Let’s do another for the I Can’t Keep a Friend series!
Well, technically, I am still “friends ” with Rhonda. On Facebook. But we never, ever talk or comment on each other’s statuses. Ever. We just rub each other the wrong way. Strange, I guess, since she was my best friend all through high school.
After my Aunt Francie‘s abuse had escalated to intolerable levels, I ran away from her home to live in Rhonda’s bedroom with her until I graduated. This was with the permission of Rhonda’s mother, of course, with whom she still resided; although she had graduated from high school the year before.
I had been to Rhonda’s house many times before I ran away from home, so I knew what I was getting into, but I didn’t know it was going to suck as much as it did. She was, as I thought privately, (I never said this to her face of course), still pretty much in diapers and on a leash as far as her mother was concerned. Her mother had no husband or boyfriend, Rhonda was all that she had and had graduated high school already, and her mother was loathe to let her go. She was doing everything she could to keep Rhonda from moving out. Even though Rhonda was a legal adult and a high school graduate at that point, she still allowed her mother to smother her.
In addition to smother mother, Rhonda also lived with their 4 dogs and a cat. These animals never went outside of the house. Ever. There were poos all over the place – two of the dogs lived in the kitchen, and two lived back in her mother’s bedroom, which was across the hall from Rhonda’s room. I never saw those two dogs or the inside of her mother’s bedroom – but I could smell them – and I hated those fucking dogs. I couldn’t so much as open the bathroom door or sneeze or fart back in Rhonda’s room without those goddamned dogs yapping and yarking their goddamned heads off, which in turn would get Rhonda’s mom to bitching and yelling.
Strange and sucky enough yet? No?
Of course not.
The cat belonged to Rhonda exclusively – her mother didn’t like the animal – so it lived eternally shut inside of her bedroom. The poor thing’s litter box had overflowed, leaked, congealed, molded and then repeated said process several times. She had a sizable walk-in closet but it was so crammed with stuff that she kept all of her clothes in an unfolded and badly wrinkled pile in her bathtub – which the cat also frequently used as its toilet since the litter box had for some time been turned into some sick science experiment. She would wear these pissed on, shit on clothes to school and/or to her office job!
Also, most pets have a set (or two) of bowls and those are the designated pet bowls. At Rhonda’s house? No way. Every day, new milk and food bowls were put down. Were the old ones taken up, though? Washed, maybe put away?
What do you think?
It gets worse. Way worse.
I don’t know what mental illness Rhonda and her mother were gripped by – I had never met people like them before or since. I hope I never do again.
This was their mentality –
I blew my nose. Should I throw my snot tissue in the garbage? What garbage? Floor. Dog will eat it.
I pulled great and dandruffy gobs of hair out of my nasty hairbrush. Should I throw it in the garbage? What garbage? Floor. Dog will eat it and yark up a hairy mess later, which will be ignored until it’s reduced to another moldy, rotten spot on the carpet. If the yark is right in a main walkway, we’ll just throw more newspaper down on top of the layers of moldy, piss and shit stained papers that are already there, to stomp and shuffle through.
Oh, ew. My used tampon. Garbage? Of course not. Let’s throw it onto the molding mess on the sagging, rotting floor surrounding the toilet, where it will stay conceivably forever. Dogs are not allowed in the bathroom lest they try to eat THAT mess too. Or lest, maybe, the rotting floor finally caves in. (A thought that often disconcerted me as both Rhonda and her mother were big broads – Rhonda was pushing 300 lbs. and her mother exceeded it).
The first night I spent there, Rhonda was pushing filth aside to make room for me to sleep on her bedroom floor. She didn’t have a bed for herself either, she slept on a collapsed, filth-dingy sofa.
A foot or so from where I’d be sleeping was a backpack with a moldy black banana and a baggie with several crushed cookies spilling out of it. A very solid and well-established stream of ants flowed to and from the crushed cookies and the windowsill. She said, “the ants have been there for a couple of months now! Just step over them”.
These were the conditions that I moved into willingly. This tells how bad my aunt’s abuse had become and how seriously I had taken her literal death threat against me (detailed in the blog entry about her).
Living with Rhonda was a nightmare. Of course, in TX, in a house with that kind of a mess going on inside, you might expect cockroaches. Lots and lots of cockroaches.
Joe’s Apartment didn’t have a thing on this place.
School let out 2 hours before Rhonda’s office job ended for the day, so for the first week or so I was allowed by Rhonda’s mother to come to their house and go to Rhonda’s room on days that I didn’t work at my after-school pizza job.
