My story ended in a bath towel surrounded by childhood pictures. This wasn’t how I planned my story to end. It ended prematurely. I needed my story to continue until the natural course of my life ended it for me and not a moment sooner. Yet, my story ended because of the stupid decisions of countless people. Who are those people? There are three that come to mind who played the most significant roles. My mom, dad, and me. Remember me? I’m Sarah. Was. I keep saying that. Can’t do that now, huh?
I was eighteen years old. I was your daughter and you never had time for me. The one you couldn’t be there for when I needed advice. The one you now weep over because of recent events. The one that doesn’t forgive easily. Yeah, that daughter. The only one you had. I like to think I’m hard to forget. Was I wrong?
The pain you endure now results from your failures as parents. You, mom and dad, are shocked about recent events. I have no doubt. You are seeking answers to why my story ended in your bedroom surrounded by childhood pictures. I’ll answer your questions through my story since neither of you would pay attention when you were home. You must pay attention now. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that both of you are running this around in your minds. Dad is picking it apart and mom is just being scatterbrained like always. You trying to make sense of recent events won’t come from your minds. It’ll only come from my story. Therein lies the problem. You’ll have to pay attention to hear my story. You must pay attention to understand why. Can you do that? Are you able to do that? I believe that is the right way to phrase that.
I’m not bound to your time now. You’re bound to mine. I’ll make you suffer for all the answers you seek the way I did. Despite everything, it’s just drama. No harm was done. Suck it up, right? Remember when you said that mom? You were too busy with your boy toy to care. Dad, you couldn’t worry about your own daughter because you couldn’t wait for those nude pics of your new secretary you were screwing. This makes what? The fourth in as many days? I mean, the temp company should be running low on fresh women by now. It amazes me how they kept finding them for you.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. Undoubtedly, you wonder why such a thing would happen to your beloved daughter. It isn’t something that I’ll come right out and tell you. I want you to hear my story through me and understand the events that led to those recent events.
It didn’t happen on a whim. I didn’t just wake up and decide on my course of actions. Events led to the grand finale. They built upon each other. Growing. Festering. Giving birth to something inside me. I know you are thinking you were good parents. I hate to be the bearer of unwelcome news. You are wrong.
Good parents would have listened and paid attention to their daughter. They wouldn’t have ignored her and left her alone most every night to fend for herself. They would have been home asking about their daughter’s day. They would have listened to her problems and helped her solve them. Oh, that’s right. Your carnal pleasures were more important. Would things have been any different if you did your jobs as parents? You must finish my story to discover.
You will find my story inside five journals. I scheduled five package deliveries to you. When you open the cover, the first pages have a note directed to you both, mom and dad. This note is a brief introduction, if you will, to the content that follows.
I ensured the delivery of my journals at fixed intervals. No, I won’t tell you the interval. This way you must read and understand what happened before you move on. If you don’t understand each part of my story, you will fail to understand me and fail to understand what happened. This will also keep you from skipping to the end.
I want you to gain a better understanding of the whole story. Not just what you want to read and understand. I want you both to finally hear me and my story. Will you do that for me?
My story isn’t a teenage drama. It is an unfortunate song a large group of teenagers sings. Some are more severe and harsh than others. Most teens have an outlet and parents they can turn to for guidance. They get help and their problems are solved. I didn’t have that from either of you. I belong to the group that loses the battle. The ones that lose the battle have parents who ignore their children or push aside their problems as “kids being kids”.
You bring us into this world and then, suddenly, your lives become too busy for the lives you created. We didn’t ask for life. You decided that for us. You created us in your passions. You do not protect us. This is what my story is about. It tells of how
I needed my mom and dad in my life. How they were too busy to notice me or even care to ask what was going on. The result was my fault. The events that led to it were entirely your faults.
Isn’t it always our fault though? We are children and easy to blame because no one holds the adults in our lives accountable for what happens. Kids will be kids, right? Parents and authority figures do not understand that we need guidance in some respects and ignore their responsibility. In other aspects, we need protection from ourselves and others. We can be cruel to others.
