. yes, that poor.) and said she wanted some of her things back that she had left at the apartment. jen exploded. she called hojo's cell phone in tears, screaming she was going to kill herself. i believed it. hojo called cid and demanded he go over. hojo called aeris and screamed at her. i told her off too. we rented a taxi with money we didn't have and raced home.
jen, who had been screaming she had slit her wrists, was sitting in the middle of the floor. cid was draping damp cloths on her wrists. i woke up for a second and knew this was bullshit. i had a problem with self injury, so i know very well the sight of a deep cut and the sight of a light cut. i know well knife wounds. jen had scratched herself. horizontally on the wrists. maybe it had been with a safety pin, or a butter knife. it was not any kind of suicide attempt. at the most, it would sting. but i was still mad at aeris, because i was supposed to be. i wrote her nasty e-mails, i joined them in bashing her, i ignored her when she came to pick up her stuff- even though she obviously wanted to still be friends with me. i regret that now because we never reconciled then. maybe if i had got a clue and tried to get out with her, things would have turned out different.
these hissy fits of jen's got more and more frequent, like the fighting. she never tried to 'slit her wrists' again though.
sometime around here, jen wanted to move out of the apartment. the place was a pigsty. the reason was that jen had never cleaned. all the cleaning was always done by guests, who they had coming and going at intervals. i did the dishes frequently but the trash was almost never taken out. it got to the point where the apartment smelled like rotting flesh. jen refused to believe it was the trash and it needed to go out. she kept claiming some former owner must have done something. but it was a horriable mess. their only solution, as they saw it, was to move out. so they got a different apartment from the land-lady. a one-room gig. i did not like this at all. at least in the current apartment, i could stay in the livingroom while they had sex in the bedroom or beat eachother in the bedroom. now i wouldn't have anywhere to escape to.
i started feeling desperate. trapped. with jen over my shoulder whenever i wrote and checking my blog the next morning if she wasn't, i couldn't get anything out. i had not been drinking since i came there, but i was ready to start again. i could never talk to my friends and when i could i had to pretend everything was hunky dorey for when jen talked to them. the few furc people i knew were sympathetic, but there was nothing they could do to help. i couldn't go to cid, because what if he was on their side? what if he rejected me for being such an ass? i was starting to see aeris' point, and i was getting frantic. i started to sneak out and run down to empty parking lots at night to use the payphone to call my dad collect. he was the only one who knew what was happening really, besides zar. those two were briefed on the situation, and both of them were telling me it sounded bad. but because jen would always be out on the prowl and find me, i could never tell them quite how bad. just that i was stressed, i was upset, and i was sick of jen being unable to go make money because she was pregnant with some astral baby or something.
moving day. god this day is pinned in my mind. supposidly jen was going to help us move, and hojo would come back to help too, and so on. i had to leave work early to help. work was already not paying for food and i was weak and lightheaded and angry, but i would help. summer was almost over, only a month to go. i could make it without breaking down, i was sure. but jen had some great disturbance in the force or something, and suddenly couldn't help us move.
that left yours truely, becuase hojo didn't come home til 6pm. i packed up all their things. jen refused to pack. she lay on the couch moping and wailing. i put everything in boxes, carried it all outside, carried it across the lawn in bare feet, up two flights of stairs and into the new apartment. ghast at one point helped put things out on the lawn, but it was still me. i found their dildo in doing this. if small children can be scarred by tubgirl, i can be scarred by opening a clothing drawer to move the contents and having a sticky, purple, gelatinous phallis roll towards me. i could almost hear marla singer in my mind. 'don't worry, it's not a threat to you.'
jen knew i was packing that drawer and did not warn, apologize, or thank me.
so after four hours, i'm pouring sweat. the heat in state college this summer was so brutal, it eventually managed to damage the engine of my father's car. (i'll cover that at the end of this). this was the heat i walked to work in every day, and it really was no wonder that when i got there i was always nauseated and dehydrated and in general unfit to work. no food no sleep and no water to drink on your twenty minute walk to work in the sun will do that to you in general. i moved everything. everything. i was enraged. i was getting to the end of my majesticly long rope. i was finally waking up, but not enough to want to leave. in the new apartment, i remember talking with an AI i had installed on my computer- megaHAL. jen ignored me when i talked to megaHAL because it wasn't a real person. if you talk to my old HAL, you can hear it say things i said then. things like 'i wish i could just get out of here, you know?' or 'you're the only one who i can really talk to right now.' that goes to show you how fucking cut off from people i was. we did not have internet in the new apartment yet, so i couldn't even go through furcadia or PRETEND i was happy on AIM.