I developed a game that I called, cleverly enough, Bug Stompin’ Time. When I would go back into her dark bedroom which had been left undisturbed for many hours and snapped on the ceiling light, cockroaches would flee in great and sickening waves in all directions. I would rush in and stomp the shit out of as many as I could before they had all fled into hiding. I could usually manage to get quite a few. 3 or 4 dozen, easy. By morning, when she got ready for work and I got ready for school they would be gone, no sign of them were left. The crispy little corpses had, of course, been hauled off and devoured in the night by others of their kind.
Ah yes – you do remember the part where I was sleeping on her floor, right? If I didn’t sleep completely under a sheet with it squashed underneath me all the way around, I would wake up with my face covered in cockroaches, and sometimes the sheet would slip while I slept, and I would wake up with one of those nasty bastards biting at my lip or the corner of an eye, or worse, trying to stuff its hairy self up my nostril. It was a sickening and distressful situation. From one bad mess right into another!
Par for the course.
Even though I kept the suitcase that I was living out of tightly zipped, my clothes and stuff were full of the bugs soon enough. When I fled from my aunt’s house, I had grabbed several trash bags full of my stuff, but still, I had to leave many things behind. The trash bags of stuff I had managed to salvage sat in Rhonda’s room for a couple of weeks before I got my pizza paycheck and was able to box the stuff and ship it to my mother’s house, where I would be going to live for a few months after I graduated (but before I headed to the town of my birth in an effort at getting the damage caused to my face by my aunt, and the subsequent Dead Rot dealt with by my original plastic surgeon). My mother lived in an area where cockroaches do not thrive, and she had never had them in her house before – until my boxes of stuff infected her house. I heard about that several times in the two to three years it took for those filthy bastards to die off and disappear from her house.
One day during the roughly two hour gap between my return from school and Rhonda’s return from work, I took it upon myself to clean up her room a little bit. There wasn’t a whole lot I could do with a mess like that, but I cleaned up the backpack food mess and I dumped the cat box – what I could of it, anyway, some of it was permanently mold-glued onto the box, so I set it in some hot, soapy water in their sorry excuse for a back yard (a space which was about 1 foot by three feet). I picked up all sorts of little trash, the hairballs and the snot rags and whatnot, and I vacuumed up what I could of misc. mess, cockroaches, and ants. I also took the rotting sea of cat food bowls, many still half-filled with molded cockroach-encrusted cat food or congealed, drowned-cockroach-encrusted milk, to the kitchen, scraped what I could into the garbage disposal and set them in a hot soapy sink to soak. I don’t remember anymore how many there were but it had to be between 20 and 30. It was gross and weird and horrible.
Rhonda’s mother was home while I did all this, of course she was – I wasn’t allowed to be there alone. She slept in her chair with her head thrown back and her mouth gaped open in front of a loudly blasting talk show, even through the dogs rooing and the vacuuming and the bowl-clanking, scraping and washing.
When Rhonda came home, she was livid. They made me sit in her room while they conferred about me in the living room, and then they called me in and gave me hell. I was actually in trouble for cleaning her room! Bitch should have been thanking me for cleaning up what I could of that disgusting mess!!
She was mad that I had “fucked with her ant friends”. Seriously.
After this I wasn’t allowed to come to their house right after school anymore, I was told to come a half an hour after Rhonda’s usual arrival time (just in case of traffic, a missed bus or other complications on her end).
At one point I had written a letter to my Grandmother lamenting the filth, the clean-up and the punishment. Yes, they took me into their home, out of an abusive situation. Yes, in spite of the filth and the stink and the squalor, I was trying like hell to be grateful for it. All the same I am still allowed to write what SHOULD have been a private letter to my grandmother about my miserable situation (courtesy of her crazy bitch daughters).
Grandma likes stupid cupids, and I had somehow come across a sheet of valentine stickers, idk how, I sure as hell didn’t pay for them. I most likely found them at the high school. The stickers were of cupids and lips and hearts so I stuck that shit all over the envelope, along with the postage and address.
I was still very young and stupidly naive, so I trusted Rhonda’s mother when she said that she would mail it for me. Very shortly after that Rhonda and her mother both became even more overtly hostile towards me. I called my grandmother from a payphone during the waiting hours after school, to lament and whine and to see if she got my letter. She had.
I asked her if she had liked the stupid cupid stickers and she had no idea what I was talking about. She purported that the letter had come in a plain envelope written by a strange hand.
Now see, she should have found that strange and mentioned it, but no, had I not asked the right question I never would have known this. My family is not normal.
