After graduating high school, I joined the work force. College probably would have been a better idea, but my parents weren’t paying, and I wasn’t sure if I could handle the debt. Plus, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, or if I was smart enough to pursue further education. The thought of making the commitment, signing my life away and then flunking out was too much from my young, mush brain.
Anyway, I found myself in a typical nine-to-five making minimum wage, living alone, struggling to make rent and thinking life was great (even if it really wasn’t). Ah, to be young and stupid.
A friend, Casey, noticed my single status, and she decided to give me a hand. I was actually elated. I really wanted to meet someone – whether it was casual or long term. I just needed to have someone for a while.
Chris was nice. He wasn’t a massive looker by any means, but I really was in no position to judge. He was polite and talkative. Most conversations drifted back to the fact that he worked at the local greasy spoon. He proudly proclaimed that he was working a massive load of hours each week – a fact that was very believable as he always had an odor of stale fry grease hanging over him.
I digress. He was nice.
On our first date, he bought a fake rose from the local gas station next to the diner. It was the first flower a boy had ever given me. It was nice, even if it had a made in china sticker and looked like it’d been sat for a few years.
Okay, it was fine. I’m being picky now. The gift was nice.
We went to a drive-in and crammed into the back of my station wagon. It was incredibly uncomfortable. The movie was some cheesy comedy with a million (yes, an exaggeration) sexual innuendos. It was my first date ever, and I didn’t know Chris that well, but I trusted Casey. She was great. She knew what she was doing setting us up; I had 100% confidence in her.
I didn’t feel any spark, but I kept dating Chris. I figured it maybe just took time. He was nice, after all, and he deserved for me to try, right?
He told me about his passion of working on comic book art. He had a series he’d designed and was working on, and he was really hoping to get it published. It was nice to see him really putting his heart into something that wasn’t the diner.
He’d tell me I was beautiful.
No one, outside of my family, had ever said that to me before. My inner ugly ducking was over the moon, but still I didn’t really feel any spark.
Gradually, he started telling me about the story-line for his comic. He said I looked exactly like his main character. She was beautiful and awesome, he said. Then, he’d just smile and gush a bit more, his eyes never leaving me. It was odd, a touch unnerving, but also kind of nice to be such the center of attention after having been ignored by so many for so long.
Then the creepy got too heavy.
The character’s backstory in Chris’ comic was dark, and, very suddenly, I was not feeling great about being her doppelganger.
Apparently, she was sexually assaulted, beaten to death, and then she came back as a resurrected vigilante.
Of course, having Chris explain this to me and then end it all with one last ‘you just look so much like her,’ did not calm my mounting panic.
I noped out of Chris’ life pretty darn hard at that point. I mean, I ghosted him hard.
Somehow, I just didn’t know how to have the ‘dude, are you going to murder me?’ talk. He probably wasn’t. I mean, he seemed pretty normal, and people write comic books about all kinds of things, and yet…
I asked Casey how long she’d known Chris. I thought maybe I could talk to her about this comic and see what her take on it was. Although, at that point I was 100% positive there was nothing that she could say to make me think dating him was going to work.
Turns out, she didn’t really know him at all. She was just eating at the diner and heard he was single, and that was that.
I don’t recall telling Casey about the odd comic book/murder issue. I just told her things between Chris and I didn’t work.
Thinking back over the situation, there is one element that still bothers me (besides the whole odd murder vibe). I never saw a drawing of Chris’ character. I wonder if she did really look like me.
…and that was the first guy I ever dated.