So here’s something a little bit different! I originally wanted this to be a performance piece, kind of like a one-woman short play, but had a little bit of trouble writing it that way. I might adapt it as a performance piece later, but for now, the journal entries work!
(Note: I realize this is a bit darker than a few of my other posts. This is not based at all off of personal experience, just something I thought up after watching way too much Criminal Minds. 😄)
December 14, 2017
My shrink, Dr. Powers, she’s been telling me to “write it all down” since our first appointment a year ago. It feels like every meeting we have she’s encouraging me to write things, as if taking the pain and terror of the past year and writing it down in a dollar-store journal would somehow make it go away.
I was determined not to. I thought it would be giving in to some crap they teach you in Human Psych 101. $80 an hour is what she costs my mom and she’s using her time with me to make me journal. But here I am, writing. What happened to make me give in, you might ask? (You, I say, as if someone is reading this. Should I have started this with “Dear Diary” like a tragic middle-schooler?)
I wasn’t going to until I was scrolling through Instagram and saw one of those stupid text posts. “All I want is someone who’s obsessed with me, who never stops thinking and talking about me.” I froze, my thumb mid-scroll, staring at the words aesthetically placed on the background of flowers. Once I’d gotten over the shock, I got angry. I threw my phone onto the floor like it was on fire.
After that, I decided that I needed to write it somewhere, because if girls on Instagram are going to romanticize obsession, maybe I should start talking about what happened. So I’m here, “writing it all down” like Dr. Powers told me to. And it sure hasn’t made anything feel better yet.
Anyway. Here it is. The story of myself (as a stupid and immature high school sophomore), Adam Wrigley, and how everything spiraled out of control.
It was almost exactly two years ago. I’d just turned sixteen, just passed my driver’s test, and had just started talking to Adam. You know how it is in high school… a guy starts texting you, says he cares about how your day goes and how work went, likes your Instagram pictures. It feels good, especially when you’re sixteen and not exactly cool. It wasn’t that I didn’t have friends or anything, just that in high school, you know where your place is. If we’re talking about high school as some sort of ladder, my place was decidedly middle-rung.
So having a guy like Adam text me was pretty cool, and I’d already checked with my best friend, Reilly, and she said that she was pretty sure he wasn’t just texting me for nudes or sex or whatever. Even at sixteen, I was smart enough to get another girl’s opinion on the guys I texted, and Reilly was almost always right about guys. She’d had experience with plenty of them, so I valued what she thought.
At first, it was innocent enough. He wanted to know if he could copy my notes from English when he missed for a dentist’s appointment. He wanted to know what I thought about the songs we were singing for the Holiday Concert in choir. He wanted to know what I was doing Friday night, and if I liked wings.
I told him I’d go out with him if he took me somewhere nicer than Buffalo Wild Wings on the first date, and then he really outdid himself. He brought flowers and everything, even cleaned and vacuumed out his car for me. I was flattered—the last guy I’d dated had didn’t know how to comb his hair and only talked about his fantasy football team. Adam held the door for me at Olive Garden and told me I looked good in blue. Not just that I looked good… I looked good in blue. You can see why I fell for him in the beginning.
After the date, he tried to kiss me, but I told him that was moving too fast for one date. Riley had told me to play it cool, that he’d get frustrated and leave if he was a douche. He was really sweet about it, though, told me he understood, put the car in drive, and talked to me instead of just turning on the radio. I went to bed that night with Adam Wrigley’s name my every thought, and before I plugged my phone in for the night, I noticed he’d texted me goodnight.
Yeah, I was starstruck. Here I was, sixteen, captain (of all things) of the mock trial team, and Adam, football runningback, one of the hottest guys in our grade, was sending me goodnight texts. I knew I should proceed with caution, but I didn’t want to. I was tired of being single, lonely, and not-quite-popular. Adam was a change that I decided I was totally ready for.
That’s enough of an entry for tonight, I think. My hand hurts from all this writing (it’s even more writing than my notes for AP Bio). Not sure exactly how theraputic all of this has been, but it hasn’t been awful.
