Delsie wasn’t my first girlfriend or my first… first, but she was my first many-other-things. She was something of a crystal-waver and incense queen and believed that she was reincarnated from some queen of Atlantis. She wasn’t stupid, but she was often quite silly. I really wanted to buy in to her little world, but I honestly couldn’t. But she was a sweet girl. Loyal to a fault, extremely resiliant, and a loving smile that could light up a room.
She was a sweet girl that got on my nerves endlessly. I could never place my finger on what it was about she and I that didn’t work, but it became pretty apparent pretty early on that only one of us had that assessment of our relationship or lack thereof. She was pretty fixated on the relationship as my eye was on the lack thereof.
I hesitate to say that Buck was a friend, though that’s a convenient stance to take. Buck was what we used to call a kikker. A kikker is someone that likes to dress up in a big hat and wear a big buckle and talk with an accent but wouldn’t know the first thing about milking a cow, much less riding a bull. He had a few stock phrases that became his mantra, but it was more reminiscent of that nerd we all know in some way or another that spends half his time making reference to some obscure anime. Except that Buck used country songs and had a much lighter selection. But Buck seemed to be a good guy as well. Obnoxious, but harmless.
Delsie and I had run our course after about three or four months. The annoyance factor was already outweighing the not-even-friends-but-still-with-benefits thing that we had and was about to outweigh my desire not to hurt anyone’s feelings. The notion that I was even capable of hurting anyone’s feelings was an alien concept to me at the time, and not a concept I was particularly enamored with. That’s about where I was when I got wind that Buck was kinda sorta interested in Delsie.
I don’t know if it was out of benevolence or simple exhaustion, but even though I could have dragged out the not-even-friends-but-still-with-benefits thing a little longer, I enthusiastically helped facilitate their coupling. I pinged her on her thoughts of him. I put the thought in her head that he was single and may make a good boyfriend. I reported back to him that she sounded somewhat interested and that he should ask her out.
She was annoying but good hearted. He was obnoxious but also good hearted. It sounded like a match made in friggin’ heaven. I was always a little amused how much they discounted my involvement in their coupling. She often approached their relationship as a repudiation of my coldheartedness. The implicit question was always “Aren’t you sorry now?” Even Buck got into it, explicitly talking about how I really screwed up my relationship with her. They weren’t ugly about it by any means, but their framing of the relationship contained a very different picture than the one I saw.
He moved in after a scant three months. A little under two years later, he moved out. Three months later, they broke up entirely. Considering how happy they had seemed, it was all rather mysterious. She announced that she never wanted to see him again and he said that even though he was heartbroken over it, he would honor her wishes.
It wasn’t until a year after that when I got the full scoop. Apparently, every night one of two things would happen. Either she would be “in the mood” and they would have sex, or she would not be in the mood and it would happen anyway, in a more forceful manner.
For the most part, Delsie was a free spirit, sexually. Very uninhibited. That she and I didn’t actually make it to home plate was purely through diligence on my part and a moral conscience that wasn’t completely out to lunch. She never struck me as the type to say “no” very much as long as she was comfortable. The more insistent he became, the less comfortable she was. She had lost all interest in him sexually after a year or so of living together.
That means for over six months, every night they spent together he arguably raped her. And to the extent that it wasn’t rape, it was more resignation than consent, which in some ways makes it worse. She had simply lost the will to fight back. She had lost enough autonomy sexually to become a sexual possession. The thought of all this still sends shivers down my spine.
As does my own culpability. I’m not sure how much my actions contributed to the self-esteem that gets one into a relationship like that, where it takes her a year to walk away from something so obviously wrong. I was always pretty upfront with her about where she and I stood (and more importantly where we didn’t), but I’m not sure my bluntness was anymore helpful than deception would have been.
And, of course, I helped engineer their couplehood. I somehow completely missed the darkness in Buck’s soul. It’s blindingly obvious now, of course, but it almost never occurred to me that this yokel could be as twisted as he was goofy. Twisted and probably without repair.
The moral of the story, if there is one, is that sometimes you really don’t know someone as well as you think you do. And sometimes the things you do to someone can put them in a position to endure much worse than you could imagine ever doing to them.