- 1 Cast of Characters
- 2 Enter B
- 3 Mizzou International Welcome Party
- 4 TU Homecoming
- 5 The Truth, Pt. I
- 6 The Truth, Pt. II
- 7 Thanksgiving Break
- 8 The End of Thanksgiving Break
- 9 M’s Abortion by RU486
- 10 Reflections on Yerden Zhussupov
- 11 A New Understanding
- 12 Winter Break
- 13 COMO
- 14 Spring Break
- 15 Tulsa
- 16 Denouement
Cast of Characters
Me: Alex Zheng, 22 years old
B: a Thai girl, 25 years old
J: a Chinese girl, 22 years old
Jonathan H: a Chinese man, age unknown
Kerr H: a Taiwanese man, 26 years old
M: a Chinese girl, 21 years old
SB: an Armenian girl, age unknown
Wes W: a mixed white-Chinese man, 22 years old
Yerden Zhussupov: the instigator from LTR 2
BB: the birthday boy from LTR 2
DG: the translator from LTR 2
Aidar S: classmate and former Vice President of the SPE Student Chapter
BU: member of my PetroBowl team
We pick up immediately following the end of my second LTR. That relationship, with all its passion, would not die out so easily. At the beginning, I found myself at times upset at M for wanting to break things off. It seemed we had barely spoken at all before she issued her ultimatum, but I was much to blame.
I told myself that I was better off chasing tail in my new town instead of trying to revive a long distance relationship.
Even so, M and I continued exchanging messages and photos to let each other know what was new in our lives.
I received photos from her: Taka posed over an open GMAT prep book, Taka on a large bed with the message “We both love my new bed”
Then the messages stopped coming. Radio silence…
This was fine by me. The start of the semester had led to exciting new developments, and I was soon seeing B.
B was from Thailand, that famous land of smiles. She had a cheerful demeanor, and it seemed that everyone in the MBA program liked her. She’d entered the MBA program a year before me.
I was introduced to B through one of my MBA classmates, Kerr H. Kerr H and B had been flirting for some time, but then it emerged that Kerr H was already involved with a girl back home, in Taiwan. The two of them remained on friendly terms owing to overlapping social circles.
One day, while Kerr H and I were hanging out over the course of the summer, he received a call. I stood to the side to give him some breathing room, but the call went on for a good ten minutes. Halfway through the call, he lit up a cigarette, offering me one. It was that long. I smoked while pacing near a rather large tree. I asked him what the call was about – girl trouble, he said. He mentioned B by name. I didn’t press further.
The first time that I saw B was during a group dinner. Alice was visiting with me in Columbia when I received an invitation from Kerr H to go have dinner. Alice and I joined a group of ten other students at a restaurant right down the street from my apartment complex. Alice sat next to B. It was a pleasant time: I made some new friends, and thanked Kerr H for inviting me to join his party.
Once the fall semester started, I dove headfirst into a bevy of MBA courses. The University of Missouri campus was teeming with life. I would often take the shuttle bus, which deposited us in front of the MU Student Center. It was energizing to step off of the bus, messenger bag in hand, and into the throngs of students making their way to morning classes. I was determined to distinguish myself in the MBA program while making friends in the process. Business school coursework was nothing in comparison to the four years of petroleum engineering that I’d just endured, and I found myself quite happy.
Kerr H invited me to go out to eat once more. This time, we went to Peking Restaurant (212 E Green Meadows Rd). Alice joined me, and we showed up a little late. I was surprised to find Kerr H and B there with no one else. Alice and I sat down opposite them: I sat across from Kerr H, and Alice across from B. We had a filling meal among the four of us.
Mizzou International Welcome Party
One night in mid-September, I went to campus to attend the International Welcome Party. I showed up just as the event was getting underway. They had promised food, but it came with a catch: we were required to get the scrap of paper that served as our evening’s passport stamped at a certain number of booths before we could eat. I don’t believe I’ve experienced such frustration waiting in line since that night. I spied B and her girl friend SB – B came by with SB and said hi to me. I eventually completed my tour of student-run booths and got a plate, but found that I’d gotten through the course slower than the average. I scoured the booths for a few scraps, and sat down at last to eat.
Soon, an announcement was made that the party would be moving on to Mort’s In The Shack. The Shack is a dining facility within the MU Student Center, bedecked with panels from the syndicated comic Beetle Bailey. It was inspired by the original Shack, a place where Beetle Bailey’s creator, Mort Walker, spent time hanging out with his friends. The original Shack burned down in 1988. This new Shack has an overflow seating area – it’s a large space that sits against one wall of the Student Center. I wandered over with the group of MBA students that I’d found.
For the International Welcome Party, the tables and chairs that normally filled the overflow space were pushed to the side. They were just about ready to get started when we stepped in. A DJ played some music, and colorful lights lit the scene. Meanwhile, I observed there were light refreshments. I grabbed some and gravitated back towards the others.
Somewhere in this scene, two things happened. One: I got a glowing wristband, one of those thin, flexible tubes filled with phosphorescent chemicals. A glowstick bracelet. Two: I wound up isolated with B. I’d seen enough of the International Welcome Party and I took her outside of the Student Center with me. We walked from the Student Center towards Cornell Hall, past the Tiger Plaza Fountain, chatting amicably. I proposed that we go to my apartment complex, and she agreed. Her car was parked at the parking garage nearest Cornell Hall, and mine was straight down Tiger Avenue, near the Student Center. She drove me back to my car, and I told her to follow me home. We exchanged numbers in case we got separated.
