I was 16 years old.
I had just moved from the Midwest to the East Coast. I got my first job at a pizza place. The 23-year-old manager began hitting on me right away. I fended him off over and over again even though I was flattered by his desire.
During this time, I was growing closer with a boy my age who also worked with us. We began dating and it was wonderful. I found out his mother had died of breast cancer the year before and my heart opened up to him. Now it was just him, his Dad and his brother.
We spent all of our shifts working together exchanging smiles, looks, and the occasional pat on the ass. We didn’t go to the same high school so that was our only place to be coy and flirt with each other until we felt comfortable enough to hang out alone.
We would leave to go to either his Dad’s house or mine and have sex, watch movies and enjoy each other’s silly company. Many date nights and every Friday, the whole Pizzeria went to cosmic bowling.
He was very sincere, charming, gentle and so funny. He always had me laughing. We coordinated Halloween costumes -- he was a zombie and I was a zombie princess. We were cute. We both lived with our parents so I remember a lot of sex in the car.
Yet, at a certain point, I couldn’t resist my manager any longer. I secretly loved the attention he showered me with, and I eventually gave in. I don’t know exactly why I did it. The thrill and adrenaline rush of doing something I knew I shouldn’t have been. The sort of “I know something and you don’t” childish mentality I had at the time.
He was in a committed long term relationship and I had become close friends with his girlfriend. My boyfriend and I would even spend the night in their guest room close to our work.
I was not a victim. I made an active decision to cheat on my boyfriend and have sex with someone else. I began having sex with him all of the time. At night when the restaurant closed, in the booths people sat and ate in (disgusting I know).
I would go to his apartment, have sex everywhere -- the couch, the floor, their bed, the shower. I would park far away from his building and walk in the back so his neighbors wouldn’t notice how frequently I was there. I found a thrill in this routine and embraced it.
My boyfriend and I and my manager and his girlfriend went on many double dates. My boyfriend and I would still spend the night at their place. I became closer and closer to his girlfriend.
I knew what I was doing was wrong and hurtful on so many levels, yet I continued this lifestyle for many months. When leaving my manager’s place, I felt like the world knew that I was secretly trying to slip out of the apartment complex. But still I didn’t change a thing.
On a Wednesday night at the beginning of January, my manager's girlfriend called me and asked if she could come to my parents’ house to talk to me. She had never been there before. I was very alarmed. I thought she had found out what had been going on between her boyfriend and me.
I started thinking of all the lies I could.
I am 30 now, yet I can recall her entry into my home so vividly. We went back into my parent’s room to speak privately because my room was in the basement; it seemed like too long of a walk for what I thought was about to ensue. I just wanted to get this confrontation over with.
As my stomach was doing flips thinking of how I was going to explain my affair with her boyfriend, her words melted the world away. She was coming to tell me that my boyfriend had died in a motorcycle accident only an hour before.
At the time, we used AIM to communicate. I had messaged with him and few hours before and he told me he was going for a ride. That was the last time we “spoke.”
What I had envisioned as a skirmish between two girls over a guy was was literally about life and death, about so much more than my teenage stupidity.
After she got out the first words -- that he had crashed his motorcycle around a steep curve -- everything became a blur. I cried for three days. I cried so much that when it came time for the funeral all of the tears were dried up and gone. I was just a zombie.
I have never been a religious person. But once he died,I believed he could see everything, know everything that I had been doing to him. How much I had wronged him, lied to him, and had continuous sex with someone he had become very close friends with.
I also felt something I didn’t think I would feel; anger. I was angry that he had died not only because of the loss of his beautiful life, but because I felt caught. The shame of this reaction weighed on me so heavily I can still feel the heaviness today.
Yet his death did not change my habits. I continued having sex with my manager. His girlfriend took me in and tended to me as though I was her child. She took such pity on me for having lost my boyfriend to a deathly accident.
I would spend the night in the guest room, but I never spent the entire night alone. My manager would come in and we would have sex after she fell asleep.
Even the night before the funeral, I had sex with him in the same bed I had shared with my boyfriend. I have never come to terms with this specific act of complete lack of respect to my boyfriend who had passed, and the wonderful woman who was nursing me out of my depression.
I went to the funeral with my manager and his girlfriend. He picked out a white rose for me to put on his casket. My manager was one of the pallbearers. Seeing him walk along holding my boyfriend’s casket was too much to bear. Yet I still could not shed another tear.
I had found this comfortably numb space in my mind and I just stayed there. At the time I don’t think I realized the scope of my actions, and how they would affect me for the rest of my life. I have harbored this “I am an evil person” mentality ever since. People will tell me I’m a good person and I secretly think to myself, You have no idea the damage I have done.
I kept my job at the Pizzeria for about a month. I tried to work there without thinking about my boyfriend, but I kept expecting him to be around every corner.
One day my manager’s girlfriend showed up to surprise me with a very nicely framed picture I had never seen of my boyfriend and I on Halloween. It is still in my bedroom to this day. I suppose I torture myself with it.
It’s a reminder not only of him but her as well; the thoughtfulness of the frame, of surprising me, of trying to lift my spirits. And the whole time I was having sex with her boyfriend.
That day she came and gave me the picture, I later quit and walked out.
She never found out about the affair, but I was left to harbor so much pain that here I am still writing about it nearly 15 years later. Now it was just his father and his brother in a house where there used to be a family of four. I could never even express my sympathies to his Dad; my guilt was too all-consuming to share comfort with others.
Would I be able to find peace with myself and those choices I made as a 16-year-old? If I could speak to my boyfriend now, I would acknowledge what I did to him. Own up to it and tell him how I have felt the burden for years.
I would tell him I never meant to hurt him, only to pursue my own desire of being wanted, by anyone. That I had such a deep, deep insecurity that when I was presented with two different lovers, I couldn’t say no to either. I doubt any of this would make him feel better, but at least I could try to explain.
I'll never get that chance. Nevertheless, getting this story out was therapeutic in itself and at the very least, I hope that someone can learn from my mistakes.