There was an afternoon the whole team had to go to the weight room because the track was occupied. It was a typical attitude, all of our team crammed into the small weight room. All the guys were trying to see who could lift the most weights, all the girls laughing, and trying not to look weak with the easiest stuff we could get away with. Our coach is yelling at us to drink lots of water, not to strain ourselves, and most importantly, not use any of the leg workouts. Sam, being the badass he was, did.
The coach walked over to yell at him, and he kept going. She criticized for ten minutes about how he never listened. He didn’t stop. She ran out of things to rant about, and stared him down. He smiled, and powerless, she walked away. It sparked something in me. I’ve always been scared between the lines, but scared of what? Nothing could hurt him, nothing could hurt me.
He started doing a calf and quad workout, where he lay down on the bench, braced his feet against a weighted platform that moves up and down on a track, and began working it. I had an impulse to sit on the platform, see if he could lift me, but I silenced my thoughts with discipline, Then, I realized, what was the worst that would happen? The coach didn’t have power over me, no one that mattered was there, what could I loose? I asked him if he’d lift me on the platform. He grinned a true badass smile, eyes alight. The coach walked over, and I chickened out, but exercising my core across the room, I could see him smiling away at me, and I knew if I didn’t do it I’d regret it a very long time. We only live once. I walked over, hopped up onto the platform, and then he was lifting me up and down. I was the damsel in distress and he was my hero. I could feel the strength of his leg muscles beneath me, and I savor it. I placed myself completely in his trust, and he fulfilled my expectations. The coach came over to yell at us, and for the first time I deflected the guilt with laughter. It felt good. I was carefree. I was ready to look at the world his style.
I would say this was an improvement. I’ve always taken things too seriously, and he’d given me the power to blow things off unharmed. People couldn’t control me in the way they used to. My actions were freer because I didn’t care who was watching anymore. I had power.
I could just go with the flow at ease, and not have a care in the world.
Except I was losing myself. I was in control, and then I wasn’t. Sam was.
It started through texts.
I was having a cupcake party. I love food, I love decorating, and I love friends. Combine them into a giant party and what more could I ask for? Except this was a pain to organize. I decided no boys, because A. boys are going to eat all the decorations, that’s a given, and B. girls change around boys. They are more ditsy, chatty, and often simply more annoying. I have been a victim of this, so I know.
Yet Sam wanted to go to this party, as soon as he found out from my friend. He sent me this text, “Hey, got your number from Chrystal. I heard you were having a cupcake party. I’m tutoring David, maybe we could drop by?” And of course I felt bad. David had been through a lot, and Sam was such a sweet guy to tutor him. Sam was a great guy. But I had said no guys, so I refused. He was fine with it, and we started texting on a daily basis. I found myself needing to turn off my phone during homework because I could not stop glancing at the screen to see if he’d replied. I liked the idea of me being in control, saying fuck it to homework and having fun. I liked being able to do it his style and not worry.
But I also don’t like being in control. I found myself going to bed late, struggling to finish homework on time because I needed to get straight A’s. I couldn’t disappoint anyone, including myself by getting anything lower. I grew stressed. I looked forwards to his texts even more because they calmed me down. The way he was, in the way he talked and looked and acted, was enveloping in a comforting way. He was tall enough to come up behind me and wrap his arms around my waist and lean his head on my shoulder if he wanted to, and although he hadn’t I certainly thought about it enough. He talked to me like an older brother. He was upset I hadn’t read his text because I was getting so spammed by this guy who was jealous, so I couldn’t receive texts for a few hours. Sam told me he’d beat the guy up if I asked. I hate violence, and even if the guy bugged me I’d never wish him pain, but the gesture was sweet.
So I savored Sam’s texts. I never deleted one. I found myself staying up later and later, and soon getting up early the next morning to finish. Which meant I didn’t sleep well because I was stressing if I didn’t finish.
I became so stressed I skipped practice. He texted me that night, “Hey better get your big ass back to practice. We missed you.” Trying to be light, I replied, “Lol, I really do have a big ass, but I’d say meltdowns come before running.”
“Haha yes you do. I’m not gonna lie I am a little fucked up right now, but yeah you have a really nice ass.”
And then he wouldn’t stop talking about my ass. I am ashamed to say that while it was a little unsettling, I took pride in it. An amazing guy thinks my ass is great. There was something likeable in me, and he saw it. I found myself going with the flow, and letting him take control again. If only I could have had the foresight to know where it was going.