This story, well my story, will highlight every time I needed your guidance and how you failed me. I’ll point out the details. You better buckle up. This will be a very uncomfortable ride for both of you. When my first journal arrives, you can begin my story and hear my words for the first time in a long time. You will hear my story. Until then, think about yourselves and what you do. There is a reason I ask this. It will become clear soon enough.
Having lost count, she read the note from her daughter repeatedly. She read it hoping to gain insight into why her daughter did it. She knew she missed something in all her previous readings. She had to. Sarah’s actions seemed out of place. It wasn’t like her daughter. The actions weren’t her daughter. It couldn’t be.
It was a Friday. Two weeks since the day their lives changed forever. Each time she read it, she read it aloud so her husband could hear it too. She hoped he would hear something she didn’t. It was their Hail Mary play. Something hidden within those lines of writing had to give them answers. Nothing else made sense anymore. Never any trouble, their daughter was a nice girl. She made good grades in school. Polite. She had a good sense of humor. Always obeyed their rules and never questioned them. She was content and happy. Through reading her note and many conversations, Mr. and Mrs.Haynes couldn’t find a single thing which called for the recent events. Why couldn’t they find answers for what they wanted? Answers to Sarah’s life.
It had now been two full weeks since they had last talked to their daughter. It seemed like an eternity. Time crawled for them. It seemed to slow down as in mockery of their pain. They longed for the days when she would be sitting at the dinner table eating with them. They wanted to hear her laughter again. Now, all that remained of her was this letter and the journals that would come. The journals that would point to them as failures. Neither could honestly say they looked forward to that day.
Over the last couple of days, they wondered if the journals would ever come. They knew what Sarah said about them and the deliveries. Still, two weeks had passed and not a single sign of the
delivery anywhere. Was Sarah just tormenting them? Did she have journals for them? They even thought the delivery company had lost the packages. They both sobbed softly. Would their pain ever find solace?
Mrs. Haynes flashed back to that dreadful day. It was an ordinary day. Her husband had called her because they needed to sign some legal papers at the bank about the change in their homeowner’s insurance company. Mr. Haynes had requested it after he learned the company that insured his house had a reputation for weaseling out of their obligations to pay for things. She arrived home and waited for her husband to arrive.
She poured herself a glass of wine and absently watched the news. Mr. Haynes arrived about twenty minutes after she did. They got in the car and drove quietly to the bank. Neither spoke to the other.
Fifteen minutes later, they arrived at the bank. As they walked in, a changed happened. It seemed a light switch flipped on or something. They walked in and people thought they were the happiest married couple in the world. No one knew their dirty secret.
Mr. Haynes waved to a friend of his who happened to be the loan officer that handled his mortgage for him. He waved back and motioned them into his office. They sat down and the loan officer quickly retrieved the papers and showed them where to initial and sign. They took turns and quickly initialed where he pointed. When they finished, he made a copy for Mr. Haynes and they shook hands. Mr. and Mrs. Haynes exited the bank and the subtle change happened again. They went back to their normal selves.
After they arrived home, Mrs. Haynes made her way to her bedroom and Mr. Haynes went to the fridge to get a drink. She needed a change of clothes and to grab some more slutty lingerie she hid from her husband. As she opened the door, she saw the bed and screamed. Mr. Haynes dropped his drink and ran toward the sound of his screaming wife. When he saw what awaited him, he fell to the ground and cried out in anguish.
* * *
The doorbell rang and Mrs. Haynes was shaken from her memory. A pair of bloodshot eyes and tear-streaked faces looked up from the photo album where they kept the letter alongside a picture of their daughter. Neither made a move to answer the door. They both knew what was coming and neither knew if they had the heart to confront what was about to begin.
Mrs. Haynes rose slowly and made her way to the door. She opened her door. Her heart sank further. It was the local delivery man. The promised day was finally here.
“Afternoon. I have a package for a Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Haynes,” the man stated.
“I’m Mrs. Haynes.”
He handed her a handheld device and asked her to sign for the package. She did and returned his handheld device. Handing her the package, he bid her farewell and left.
Tears and loud sobs flowed freely as she closed the door never taking her eyes off the package. She recognized the handwriting. It was Sarah’s. She knew what the box held.
