August 11th, 2006.
We spoke constantly; a lot more on the phone, and mainly at night. He actually had a very sexy voice to listen to, so I really enjoyed speaking to him. It was manly, but not too deep. It sounded something like a bedroom voice. I wanted to completely erase his looks from my brain and try and fall for who he was. I started to see the positives in him. Other than his personality, I did still want to try and find what I liked about him physically. His voice and his eyes were my favourite. He had these dark blue eyes with hints of hazel brown in some sections once the sun hit them. As long as I could concentrate on that and who he was as a person, I knew I’d fall for everything he was.
By this day, he had asked me twice before if I wanted to be his girlfriend. This night, he tried one more time.
‘Yes, okay, let’s give it a go. I’ll be your girlfriend.’
It made him so happy. I was in two minds, but I really just wanted to do the right thing. Well, I thought it was the right thing. He said he would be in my area the next day to visit cousins. We would arrange to meet.
August 12th, 2006.
Every Saturday after Greek school, my cousin and I would have KFC at our local shopping mall. This is where I told him to meet me. I convinced my auntie who dropped us off that we wanted to go watch a movie too, so that she could go home and let my cousin, a friend and I hang out.
‘Hi boyfriend,’ I said to him as I walked toward the counter, while he was sitting in one of the booths. I felt awkward uttering the word ‘boyfriend’ and associating it with him. I was really hoping he wouldn’t touch me. I just didn’t feel it. I knew I’d have to kiss him eventually, but I was not looking forward to that either. The whole thing was screaming something wasn’t right.
After we ate, we went into the cinema. My cousin and her friend would sit apart from me and my new boyfriend. After a bit of chat, and a quiet laugh, we eventually had our first kiss. It was a disaster. He claimed that he had a ‘hurricane tongue’ and that’s what girls he kissed before named him. I found it hard to believe he had kissed other girls, let alone got a reputation for it. But, I laughed and told him he needed to calm down. Though, I had little to no kissing experience, I felt that I could be a natural and guided him to a less sloppy and softer kiss. It felt wrong to kiss him, but still, I made him my boyfriend, and I had to deal with everything that came with it.
The movie finished, we departed into different locations so that the parents who were picking either of us up didn’t see who else we were with. It would be hard to catch up often.
September 22nd, 2006.
He was turning eighteen the next day and I got him a teddy bear. It was brown and fluffy, and it was holding a red love heart which had ‘I [heart] you’ stitched in it. I let him come to my house to meet my mum and so that I could see him for his birthday. We sat outside on the stairs to the front door of my house. He had plans to go to the Royal Melbourne Show with friends, which I wasn’t allowed to go to, so we only had a little bit of time before he had to walk to the train station around the corner from my street.
We were still so early in our relationship and as much as I liked him as a person, being with him intimately, even a hug or a peck on the lips made me feel so uncomfortable. Regardless, I was determined to get used to it; get used to being with him.
June 3rd, 2007.
Despite getting my license, the two hour drive between us, and the fact that we had been together for ten months, Mum never let me make the drive to his side of town. So, he willingly, well I believe willingly, would pick me up every Sunday morning, drive me down to his and then drive me back up at night. I had TAFE on Monday’s, so I could never stay over. With that, my mum would lose it if I even asked her if I could stay with him the night. See, for most ethnic families, regardless if you’re eighteen, there is still no freedom. Gee, I’m twenty-eight now and I still have to ask for permission sometimes.
I never really wanted to be alone with him. I always preferred the company of others and him just there on the side. I bluntly told him I never really wanted alone time. I requested him, well, no, more like demanded him to organise more catch ups with friends, so that we spent less time alone together. At least if we were with other people, we wouldn’t have to interact too much with each other. Ten months later and I still couldn’t bare the thought of being alone with him. If it wasn’t for the title we had, we’d probably get along really well. But we were more than friends, and so being alone, meant holding each other, talking about our feelings, and all that comes with being someone’s girl. I was getting impatient with my feelings for him. I disliked him in that way so much that I even hated everything we spoke about. I felt like we had dumb conversations. Hence why, I asked him to make dates with friends and family to minimise the time we spent alone. I hoped this would help me like him more, if I saw how others could love him so easy.
