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Chapter 10: 9-11

I went to Ohio to live with my dad. Not sure why my mom would let me live with him, considering her opinion of him and the alleged knowledge she had of what he had done... but my middle sister had gone to live there before as well, and I guess it was just my turn to be on my mom's shit list.

My mom and I didn't part ways with smiles and hugs as I recall. My father and I only knew each other from the summer visits. The summer prior my father, stepmom and I had a disagreement where they were asking me to do house chores, and I replied "I'm a guest! Guests don't do chores." My dad's wife responded, yelling, "You're not a guest, you're family!" Sounding ever so smug.

If you need to know anything about my dad's wife, just imagine a pale skinned, dirty blonde-haired woman who was about 5'6 and weighs (by now) probably well over 200lbs. She had a massive double chin (the type that tries to eat the chin entirely and just turn into a literal no-chin situation) all while acting like she was some nutritionally responsible person. She took multivitamins daily, was a vegetarian, drank rice milk (yuck), yet somehow still wound up being chubby as ever.

Why was she like this? Well, firstly, genetics. Many of her family members had no chins either. But it was also because she ate sweets all the time and drank sugary beverages. Pretty sure the rice milk wasn't a good milk alternative either.

Vegetarianism, if done wrong, will give you way too many carbs, and if you're not constantly stuffing down vegetables/fruits, this means not a lot of fiber to lubricate your food to be pushed through your digestive system. She was a soda, sweets and bread queen, hence, the obesity.

This was the same woman who spanked me in such a way when I was a kid, that I cried out of pure awkwardness. I got in trouble one day, so she bent me over her lap and said "One, two, three" as she softly patted my butt. I wasn't sure if I just got spanked or groped. It was so weird, I cried anyway... that and I thought that was what I was supposed to do. It was a bundle of emotions.

Also, instead of calling her mom, we called her "Aunty". That's what she wanted... what?

Regardless, she once took us to eat doughnuts and I found it to be quite life-ruining. What I mean by this is she asked if we wanted "Custard" in our doughnuts, but she said it in such a way that you could hear the spit sloshing about her mouth as her neck jiggled. As a result, I never wanted to eat custard again. If she liked custard, I hated custard.

I do something on a regular basis to this day... if I see a really fat person at a grocery store, checking out, I look at what they are buying. Sometimes a glance, sometimes a stare. Do you know what they're often getting? Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi or the non-diet versions. I've learned most people, who touch any form of Coke or Pepsi tend to blow up. Not all, but most. Additionally, they almost always have chicken and beef in their carts/on the conveyer belts. Tons of bread, sweets, little to no fruits or vegetables and of course, bacon. Those fatties love bacon. And I take that to heart, literally. Whatever they get, I often avoid. As a result, I'm nowhere near as fat as them, quite healthy actually. Just like the custard doughnuts with my stepmom: I know if I avoid those, I'll be a little less likely to wind up with her neck-chin situation.

It's kind of funny too because my mom to this day is fit as hell. She is a badass who looks like she could be in a biker gang. She raised us on the crock-pot. That means tons of unprocessed foods with plenty of fiber. Everyone raised by my mom, is physically fit as hell. She beat us as kids, but she also gave us a life of physical health. Personally I'd rather be the abused kid of someone fit, than the pampered kid of a fat bastered guaranteeing their kid gets diabetes one day. If it comes down to a slap in the face or getting my leg sawed off by a doctor? I'll take the slap thanks.

Meanwhile: You obviously shouldn't even yell at your kids, let alone hit them. But when I see a morbidly obese couple walk along with their morbidly obese children? I see two murderers with the children they killed.

I actually had a conversation with my mom the other day, and first off, she probably hates the idea that I write about her, just a guess. I assume this because she was talking about how people think she's Wiccan. I said to her "Wait, you were never Wiccan?" and she replied that she was not. Then I argued "But you used to practice witchcraft." and she said "Yeah, but I was never Wiccan." I then went to Google right in front of her and searched "What religion are people who do witchcraft?" the result "Wicca" was all over it.