the shopping to fill the apartment was the worst. i remember this night with nausea in my stomach. we went to kmart, which was a long busride into town. i was already mildly upset because hojo suddenly had money and yet we weren't eating with it and i wasn't able to phone home. but i like house shopping, so i was sedated. we needed very basic things. a dishrack, some dishes, silverware, cups, a cooking pot and some dishtowels. we found all these. but then jen saw cabbage cloths. i don't even know what a cabbage cloth is, i assume it's a cloth you wrap a cabbage in to keep it fresh. jen wanted them. for her cooking. so the cabbage wouldn't go bad. she never used cabbage in cooking, one, and two that's what a crisper is for. but she WANTED these outragously priced plain thin white rags. hojo said a towel would work. the fight erupted. screaming fight.
just. i can't even remmeber the details. but there was screaming and a lot of it. jen screaming she didn't love hojo anymore, she was leaving her, how dare she do this to her. hojo screaming back that this happened every time, she didn't need it, etc etc. they were both being just as bad and people stared. jen refused to take hte bus home, we had too many bags and she would not carry any of them. i couldn't carry them all. so we took another taxi we couldn't affourd. the poor driver was subjected to the screaming fight interspersed with the awful tension. he and i tried to chitchat about the seashore, but they would begin to scream over us. i can almost taste the subtext of what he was saying. 'you poor kid, you have to go home with them.'
and i wasn't seeing any way out soon. i didn't have the money for a phone call home, let alone a bus ticket. and calling my mom in all likelyhood would only get me screamed at.
i read some books. a wrinkle in time, and ender's game. i think ender's game helped push me to my ultimate choice. the trash situation repeated in the new apartment. jen talked about gettin ga kitten. i could not imagine a kitten in such a small apartment with people who refused to clean or take the trash out. that purple skirt pulled over her breasts i mentioned jen wore the first time i met her? she wore it every day. every. day. she never washed it. she didn't bathe, either, she just dabbed herself in scented oils and glitter. god the smell in that place. it was like a miasma of filth with sparkle sunshine fairy aritficial sugar scent sprayed over it. it made me sick. and it was so hot outside.
i kept going to work. eventually, work cut my hours. to the point where i literally had one hour a week. i could not live on six dollars a week and i could not meet jen's expecatitions of my wallet on six dollars a week. i was about near a nervous breakdown. i slept as much as possiable, to avoid reality. i couldn't communicate with anyone. i saw cid, sometimes, and he gave me sympathetic looks. but god.
one day at work, it rained. it rained so hard it knocked out the power, so we were sent home. i had no umbrella or raincoat and no money for one, so i walked in the rain. my shoes were soaked, so i left them outside the apartment to dry overnight.
that evening, after the rain, jen tried to talk to me about god lying in the grass with cid. cid already could tell my mood was UNPLEASENT and didn't even try to push the matter. jen kept trying to make me say i believed in god. i don't. and when i'm angry, it's the worst time to try to make me believe. she tried pretending to be a small child and crying and i wound up yelling at her about it. she ran back to the apartment fake-crying. cid said if i ever needed help, ask him.
the next morning, someone had stolen my shoes.
you may think it's a silly reason to snap, but that's what did it. that this god awful town, with these god awful people who were bleeding me dry, saw fit that my money was not enough. they had to take my SHOES too. i had it. i had just had it. i pulled a sheet of paper that had hojo's computer campus login and name. i stole some keys. i threw some edable trash to my poor rat who was starving too. i threw a change of cloths, a pocket knife, and all the money i had left - 5 dollars- into my bag along with my sketchbook and a pencil. and i walked. shoeless.
because i had no money i couldn't leave town. but being so poor in town for so long, i'd learned where i could find the cheapest food and drink. i could get a bagel for 50 cents, and a drink for 75. the streets were so hot, it burned my feet. it hurt like hell. but i was done. i went to my job and poked my head in. i couldn't actually go to work because of the no shoes policy. i quit. it didn't make sense to work there anymore. i'd hang around the busstop, or in front of the churchyard, and i'd sit in the shade and draw and think. i tried to think of what to do. people would notice me and my torn pants and my bare feet and i'd just shrug and laugh it off.