The drive from MU back to my apartment complex took no more than ten minutes, but this is actually a monumental distance by Columbia, MO’s standards. On the drive back, I reflected on the events that had just taken place. Since the start of the semester, I’d only seen B a couple of times. The most I’d ever communicated with her was a friendly hello in passing. That she was now trailing me was unthinkable: I checked my rearview just to be sure that she was still there.
We reached my apartment complex and parked our cars. I opened the door to my home. Paul was beside himself with excitement as usual. The night air was pleasant, and I had B join me for a walk around the complex. She followed me, and I knew that I had her in the palm of my hand, but I hesitated. I asked her about her relationship history. She’d been in a relationship in college that had ended poorly. The guy was, by her accounts, a bad boy. After she put an end to the relationship, he’d practically begged for her to come back to him.
I looked at the stars and back at my hands. It was getting late, and I was delaying. I invited her into my room. She was on her period, but it didn’t matter. I made it work.
B took off in the morning. I made myself a hearty breakfast and ate it.
I dealt with B the only way that I knew how, converting her into my live-in. She started spending the nights at my place, and I grew more deeply involved in this world of two.
My parents came to visit me in Columbia for a week in October. We went to St. Louis together to see how Justin was settling into his freshman year at Washington University.
I went to lunch with B on a couple of occasions in the time that my parents were staying with me, and had her come over one night. My father approved – B was a nice girl.
October 15th, 2011: COMO
[B] is here tonight. Has been every night since Ma and Ba left last week. Time has odd way of creeping by when least expected, doesn’t it? She’s here, anyways, and I find I am quite fond of her. She likes me, too. But there was no chase, and that is how love and relations go sometimes.
Lapses in communication mean new distractions.
One night in October, I heard from M. I stepped outside and made a phone call to her. “Hey M,” I said in greeting. “It’s been a minute. Did you miss me?”
We caught up – I inquired about how her semester was starting off. I told her that things in Columbia were good, told her how big Paul was growing. The question of her disappearance over the past month demanded an explanation.
“Where’ve you been this past month? Wait — let me guess — have you been seeing somebody new?”
“What? How did you know?”
“What can I say, I’m good at these things.”
I asked tentatively if they’d been having sex, and she responded yes.
Jealousy ensued: I was surprised that she had gone on the rebound so quickly. I didn’t know who he was, but I didn’t like him already. I finished my conversation with her and stood there on the patio. As my mind whirred, I paced. How to describe that feeling after she had confessed that yes, she’d been sleeping with someone new? A fear of loss, having been displaced as the only man to have engaged in carnal relations with her. Did the problem lie there, in that possessiveness over my lover?
I sighed, took a deep breath of the night air, and went back inside to go sleep off the news with B at my side.
I contacted M a few more times since that phone call and made plans to go visit her over the Halloween weekend. Concurrently, I scheduled an appointment with my orthodontist.
October 23rd, 2011
I’ve deactivated my Facebook account. It’s been a hectic week. One full of emotion, angst. I went to a bonfire at Robyn’s home on Friday night. Talked w/ [M] late into the morning. Need to learn to feel happy for her, wherever life leads her now. It’s out of my hands.
I left Columbia for Tulsa on Friday, October 28th. I told B that I needed to go back for an appointment with my orthodontist.
The drive over was blessedly uneventful. As I drove onto TU’s campus, I noticed more activity than usual: turned out that it was homecoming. I pulled up to M’s apartment building and brought Paul out to walk, where I bumped into some acquaintances. M showed up shortly, dripping with sex. I could have sworn that her breasts looked bigger than the last time that I saw them. She wore a low-slung top that revealed some cleavage, and a resting bitch face that I’d not seen before. She played it cool, scarcely acknowledging me as she finished a phone call.
I took my suitcase out of my car and followed M upstairs to her apartment. Paul breathed heavily, his whole body wagging, by the foot of the door as M fumbled with her keys. As she opened the door, he dashed in to find Taka. M walked in and turned on the A/C. Her apartment was a mess. There was a faint smell of dog piss, and I quickly identified a soiled training pad on the floor, narrowing the path between the sofa and her bedroom door. I followed M to her bedroom, where she started picking up loose articles of clothing to make room for my stuff.
I hadn’t eaten yet, so I took a look in the fridge to see if there might be something to chow down on. Here, an open can of Sprite. There, a nearly empty container of some unidentifiable soup. I decided to ignore my hunger and to check in on her. M was changing out of her clothes now, and I sat on the bed and watched her undress. The top came off and she was wearing what appeared to be two enormous pasties on her breasts. I asked her what they were.
“NuBra,” she responded.
“New bra?” I echoed. It took a moment for my mind to understand this new concept. She pulled the silicone cups off. At least I knew why her breasts looked bigger – it seemed my sanity was still intact.
I lay down and closed my eyes. It felt good to be in this familiar place once more. As I gazed at the ceiling, I thought about what I was doing. I wondered how B would spend this weekend. I felt M’s weight on the mattress now, and I looked ruefully at the loose shirt that she now wore.
After a pregnant pause, she looked at me and said, “Wanna fuck?”
I briefly considered why I was here and proceeded to get on her ass about throwing sex around so casually. I told her that she ought to place greater significance on sex, in that paternal way. She needed, I felt, to learn to respect herself.