Basically, my mom insisted she was not Wicca and was mad that people online thought she was. She also didn't like the fact people called her "Onisi-mom" which I personally think is really witty and fitting. But with the "being a witch" thing... this is one of those situations where if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, I mean... close enough. Especially considering my mom says she has no religion. Round to the nearest, I guess.

To get on point and back to my original implication: My dad missed out because while my mom, in my opinion, is scary if you get on her bad side, if you know how to talk to her, you can actually have a really positive experience. The same applies to most people to a less extreme extent.

There are people who are combative, and don't get why NO ONE understands them or can be chill with them. Those people are called: Socially inept. Then there are people who know how to talk to others, are not combative, and try to figure out what type of conversation would be best for each person. Those are called: Sociopaths (kidding). But my recent strategy to talking to people is to simply avoid the triggers. If you know talking about something will upset someone, you don't do it. That's how socially likable people generally behave. They try to bring out the best in each other, instead of just being jackasses who have to be right all the time.

Problem with my mom and dad is, my dad straight up molested my mom's adult family members, and as I was told, violated a child too. There's no "Talk your way through it" situation there. Divorce was the only option. I mean if he had just cheated on my mom, exclusively with adults, and everyone was consensual, they might be able to go to a therapist and discuss why he is a cheater (again, with adults and consensual) but he had neither of those boxes checked according to what my mom and others have suggested. It was beyond repair. Even so, cheating by itself really is a huge offense. You have to do a lot of work to make up for that (assuming making up for it is even possible).

So, my dad wound up with albino Jabba the Hutt instead of a law-abiding version of a character from Sons of Anarchy, ok, his loss. But now I was living with her and him in a house that was a carbon copy of every house in the neighborhood. We plopped there in sunny Miamisburg Ohio. Looking like the most middle-class white people on earth.

The carpets were all so new and fresh, the house itself was very new and the neighborhood was free of blemishes, cracked paint, anything at all that could be considered ghetto at all. It was just, painfully perfect. Like some "Sunny All-American" cliche of a neighborhood.

I was used to living at the poverty level. I was even on food stamps thanks to my mom's divorce at some point. My father was sketchy with child-support and my mom, despite having a college degree, often liked to pursue jobs that required physical rather than mental labor. We had old cars and lived in a small condo. The condo was maybe 800 square feet for three or four people. The neighborhood we lived in back there however was ok, we were surrounded by houses that all looked different and cool. Additionally, I had come from a state that was gloomy half the year, so it was quite a change.

On top of all that, I was going from a religiously open-minded house to a strictly Christian house. I was still goth, probably an atheist and about to go to a school where about 0.01% of the school was either of those things.

My dad dropped me off to school every day, which was badass. I think I walked home every day as well considering the house wasn't far away. Personally, I think my dad is a really likable guy. Like top notch dad about 95% of the time. The problem is, the other 5%, he's a liar, a child abuser and a sexual predator. Sucks, right? My dad is like a perfect cake, with delicious frosting... only covered in tiny flakes of dog shit for sprinkles. Suddenly, the whole thing is worthless.

Sometimes you just want to sit a person down and scream in their face "Why couldn't you just be a decent person!? Why did you have to ruin my childhood?"

By that time in my life, I hadn't really come to grips with what my father was accused of. I hadn't given it much thought. In fact, it wasn't till I was 19 that I actually took a stand and did some research/made inquiries of my own. Being 14 at the time, I gave my dad the benefit of the doubt, I mean, why would my mom let me live with him if he was really so bad? She also signed over custody to him, so?

My father introduced me to everyone he could in a way that informed them I was now living with him. He was showing off the fact he was a legit dad to all his church members and bask in the glory of being a family man, at last. But first? I had to get a haircut. I had to get new clothes, I had to be his perfect ideal son, not this gothic anti-God nightmare.