She made her way slowly back to the table and sat down. Mr. Haynes saw what she held and froze. They sat there in silence for several hours. They never took their eyes off the package. Neither wanted to face the truth coming.
Finally, Mr. Haynes seemed to lose patience waiting. Mr. Haynes reaches and grabs the package. He uses the pen in his shirt pocket to break the tape. He removes a simple pink journal. There wasn’t anything else in the box. It was Sarah’s favorite journal. On the cover, there was writing in black permanent marker. The title made them both shiver: Journal One — My First Humiliation.
Humiliation? They looked at each other. How had their daughter been humiliated? More, how was it possible they didn’t know about it? They looked at each other for comfort, but neither had any to offer. They were both still in shock over what happened and hadn’t recovered. Their obsession over the note left by their daughter finally brought them back under the same roof. For two weeks, neither had left the house. It was as if they waited for something. A call. A text.
Her walking through the front door. Deep down, they both knew that would never happen.
Mr. Haynes went into the kitchen and poured coffee for himself and his wife. They would have a long night ahead of them. He returned and placed the coffee before her. She nodded her thanks and took a deep drink. Mrs. Haynes opened the journal to the first page. She looked at her husband who nodded at her. Slowly, Mrs. Haynes read aloud as she tried to fight back the sobs.
Let me introduce myself to you both. Even though I’m your daughter, neither of you really know me. My name is Sarah Diane Haynes. I was born on February 19th. I’m an only child.
I was your miracle child. Remember when you used to tell me that? You told me about your two miscarriages before me and the one after me. That is when you decided you didn’t want to try again and had your tubes tied.
I was a healthy child and never really got sick. I was well-behaved and never fussed much. I learned to walk to ten months old and started running soon after. You both always told me I was special. I believed you then. I was the world to you both. Things were perfect until my twelfth birthday.
I remember the day after my party like it just happened. My best friend Michelle was over playing dolls with me. Dad, you came home early and took mom aside. You told her that your practice was failing and that we had to move. We needed to start over. About two weeks later, we left my best friend and childhood home behind. We were going clear across the country.
Dad, you kept your secret hidden for a year. Mom found out about your infidelity. She was threatening to sue you for dumping her. I remember mom answering the door and some strange guy who looked like a cop handing mom a court summons. She called you and asked you to come home and explain to her what was happening.
You knew that you couldn’t lie anymore and had to tell the truth.
When you arrived, you told me to go upstairs and I did. What you didn’t know was I sat on the stairs and listened to your conversation. You told mom about sleeping with one of your dental hygienists. You went on about how she wanted you to leave your wife and daughter and run away with her. You broke it off and she threatened to sue you. You uprooted my life because you couldn’t keep it in your pants.
I remember how lucky you were. The case was dismissed and we never heard anything else about that woman. Mom, however, seemed to withdraw from you and me. Heartbroken, mom couldn’t make sense of why you would do something like that. I really didn’t understand it at the time. I just hated your fights.
You would wake me sometimes with all your bickering and yelling matches. Mom’s anger seemed to boil over at the strangest times. I will never forget her taking me out for an ice cream and yelling at the guy because a peanut fell off her cone. I didn’t understand her anger. As I grew up, I would come to understand it well.
Fast forward about a year. Here we get to the beginnings of all your cravings for flesh. I include you both in this. Dad chased his younger hygienists and mom with her lawn care young men and yoga instructors. This is where I became nothing to you. I was an afterthought and didn’t exist in a sense.
You would feed and clothe me. You always made sure I had what I needed. Well, I take that back. You made sure I had the material things I needed. The immaterial things I needed, like love and parental support, you never gave. Always too busy. That brings us to the present.
* * *
My story begins the day I received a flyer for the school fall dance. It was a Friday. I wasn’t popular and never caught a guy’s eye. My body was average. Average boobs. Average butt. Nothing to write home about. What I mean is no one ever asked me out because I didn’t show off my body like the other girls. I had more self-respect than that. Most people in school ignored me except for my two best friends. I had known Alicia Flores and Billy Watson since I moved here ten years ago. We talked one day during recess and that was all we needed. We became inseparable. They were the best in every way. They never failed me or let me down. I could always count on them for honest advice. I loved them both dearly.