(How do you sign off a journal entry? Like a letter? Or do you just end it?)
January 4th, 2018
Okay, sorry about how long it’s been (passive-aggressive nod to Dr. Powers) but Christmas and New Year’s was super busy for me. Besides, after a long day of school and practice, picking up the journal and rehashing the past for an hour isn’t the top thing on my to-do list. I promised myself I would write over winter break, though, and it’s 11:47 PM the night before school starts up again, so I’m (technically) sticking to my promise.
Back into the story, I guess, since that’s the whole point of this.
New Year’s Eve 2015 was sort of crazy for me. Up until then, I’d told myself that I wasn’t going to rush into anything with Adam. I hadn’t let him kiss me, although we’d gone on two more dates before we’d both gotten too busy with Christmas stuff (he went and visited family in upstate New York for almost two weeks, I stayed here and listened to my grandma rant about politics for three days). He was back for New Year’s, however, and I had this half-baked plan that I was going to kiss him at midnight. There was this big party that the Shawn Peterson hosted every year and I was invited because of Adam. Reilly was jealous and slightly hurt that I was going without her, but I promised to crash at her house after the party and fill her in on everything awful that happened that she (totally hadn’t) missed out on.
Adam picked me up for the party and I was wearing a slightly-too-short, slightly-too-tight gold dress that I could tell he loved on me. My mom waved goodbye to me from the house with a disapproving shake of her head, but I was sixteen and high off of inexperience and adventure. This was my night with Adam, and I wasn’t about to let anything stand in the way.
The party was a pretty generic high school party. There were some kids who were drinking, some National Honor kids who were pretending they weren’t, and at least three couples getting to at least second base on various couches. Both the drinking and the making out increased as it got nearer to midnight, but as it came close (about fifteen minutes out) to the magic moment, I lost track of Adam.
He found me at 11:58 and pulled me out onto the Petersons’ porch. It was cold, seeing as it was mid-winter and my dress didn’t provide much for insulation, but he pulled me in close to him and I forgot about the cold.
I could hear the slightly faded three…two…one! from inside the house, and as the sounds of sixty-three high school kids either cheering or kissing erupted from the kitchen, Adam lifted my head up and kissed me gently under the stars.
It was perfect, but I remember later I felt slightly resentful that it had been the moment I’d been planning and thinking about for weeks and Adam stole that from me.
After that, we became officially a couple. Neither of us had ever said specifically that we were now boyfriend and girlfriend, but it was an unwritten rule. We had kissed at a party with plenty of witnesses.
I was dating Adam Wrigley and I couldn’t be happier.
(Now it’s really late, and I have school tomorrow. I’ll continue later. Goodnight, journal.)
January 28th, 2018
I guess Dr. Powers got promoted to Executive Director of the New Beginnings Wellness and Counseling Center, so we had our last appointment yesterday. I decided since she was leaving I’d tell her about the journal, and she basically glowed throughout the rest of the appointment. I don’t hate it as much as I thought I would, and that was what I told her, too. She told me that I can’t just write about the good memories with Adam, though. She said I can’t let myself believe that the good outweighs the bad. Now that I’ve started, she said, I have to keep going until I’ve told the whole story, which at this point, might take awhile.
I’ll fast forward a few months then, just to make sure I can finish the story without this taking forever.
As with most high school relationships, when Adam and I started dating, it was awkward. Everyone both expected and were annoyed when we talked to each other, sat next to each other, texted each other in class. Reilly got mad at me at this point, she said she felt replaced and that she didn’t want to play third wheel to someone that was “no good for me and would break up with me in a few weeks.” I guess she wasn’t totally wrong about the first part, but I was upset when she got so jealous and I swore I’d stop talking to her. I had Adam, so I felt like I didn’t need anyone else.