He did in fact get me new clothes and insisted I get a haircut. He wanted it short, like his, but I didn't want to budge. It was part of my identity. I agreed to get an inch cut off my hair, so he took me to the barber. Then he told the barber to cut off a lot more than what he agreed with me on. I heard him and called him out in front of everyone. He was trying to go behind my back, having lied to my face about letting me get only an inch off. I wound up not getting my hair butchered like he wanted. I wasn't going to be his "perfect" idea of a son; I was going to be my complicated and conflicted self. I remember the feeling of betrayal, the scheming behind my back, and the fact that he would do anything he could to make me, less like myself. My father lost a lot of trust in that simple moment. We had a deal, he broke it. His word was now worth next to nothing.

At some point we had a conversation about religion while he drove his white, brand-new Pontiac car down the Ohio road. I said I didn't believe in God, and he implied that was fine, and followed his apparent acceptance with saying "God is going to get you Greg." Still sounds like a weird threat. I didn't know how to respond to him saying that, so at the time, I just sat in silence.

At school I saw a girl from across the cafeteria who I thought was hot. She had short black hair, was skinny, had pale skin and looked like a rebel type. I thought about her for a day, and then decided the next time I saw her, I would ask her out. In fact, I did see her soon after, so I walked across the same cafeteria at the same time of day, and asked her out, just as I planned. What I didn't plan for was her being super... unattractive.

See, from a far, this girl looked great, but up close? Yikes. When I realized she was not as attractive as I thought she was, well, I was already standing right in front of her. I have a real problem with "Going with the flow" as to not be awkward or hurt feelings. That much is obvious when someone later in life made it clear that they would destroy my life if I didn't sleep with them, again, me going with the flow and doing what I assume will not hurt the feelings of the nearest female.

Point is, I asked her out, and she, to my disappointment, said yes. So? Our relationship was off. I invited her to hang out with me, she invited me to hang out with her. Just like the other girl, who I was actually in love with, I figured I could adapt. I thought I could make the initial impression that she was unattractive work and transition to some other perspective of her in time. But this girl didn't have the beautiful personality of the last one. She was... lame.

One of the most unattractive things about her? She wrote about 1,000 pages about her in a fictional world with "The Undertaker" (a professional wrestler from the WWE). She asked me to read it, so I said I would, and when she handed me the massive pile of paper, she had handwritten this book on, I had a mini panic attack in my head.

Are you serious? You wrote what looked like 3 novels stacked on top of each other, about a professional wrestler and you in a relationship together? And you want your boyfriend to read it? The last thing I had read was either a Goosebumps book or "On A Pale Horse" both of them, not very long books, and actually interesting.

So, I held onto that for a while, and found another thing about her to feel irritated by. She always wanted me to show affection for her when it was inappropriate. Whether it was putting her arm around her in front of her parents, or other forms of physical affirmation, I just, didn't like being pushed outside my PDA comfort zone. But it was clear, I was her trophy and she wanted to show our relationship off. In private, we just made out whenever we got the opportunity. It wasn't because I wanted to, no. Kissing her actually literally dehydrated my mouth. She had very little saliva, and as a result, got white dry skin marks on the corner of her mouth on a regular basis. Additionally, my mouth felt like crap after the fact, pretty much every time. I was kissing her that much because that's what I did in the last relationship, and I thought that is what would make everything feel normal and ok. Only the last person I had made out with, knew how to kiss, was beautiful (inside and out thanks to what a great person she was to me overall), actually had saliva glands, and had my genuine deep love.

One day as she and I made out on my bed, I could smell urine. The strong smell of urine. It was coming from her pants, like she pissed them, and didn't wash them for weeks. I ignored it and continued to make out till we got to the point where I began unbuttoning her pants. She stopped me from doing it, and I was relived. Again, the reason I did that, is because that is what I did in my last relationship. It was the same progress rate; I was just trying to make up for what I lost and give her what I thought she wanted. But when she stopped my hand? I just continued kissing, and then called it a day.

Later in life, I'd have a similar experience with a 26-year-old. She smelled incredibly awful downstairs, but I continued with that relationship/our physical interactions because again, I felt that was what was expected of me, and I didn't want to hurt her feelings either. The examples of me trying to not hurt people's feelings when I'm in a relationship with them, despite how unhygienic or gross they are, are frequent. I really sell myself short sometimes, and really need to have higher standards.