This conversation was interrupted by her phone ringing. She picked it up – it was J. She and Wes were on the way to Tulsa now, and they were in need of a place to stay. M’s roommate had a steady boyfriend, and she was never around, so M agreed to let them stay. I was excited to see J and Wes again, but a little peeved that they would be coming to crash our reunion.
The phone call thusly concluded, I began asking M about the nature of her relationship with this mystery guy. It was clear that they weren’t seeing each other at the moment, so what had happened? M let me know that she wasn’t happy with how things had been going. I told her that since it was over, she should feel comfortable telling me who it was. She continued to refuse, and her refusal only made me more curious. It must have been someone that I knew, but who? I started naming individuals, starting with the least likely, like my former roommate. She went into her closet to change into something more appropriate and urged me to stop. There were only so many people that could have gotten to her.
A knock on the door signaled the arrival of J and Wes. They came in, smiles all around. I couldn’t help but smile, too. We chatted a bit as they settled in. Jonathan H showed up as well. He was M and J’s mutual friend. I’d met Jonathan on the same night that I met M, and he was her best gay friend. Actually, bisexual, but all I’d heard about through M were his explorations into homoeroticism since coming to America. Jonathan took off to attend a Halloween function.
J and Wes went into their freshly requisitioned bedroom. M and I found ourselves alone again. I lay next to her in bed and talked with her. I apologized for prying so hard and told her that I respected her right not to tell me any more than she felt comfortable revealing. I told her that it was difficult for me to separate having sex with her and the love that I had held for her over the course of our relationship. At that moment, all I wanted was to give her a good dicking without any concern for the emotions that swirled through my tired mind.
The sex was hot and passionate as ever. I raw-dogged her, something that came naturally because we had always had sex this way. I say that in my state of heightened emotions, I came inside of her, but I know that I did this as an exercise in mate-guarding. M was mortified when this happened, and insisted that I should take her to the store to purchase the morning-after pill immediately. After the arguing about whether I ought to assume responsibility for this purchase came to an end, she gave up and lay down to sleep. She had the GMAT to sit in the morning. I let her rest, but not before I prodded her once more to tell me who she had been seeing.
I walked out of M’s room, leaving her to get some rest. J and Wes were asleep. I turned on a light and looked around the apartment. By the doorway, on top of an end table, was a magnetic whiteboard with photos of M and me together in them arranged into the shape of a heart. Other familiar objects were strewn about the living room. I noticed a camera lying on the long ledge above the kitchen sink.
It was a Casio TRYX, a very oddly designed camera that I’d never seen before. I picked it up and began thumbing through the photos. After getting through a series of M’s selfies, I came across a promising lead. M was sitting on some white guy’s lap at a club. The dude looked like another meathead. I studied the photo, and concluded that this was probably a one-off occurrence. I dug deeper into the camera’s memory card. The TRYX paused for a moment, then presented me with a completely dark screen overlaid by UI elements. I realized that I was looking at a video file captured in darkness. It was some twenty minutes long. I pressed play and watched the screen. I turned the sound up as high as it would go and heard tinny voices emanating from the camera’s speaker.
It occurred to me that I’d have a better time going through this in the morning. Right now, I didn’t have the patience to stare at the screen, and I could barely make out the sounds that were playing back.
I turned the camera off and replaced it on the ledge. It was time for bed.
The Truth, Pt. I
I was roused by M in the morning. She put on some clothes, performed a perfunctory morning routine, and set out. I called out a sleepy good luck to her as she left.
J, Wes, and I met up with Jonathan. Wes, J, and I took our dogs out, and the four of us went to Utica Square in Jonathan’s car. If there was one person who would have details, it was Jonathan.
I asked him what had been going on with M, and then listened in silence. He spoke in Chinese, the three of us listening as he drove. He was there on the first night that M and Yerden Zhussupov went out together. M had gone home with Yerden after the two of them went clubbing. When Jonathan went to pick her up from Yerden’s apartment later that evening, Yerden was not happy to have M taken away from him. Jonathan kept saying that he didn’t like Yerden – he seemed off. Jonathan tried to tell M that he had a bad feeling about Yerden, but this was not received well by M. The two of them started hooking up.
Then, M got involved with Yerden Zhussupov’s friends, too. I felt my heart skip a beat – I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. Jonathan went back to saying how he had a bad feeling about Yerden, that M insisted that things were cool.
We arrived at Utica Square and parked near the Starbucks. I walked next to Wes and asked what he’d understood from Jonathan’s revelation. Sure enough, he and I heard the same message.
I focused on plotting, and the rest of the afternoon became a blur.
The Truth, Pt. II
We got back to TU in the late afternoon. Jonathan H dropped us off in front of M’s apartment. I said goodbye to Wes and J, and they headed off to visit Wes’s parents. I climbed the stairs to M’s apartment and tried the door. Locked. She opened it after some vigorous knocking, still half-asleep.
I followed her into her bedroom. She wanted to sleep, but I had questions for her.
“Out of all the people you could have gotten with, why him?”
This got her attention. She looked at me, her eyes wide with surprise.
“How did you know?”
“I asked you last night, and you told me as you were falling asleep.” I lied. “You told me everything.”
The details began to flow from her lips, each one causing my stomach to turn.
YZ had gotten M’s number one night as she was working a booth for a student organization, shortly after the start of the semester. She told me that he came up the booth and took down her number from a signup form.
She told me about their first date, where they went to the club and she went back home with him.