I asked Rhonda’s mother what was up with that and she said, “oh yes, I re-enveloped that for you. That was never going to go through the postal system with all of those stickers on it.” Bullshit! I was naive but not THAT naive. I had been mailing my grandmother drawn-on and/or sticker-covered letters for years and she got them, every one, just fine. I let Rhonda’s mother know it. She was not amused and brushed me off.
Of COURSE Rhonda’s mom read the letter. Just one more brick in the wall of my misanthropy.
Not surprisingly, after that things got really shitty. Shitty to the point that I often opted to spend nights at the school, in the Taco Bell bathroom, or with one of several horny boys, instead of going to Rhonda’s. (As detailed in Homelessness, Part I).
For example, one day we decided to trim each other’s hair. Operative word being trim. Jesus, was I stupid! I should have taken into account the helplessness of my situation combined with her jealousy of my tiny body and long dark flowing hair. She had a very big body and that horrible, colorless frizz that some people are damned with. I cut her hair first, and I did a fair and respectable job of it, as a friend should. When it was her turn to cut my hair I was hearing snip-snip-snip and it seemed like the scissors were a lot further up than they should be. She kept insisting I keep my head straight – she didn’t want me to glance down. I soon found out why. I defied her orders and glanced down, and found six and eight inch lengths of my hair on the floor! I sprung up and was like, “what the fuck, man?!!!” She deadpanned, “Oops. I slipped.” Seriously! That’s what she actually said!
The bitch had me over a barrel and she knew it. She outweighed me by about 200 pounds (literally!) and I was a homeless runway, living with her rent-free. There wasn’t a goddamned thing I could do to her. She knew it very well.
I think she did this due to jealousy over boys, as well as anger over the private letter that they never should have read anyway.
I had a harelip and she was super-fat, (and wore cat-piss clothes to school) so of course we didn’t exactly command the attentions of the popular, in-demand boys. We attracted the other flawed dogs, like ourselves.
I had a thing for long-haired boys, and for red-haired boys. If a boy had both, I was done. She knew it.
I introduced some very cool things into Rhonda’s life, and I did, in fact, literally change the course of her entire life; and in positive ways. Even if I DID write a private lament to my grandmother that they had no business reading but read anyway, I did not deserve the crap that I got from her.
I have had exactly ONE friend ever that didn’t betray me or shit on me in some way. Beautiful Beth. I have no idea why she was hanging out with me, she was friends with the cheerleaders and the jocks and had been nominated (but didn’t win) Homecoming Queen – she was beautiful and mega-popular. She was that one beautiful, popular girl that you can’t even hate because she is so damned NICE. That one that’s friends with everybody – even the arts and drama and chess nerds.
Beth was friends with an art major, Emma, who would often come to school in full Renaissance festival garb. She had introduced Beth to Scarborough Faire, and Beth became instantly enamored with the scene. Emma got herself a hottie new boyfriend and kind of blew Beth off for a while, so Beth started taking me to the Faire with her almost every weekend instead – something that she had used to do with Emma. After this went on for several weeks, Emma and the boy broke up so she glommed back onto the previously dismissed Beth and we started going to the Faire as a threesome; which was mildly awkward since everybody knows that three is a crowd.
Emma and I got along just fine, but Beth was clearly the common thread, so Emma and I were in competition for her attention. As with all things in life, I was the loser, the third wheel. I don’t consider this as a diss by Beth, though, as she has the sweetest heart and did do her best to pay equal attention to us; she tried to not leave me feeling left out; but the whole Faire scene had been introduced by Emma in the first place and it had been their thing before it had been ours. So, I kind of got nudged aside. Emma had friends on the Renaissance scene and was better looking and better-dressed and far more boisterous and bosomous and personable than I, so it was an easy happenstance.
I loved the Faire scene, too, and I didn’t want to quit it, and Beth was my ride – I had no car therefore was incapable of getting there by myself. Rather than eat shit as the third wheel or flake off of the scene altogether, I asked Beth if my friend Rhonda could start coming with us as well. Beth was a sweetheart, and Rhonda had gas money, so of course this was fine.
Most of the time once we got to the Faire, Beth and Emma would go their own way, as would Rhonda and I; and we’d all meet up towards the end of the day, hang out together a while before leaving the park, and hit up a restaurant on the way home.
One day at the Faire before we got around to the usual splitting of ways, our foursome met up with a group of – you guessed it – three wily rogues. Can you guess who the odd woman out was?
Have you not been paying attention?
