[This is a fiction I co-authored with Louise Norlie. I will be publishing the story in serial installments, every Monday for the next little while. Stay tuned.]
I once had a girlfriend. It was during the last year of high school. Her name was M–. Let me explain what happened. We were finishing a date; I was walking her home from a movie. It was a quiet night, not much traffic. I heard noises coming from an alley: shouting, the sound of fists colliding against flesh, muffled groans. M– wanted to keep going, but I said I would check it out. What I saw instantly brought back the memory of my first day of school. Some of my teammates – I was on the wrestling team – were beating up what appeared to be a homeless tramp. One of them was N–, who was the school champion. The tramp did not stand a chance. I said, “Hey!” They turned around and told me, “Fuck off, Dupin!” In a fair fight, or even a slightly unfair fight I probably could have taken one, two, maybe even three of them – but there were six.
I stepped up, and threw N– off the tramp. From behind me a kick or a punch hit me in the small of my back. I yelled in pain. I heard M– exhale a shocked gasp, I think she ran away. The wrestling team looked back at her and then turned their full attention back to the tramp and myself.
The tramp definitely got the worst of it, if he did not die. I ended up with a couple of broken ribs, a swollen eyeball, and a damaged testicle, which had to be surgically removed. This kept me out of school for the rest of the year. I didn’t attend my graduation.
M– broke up with me the day afterward, by phone while I lay in the hospital. Later on, I heard that she started dating W–, the captain of the wrestling team. I think she eventually married him. Much later on, I ran into her on the street; she wore large, dark sunglasses and was wearing enough makeup for a team of clowns to perform a week’s worth of birthday parties. It was obvious that her left eye was swollen because her glasses were awkwardly tilted and the powder she had used was slightly bluish around that area of her beautiful face. I almost laughed except that by that time I had not laughed in so long that I probably would have broken into tears. She pretended not to see me.
From then on, I suspected women of being attracted to the worst, most brutal, cowardly sort of man, perhaps wrongly. Now, I never try to help anyone in need. But I have never raped a woman, never kidnapped a child. I have never even been in a street fight with another man. I do not drink or do drugs. It has been years since I used my penis for sex, even masturbation.