“Did you have sex with him that night?”
“No! Jonathan came and got me.”
Good guy Jonathan, I thought to myself.
M slept with Yerden Zhussupov on their second night together. He’d bragged to her about the Chinese girls that he’d bedded at TU, including ZZ. She had apparently been quite the freak. I was surprised to learn these intimate details of girls I’d previously thought were somehow pure.
Yerden Zhussupov introduced M to his friends as his girlfriend. They all wanted a piece of her, and he provided the opportunity for this to happen. Yerden told M that she could be his girlfriend if she agreed to sleep with his friends.
What the fuck? How stupid was she?
One night, after getting liquored up, she slept with them all. M told me that Yerden Zhussupov took his turn, first, and then the others had their go.
“Who were they?”
She refused to tell me, so I switched gears.
“Did you sleep with them all at once, or did they take turns?”
“I had sex with them one at a time.”
Not that this mattered. I tried to block out the pictures in my mind of M getting gang banged.
I pressed for more details.
M had told Jonathan about her group sex experience, and he’d asked her if she’d at least used protection. Of course not. I felt unclean. I was partially to blame for this, because I never made it a habit while we were together. I’d developed stamina and control enough so that I busted across her stomach or back whenever I did come.
I needed to know who these fuckers were to exact my revenge, but she remained mum. I started guessing, watching M’s face for tells. She quickly had enough of this and consented to tell me who the others were. I filed the names of the guilty away in my head.
“Did this happen only one time?”
“It was a mistake,” she pleaded.
“It’s a mistake if you do it once. You did this multiple times,” I fired back. Clearly, she’d gotten her thrills from the experience. I was completely disgusted with her. She’d gone from being a virgin to this. M, who had once been so pure and innocent, was now a used up thing in my eyes. Still, she was a good fuck.
Another question burned in my mind. Had she allowed Yerden Zhussupov to bed her in this apartment? Sure enough, she had. I thought back to the whiteboard with our photos on it, my frozen image greeting Yerden every time he’d come to visit M. I shouted at her: had she no decency? Why couldn’t she have at least taken down those photos? The thought occurred to me that she needed those photos to serve as a testament to how good and normal she was.
That afternoon, I did what I could to write off the past for M’s sake. I spun the events involving her and the Kazakhs as the result of her being brainwashed. She nodded emphatically. Yerden Zhussupov had his chance to treat her well, and he didn’t deserve another. She agreed, and told me that she’d already deleted his number from her phone. That was it, then.
We had sex, and I told her that I wanted her to come visit me in Columbia, MO for Thanksgiving Break.
Beta boys can be driven to great lengths under the influence of the chemical cocktail produced by this mystical force called love.
I revisited the video on the Casio TRYX. I held the camera’s speaker up to my ear and pressed play.
I heard M and Yerden Zhussupov’s recorded voices. They talked briefly. I heard M sigh, the way she did whenever I teased her nipples. I shut the TRYX off, and didn’t touch it again.
My imagination got to work.
I would enlist Wes’s help and take the Kazakhs by surprise. We would forcibly enter their apartment and get them to cooperate with us while we bound and gagged them. A blunt object like a tire iron would quickly inflict any damage needed to keep them from possibly getting up, or trying to resist.
I would ask them yes/no questions with the promise of letting them go, closing the round by permanently disabling Yerden Zhussupov to prevent his spreading his vile genetic material. I pictured myself stamping out his masculinity: just how much force would cause a testicle to burst?
I could off them all, and make a clean getaway. It would be trivial to enter and exit freely once the guilty had all been bound and gagged. I could return with a jerry can of gasoline and raze the scene. In one fell swoop, I could get rid of them all. The only thing left to inspect afterwards would be their charred remains, dental records the only positive ID.
Yerden Zhussupov brought about his own demise by making M into the town well.
In the end, I acted alone.
My bags were packed, and I was ready to go. I’d said my good bye to M and told her that I would be in touch. I was looking forward to seeing her in a few week’s time.
I picked up my gun and racked the slide back, putting one in the chamber. I ran through the plan in my mind and started the car.
I stopped by a local gas station and picked up a few supplies. From there, I headed back to campus and parked my car. I motioned to Paul to stay and wait for me, put the gun in my coat pocket, and stepped out. First stop was the car belonging to one of the confirmed guilty. I vandalized it and moved on.
Next, I went to the apartment. I could tell from looking at the window that at least two people were inside. I walked up to the door, my heart pounding, and tried the door. Locked. I knocked.
BB came to the door. I hadn’t counted on seeing BB here. I was surprised to see him here now. I told him that I wanted to speak with Yerden Zhussupov. He looked back into the room and spoke to Yerden before turning to me to say, “he doesn’t want to talk with you.”
I pulled out a cigarette that I had on me and asked BB for a light. We stepped out of the doorway. He pulled out his own pack, and I handed his lighter back to him. Now we both stood out there smoking. He asked me what I was doing back in Tulsa. Oh, just here for homecoming. We talked briefly about life and plans. He finished his cigarette, said good bye, and I turned to walk away as he went back inside.
I went to the window and looked through the blinds to ID Yerden Zhussupov, still sitting on the couch. I brought my hand to my coat pocket and wrapped it around my pistol. I had a clear line of sight to his head. All I had to do was drop the safety, point, and shoot. I imagined painting the far wall with Yerden’s head.
