Back in 8th grade I met this high school boy named Russell who looked exactly the same as Darby Crash from the classic band The Germs. Like, he looked exactly like him. You’d think he was his twin or something. He wore one of those classic black 70’s punk jackets with a Dead Kennedys logo on the back. Sometimes he even sported a mohawk.
I don’t remember our first conversation but the school we attended (North Hills Prep) took students to and from school via cabs instead of school buses and we had the same cab, so we probably got to know each other there.
As you would expect of someone who dressed the way he did, he was rebellious, and I never saw him go to a class. He was very charismatic and a good speaker, so he had a lot of friends. I remember we’d talk a lot about tons of things, such as why Cliff Burton and Dave Mustaine were the only talented members of Metallica and how everyone else was fucking leech, or whether or not nu-metal is real metal, and why Columbine would have been justified if Reb and Vodka had only killed the bullies.
Eventually, we both noticed that his house and my home at that time was really close to each other. I used to live in the southeastern part of North Hollywood, which was on the border of Burbank, where he lived. A walk from my place to his was only 15 minutes. We then made arrangements to hang out after school and we met up in front of the Rite Aid near his place. When met up we just kept walking aimlessly and talking. At one point I remember I told him the story of when I was in 7th grade and this obnoxious snob asshole Dennis had walked into the computer class late and pissed off that someone had stolen his earphones or something. He thought I did it and he walked over to me from behind and slammed my face down onto the keyboard I was using. I then got up and started beating the shit out of him, even going as far as bashing an open water bottle in his face forcing him to try to catch his breath. Russell sounded really impressed and complimented me on my act of badassery by calling me a savage.
We then sat on a bench on the sidewalk which was facing buildings and he kept giving all of these fluffy compliments about how sincere of a person I was. I was definitely pretty shy at the time so I liked his words a lot. And then..
He wrapped his arm around my neck, trying to make a move on me.
It was so unexpected. I felt so flustered but I was ok with it. We then decided to go have sex in the bathroom of a park. But before we went there, Russell asked me to wait outside as he was he gonna shoplift some condoms from Rite-Aid. After leaving the store we walked over to the park and I asked him if he was a virgin and he told me no which made me feel slightly intimidated.
When we made it to the park we walked inside into a huge stall at the far end of the bathroom and we tried doing it, but it didn’t quite work out due to me being a fucking idiot, so I didn’t actually lose my virginity in there. It was getting late so we both exited the stall without finishing. When we got outside we went our separate ways and walked home. I felt slightly euphoric to have done something sexual around the time I was gonna graduate from middle school, even if I didn’t actually lose my virginity.
9th grade was painful. I started to pay a lot of attention to my appearance all of a sudden, and I didn’t like what I saw. Cream and red stripes all around my stomach, bumps, and even small depressions and scars on my face, It was starting to really bring me down.
My appearance was not the only thing that changed. I changed on the inside too.
I had gained a bad reputation at school of basically being an ugly, creepy, outsider who would never go to classes and would just pace around school campus reading novels and listening to mp3 files on my phone since I didn’t have data. One day I spent the entire day in the gym. My only friend left at that school was Richard who I rarely saw due to him being an 8th grader.
Russell knew that people would look down on him if they knew we tried to fuck, so he tried to keep it under wraps. He told me not to tell anyone, but because this is high school I told Richard about it and he ended up mentioning to Russell when talking with him one time. He told me that I would get my ass kicked if I did that again. Thankfully no one else knew.
Me and him tried to have sex one more time. This time it was in the same park, but inside a porta potty. It went as well as you could expect. There was too little space for us to do anything in and I had a persistent fear of the consequences of being caught. I felt so lucky when we didn’t. I remember that he even proposed having sex with me at school, asking if I wanted to do it in the bathroom there. I remember it being 8 in the morning or something so I was tired and not in the mood.
Still, I loved trying to have sex to him, even if I was still a virgin. Being around him gave my dull life some semblance of meaning. It felt like he was the only person who gave a fuck about me, which was obviously not true, but that’s how insanity makes you feel.
I had grown too codependent on him, like a 3 year old being breastfed by their mother. One time when we were driving home, I broke down, telling him how badly I wanted to kill myself. He talked me out of it and made me feel better. My obsession grew even deeper at that point. And then he disappeared.
I noticed that he’d been absent from school for 2 days in a row. As much as he didn’t give a shit about school, he wasn’t usually absent. I asked the driver what was going on.
“He transferred schools, so he’s not on the driver’s list anymore.”
It felt like an explosion went off in my brain. I felt my emotions being drained from my soul. I said nothing, and felt a coldness throughout my body. The melancholy I was feeling in the past worsened and became all consuming due to this grief.
”Why did he abandon me? Why didn’t he tell me he was going to leave?” I thought to myself.
”Did he ever care about me? Did he just use me for sex? Were we friends with benefits?”
To this day I’ve never been truly able to figure out what he truly thought about me. The impact he had my psyche persisted for years. My emotions became blunted and my affect was reduced all the time. There was no joy left in the world, even when “good” things happened to me. I didn’t care about anything. Suicide was something I heavily considered due to me being trapped in that awful school where I was bullied and isolated from everyone else. I did eventually leave, but the story behind that isn’t very pleasant.
To this day I still watch his Youtube channel where he posts whatever music he makes and random recordings of himself, often talking about some inane shit or footage of him doing drugs. He’s homeless now. I often comment on all of his videos and we often talk, though I don’t reveal that it’s me.
For years and years I would often daydream about seeing him in person again. I don’t really have any reason to, but I just wanted closure in some way. I would often fantasize about getting my revenge on him somehow or having sex with him again or both. I made up vague plans of what to do just in case I ever saw him again.
Last month, after all this time, I finally did.
I walk out of my apartment in order to go for a nightly jog and as I run over to the corner of my block, I see Russell riding on a scooter towards me while some middle aged guy who I’m guessing is like his plug or something walks next to him. I slow down and speedwalk, trying to gaze at him. My chest feels heavy and I’m afraid. These emotions make it impossible for me to try to speak to him. He doesn’t seem to recognize me, but I definitely recognize him. As I make to the block I’m trying to walk to, I stare at him from far away.