friends

another assignment for my writing course. i got full marks on this one too! we had to write about the change that occurred in a person – in the ‘once i was ____; now i am ____’ format, with changes if needed. i decided to do this because i’d been reading/watching some very morbid things.

it’s inspired by the stories of jeffrey dahmer and dennis nilsen, as well as one episode of psycho pass.

Once I was lonely; now I have friends.  Regardless of the blissful nature of that statement, I’ve been told my story isn’t a very nice story at all. That, I believe, is not something that should be left for others to decide. My perceptions should be the only ones relevant when it comes to my life.

‘Friends’ – a subjective term. There are many different ideas of friendship. ‘Friends with benefits’ is a form of friendship, with added features that most people would not commonly accept as within the barriers of a platonic relationship. Friendships after break-ups are also friendships, but here there are extra memories thrown into the equation – things friends would not be doing, or would not be saying to each other.

Kissing your friends isn’t usually what falls under the social construction of ‘friendship’. Sleeping with your friends is a significant ways away from the barrier. I don’t see why society should be able to dictate that, though. There are many, many, many different kinds of friendship.

Widely accepted, however, is the idea that friends are people with whom one has bonds of mutual affection. How many people can relate to that? How many self-conscious, introverted children find themselves subject to the cruelty of adolescent peer pressure, at the wrong end of pointing fingers, surrounded by people but so alone at the same time? Not many, maybe, but there are enough. Enough for it to be a problem – one that the world doesn’t assign much relevance to.

I had no friends in middle school. As the only child of a single mother who was always drunk and stoned, shorter than all the boys and half the girls in my grade, with a slight lisp that was obvious every time I spoke, I was the target of most of the school’s oppression. Harsh term to use, but when you’re young, stupid and helpless, even the smallest of things can seem like torture. It pushed me into my cavern, and the deep rooted hatred that had settled within me by the time I graduated from middle school didn’t leave when I moved on to high school, and then on to college. Maybe, now that I think about it, the roots of my ‘problem’, as it is labeled by others, settled during this time.

Before I continue, I would like to make one thing quite clear. I do not see anything wrong with what I have done, or am capable of doing. I have not spent any sleepless nights, have not woken up from any nightmares, feel absolutely no guilt about anything that has come to pass during the past fifteen years of my life. I’ve been told I am a monster, but if that were true, I’m sure I’d know it too.

In 1978, a few weeks after I turned twenty four, I moved into my first house – the first that was entirely my own; a one bedroom house with a small garden, that I wouldn’t have to share with anyone. I was in a good mood. I had finally escaped from the hellhole previously called ‘home’, and I was employed. I had my own house.

I visited the bar across the street, sometime around nine-thirty. I had no one to celebrate with, but that was alright. It was a new area, unfamiliar people – I would make friends, get to know people. I met a girl in the bar. She might have been a hooker, but I never asked and she never said. She gave me a flirtatious smile from across the bar as she approached, and sat next to me, leaning too close. Her perfume smelled sweet.

She asked me my name, and said my lisp was cute. She laughed at my jokes and congratulated me on my achievements. Her name was Katherine and she had red hair. She was pretty, and the looks she received all night said I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

Around two in the morning when the bar was closing, I asked Katherine if she wanted to come home with me. She batted her eyelashes and smiled, asking me to lead the way. I took her to my apartment and as she stepped inside, it occurred to me out of nowhere that she wasn’t here to stay. Of course she wasn’t – no one ever is. Maybe she was just another one of those people, who shot spitballs at the smaller, more average people in the school hallways, who smiled sweetly while her voice dripped with venom when she spoke to someone else, who was probably only here for sex, not for me. Maybe this was all just a façade.

It was, wasn’t it? She was just another girl at the bar. Maybe Katherine wasn’t even her name. I watched her take off her coat, and undid the top button of her shirt. I spun her around and pushed her down to the floor, wrapping my hands around her neck, pressing until her face turned blue, her movements weak.

I remember she said something – I’m not entirely sure what, because I wasn’t paying attention. She went limp within a few minutes, a look of sheer panic and horror etched upon her pretty face. There were marks on her neck from where I’d pressed too hard. I wasn’t sure what had happened. She didn’t reply when I called her name. Maybe she was asleep, I thought. Maybe she was just tired. It was late.

She’d wake up in a bit, I thought, and pulled her to her feet, caught her when she wouldn’t stand and helped her sit on the sofa. She didn’t wake up. She was sound asleep. I sat down next to her and told her I’d been scared she was going to leave me. I asked her if she was going to leave me, and she didn’t respond. I took that as a no, because if she wanted to leave, she’d have left already. It filled me with a sense of ease. I fell asleep there on the sofa, with my head resting upon her shoulder. When it was time for work, I lay her down in my bed, got dressed and left.