It didn’t start to feel weird until about three months in, but looking back now, I should have seen the signs way before I did. I took it as Adam being sweet. He always texted me good morning and goodnight and made sure he knew what I was up to. I thought he was being a dedicated boyfriend and never thought it was weird that he wanted to know my schedule, sometimes down to the half hour. He started to pick me up and drop me off at things, even though I had my own car and could drive. I enjoyed seeing him after class and mock trial practice, and sometimes he’d bring me gifts when he came to pick me up, but I still liked having the ability to drive myself places. I brought it up to him once and he got really angry with me, calling me ungrateful and saying if I wanted to I could pay for my own gas money. I didn’t bring it up again.
One thing that I noticed right away while dating Adam was that he was kind of unpredictable, which sometimes scared me. I learned quickly which subjects were better to tread lightly around and which could never be brought up at all. He hated it when I mentioned any other guys, even if I was assigned to do a group project with them. I knew that boys got jealous easily and found myself making excuse after excuse for why Adam was so controlling. It was normal, I told myself. He’s just making sure you’re okay. Sometimes he did things that were unreasonable, but he could also be so sweet. He was always talking to everyone about me, telling them how beautiful I was. I knew how much he loved me, and I loved him despite myself. I’d never had a boyfriend like this before.
Our relationship got pretty serious pretty fast, and I wasn’t really in control of that part. In April, he drove me to a hotel randomly after school and completely lost it when I refused to sleep with him. He exploded about how much the hotel cost him, not to mention all the planning that had gone into the trip. I took a look at the roses and champagne and chocolate and let myself, despite my better judgement, be swayed by them. He had spent a lot of money, I reasoned, and besides, he loves me.
When he had finished, he kissed me gently, leaned over, and whispered I own you now into my ear.
After he dropped me off later that night, I was terrified, so I called the only person I knew to call when I needed help. Reilly picked up on the second ring and, once she’d heard what had happened, immediately advised me to break up with him as soon as possible.
I knew she was right, but I was terrified about what would happen if I did. Besides, Adam wasn’t all bad. I thought back to New Year’s Eve when I got scared, thought of how gentle and sweet he was then. He loves me, I told her. I can’t do that to him. Maybe he’d just made a mistake. Sometimes his temper got pretty bad.
“Girl, you get out or I’m calling the police,” she said before hanging up.
(I’m emotionally drained from writing all of that. Writing really does feel like reliving it.)
February 22nd, 2018
I’m back, and well on my way into second semester! I like my new counselor at NBWCC, even if he’s not exactly Dr. Powers. He’s less forward and pushy, but he says the journal was a great idea. He also tells me that it’s extremely impressive that my grades are so good “despite everything.” He calls me strong.
I don’t feel strong. I find myself shaking before I even pick up the pen. I hid so much of what happened with Adam in the back of my mind, terrified that writing it down meant admitting it happened. A part of me feels relieved to have it written down, however. It can’t haunt me as much once I’ve let it out in my own words. At least, it feels like that might be the case.
It’s getting harder to write about these things as it becomes more real. I realize now why Dr. Powers told me I had to finish out the story. There’s so much more to Adam than New Year’s Eve.
After the incident at the hotel, Adam came to my house with a dozen roses and an even more flowery apology note. He gave me a actual diamond necklace and told me that he couldn’t believe what he’d done, that he’d never pictured our first time like that. He swore on his life that he’d never do it again, and I believed him. Adam knew exactly how to play me, and every time he brought me a gift, I fell for him all over again.
All the thoughts I’d had about breaking up with him flew out of my mind as soon as that happened. The next week, we were back to being Adam and Mallory, the couple everyone at school both detested and admired. The only person who knew how bad things had gotten was Reilly, and I was keeping her as far away from myself as I could.
She persisted, finding me after all of my classes, cornering me in the bathroom, calling me constantly. Leave him, was the message she gave me over and over. I made the mistake of complaining to Adam one day in the car that she was annoying me.
“Did you tell her about the hotel?” he roared.
“No! Baby, of course not!” I explained to him that she was only jealous of us, that she wanted us to break up so she could spend more time with me, an answer which satisfied him.
