April 15. This was the date we got together. I remember it well because each year after that, on our anniversary, he made me do some sort of re-enactment of us getting together.
I met Kaylee that year, and to this day, she remains the sole person I still talk to and trust from high school. She was a freshman and in love with Cam, this guy I’d known since elementary school and would become my step-brother later that year.
There was this thing called a Lock-In that the school wanted to try. We had to stay all night in the schools gym and pool area to raise money for some charity or other. We just saw it as a way to have a giant sleepover with boys. So Kaylee, Jenna, Melanie, Tonya, Natalie, Connor, Caleb, and I all decided to go, along with a bunch of other friends.
I spaced my time equally between everyone throughout that night since Kaylee and Melanie didn’t really get along. I noticed after the first hour or so that Caleb seemed to be following Kaylee and I around, instead of hanging out with Connor and Melanie. So Kaylee and I confronted him and got no response from him other than, “Punch me”.
We just stared at him, I was wondering if he was smoking pot or something. Kaylee asked him why and he didn’t reply. Just walked away. As the night progressed, we heard that he was asking other people to punch him, getting a mix or reactions. One guy did punch him, which got the guy kicked out of the Lock-In.
He came back twice asking us to punch him. The last time we refused, he put up his hands and grabbed the both of us in our chests. Given, we had small chests, but we both smacked him and he laughed and ran off. Kaylee then went to hang out with a few of her friends I didn’t like so I found Melanie and Connor and sat with them for a while.
Connor asked me if I knew where Caleb was and I asked him if he knew why he was asking people to punch him.
“I don’t know, he must be feeling depressed tonight. He and Natalie had a fight again.”
“So he’s trying to get hurt?” I asked.
“I don’t like him,” Melanie cut in. “He seems like the type to bring a gun to school. I think that’s the only reason people are nice to him. He’s creepy.”
“He’s just had a lot happen to him.” Connor said.
I asked him to explain but he just told me I’d have to learn for myself. At that point, we saw Caleb coming our way. Melanie and Connor started making out which made it awkward for me. Caleb sat right beside me, pinning me between him and the walls where I was sitting in the corner.
I couldn’t tell you what we talked about that night, but at some point he kissed me. I didn’t know what to think. It was one of my firsts, having only kissed my middle school boyfriend on occasion. Caleb asked me to be his girlfriend and I said okay without thinking of it. I was just glad he’d expressed an interest in me.
He followed me around the rest of the night, telling my friends that I was his girlfriend and if they didn’t like it, to get over it. After that I don’t remember much, except the fact that he’d grabbed my behind, resulting in me yelling at him and calling him disrespectful. He’d grabbed my arm and told me never to call him disrespectful again.
That should have been my first clue, but I was glad to finally have an official boyfriend.
At the end of the night when they let us out, he drug me over to meet his dad, Perry. I was nervous and barely muttered a hello to him before spotting my mom and running off.
If I would have known then that this night would be the beginning of a 4 year struggle to break free, I would have found a time machine, and made sure it never happened. But, I was young and stupid and still believed in fairy tales and a knight in shining armor riding on a white horse to save me, the damsel in distress.
God, I was stupid wasn’t I?
4th chapter of a true story by Bree Houseman.