Trouble is there were at least two people inside of the apartment. If it were Yerden Zhussupov alone, this would be easy. With BB in there, too, I’d have a witness. I did a quick mental calculation. I had no beef with BB, but there’d be no question about whodunit if I left him breathing. He was an innocent – I’d even call him a friendly.
I looked into the night sky as I walked towards my car. Not a soul walking about at this time.
I got in my car and started on the drive back home. As the highway miles started, I collected my thoughts from the weekend. I’d learned so much, experienced things that I would never wish on another human being. I hadn’t gotten far when my phone started ringing. It was M.
She sounded annoyed, and immediately started grilling me on what I had been doing at Yerden Zhussupov’s apartment. She was upset because things would certainly come back to her. I laughed around and told her not to worry about it: I hadn’t done anything bad. I let her know that I was on the road and that I wished her well.
After I hung up on her, I thought about how long it would have taken her to find out had I actually killed Yerden Zhussupov. I thought about how she would feel if he wound up dead, killed after a tumultuous weekend, one which I have struggled for so long to put into words.
I wrote a journal entry on November 2nd that sums up my trip, reflections on M’s current state, and my plans moving forward.
November 2nd, 2011: COMO
Wow. I went to Tulsa over the Halloween weekend. I arrived there on Friday, after leaving in the afternoon from COMO. I was able to get to Tulsa before the sun had gone down.
Things were awkward at first. I still felt a tinge of jealousy initially. That jealousy became flat out rage, and then.. Well, I am heavy-hearted at knowing what has come to pass not four months after I have last seen [M]. Am shocked by the nature of man’s lust. Am puzzled by woman’s eagerness to be led into dark corners. Am hurt because I feel that she must feel hurt. But it’s all over now. Now I desire for my heart to be free of this pain, want to forgive my enemies for their trespasses. Bitterness can consume man, anger lead him to do terrible things. The best man is a good teacher, one who has a desire to see his students grow. Other men may take, but a teacher is a true giver.
I gave her the best sex that she has known. For that, I am responsible for taking her innocence. I made her aware of how hungry men could be for her body. I made her feel the pleasure of it, but I also gave her my love. That is why I grew so hurt. I do not want to hurt like this again, want her to be safe, in time will want God to be merciful to my enemies.
I will spend more time writing. I will learn to play the guitar. I will take care of my business. I will learn to be a good man, no matter the evil of those around me.
Back in Columbia, I stopped to ask one of the Muslims I’d seen around what the Qur’an would advise him do in the event that his neighbor struck him. He surprised me by saying that he would fight back in self-defense, because this would be the perfectly reasonable thing to do.
I was surprised at how sharply this contrasted with the teachings of the Holy Bible.
My thoughts were troubled by the knowledge that I’d gained over my weekend back in Tulsa, and it affected my performance at school. I felt compelled to discuss the events that had passed with someone – anyone. I spoke with a professor after class, who immediately referred me over to the Behavioral Health Center. I filled out a form and waited a while before stepping out, never to return. What I yearned for was closure, and my past experiences with counseling hadn’t been helpful. I struggled to forgive my enemies.
In the three weeks that followed, I checked in with M frequently to see how she was doing. M was still upset that I’d paid a visit to Yerden Zhussupov before leaving town that night. It was clear that the Kazakhs were getting to her: they’d brought up the business of the car being vandalized, telling her that there was surveillance footage of the incident.
Aidar S, owner of the vandalized car, got in touch with me via text message. He threatened to go to the police in a bid to get me to admit fault. I told him that I was very sorry to hear about his trouble and didn’t hear from him again.
In preparation for my Thanksgiving Break with M, I told B that I wanted to take a break. There were some things that I needed to sort out, and I wanted the Thanksgiving Break to myself. B consulted with SB, who told her that there must be a reason behind my actions. B went through my phone and discovered that I was still in contact with M.
Meanwhile, M was flaking on me. She didn’t seem so eager to take the drive over to Columbia, MO. She’d also mentioned that her period had not come yet, no doubt linked to my visit. On my end, the cat was already out of the bag. I told M that I already had a girlfriend in Columbia. This got her attention. “I’m packing my bags right now. I’m going to go there and cause you two to break up.”
It started in a fit and ended with another one.
November 22nd, 2011: COMO
It’s another beautiful day. I’m not certain how this will turn out – M is coming. B, on the one hand, now knows about everything because she went through my text messages. I don’t expect that she’ll be happy about what she knows. At the same time, I don’t think that it’ll kill her. It really falls into my hands, once again, to decide on how best to handle this predicament. What with two girls under one roof, I really will have my hands full. Time to be very, very careful..
I hope that I can handle things in the right way, whatever that may be.
I assured B that nothing would happen to jeopardize our relationship. We’d receive M, show her hospitality by allowing her to spend the night, and she would go back to Tulsa the next day.
M showed up that evening after getting lost on the drive over. She came into my apartment wearing a grey dress that clung to her skin, emphasizing her hourglass figure. B put on a friendly air, and expressed how nice it was to meet M. M wasn’t here to make friends. She ignored B, and focused her attention on me. “Who is that bitch? I don’t want to see her.” She threw herself at me, and I brushed her off. I wasn’t looking to cause a scene in front of B.
M was driven by two needs: 1) to see me separated from B, and 2) to get a handle on why her period was late. She insisted that I take her to pick up a pregnancy test kit. I told B that we would be back shortly, and took M out of my apartment. I drove her car over to the grocery store, where I paid for a pack of pregnancy tests. M used one upon returning, and we were both relieved to see a negative result.
