We left young TK last week scared and unsure of her next action. Out of misguided sympathy, she had decided to continue dating a man whom she didn’t like and who treated her poorly until two weeks after from. Having made this decision in late March, this meant at least another month and a half of dating.
TK no longer laughed with her friend, who was dating Zachery’s younger brother, about being in-laws. Her mind was more preoccupied with avoiding Zachery as much as possible, although she often gave in when his body shook and anger glared in his eyes. Prom could not come and go soon enough.
Over the next month or so, I was able to keep every other weekend to myself. I was pretty sure Zachery knew something was wrong, but he never said anything. He kept telling me he loved me and I kept remaining silent. I refused to lie about something so important as love. That word wouldn’t be spoken unless I truly felt the feeling. I have my doubts Zachery loved me at all. He was just telling me what he thought he needed to in order to keep me.
I wonder what he would have done if he realized fear was far better at ‘keeping me’ than his alleged love.
Zachery picked up on additional methods of persuading my presence in the form of my dear friend. While he never said anything, I was pretty sure he knew I was more likely to hang around him if my friend and his brother were also there. This only provided me so much protection, though, as we would often just sit in his bedroom watching T.V. while my friend and his brother we in his bedroom doing the same.
The uncomfortable touching did not stop, nor did he listen to my desire to have him stop for more than five minutes. He continued to scare me. It’s odd how a person can strike fear with little more than body language and words.
Recently, I have uncovered proof of just how controlled I was. I found a diary entry where I mention key problems our relationship needs to overcome. I am not joking. I listed these things within the first month of our relationship, and I stayed.
1. Saying I love you without meaning it. Even teenage TK wasn’t dumb enough to buy that.
2. He doesn’t understand me, but tries to claim he does.
3. I can’t stand to be with him all the time as it makes me self-conscious. Another friend in high school had the same problem and said it was a sign of a failing relationship.
4. He’s obsessed with me to a disturbing degree.
5. I like my alone time, and he’s always begging to see me more (this is probably related to #3).
6. Our morals and ethics are extremely different.
7. Zachery acts like he’ll fall apart without me.
I wrote this all out, even going so far as to say I knew the relationship would never work out, and I STILL choose to keep dating him through prom. I know I thought I was being compassionate, but the reality was I was only making the pain of the inevitable break-up worse on both of us.
These problems started to increase as the date of prom got closer. Soon, the day reared its ugly head. I looked fantastic in my dress and was thrilled with my hair and make-up. I was excited for the night to continue. Many of my friends had boyfriends who were from different high schools or who had graduated. I counted them among my friends and was excited to see them all.
Before the night had really started, I was already experiencing signs of what I would endure over the next 24 hours. I didn’t appreciate how he insisted on holding my hand or placing his on my upper thigh while we drove to my friend’s house for pictures. Even taking pictures was uncomfortable. He had to have a hand on me, if not grabbing me, at all times.
I don’t know if my friend’s parents, who were taking the photos, noticed anything like my Spanish teacher had. Could they see how uncomfortable I was? Something like that is so hard to see. I think I was expected to feel nervous about dressing up and going to prom.
My friend and Zachery’s younger brother were in the back seat as Zachery drove us to our dinner reservations. He still insisted on touching or grabbing me as we drove until I was visibly annoyed. After shoving him off my leg enough times, he settled from gripping my hand. I let him, figuring that was better than my upper thigh, and sat as far away from him in the passenger seat as I could.
The problems had already started, and the sun hadn’t even set yet.
What sort of ridiculous excuses did you ever make to keep dating someone who was wrong for you? Do you think drawing out a relationship could ever be considered compassionate? What are your memories of prom? Any predictions about what happens at mine?