PSA to everyone: Wash your clothes, and shower, daily. We live in a society.

So, I had tried to unbutton her pants because I thought that's what she wanted and was what I was supposed to do. But her rejection meant I didn't have to go anywhere near that urine-smelling god-knows what situation, and I was happy/in agreement. I'm literally the kind of guy who would ask a girl to marry him if I thought it would avoid offending her. I'm an idiot.

I had been rejected before, in the whole, unbuttoning the pants thing. In fact, you remember the girl who was four years older than me, who I lost my kissing virginity and went all the way to third base with? Well, she did the same thing to me. I tried to unbutton her shorts, and she stopped me, so we just kept kissing, which was great. The third base part came in with our hands going under each other's clothes... unless again, I have no idea what third base is.

So, what was I to do with this girl who I didn't connect with emotionally, smelled like pee, and couldn't find anything desirable about physically? I eventually decided to break it off. And how did she handle getting dumped? Well, her and her friend started spreading rumors that I only wanted sex in that relationship and that I was a "user". But, in response? I just didn't really care about her very typical and very obvious response to rejection. I was just glad I didn't have to be with her anymore as it clearly wasn't working.

When the girl four years older than me, rejected my unbuttoning, I wanted to marry her. I thought she was the one. Why? Because she was beautiful, funny, smart, knew how to shower/clean her clothes & was awesome in general. Sometimes people just need to understand, when you're dumped, sometimes it's just because you're gross. Gotta deal with it. Never rejected or dumped the other girl, because she was actually awesome.

Regardless, she wanted her book about her love story with the man more than twice her age back, and I happily gave it to her. And just an obvious note? Girls trying to get with much older men? It's horrifyingly common. They'll try to trick older men by lying about their age, or otherwise scheming, only to play innocent, it happens, constantly. We're talking disgustingly young people fantasizing about men in their 40's. Watch out for girls, they're perverts. Guys too. I mean I was doing the exact same thing with my teachers. Teenagers are disgusting and devious. Why do you think school shootings happen? Because the shooter is demented, and the students they want to shoot are often bullies/devious/evil as well. Watch out, they are pretty much all, crazy (that means if you're an adult, avoid them like they are the plague, because they are).

Once I was out of the relationship with the Undertaker-obsessed girl, another girl wanted to date me who I felt was terrifying. She was obsessed with me despite us never dating or having much contact at all (like not even hugging). She hung out with me one day after school, and my dad was nice enough to drive her home. When we dropped her off, we realized "This girl lives in the ghetto". She ran into a house that looked like it was straight out of an episode from American Horror Story (not the cool house, the ugly, beat up, half painted, half destroyed house). Her house looked like most houses in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. It was a health and safety crisis if I ever saw one.

That really put things in perspective. That perspective being: I was lucky to live in the boring ass uppity neighborhood I did. This girl had it rough. Also, she and I had no physical chemistry. She reminded me of my middle sister, huge no-go for me.

We continued to be friends, but another girl caught my eye. She was a red haired, freckled, pale-skinned (stop, I don't have a type, I just needed more ebony ladies in my life, and they were rare where I lived) girl with beautiful eyes. She was one year older than me (score) and was willing to hang out with me after school too which was awesome. The problem? She hurt my masculinity, deeply.

When I brought her over, she seemed really happy to be hanging out with me. I thought she was out of my league, as a lot of people say I don't know how attractive I am (still not sure what they mean, guess I'm an idiot). We were having a good conversation till she mentioned that most guys, in her opinion, had at least a "10 inch" penis or bigger. I stared blankly at her... mine was 6 inches. So? Wow.