This order of business concluded, M went back on the offensive against B, heckling her. Neither B nor I was amused. I allowed M’s tantrum to continue a short while, before telling her to knock it off. She wouldn’t break us apart with her words, and her behavior towards B was unwarranted. I told her that she was welcome to stay the night and to rest before her departure the next day.
This set M off. She lunged at me and began tugging forcibly at my clothes. I told her to stop, but she only grew more violent. She scratched me across the shoulder, drawing blood. I took her to the ground. When the violence had subsided, we discovered that the nail on her big toe had partially separated during the brief scuffle.
The three of us sat on the couch for a moment; B on one side, M on the other, and me in the middle. I figured I had nothing left to lose by this point, and suggested that we all go to bed. B looked askance at me and added, “Are you crazy?”
I guess I was a little crazy.
“You can sleep there for tonight,” I said to M, pointing to the second bedroom.
I moved to retire for the evening, but B didn’t want to join me. She insisted on sleeping on the couch.
I slept soundly through to the morning.
B woke up the next morning and went to work, leaving me alone with M.
I went about my morning routine, and then checked in on M, who was still in the second bedroom. We started talking, and the next thing I know, I was sitting behind her on my bedroom floor, right next to my bed. M was sobbing gently to herself, and I embraced her from behind. I was suddenly aware of my state of arousal. I scooted M onto my lap, facing me, and I kissed her. I wanted her, but I also wanted to keep a secret from B. I began to undress her, telling her that B must not find out. M hadn’t forgotten why she’d come. “Yeah, right,” she scoffed. “I told you that I was coming to break you two up.”
We started on the bed, and ended up on the living room couch. God, I’d missed M.
It wasn’t long before I heard a knock on the door. Strange, I hadn’t been expecting anyone. I got off the couch and peered through the peephole. Shit! B was back early, and my clothes were still in the other room. Think fast. I opened the door a crack, hiding my nakedness.
“B. You’re back early.”
“I couldn’t focus at work, there was too much on my mind.” I suspected that she knew already. “Can I come in?”
“Now’s not a good time,” I said, as M came bursting up from behind.
“We had sex! As soon as you left we had sex!”
Okay, this wasn’t exactly true, but it’s all that B needed to hear.
“Is that true?” she looked at me, as if hoping that M was off her rocker.
“I told you, now’s not a good time.”
B started to leave, but she hesitated, turning back around. She insisted that she’d like to come in and talk with me, now.
I was firm with her. “Go back home. If I talk with you now, I’ll end up saying something that I’ll regret later. I’ll contact you after the break.”
I closed the door as B walked out of sight. I peered through the blinds and watched her drive off.
M was fully clothed and gloating now, proud at herself for having played a part in driving B out of my apartment.
I was getting dressed when I received a phone call from B. She said that she was in her car, and that she still wanted to talk to me. I put on a jacket and stepped out of my apartment. Her car was parked across the way. I walked over and tapped on the passenger side window. B wanted an explanation, words of comfort, some recognition that what we had was real – I wasn’t prepared to offer that yet. All I could tell her was to go.
Justin arrived from St. Louis that afternoon via MO-X, expecting to meet B, but surprised to see M and our reunited yorkies in her stead.
I spent most of the break in my bedroom with M.
November 24th, 2011: COMO with Justin, M
Paul and Takka [sic] are sleeping on the bed. [M] is underneath the covers. I am sitting at the foot of the bed, writing because the thoughts are bursting out of my head. I’m thinking about [B] – what did she do today? How did she spend her Thanksgiving? It certainly is a lonely world when we make it that way…
Spent Thanksgiving Day at home. I bought a holiday ham at Sam’s Club yesterday to make today. It turned out pretty well, and we ate that. Justin looked up a recipe for garlic bread, which turned out pretty swell.
I don’t feel happy. I made some decisions that wore down my relationship with both [B] and [M]. I feel terrible because she gave me her best, and I broke her heart. It was not fair – not something that I will be proud of. I also tried to tell [M] to hide what I wanted from [B]. [M] came here to break things apart, and I let her. After she told [B], already distressed at having been turned away, that we had had sex… I felt I didn’t love [M], either.
I don’t know still what love entails. Is it fit to be jealous? Is good love possessive? Is love what drives people to regard some others as enemies?
That night, M went through my phone and took down B’s number. She started sending B all manner of nasty text messages. M wasn’t happy with B out of the picture: she wanted to completely crush her. Try as I might, I couldn’t reason with M to get her to stop.
The End of Thanksgiving Break
I was supposed to take Justin back to St. Louis on the morning of November 26, 2011. Instead, I was up ’til way late with M. Her period still hadn’t come. I suggested that she try the pregnancy test once more. This time, it read positive. I guess that we both wanted so badly for it to be negative that our eyes had deceived us the first time around.
M was convinced that her pregnancy was linked to my visit. She told me that none of the Kazakhs had ever ejaculated inside of her, and that it could only be my responsibility. The fact that M might be pregnant with my child brought new visions to my mind. I imagined the two of us together.
Forget about Tulsa, I told her. There’s nothing left for you over there, nothing keeping you there. Everything that you need is here with you. We can let go of the past and start a new life together. You can transfer your credits over to the University of Missouri.
No, she insisted. She had to go back to Tulsa. She wasn’t ready to have a child yet.