Often when he came down to my area, we would stick around and catch up with the friends he had around me. He used to live in my area, so he still considered a lot of the friends he had up my way as close mates. There was one in particular I had a lot of mutual friends with. He was very attractive and funny, so I enjoyed visiting him. I caught myself flirting with him a bit with my boyfriend right next to me. I’d feel bad, but I couldn’t help it. He wasn’t very masculine, but he was more on the cute side of good looking. He had medium length black hair that he styled neatly to go with the trend at the time. He and I would banter a bit so I think that was the other thing that made me attracted to him. I was always faithful though, and despite thinking what if, I would never go there. That was never in my nature.
We would also visit his cousins that lived my way. One thing I adored about his family was the amount of laughs I had with them. They had jokes and banter coming out of everywhere. It was such a positive space to be around, though feeling so negative about him. I always wondered if they noticed the awkwardness between us.
June 10th, 2007.
We never got up to much on those Sunday’s in his area, but I did like being there. He lived a ten minute drive from the beach, and the streets were full of beautiful big trees that acted like an arch over the road. The trees were full of blossoms during the spring, and fallen brown leaves during autumn left no room for grass, concrete or gravel to make an appearance from underneath. It was a stunning location, whereas my area was more of a ghetto. Fences full of graffiti, abandoned warehouses, shopping trolleys left on almost every nature strip.
My boyfriend’s dad was forced to move the family down the other side of our city because of a big promotion which was in that location. It was a no-brainer. It was easier to move than to drive two hours every day.
When in his area, we would spend time with either friends he had there, or his sisters. We would hang out with friends such as the couple I had met at that first meeting. We would go out with his sisters, or bring home fish and chips to eat and watch movies, and have a laugh at his house. I liked his family. It had its dysfunctions as does any family, but they really embraced me. They were funny. I liked and still like people who can make me laugh until I cried and maybe peed my pants. He and his family did that for me. I think that was the main reason I stuck around.
June 17th, 2007.
By this stage I had the nerve to begin bullying him. I must have gotten quite comfortable by then, because I started asking him to lose weight and get himself a job; two more of my many demands. If I remember right, he was working at the fish and chips shop in his area. He never really had future ambitions. He had no prospects. He had no goals. I was at TAFE, determined to get into university, and was a passionate high achiever. No matter where I was, I’d get better and bigger, even if that meant getting into a higher position with my time at McDonald’s. I was never going to settle for less. The opportunities within the company were endless, and I knew that. With that, I also had the dream that I was studying for. That’s what separated him from me.
In regards to his weight, I didn’t exactly go about it in the right way. I wanted him to lose the weight for me, not for himself and his actual health. I wanted him to work at making himself more attractive for me. It was selfish. I wouldn’t say I was skinny, or fit, or toned for that matter, but I was not overweight either. Standing next to me, he didn’t seem good enough. It was shallow, I know, but it was fact. To me, he had nothing going for me. But I liked him as a person. I promised myself that I would continue to try and focus on that, but it was hard.
September 1st, 2007.
He had this one female friend who was a carefree, pretty girl that all the boys wanted. She was the type who could draw on the walls of her room, who had a nose ring, and believed in dream catchers. She even had one tattooed on her right shoulder blade of a lion roaring. She had amazing legs and mysterious brown eyes. I couldn’t resist her, so I could only imagine how easy it was for guys to fall for her.
He was terribly close to her. They did a lot together. Though I never thought she would go for him, I was afraid of how he may have felt for her.
Whenever it came to her, I was always throwing cheap shots, stating the obvious that I was jealous and didn’t like her.
I found a photo on his phone of her in one of his big jumpers. That’s not right, right? That’s a girlfriend thing. I slept in his jumpers. I cried and we fought about it for hours. I just didn’t like him being so close to her.
I pretended to like her to her face, though. You know the saying; keep your enemies closer. This was the only time I was ever fake with someone, because though he knew I didn’t appreciate her being around, I’d still care enough for him to hang out with her, and when we were, I’d pretend I was her best friend.
Who was the bad guy?
November 29th, 2007.
Unfortunately, everything I disliked about him over-weighed the positive. So we fought… a lot. We fought so much we decided we’d take a break.