We weren't kissing at any point or anything like that. We were just platonic friends. But the conversation that came up was pretty horrifying. I thought to myself, "If she thinks most dudes are 10 inches or bigger, I will never be able to satisfy her if we do ever date." and that was it. No hope of ever pursuing her if it meant I would just dissapoint her. How sad right? Such a basic statement made me avoid this girl like she was an alien with zero human reproductive organs or something. I just wasn't interested in being with someone who I could never satisfy. I want the person I'm with to be happy and think of me as perfect for them. How could I be perfect if I was tiny to her?

In hindsight? She was probably one of those people who thinks a 6-inch penis is like 12 inches because they failed shop class or something. I saw a viral video that made fun of girls who have no concept of what measurements are, made me think of this probable reality. The truth is, according to Google results, the average penis is anywhere from 4.5 inches to 7 inches. In the US, it's 5.3. In other words, I'm boring, and I had nothing to worry about. I just ruined a chance because I assumed she knew what an inch was. Fact is? 10 inches is not the average anywhere on Earth. From the looks of how much she liked me, we both missed an opportunity to explore our potential just because we found ourselves in a conversation that was superficial and pointless.

At some point while I was going to school in Miamisburg, I decided to bring the Goth side of me back. My father had tried to convert me over the summer, but I wasn't having it. I wanted to be me again. I couldn't wear many black clothes, as I didn't have many left, but I was able to get a brown trench coat and draw all over it with permanent marker to "express myself".

The few goths in the school noticed me and gave me the silent head gesture of "What's up" whenever I walked past them. I was already in. Yet I never really hung out with them as the goth group and I, never really had lunches together. So, I just continued to hang out with the oddball group. My posse? The hot ginger who thought the average guy was a horse, the ghetto girl from the horror house, and a few other folks I don't really remember, unfortunately.

One day, 10th grade, I was up on the second floor of the school in my history class. This is a day an idiot reporter would argue with me decades later about as it was in favor of his insane narrative of me that I was nowhere near Ohio on this day. Yet on this day, my teacher wheeled a TV into the classroom, right after she had left the room for 10 minutes inexplicably.

On the 24-inch, retro black cubed shaped TV mounted on a two-tier gray metal cart, was the image of a massive burning building. Next to the burning building? And identical building that was not yet on fire.

The class sat there, mostly muttering among themselves, as they watched the World Trade Center burn. We watched the second plane hit and we continued to be confused/shocked by what we were seeing.

At the time, I knew nothing of the World Trade Center. On this day, September 11th, 2001, I was just some kid, who was in his class, watching mystery buildings burn. They could have been in China for all I knew.

The memory of 9-11 isn't that significant to me due to the fact that I didn't really understand what was going on. Not long after the planes both hit, we heard an explosion from a nearby military base. As I was informed by my dad later, those were not in fact explosions, but instead, the sounds of jets taking off and going extremely fast. You know, the might of the US Air Force.

They were headed to police the skies, as our country, was apparently, under attack.

And that's it. I know right? What a shitty 9-11 experience. There are no extreme emotions, no insane reactions, no antics or special stories. It's just a boring "Oh, yeah, I saw that in class. And... yeah." Why? Because that's how reality works for most people.

Nothing in this book is here just for the sake of entertaining others. This is just a book about what I went through, and some things? Just weren't very interesting.

Reality is, whenever we were forced, and I mean, forced, to say the pledge of allegiance in class, I often made fun of the God part, refused to say the pledge or straight up mimed it. Why? Because I didn't mean a damn word. I also didn't know anyone who crashed in the flight, I didn't know the people who were behind the crash, I didn't know the buildings or the people in them. I had never been to the city where this happened, so what am I supposed to do? Lose my mind with inexplicable agony? No. I treated it like any other disaster from across the world, "Oh, that's unfortunate. I hope it works out for them." You know, the equivalent of what all the hero celebrities' tweet "Thoughts & Prayers".

My middle-sister joined the Air Force shortly after that. She may have been more impacted by 9-11 than me. I didn't really gain my interest in war films, patriotism or any of that till a couple years later. At the time, I was just a dumb kid who had resentment towards my fellow students, my school, my state, my country and my life.

This is a book about reality. What happened in my life isn't always as magical or bizarre aa a Stephen King or J.K. Rowling novel. Real life: It is what it is.