I wasn’t, either, but necessity is the mother of invention. The only option that M would accept was an abortion.
I thought for a moment. I wanted her to call Yerden Zhussupov, and to tell him that she was pregnant, potentially with his child. After all, this was plausible. Hell, it could have been any one of five guys. Perhaps he could take responsibility for her, as payment for his part in this shitshow. I thought it would be a fitting ending.
M didn’t want to push responsibility onto Yerden Zhussupov, but she did agree to call and to let him know of the news. I listened as she placed the call. Her tone of voice with him was cloying.
The call over, I asked the question that had been burning in my mind since I saw her last. Had she gone back to sleeping with Yerden Zhussupov after I had left Tulsa? When she told me that yes, she had, I was stunned. Was she really that daft?
I followed up: when? She told me, and I shouted at her to get out. Called her worthless, a stupid whore. At first she fought with me verbally, countering my every shout with one of her own. She had felt lonely, she still felt a bond between the two of them. She told me that she had trusted me: see how honest she was in telling me the truth?
She just needed a good hard fuck. She thought I wouldn’t have gotten mad. After all, I had a girlfriend up until she came to visit me. And why was it okay for me to split my affections between two people, and not for her? I bellowed at her, “Because you’re a girl!” I turned towards the door and told her that I was going out, see you later.
That’s when we had our goodbye fight. She flung herself at me, calling me an asshole, kicking and punching. This time I let her have it. I pinned her to the ground, my foot atop her neck… Her anger gave way to fear… Then she started to cry.
I grabbed my coat and walked out of my room as M called out after me, “You better not be going to her!”
I called B. There was no one else I wanted to talk to. The phone rang once and, much to my surprise, she picked up right away.
“Alex?” she sounded sleepy.
“Hey B, are you still up?”
“Yeah, I couldn’t fall asleep,” she said. I imagined that the past few days had been a nightmare for her.
“Look, I really need to talk with you. Is it okay for me to come visit you?”
“Yes, that’s fine.”
When I got to B’s apartment, I found her in her pajamas. Her eyes were puffy, the way they often were the day after she last cried. I was holding onto a half-empty box of pizza, which I’d pulled from my fridge, when she opened the door.
“Somebody order a pizza?” I figured that B could use it – I had let her down pretty hard for Thanksgiving break.
I offered the box to her before taking a seat on her couch. Then I let everything out. I felt terrible that I’d betrayed her trust after all of the kindness that she’d shown me. I told her that M was pregnant after all, and that I no longer wanted anything to do with her. B told me that M’s messages to her had caused her a great deal of grief. I told B that M was a stupid girl and apologized on her behalf. I shed a tear as I told B how sorry I was for putting her through this experience.
I left B with a sense of accomplishment at having achieved closure with her and resolved to deal with M.
M tried calling me a couple of times during my visit to B, ultimately sending me a couple of pings to show her location. It looked like she was headed out of town.
I drove back to my apartment at dawn, and by the time I got back home, M had already left. She was no doubt hurtling down the highway after a sleepless night. I walked back indoors, fatigued but calm. My first thought was to go and nap for a few hours, but I decided that I had best scan my apartment for any traces of M. I discovered that she’d left something behind – I can’t remember what it was now, but it was important enough at the time for me to call her.
“Where are you?” I asked. With any luck she hadn’t gotten out of Columbia yet.
“I just got onto US-63,” she declared before continuing, “Why didn’t you answer my calls?”
“Where were you?” she pressed on.
“That’s none of your business. You left something behind here. Do you want to come get it?”
“Yeah, I’ll come get it…”
I checked in on Justin while waiting for M to swing back around. I apologized to him for the loud arguing, which had interrupted his rest. He was understanding as he could be – it was new ground for us both. I informed him that M was coming back, and assured him that I would see him safely back to St. Louis.
I watched through the blinds as M’s car pulled up to my apartment building. I stepped outside to perform the handoff, but she was intently focused on finding out where I’d been for the past couple of hours. “Tell me you didn’t go to see her,” she implored. I looked at her square in the face and told her that I had been with B. M moaned piteously and mumbled, “I told you not to go see her…”
I scoffed at M. Who was she to make demands of me? M told me that she was tired now, but I felt nothing for her. I responded, “If you don’t think you’ll make it back to Tulsa, leave Taka here with me. I don’t want him dying with you.”
She plucked Taka out of the car and handed me his leash. I looked at her, completely defeated, and then down at Paul’s brother. The furry little bastard didn’t have a clue what was going on. I handed M back the leash.
“Actually, it’s better if you keep him with you. He’ll keep you alert on your drive. Don’t get hurt out there.”
With that, I let her go. I walked back into the warmth of my apartment, eager to get some rest.
I slept for some period of time before I received a call from an unknown number. I picked up the phone. A woman’s voice, speaking in Chinese, identified itself as M’s mother.
It was the first time that I’d ever heard from this woman. She told me how M had shed so many tears towards the end of her stay in Beijing over the summer and expressed her worry now. I told her not to worry, and that M would be alright. At least I hoped that she would be.
After our brief conversation, it occurred to me that she deserved to know what had happened.
I called back and told her that her daughter was pregnant, that she’d allowed herself to be used. I couldn’t be sure that I was responsible for the pregnancy, but I’d be supportive of M’s getting an abortion. Then I went back to rest.
I drove Justin safely to St. Louis, bringing Paul with me. I slept in Justin’s dorm room for a couple of hours while he caught up with the others on his floor.