Alicia was quiet. She was seventeen years old and had six siblings. Her family came here from Mexico before she was born. She spoke English without an accent and could speak Spanish with the best. She was an outcast in school because her father was just a mechanic and struggled to make ends meet for his large family.
She was perfect. Her family was welcoming and caring. They always made me feel at home. A perfect family if I ever saw one.
Billy was your typical seventeen-year-old gamer and nerd. He loved all things science fiction and fantasy. His room was full of models and toys from various series. He collected them religiously and was proud of that. He was an only child like me. I guess that was why we hit it off. We could spend hours talking about various books and series we both loved. We were a match made in heaven some might say. Billy had a quirk about him. It was in his mannerisms. I could never place it, but it was there.
Back to the flyer. All three of us were sitting in homeroom when the flyer was handed out. It was time for the fall dance. The same dance we had every year. I stuffed the flyer in my book bag because I knew no one would ask me. I mean no one asked me in my freshman or sophomore year. Why would my junior year be any different? I didn’t know how wrong I would be.
My classes crawled by that day as they normally did. Soon, it was lunchtime and I met Alicia and Billy in the lunchroom. I sat down to the slop that passed as food at school. I had passed the table where the “rich kids” sat on my way to sit down. Everyone knew that group was trouble if you crossed them. Everyone and I mean everyone, gave them a wide berth. I made the mistake of glancing their way.
The “rich kids” included the cream of the crop to hear them speak. They were the richest kids at school. The self-proclaimed hottest kids in school. They were also the most popular. They set the bar for what makes a kid popular here. If you didn’t reach their bar, well you weren’t popular and suffered for it like the rest.
Benny Thompson was eighteen years old and the pitcher for the school’s baseball team. Tan and built, he is your typical jock with blonde hair. He is the primary leader of the group. His family owns most of the car dealerships around town. Luckily, my dad did business with one of the few his family didn’t own.
Allie Cole was also eighteen and the captain of the cheerleaders. Tall and athletic, she has a gorgeous body. She was hot in all the right places to hear Billy say it. She dated Benny and was the brains behind all the group did. She was a total bitch if you weren’t part of the popular kids. Her family owned the department stores around town. All of them.
Lindsey Harmon was seventeen a cheerleader also. Gorgeous with long black hair, her body was smoking. Her family got rich from selling a start-up company they started. It took off and a major league competitor bought it. She dated Marcus.
Marcus Lane was eighteen and a short-stop on the school baseball team. He was your average jock. Nothing spectacular about him. He was known for his love of weed too. His family owned most of the real estate in town. They rented it out and rarely sold it.
Finally, we come to Jim Tate. Jim was hot and nineteen. He was the oldest because he failed his freshman year and was held back. Tall and muscular, his gorgeous blue eyes enchanted girls easily.
They could melt any defense a woman could throw up. His dad was the mayor of the town and owned several businesses. He was dreamy. He really was the sexiest guy in my school. Well, I thought so anyway.
* * *
About halfway through the meal, Jim Tate came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. I never saw him get up or come this way. We always kept our back to their table to avoid their wrath.
“Hey,” he said. “Did you get a flyer about the fall dance next weekend?”
I looked up at this masculine and gorgeous example of a guy and blushed. I could barely speak.
“Yeah, I did. I tossed it in my bag because no one is going to ask me. Why do you ask?” I said quietly.
Jim smiled at me and sat beside me. God! He smelt so damn good. I don’t know that cologne, but it was dreamy. I could see how hard his arms and abs were through his tight shirt. I looked away shyly.
“Well, that was why I came over here. I came to ask you about going to the dance with me,” he said.
I looked up at him like a deer caught in headlights. I froze. I didn’t
know what to do or say. So, I squeaked out a one-word reply. “OK.”
He took out his phone and asked to get my phone number so we could discuss the details later. I took his phone and entered my number and saved it. I didn’t see him for the rest of the day. I should have known something was amiss because he could have any girl he wanted. He hung out with some of the most beautiful girls who was the most popular. So, why me? Why did he ask me out? I was a nobody according to their standards. I shook it from my mind. I was happy.