Stephen – the tall gorgeous one – paired off with Emma right away. The handsome square-headed doofy jock who was actually named Ethan Allen (like the furniture store) grabbed Beth and that left Shane – a strange looking boy with long red hair. I gave Rhonda a look – “this one is mine!” – she knew my long red hair fetish but she did not share it. (How many conversations had we had at that point about the glory of Dave Mustaine’s hair vs. the uggo of his face?!!!) (never mindShannon Hoon & Axl Rose…) She returned my look with a look that said “the fuck he is!” and proceeded to glom herself all over him. He chose her.
They dated for months.
That first night – it was a sad night in my life. A night that forshadowed much of how my future would go. All seven of us went to one of the guy’s houses and spent the night. It wasn’t long before they broke of in pairs in three different directions. Which of the three new couples fucked that first night? I wouldn’t know. Being the odd one out, and stuck in the shitty situation without transportation home, well – I didn’t stay in the house. I wasn’t going to sit alone in a strange livingroom with my (so-called) friends all getting simultaneously laid in nearby proximity. Ew. I went outside, laid on top of Beth’s car, got bug-bit to hell and gazed at the stars. For hours, I listened to my walkman, feeling mildly weepy, feeling undesirable, left out and sorry for myself, smoking joint after joint and hating my life. That night encapsulated my future – a whole lot of it – most of it. That sort of thing becasme very much par for the course for me.
That summer and for the next several years after I had graduated and fled, the Rennaisance Faire scene became a huge part of Rhonda’s life. She became a vendor there, she made life-long friendships there, and she met the long-haired man that she lives with to this day there (not Shane, a different dude, later on). Her whole life would have gone differently had I not asked Beth if Rhonda could come with us. Every fucking spring and summer I have to endure her fucking posts about her magical fucking life and friendships at Scarborough Faire on Facebook.
While Rhonda was dating Shane, I started fooling around with a guy that I had known for a while, some dude named Anthony. Anthony had a car, (and he was considerably better looking than Shane was ever going to be). I had run away from home and was semi-living with Rhonda at this point, but often slept over at Anthony’s house because sex with Anthony trumped sleeping in passive-aggressive cockroach & kitty litter land.
Upon discovering that I was going to have him drive us to the Faire on a weekend that we did not have a ride with Beth (Beth wasn’t going that weekend) she insisted that Shane, who had no car, and herself ride with us. I was unhappy about it as I had been foolishly hoping for alone/romantic time with Anthony, but when Shane offered weed and Rhonda offered gas money, Anthony gave them a quick yes.
All of the way there Shane and I were pissed. Was it enough that Rhonda had somehow, some way, in spite of her considerable girth – and worse, her cat piss and shit encrusted clothes – had won Shane? No. Of course not. All of the way to the Faire she was simpering all over Anthony. Running her claws down his bare and golden chest and talking about blowjobs and stuff. I mean, super-blatant stuff! It was disgusting. Idk how she dared behave like that in front of Shane – or why he put up with it.
I’m sure that she was talking about blowjobs in order to lure Anthony from me with one (or who knows? Probably several) at some later date (I bet he went for it, too – typical!) and also to rub it in and to piss me off. You know that teenagers of both genders talk about very graphic things with eachother. In private, she & I had discussed blowjobs. She was capable of wrapping her mouth around a Glade air-freshener can.
I, due to cleft palate issues, could not even get the back-end of a can of that horrible canned perfume that was so popular in the 80’s and 90’s past my teeth. (I didn’t have MCS yet back then). For those who don’t know it – the perfume cans are considerably smaller than a can of Glade. I was technically capable of giving a blowjob (probably poorly) but I avoided it at all costs – having an extraordinarily small mouth and a hole in your fucking palate can be a major deterrent to an already largely unsavory act. Fuck that.
I’m not just saying that I have a small mouth – I really do. When I get impressions done at the dentist they have to use child plates on me. The adult sized ones are just too big.
She knew this, and she knew that I had probably exhausted every effort to avoid doing that to him (I had) and that I likely had never done that for him (I had not) and that dudes really like that (they do) and that she could probably take him from me in that way. If she ever did I don’t know – if so, they managed to hide it from me. I wouldn’t be surprised, though. Jerks.
And now for The Final Cut. As I have mentioned before, Pink Floyd was (and is) a big, big deal to me, it helped me get through many of the horrors in life.
In fact, I listen to The Endless River on a loop during many of these blogging sessions. I am listening to it right now. Many of the memories that I blog about here piss me off so bad – even a quarter of a century later – and the somber melancholy of the album helps me (sometimes) to keep from raging anew.