Her body was cold when I got back in the evening. I stripped her of her clothes and carried her to the bathroom, laying her in the bathtub to clean her body. There was a stick of concealer in her bag, and I used whatever little knowledge I had of cosmetics to hide the blemishes on her neck. She looked peaceful – like she was happy to be there with me, like she was enjoying the time we spent together. Katherine was my first friend. I laid her in my bed again, and slept next to her that night.

The next day, a Saturday, I cut off a strand of her hair and kept it safely in a plastic Ziploc bag. There was a knife on the kitchen counter. I used it to cut open her chest and take out her heart. I washed it carefully and placed it neatly in a plate. Then I cut up and packed her body away into a few large garbage bags. I burnt them in a bonfire in the garden. A few people came to watch and smiled at me through the smoke.

I kept the bag with her hair in my closet and made a stew out of her heart. Katherine was my first, my only friend, and now she was going to be with me forever. She would really have been happy for me, I thought. I was getting better at feeling good about myself. She’d have been so proud.

I spent two years in that house. I made six more friends during that time. There were seven different Ziploc bags in my closet, seven different strands of hair of seven unique colours. I looked at them every night before I slept, feeling content, because I wasn’t alone. I had friends.

My new house was an apartment. I had nice neighbours – friendly, welcoming people. I didn’t care much for them, though. I didn’t think I wanted to be friends with them. They weren’t my type. They were too loud, and, I thought, they looked like they would leave me at any given chance. Still, I wasn’t going to spend my time there being a loner again. I was going to make new friends. I’d decided that when I’d graduated college – that I’d meet new people at every stage of my life.

My first friend in that house was a man around my age, give or take a year. He had blue eyes and very nice skin – it was soft and well cared for, I could tell. I met him at the train station, and offered him a place to stay while he went house hunting. He gladly accepted, and I had a guest in the spare bedroom.

He didn’t spend much time in the apartment itself. He left too much, too early, came home too late. I didn’t like it. He called us friends, but he wasn’t acting like one. He wasn’t being friendly enough. I offered him a drink while he watched T.V. It had crushed sedatives in it. He didn’t realize. He fell asleep soon enough, and I carried him to the bathroom, and submerged him in the water. I kept my hand on his face to keep him in, and noticed that he was remarkably weak against me during the struggle.

I pulled him out when all signs of respiratory activity had stopped. He was beautiful – his face looked younger and more illuminated than it had while he was alive. I dressed him and carried him to the couch. We watched T.V together. I told him I was sorry if I’d hurt him somehow. I didn’t want my friends to be angry with me. The loneliness that had followed me for most of my life was starting to fade away and I didn’t want to go back to it. I was happy now.

At midnight, I helped him to bed – he wasn’t feeling too good, probably. He couldn’t even walk. I smiled at him and whispered good night, then went back to my room. I fell asleep immediately.

There was no garden in this house, so I had to put more effort. I diced up his flesh and organs into miniscule pieces – save for his heart of course – and flushed them down the toilet. I crushed his bones to ash and sprinkled them in the fireplace. I kept his head in acid for a few hours until the flesh had dissolved off. I painted his skull to make it look plastic and used that to decorate my bare living room. It felt nice – like he was watching over me, because friends do that, don’t they?

There were two more friends in this house. Once was a girl named Jessica, and the other, I don’t know. I think she might never have gotten the chance to tell me her name, because I would have remembered if she had.

On the twenty first of December, 1982, my neighbours complained about their drains being blocked. The plumbers came to investigate, and I listened in from my window. A bewildered discussion about flesh and bones in the drains, and a mutual agreement on taking the issue to the police.

When the police arrived the next day, I bid them hello while they eyed the drains with horror and suspicion and went up to my apartment. I took out a bottle of whisky and sat myself on the sofa, ignoring Jessica’s head on the counter. I hadn’t had the chance to buy more acid yet.

After some time, there was a knock at the door. The police held up a fragment of what looked like bone and told me it was human. I nodded. I knew that.

“That’s terrible,” I said, and when they told me it was found in the drains that led to my apartment, I didn’t offer any resistance. One of them held me tightly to prevent escape, though I didn’t try or want it anyway. The other went around my house. I felt a certain satisfaction when he came out of the kitchen looking green.

I’d always been timid. I couldn’t be assertive if I tried. I wouldn’t try either. I would give in to whatever happened, and that’s what was happening now. I gave in to the police. But I knew Jessica had tried to stand up for me. Jessica had glared holes at the police officer, intimidating him, even in her decapitated state.

I haven’t made any friends since then. I don’t know who to be friends with – I don’t get the chance to make any either. I don’t know what the police did to the friends I had before. I don’t know where they are now – if they’re in the same place I left them, or the police went about with their business after they forced their locations out of me.

That’s okay, though. It’s been fifteen years since I felt lonely. It’s been more than a decade, and I don’t remember what it was like to be that way. All I know – all I care about, is that I have friends, no matter where they are. And I know they’ll be with me forever.

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