24 is just a number. To anyone else, there’s no reason for me to have been emotionally debilitated by that particular birthday. What most people don’t know is that I was once in love with a 24 year old man. I was 16. It gets better. V was married and had an eight year old daughter. Yeah, that was a great plan. I never thought it mattered, back then. Whatever (whoever) I wanted, I just took. V was my best (only) friend. He listened to me pour all my 16 year old angst and heartbreak out. He was only the second guy I ever slept with. He told me he loved me. I believed him, back then.
Here’s the thing, once I was 24, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The shoe’s finally on the other foot. Now, I’m horrified by the idea of even being attracted to, let alone sleeping with, a 16 year old! I feel used, and dirty, and worthless. I still do, when I think about it. Now I finally get why minors can’t consent. At 16, I was still so young. I was out of control. I needed guidance, protection. I (cliche warning!) truly didn’t have the emotional maturity to make the choices I was making, or handle the consequences of those decisions. I feel so foolish looking back, V promised he was going to marry me. I believed that too. We were together for about a year and a half. The last time I saw him was shortly after my 18th birthday (yeah, I started dating E 5 days after the last time I saw V). The plan, according to V, was to back off our affair. To give him time to get a divorce (at the time, he’d been separated from his wife). Give V time to find a permanent place of his own. Give me time to grow up a little more. V swore when I turned 21, we’d be together again. Get married. Happily Ever After. Right.
So, I got involved with E. Emotionally vulnerable much? Yeah, I just wanted a rebound. Wish that’s all I’d gotten. Anyway, a few weeks later I find out V’s wife is pregnant. So, apparently not only did he move back in with her, he was fucking both of us. Awesome. Glad to know everything you ever told me was a lie. Hope the sex was worth it. Now the stage is set for everything E did to me. Everything I let him do. Everything I never said “no” to. Great memories. So, least favorite number? Gunna have to go with 24.
Hopefully one day things will get easier. I know I can’t forget, but maybe I can figure out how to let go, move on…