The rest of the day passed in a blur and I couldn’t wrap my head around what happened. Jim Tate asked me to the dance. When I saw Alicia on the bus, she seemed just as excited as I was. All she could talk about was what I was planning on wearing and if I would shave a certain area. She went on about how it was hygienic to kept a bald area or something along those lines. I couldn’t believe it when she told me she did. She claimed that it was for when the magical moment arrived for her. She’d be ready. She continued to tell me that guys didn’t like to go down in hairy girls. Go down on hairy girls?
What the hell was she talking about? She told me through the course of the conversation and I remember how red I turned. Embarrassed wasn’t the word for it. I was a virgin and never watched porn. I hadn’t even seen a guy’s penis in real life and here she was talking about oral sex.
Alicia invited me over so she could teach me some things and I went. We watched two her brother’s porn tapes and she showed me her clean shave. She wasn’t joking when she said bald. I couldn’t find a piece of hair anywhere. She went on about how it helped her masturbate, but I quickly changed the subject.
I left and came home after that. On my way home, she must have texted Billy because he called me. He wanted to know why Alicia wanted him to show me his junk. He assumed I had seen some porn or something similar. He wasn’t complaining about showing it off. He was just as confused by the whole thing.
I told Billy to just ignore her and he replied that he was happy to help if I changed my mind. I told him it wasn’t necessary now but I would let him know when the time came. He replied saying that was cool, but I could sense the disappointment in that reply. In hindsight, I should have taken him up in it.
I came home to you ignoring each other like always. Each of you was texting your side pieces. You didn’t even notice when I came in. The happiness of that moment lost to both of you. It surprised me to see you both in the house simultaneously truth be told.
“Mom! Dad! You’ll never guess what happened to me at school today! Someone asked me to the fall dance. Can you believe that a hot baseball player is interested in me?”
I will never forget that replies from each of you.
“That’s nice honey,” mom said. “Excellent work,” dad said.
Really? That’s all you had to say. You seriously could have cared less about what happened. I was noticed by a guy. I could have even said I screwed his brains out in the janitor’s closet and you wouldn’t have even noticed.
“Mom, can you take me to get a dress for the dance. I don’t have any that fit anymore. My boobs are too big.”
Your reply, mom, hurt me.
“You have plenty of dresses. Pick one out or swing by the consignment shop and pick one up. I don’t have time to take you. I have some things that I have to take care of and can’t miss my appointments.”
Mom, your boy toys junk would not fall off if you couldn’t get it in whenever he wanted. I am...was... your daughter and his penis were more important. I valued your opinion and wanted you to help me dress for my first dance. I wanted to share that with you. You couldn’t even do that for me.
Dad, you should have told mom to take me. You should have been happy for me. Yet, you gave no shit. Your flavor of the month from the temp service was all you cared about.
Do either of you remember the look of hurt on my face when I ran up to my room tears streaming down my face? Nope. You couldn’t. Your noses buried deep in your phones to remember. If you ask me, you don’t even remember that night, huh?
The next day, I went to look for a dress. Luckily, I saved all my birthday and Christmas money. Paying for the dress wasn’t an issue.
I just wanted my mom to help me pick one out. She was busy on top of her toy like always. I called Alicia and asked her to help me. She said she would be happy to help me. I picked her up and we went shopping. It was Saturday and busy. That didn’t deter us. Alicia helped me pick out one that showed off my body, especially my cleavage. It was still what grandma would call respectable. I brought it home and hid it because I didn’t want to hear either of your shit about this dress. You wouldn’t help me pick one out nor did you even care I was going to a dance. Your opinion meant squat. I was happy about my day and I’ll be damned if I would let you ruin it for me.
Wednesday at school, Billy and Alicia came up to me and
said they wanted to talk to me at lunch about something.
I thought nothing about it. This was usually about why no one seemed interested in them or something along those lines. We had this same conversation around every school event where a date was part of the package. No one asked them to the dance and they wanted to pout about it. Whine and complain was a better way to describe what they did. There was no way to avoid it. I agreed and we went to class.