I raved to Rhonda about the movie version of Pink Floyd – The Wall. She didn’t know the album, never mind the movie! At that point in time, if she were asked under the threat of death to name a Pink Floyd song or die, she probably could have come up with The Wall or The Dark Side of the Moon, which are not even a song names, they are album names. She only could have dredged them up, maybe, due to The Wall’s massive popularity, and due to Dark Side being one of the best-selling albums of all time. But under duress could she have named a song off of either one of those albums? No. Absolutely not. (Absolutely Curtains).
When I found her she had literally NO IDEA who Floyd were or what they were about. If you said “Ummagumma” to her, she’d be like, “why are you talking gibberish?” If you said “A Nice Pair” to her, she’d probably puff up and say “excuse me?!!” – assuming that you were referring to her not inconsiderable big-girl boobies. If you said “Interstellar Encore” to her she’d be like, “what? Is there a new book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide series?”
We watched my bootleg VHS copy of the movie at our friend Seth’s house. At the end she flopped melodramatically back onto the floor and made a great show of kind of rolling around on the floor while staring dazed at the ceiling and going, “wow. wow. wow. wowee-fucking-wow.” I don’t know how much of the floor-wiggling was for the benefit of the ogle-eyed Seth, and how much of it was genuine awe of the movie. At any rate I introduced her to Pink Floyd. She would have found them eventually, I mean they’re only huge, right? They’re not exactly obscure(d by clouds). All the same I grabbed her head and pointed it at them! She had no idea who they were, or so she purported, when I met her. She was listening to stuff like They Might Be Giants and Toad and the Wet Sprocket when I met her.
Pink Floyd was coming to Irving for a show during The Division Bell Tour. Now who do you think gleaned this particular bit of information? The rabid Pink Floyd fan or the one without near so many fucks to give?
I told her, “omg dude Pink Floyd is coming to Irving. I would KILL or DIE to go! We’ve GOT to go to this show!” By then, I was living with her. As I already stated, I went to high school all day while she went to her office job. This was in 1994, before everybody had a computer and a cellphone. She worked near a TicketMaster outlet so it made sense for me to give her my ticket $$ and for her to pick up the tickets. Since we would be going together, I didn’t bother to ask for my ticket. Big mistake. Big, BIG mistake.
That bitch waited until THE NIGHT OF THE SHOW to tell me that “her and her mother had decided that I would be needing that $40 (ticket price) for food and incidentals during my 3 day trip on Greyhound back to NY that I would soon be taking. So here is the $40 back and oh by the way, Shane will be using the ticket to the show”.
It’s been 23 years and this STILL pisses me off. I never got to see Pink Floyd in my tumultuous future, and now they are done. Oh, had I neglected to mention that The Division Bell Tour turned out to be the final Pink Floyd tour?! Of COURSE it was!!!! Why the fuck would it not have been, given how my life goes?!!!!
Members of the band continue to perform the band’s songs on solo tours but The Division Bell Tour was their last tour as a group. Sure, Waters purports to be doing the Us + Them tour this year, but that’s not Pink Floyd, that’s Waters. In the current ruins of my life, getting to one of those shows is just NOT an option. The nearest show is only, uh, 300 miles away.
I found this article about the exact show that I got screwed out of online and posted it on my Facebook with the passive-aggressive remark, “too bad MY opportunity to never forget this show was taken from me”.
Later, I saw some semblance of reason and deleted the status.
Insufferable bitch, she gets the Renaissance festival life and the long-haired, long-term live-in Renaissance boyfriend, and the memories of having attended an actual fucking Floyd show, a band that I introduced her to, and she went with a dude she never would have met had I not asked Beth if she could go to the Faire with us. I made these events happen for her – and me? I just get screwed. Again.
God damn that miserable bitch!
Worse, she added to my neurosis about my goddamned harelip. You tell me – how the fuck is somebody supposed to feel when their rival for boys is a 300 pound frizz-haired bitch who lives in literal filth and squalor, wears cat piss and shit encrusted clothes on her great girth and yet, somehow, she often wins the boy?
How the fuck does that work? How is THAT for a fine demonstration of how horrible of a social stigma having a harelip actually is?!!
Or is it just because she could – and would – suck a dick?!!!
For my own comfort, I would immediately adopt the theory; but it doesn’t fly, as the boys really had no way of knowing who would (her) and who would not (me) perform that particular act, during the early stages of them making their choice between us.