You know what was also a big deal to me that same year? I realized "Stephen King" is spelled with a PH.

Anyway, America went on to kill over a million Iraqi civilians. People who weren't even really a big part of the attacks. On top of that evil? A kid in my class said, "I wish I was on that plane, I would have stopped them, I would have killed them, and if it was a woman terrorist?" Guess what he said. Take a wild guess, what this idiot American kid said he would do if he was on the plane, with the female terrorist.

This "brave", "noble" American boy, said he'd rape the terrorist, before he killed her.

Excuse me?

I jumped up in the very same History class I was in when we first witnessed the attack. The moment I heard this boy admit he would be a rapist, I said, "What did you just say!?" in front of all the other students. The boy fell really silent and was a lot less cocky when I confronted his admission that he would rape a terrorist. I added "What you just said, is disgusting."

He looked at me like I was a traitor to this county and a traitor to men. The idiotic worse he muttered before are part of what triggered me to go through a feminist phase, and hate men more than ever.

I was like someone running on a log in the water, just trying to find my moral balance. This shit sent me sprinting.


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Unknown member
Jul 14, 2022

Well, this was another interesting read, except for the 9-11 part. The transition from the beginning of the chapter and the 9-11 section was a bit off and it kinda lost me, but maybe I was so fixated on the relationship aspects of the chapter that I just lost the connection. I'll just chalk it up to my own interpretation rather than your writing. I also found myself reliving my own life experiences as I read yours. My life was much better than yours in many ways, except, me being a Gay guy in a straight world back in the day, so my experiences were more treacherous and guarded. How I would have loved to have felt so free and…

Unknown member
Jul 14, 2022
Replying to

Glad I could help. I always read your stories twice. Once to take in the story and a second time to look at it more objectively and hopefully give you some constructive advice on the overall flow of the story. I know from my own work, it's always good to have another pair of eyes to see my work and to offer anything that will help me improve it. Sometimes I follow their advice, but sometimes I don't. It depends on the effect I'm going for. I can't wait for the next chapter and the audio version. Great work so far. You should be proud.


Unknown member
Jul 14, 2022

Wow to all of this. 🙁 I wasn't told much of anything when it happened, but...I had just turned 16 on the 8th, & I was in the hospital (center) on the 11th. The nurses and staff turned the "reward" televisions on infront of people who had severe mental illnesses. It terrified some people (one person thought it was happening around us and she needed to watch outside the windows), I can remember one person jumping around oddly excited (he bragged to me about his schizophrenia, and often spoke about aliens.)

Most people went back into their rooms.

The nurses told us almost nothing, they were just gasping, yelling, gossiping. I can remember standing there watching for what felt like…

Unknown member
Jul 14, 2022
Replying to

It was. It was relative put in a complaint. Didn't matter then.


Unknown member
Jul 13, 2022

Again I have no right to judge anyone and if any of my comments about your parents have offended you then I really am sorry for that is not my intention. I’m a Christian. I know you are not. Your dad’s whole “God is going to get you Greg” remark bothers me. I think a lot of people are turned off of God because of how many “Christians “ act. I can’t force anyone to believe in something they don’t want to and imo, I don’t think God would want someone to believe in Him because they were forced or scared into doing it. I don’t understand everything about God or the Bible but I believe God is a God…

Unknown member
Jul 13, 2022
Replying to

I think taking any religion seriously is odd. Considering there are thousands of religions, and all the people in them think they're right about their religion... it all just seems a bit self-evident.


Unknown member
Jul 13, 2022

I'm sorry but I laughed at the part about custard. Now I understand why you hate that word 😂 It is an ugly word though.

I was 10 years old when 9/11 happened and my class was in the gym. Our homeroom teacher brought us back to the classroom and turned on the TV to what was happening. I remember this one kid laughing a little bit, saying it wasn't real and the teacher said it was. Of course, being a kid you don't understand what's happening or what to think when a big tragedy is happening.

Unknown member
Jul 13, 2022
Replying to

So true.

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