Nothing seemed amiss. We carried on with our normal routine and got through our classes and went to lunch. After I got my tray and sat dawn, Alicia and Billy looked at me with a sudden concern that unnerved me.
“I think it’s best that you don’t go to the dance with him,” Billy started. “Something just seems odd about this. Don’t take this the wrong way, but don’t you think Jim would take someone easier to the dance?”
I looked at him incredulously. Alicia tried to defuse the situation by cutting in.
“Sarah, Billy doesn’t mean any harm. He just doesn’t understand how to say things with sensitivity.” She looked sharply at Billy and then back to me. “Jim has a reputation for being a horny guy. Several people I talked to said that if he can’t screw a girl on the first night then he won’t speak to them and leaves them stranded wherever they are,” Alicia said.
I looked at her and understood what they were trying to tell me. I lost all my cool and yelled.
“I can’t believe this. My best friends are jealous. Billy can’t stand that a guy is finally interested in me. Alicia is mad because it wasn’t her. If you were feeling this way then why did you even help me pick out a dress Saturday? How dare you try and ruin this for me. You call yourselves my best friends and do this.”
I got up and walked away leaving my tray on the table. I was furious. Why couldn’t they be happy for me? My best friends wanted me to stay home because they didn’t have dates. Incredible! Billy’s reaction I got. It was understandable. He was jealous of another guy taking me. If that was the case, he should have asked me himself.
Yet, he never did. I headed to the bathroom to wash my face and
When I came back out, I glanced their way. I headed straight for my next class and left my tray for them to clean up. As I made my way down the science hallway, I heard a noise coming out of the storage room. I quietly opened the door and went in. I heard voices. They whispered and a few moans escaped a girl’s mouth. I peeked through the shelving to see what was happening. I gasped at what I saw.
A guy was naked with a girl. She was on her hands and knees and he was behind her. They were going at it hard. I watched as he slowed down and grunted several times loud. As I backed away and turned to leave, I heard her slap him and say something about not being on birth control.
I hurried to my class and sat down. I got out my books and looked at the clock. I still had fifteen minutes before class started. I took out my phone and played a game. Soon, my curiosity took over and I searched for porn. I found a video similar to what those two students had done and selected it. I muted my phone and watched. Seeing the two in the closet had piqued my interest in sex. I lost track of time and jumped when the bell rang. I quickly turned off my phone and waited for class to start.
* * *
The rest of the day passed with nothing eventful to mention. I just began my walk home when my phone went off, I had a text message. I unlocked it and read the notification. It was from Jim.
“Hey. What are you doing?”
I replied after two minutes. I had read somewhere you never want to seem desperate.
“Nothing. On my way home. You?”
I waited. No reply came. Did I wait too long and he decided that I wasn’t interested? After I got home, I forgot about it and do my homework. I heard nothing back from him until about eight that evening.
“Would you like to meet me somewhere and talk about the dance and stuff?”
I thought long about this because I didn’t know him and my parents always had a strict curfew. Luckily, today was Wednesday and that meant that neither of them would be back until late. It was hard to enforce something when you are never home.
“I don’t know. Where?”
It was about twenty minutes before he responded. I was panicking before I got the message.
“What about the old movie theater in town? I hang out there all the time with my friends on the weekend. It’s quiet and a good place to talk.”
At first, I didn’t know what to say. I knew the place he was talking about. It was quiet. It was also very secluded because the trees and bushes had grown thick due to no maintenance. I didn’t want to be alone with him because I didn’t know him. I didn’t know if he was a good guy or not. I remembered that I had pepper spray in my purse. I took it out and placed it in my pocket. What did it matter? He liked me and I didn’t want to give him reason to change his mind. I replied.
“Be there in 20.”
I grabbed my jacket and ran out the door. When I arrived, he sat on the old cement container that used to have flowers growing inside.
Now it was just dirt. He looked up at the sound of my footsteps.
“Hey,” he said with a smile. “I started to think you changed your mind and weren’t coming.”
I smiled awkwardly at him.
“Why wouldn’t I come?”
“I haven’t touched you. That’s why.”
I looked at him. I didn’t understand the reference.
“What do you mean?”
“Nothing. Bad joke. Sorry.”