As soon as we decided to go on this ‘break’, I got myself a bellybutton piercing. He got himself a forearm tattoo. We did still communicate, but to the absolute minimal. During these minimal conversations, I mentioned to him that I had planned to go to the Gold Coast with my friends. He wasn’t happy about it, possibly because if shit hit the fan, he wouldn’t be able to come and defuse it. Or, if he knew there was another guy around, he wouldn’t be able to get there to stop anything from happening. He too was a bit territorial. This was the other thing I disliked about him. He, in some way, controlled me. He was very jealous. I may have wanted him to lose weight, and asked to hang out with others to prevent alone time, but I never stopped him from wanting to venture out into the world. But, he never had those sorts of desires. I think because he knew I was ‘pretty’ and he wasn’t, I could go out anywhere and get myself another guy if I wanted to. It made him really insecure, being with me. As much as I was uncomfortable being with him, I think he too would have known how bad I was for him. We were both poison to each other. We were both dumb.
December 14th, 2007.
I went to the Gold Coast for the first time with three of my closest friends; one of which had just broken up with her boyfriend of two years (and the same one who came with me to the mall to meet him), another who had a strange, long distance relationship with her boyfriend, and the other had a boyfriend nobody knew about. For those six days, I felt free and happy. There was no chance I’d get back with him. Even though we had plans to come back to each other when the time was right, and this break was just to rejuvenate us, I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do. I was better off letting him go and not leading him on this wild goose chase anymore. It would be unfair for the both of us.
January 2nd, 2008.
We had gotten back together again.
My Greek best friend that introduced me to my first boyfriend wasn’t happy about that. She was never a fan of his. Our relationship was estranged when I got with him the first time, so I was afraid getting back with him meant her and I would stop being close friends again.
On this day I spent it with her and her family because it was her birthday. Even though it was her day, it was an attack on me.
‘You’ve changed. You used to hang with us more and tell us everything,’ this was her little sister talking.
‘I haven’t changed,’ I repeated the words so many times. They weren’t lying though. I did change. I devoted my time and effort on something I wasn’t into, who semi-controlled me, and I was exhausted by it. It changed me. I wasn’t the bubbly, out-going type anymore.
‘We don’t like him. He doesn’t let you hang out with us and he’s ugly. You can do better,’ my friend confidently said.
I defended myself, and him. Their attacks were unbearable and hurtful. I stopped talking to her and her sister after that conversation. It took until late 2009 to talk to them again.
April 5th, 2008
It was my nineteenth birthday weekend and I wanted to go out to a club. It was Catholic Easter long weekend so, many were off from work or didn’t have university the coming week, and most of us being Orthodox, didn’t have Easter duties of our own until the week or two after anyway. My cousin was in charge of a night at a club in Melbourne city, so he let me and a few friends come in for free, and gave me heaps of drink cards.
My boyfriend didn’t like clubbing, nor did he like drinking and everything that came with clubbing. He hated dance music, and I loved it. Just before I turned nineteen, I was getting into my dance music phase. I was evolving and he was just stuck. At least he made the effort, I guess. There were so many signs that we should not have been together, but he was the nice guy. I wanted to be with the nice guy. Without saying it out loud, I knew he didn’t want to let me go, because he was so insecure with himself, he didn’t think he could ever get another girl. I decided at this point that I too would never be with anybody ever again. So, I settled. As unhappy as it made me, I stayed.
May 18th, 2009.
We attempted to have sex for the first time. I was stiff and completely groused out by the idea of having it with him. To me, sex was an important part of life because it had to be special, and I wasn’t willing to give it up to anybody. I knew I wanted to make sure I was truly and deeply in love with the man I’d allow to take my virginity. I knew he wasn’t going to be my first. And he wasn’t. This should have been our other sign. Almost at two years together, and we had still not taken that step.
July 25th, 2008.
The fighting was unbearable. We fought for nothing. No reason. Just to fight, over such small things. They were all such stupid arguments that I could not recall one. They were not important. Regardless, ‘I loved him’.
With our two years coming up in a couple of weeks, I decided I’d buy him a ring. ‘Always & Forever’ was the sweet little thing we’d say to each other. I had it engraved with our anniversary date inside the rim of the ring.
We were together for almost two years, and we did not yet achieve what most couples did by then.
It was the beginning of the end.
to be continued…