That night, Reilly called me and told me that if I didn’t break up with him before the end of the school year, she was going to tell everyone what was going on. The police, my parents, the teachers at school. I yelled at her that my relationship was none of her business, but I knew she was right.
I spent a few days coming up with a way to end things that wouldn’t totally destroy Adam, but I couldn’t think of anything. I knew our relationship wasn’t healthy. I knew I had to stop things before they got any worse, but I was terrified of what Adam would do.
(I wanted to finish, but I can’t. It’s enough for tonight. I’ll end the story, I will, but not right now. It’s too soon.)
March 16th, 2018
I’ve put this off for long enough. We don’t have school today, and I told myself that I wouldn’t let this week end until I had finished journaling. I’m going to try and finish the story tonight. I’m tired of leaving the ending to play on repeat in my mind, tired of taking pills to force myself to fall asleep. Maybe writing it down won’t help that, but it might be some sort of start.
After a lot of thinking, I told Reilly the next day at school that I was planning to break up with Adam that afternoon. I asked her if she would be willing to give me a ride home and maybe stay with me for awhile. Reilly gave me a hug and said she would, acting like I hadn’t destroyed our years-long friendship for a guy who was destroying me.
I made my plan and followed through with it. I asked Adam to meet me on the bench outside the front entrance to school. I explained to him that while I still had feelings for him, I was trapped when I was with him. I told him that we’d be better off without each other, and I wished him the best of luck in life going forward.
He gripped the side of the bench so hard I thought he’d break a finger. There were teachers and other kids outside, though, so he didn’t yell. He didn’t make a scene. I kissed his cheek as Reilly pulled up and told him it was for the best.
I’ll never forget how he stared as we drove away. I was crying in the passenger seat, hating that I’d hurt him. I truly believed that I was in love with him, and he was the first guy I’d given my heart to.
I should have known it wasn’t over. Adam wouldn’t let things go like that. He owned me. I wasn’t supposed to forget that.
Reilly brought me chocolate in bed and put on Legally Blonde, holding me and stroking my hair and telling me over and over that I’d done the right thing and I was going to be happy now.
Adam knew that we left our back door unlocked because I was notoriously bad at losing keys. Besides, we lived in a safe neighborhood. What was the point of locking doors?
Reilly told me she was going to go downstairs and get me some tea and more tissues. She smiled as she closed my bedroom door and started down the stairs.
Adam knew that my father kept a handgun inside my mother’s china cupboard. We had a gun safe, but my father had stopped using it once I was old enough to know not to use the guns without his permission. The china cupboard was usually locked, but Reilly and I had unlocked it earlier to get the teapot out.
I heard Reilly scream and ran downstairs as fast as I could to see Adam holding the handgun.
“You told her,” he said, staring up at me. “You told her about the hotel.”
I screamed at Adam, told him to stop, told him I would do anything, that we could get back together.
“You’re wrong,” he said. “She’ll tell them. She’s the only thing keeping us apart.”
I tried to run. I tried to get there before he could pull the trigger. I ran over to Reilly as she hit the ground, bleeding.
Adam picked up our landline and dialed 911.
“I did this all for you,” he told me in a whisper, right before he confessed to the operator that he had shot my best friend.
“Everything, Mallory,” he yelled as they dragged him away in handcuffs and her away in the ambulance. “Remember that. Everything was for you.”
Everything was for me. I haven’t forgotten.
August 20, 2018
He’s had me on his visitor’s list ever since the trial finished. I told myself I would never go and visit him, but I had to. I had to, before I leave for Pennsylvania on a full ride and never touch this town again.
He looked at me the way he’d always looked at me when we were dating. Back then, I found it flattering. Now, it nearly made me throw up.
“I knew you’d come visit me,” he said when he saw me. “I love you.”
I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see. All I could do was whisper the one thing I needed to, get my visit behind me forever.
“You don’t own me,” I said, and then I left.