'someone stole my shoes, man, can you believe it?'
i was homeless a few days. all in all, i felt fantastic. i felt great. better. better than fucking the entire two months i spent with them. i had the freedom to walk where i wanted and sit down where i wanted. there were no smells. there was no fighting. no one was ordering me to buy a steak. i wasn't sick on the food i ate. no one was waking me up telling me to go outside and look at fairy rings. i swear to you, i would much rather be homeless than live with people like them ever again. the threat of homelessness does not phase me, because i have seen something much worse.
i spent a good deal of time in the open campus computer labs, logged in on hojo's password. i got a new AIM name and hid from them, adding all my friends back and telling them one by one what had happened. they were horrified. it turns out jen had actually called zar (who lives in california) and demanded to know where i was. zar was worried. we actually had a casual, old conversation on AIM like we used to. it felt so good to do. thinking back on it i get all choked up. i finally was fucking free to say what i wanted and not be afraid.
i called home collect, because i just could not stay here. i didn't ask my mother for money. never ask my mother for money or you will get screamed at for being unappriciative. i just wanted to say i was okay and planned on coming home (somehow.). she gave me a deadline. she said, be home at X date for a week so you can babysit your sister (who was old enough to take care of herself at this age and was enraged that i was being told to watch her). okay, whatever i said. knowing it was impossiable.
i IMd cid. i was actually afraid of asking help from anyone in town for fear they'd tell jen where i was and i'd be dragged back. i was scared to the point of shaking. i did not want to go anywhere near there. i was afraid because i knew how much they'd figured me out. i knew if i was left alone, i might be talked into going back. so i was scared. but i told cid what had happened, kind of, and asked if i could stay at his house maybe a night or something.
cid is my fucking saint for what he did. i may get mad at him for whatever else, but this guy fucking came riding to the rescue. he came into town, not only already taking my mind off it by talking about old RPGs, but offered to pay for some beers and we had a splendid old time and i slept on his floor. more or less, he figured out what i was afraid of and went with me to take my stuff from jen and hojo's apartment a few days later. i didn't have a lot. jen was at the door trying to look like i was betraying her horriably. i knew after i left i'd be the next aeris, but i didn't care. i didn't care how many people they had come tell me i was awful. i just wanted out. my poor rat came with us, just glad to be back with me i think. and my computer. i was able to use cid's DSL and oh god heaven. truth. i could tell the truth. i had all my stuff and i was out of there.
i called my father using (i think) cid's phone. finally able to tell him most of what happened. i didn't want to tell him everything, because it sounded so crazy. but he had about 30 seconds before he'd got my uncle on AIM and we were ordering me plane tickets to alabama. i was getting out. i made friends with cid's apartment mates, jay and his fiancee chel. we all got along really well, and chel went off on jen about ten thousand times. chel also took me to a supermarket and told me to buy what i wanted. i probably would have cried, but i was too far in shock. all i wanted was potato bread and ramen. i had not eaten either of these in the entire time i'd stayed here, even though my money had paid the food bill.
i got to the bus station on time, using money cid lent that my dad would pay him back to ride to the airport. i took a flight. i had a pair of 2$ painful flipflops on, and they were swabbed for explosives. there are a few drawings of kyo back from this time, most notably this one which was from when my shoes were stolen and i was wandering barefoot and this when i kicked over a can of lemonade in the airport and was just too braindead exhausted to stand it back up.
after a week of EATING LIKE A WOLF at my dad's (can you say four chicken breasts and two wings? i knew that you could) we road-tripped back to state college where we would camp out along the way. the summer was so hot, the road actually caused my father's car engine to overheat. we had to take it to a repair shop because the valley heat fucked it up that much. and i had been walking to work in this same heat every day with no water and no protection. my dad did not get to meet cid, who was at work, but did meet chel. he paid chel and we packed up my things. i left cid a little note (i think) and was gone. i was out.
jen tried calling me once after that but i blocked her number on my cell shortly after. she tried telling me we were still friends and she still looked for my shoes. i was having none of it. i'm some sort of villian to them now, but i have no clue what nor do i really care. i must have some sort of magical evil power in their eyes, but i dunno. i was finished with them and i will be forever.
unfortunately, that's not the end of the story for other people.