I've found a new way of sharing which is bringing me therapy, but thought I'd share to people who understand. Things have been altered, but yes. I'm Charlie.
Charlie was outraged. “HOW DARE HE?!” he screamed inside his mind. Charlie glared over a jar of tootsie pops. He had been restocking the shelves with a new shipment of gobstoppers. Charlie hoped he had been hallucinating. His jaw would have dropped if he wasn’t clinching it tightly. Charlie felt the skin on his body turn red, a trait of his father’s which drives him nuts he somehow inherited, “Why is he here?” growled Charlie under his breath.
Charlie has been working at Mr. Sweettooth’s for nearly two years. He needed some extra cash during the later parts of time at his small jewish college. He hated asking his parents for money and was determined he could be self-sufficient. Mr. Sweettooth’s was a family run establishment in the small town of Jefferson, Connecticut. Charlie was the only non-family worker and felt sort of adopted by the owners as a fourth child. He would spend every moment of his weekends at the store and this last weekend had been particularly busy as they had their annual sale which gathers just about everyone in the small town. They were doing a 50th anniversary promotion; buy five get five, so the ever popular store was even more busy and Charlie was thankful school would soon be approaching.
“Oh hi Gerald!” said Mrs. Hopper, co-manager and owner of the infamous candy shop.
“Hi! how are ya?!” An enthusiastic athletic young man nearly twice the size of Charlie greeted Mrs. Hopper and began reminiscing about the old days. Gerald had grown up with Mrs. Hopper’s children and had been a long-time family friend. Gerald was well known in town and worked at the deli on the other end of town. Ironically, Gerald was once Charlie’s best friend. Or so he thought…
Charlie and Gerald met shortly after he came into town to go to school. Charlie was on his lunch break from the candy shop when he began scouring the area for a cheap eatery. Enticed by the $2 Tuesday sign, Charlie ventured into the quaint shop. Gerald was the only one working at the time and made Charlie feel welcome immediately. Charlie was encouraged by this enthusiasm and claimed to be a devout jew, something Charlie continually strived to be. After a few other encounters Charlie and Gerald decided to venture to the movies as they were both in need of a friend. Both were in transition. Charlie was trying to establish a social network and Gerald was living on his own for the first time.
Charlie dropped a gobstopper and Gerald looked his way. Charlie wasn’t sure what exactly he had been doing, but somehow became distracted in though and was soon rushed back to reality. His body still burning with anger he walked past Gerald who was starring at him and blocking his exit. Charlie glanced at his watch and thanked god he only had 10 minutes left till he was off work. “Why was he here...WHY?! “ Charlie wouldn’t help but fume more and more as he tried not to show his anger.
5pm would not have come sooner. Charlie finished the cleaning in a record time and drove home to find an empty fridge. Another Friday night alone with an empty fridge led him to the grocery store. Crying and yelling in his car he didn’t understand why on earth he had just seen Gerald…the friend turned rapist just three months prior.
Inside the store Charlie grabbed two bottles of cheap wine to accompany his frozen lasagna. Charlie never drank minus an occasional glass of wine, but for the first time in his life Charlie was fed up. He made his mind up even before he entered the store. He was gonna get drunk. He was gonna try alcochol. He was tired of being responsible. He was sick and tired of being the guy who had it all together. Not only had his family responded worse than expected when he came out to them two weeks prior, but he had to somehow get over the anger he was feeling. He had never really drank until that night and one and half bottles of wine later, Charlie was drunk. Charlie was laughing, giddy, and excited about life. He had never been drunk and was enjoying trying to walk around as he laughed at myself. However, Gerald still popped in his mind.
It was his neighbor asking him to be quiet. Charlie apologized but then stumbled over. His neighbor came inside, closing the door behind him, and ushered Charlie to the bathroom who was now looking green. The happy effects had worn off as the consequences of his actions were catching up. One, Two, Three…the alcohol purged itself from Charlie’s tiny waist. He had been loosing weight again, a result from dealing with childhood sexual abuse said his counselor. Events he had blocked until his freshman year of college. He didn’t talk about it much, but often cried himself to sleep.
“Why are you so drunk by yourself man?” asked Charlie’s 30 year old neighbor. Charlie didn’t know much about him except that he always smiled and said hi. He was very friendly and even loaned Charlie a quarter once in the Laundromat, a quarter he had yet to repay.
“I saw him! I saw that fucker!” Charlie yelled after vomiting once more.
“Who?” asked his neighbor in a concerned voice.
“Gerald! That fucker raped me!”
“Yeah… that’s right. I came home from counseling because I was sexually abused as a kid and having a rough time. I was frozen on my bed. He came in talk to me. I couldn’t talk and the next thing I know he was on top of me and holding me down.”
“I screamed for his fat ass to get off of me…” Charlie throws up. “but he didn’t listen…what an asshole!”
“umm…sorry man.” His neighbor didn’t really know what to say.
“So you’re gay?”
“yeah…my parents hate me know. I came out to them not along ago. I don’t get it. I love God and I know he loves me why can’t they see that?” Charlie was crying as vomit spewed out of his nostrils. “I’m a good guy. I’ve never been drunk before. “They said there’ s nothing worse I could be in life…”
“MY FUCKIN CRAZY PARENTS!”
Charlie realized he was speaking freely but felt a relieve as he vented about Jerald and his family as well as how other friends had since rejected him after his decision to tell them he was gay.
“You better lay down. Where’s your bedroom?”
“There.” Charlie points as his eyes start to close.
“It’s a good thing that all got out of you, you wouldn’t want to vomit in your bed.
Charlie passed out and woke up the next morning to what he thought was another nightmare. He had been having those lately. However, his nightmare became reality as he realized he wasn’t only. His 30 year old neighbor next to him as asleep in his underwear next to him. He froze. Why was his neighbor there. Why did he feel so awful? It all came rushing back. At least a large part of it did, but he couldn’t remember what happened after he passed out on his bed. Why was he shirtless? Why was his underwear halfway on? Why did he hurt so?
Charlie froze dead in his tracks. It wasn’t rocket science and the stains on his red blanket confirmed his worst fears. Charlie had been raped and his rapist was lying right next to him.
Charlie froze and after being iced over in expression for nearly 30 minutes he mustered up the courage, slightly rolling while burring his face. “Pssst.” His rapist awoke. “You should go.” Charlie didn’t look up until after his door shut. He was gone, having taken a piece of Charlie with him.
"Love the moment. Flowers grow out of dark moments. Therefore, each moment is vital. It affects the whole. Life is a succession of such moments and to live each, is to succeed."
- Corita Kent