M’s Abortion by RU486
I got back in touch with M the following day (November 27, 2011), having researched Tulsa area abortion clinics, and encouraged her to go to Reproductive Services (6136 E 32nd Pl) ASAP.
M got scheduled for an appointment the next day. J went with M to the abortion clinic. Both J and M reported the clinic aged the embryo at 5 weeks. The day after, I got in touch with J, who stated that M had told her 5.5 weeks at the clinic. She would have taken three tablets of Mifeprex following her physical exam.
I’d contacted M and told her that I would get in touch with the clinic to arrange for payment for whatever services they would render. The discrepancy between the two reports, coupled with the fact that it had only been four weeks since I visited M, made me hold off on faxing the clinic my payment information.
I spoke with the clinic and inquired about the possibility of performing paternal testing. They told me that this would be nigh impossible, or cost-prohibitive.
On November 30, 2011, M went to the clinic by herself, where she presumably took two tablets of misoprostol. I called her that evening to check in on her, and she brought up the issue of financial responsibility for the abortion, again. She left the phone conversation going after intending to hang up, and I heard Yerden Zhussupov’s voice. It looked like he would be watching over her. I firmly decided that my part in this was over.
Reflections on Yerden Zhussupov
Imagine that you had been raised to be a prince. Would it matter whether anyone got hurt from your actions? You could come and go at any time that you chose, and you had the knowledge that your time spent outside of your principality would remain a memory for you to treasure, alone. Quite naturally, you make full use of the situation and enjoy the freedoms of your new surroundings.
I think, looking back now, that I resented Yerden because he had so plainly reveled in M’s sexuality. I wanted to hurt him, in the way that a parent might want to see justice delivered to his child’s aggressor. It wasn’t enough for him to have M to himself – that he shared her with his friends made me hate him with a vengeance. It must have entered my mind then that M was also responsible — after all, she is an adult.
the video above is from Team America: World Police
Guy in Bar: See, there’s three kinds of people: dicks, pussies, and assholes. Pussies think everyone can get along, and dicks just want to fuck all the time without thinking it through. But then you got your assholes, Chuck. And all the assholes want is to shit all over everything! So, pussies may get mad at dicks once in a while, because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes, Chuck. And if they didn’t fuck the assholes, you know what you’d get? You’d get your dick and your pussy all covered in shit!
Yerden Zhussupov graduated from TU that winter. As for the other Kazakhs, my peers…
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke
A New Understanding
My life in Columbia began returning to a new equilibrium. B began spending the nights at my apartment again, and soon we’d patched things up. There were missteps on my part, however, as I continued to stay in contact with M. Within a week of M’s abortion, I went to the optometrist to get my eyes checked. I took a few photos of myself trying out various frames, and texted the photos to both B and M, asking for their opinions.
Unfortunately for me, B’s BlackBerry showed that I’d sent the photos out as a group MMS. She wasn’t thrilled that I’d consulted her alongside M, but she still offered her opinion. B knew that I was still in contact with M, but she did her best not to allow any signs of jealousy to sour our time together. She insisted that I keep my communications with M above board, and I agreed to do so.
It took considerable work to bring our relationship back to the state that it had been in before Thanksgiving Break. Some things changed for good: B never again picked up my guitar, but otherwise all was good between us.
I visited my parents, who had relocated to Chengdu. I got myself bumped to business class on the United flight from Chicago to Shanghai, which made for a relaxing trip.
In China, I remained in close contact with both B and M. I was still pulling at M’s heartstrings because I could. When I spoke with her, I only wanted to remember the good times that we’d shared together. Still, I couldn’t help but lash out at her for willingly going back to YZ. She would never understand how close I was to killing to protect my memory of her.
I enjoyed adventuring in Sichuan, but I remained troubled. I sought comfort in the form of drinking fragrant rice wine and walking the streets at night, bumming cigarettes off of anyone I caught smoking. My parents sensed that I wasn’t well, but there was nothing to talk about with them. This was my struggle.
I visited J in Kunming, staying there over the new year. It was a fun trip, one of the highlights of my winter break.
I spent a few evenings in Shanghai at the close of that break, staying with my maternal aunt and her family. My maternal grandparents were still staying there at the time. I kept my spirits up, laughed and ate well, and prepared to return to America.
Life with B was good, and I was happy with my world of two. I had a class that ended particularly late, but B would wait for me at the Recreation Center. I’d drive back to my apartment, with her in the passenger seat, and we’d make food together. I scarcely went out with the other MBA students, preferring her quiet companionship.
My college classmate Adam M was getting married, and he decided to have his bachelor party in Las Vegas. I had been to Vegas the year prior, and I decided to have B join me. I figured that I could join Adam and his party for festivities, as well as take B on a sight-seeing expedition. I ended up spending less time with Adam and his crew than I would have liked.
I remained in contact with M. Now that she was graduating, it occurred to me that I might not see her again, so I planned another furtive trip to Tulsa.
I went back to Tulsa on Friday, April 27, 2012, and booked myself into the Renaissance Hotel. I had a few friends in Tulsa to catch up with, and unfinished business. While Yerden Zhussupov had graduated, leaving Tulsa, I knew that the others should still be in town. I spent the first afternoon in Tulsa hanging out with friends, and met up with M that evening.
I picked M up from her apartment at TU and brought her back to my hotel. We talked as the dogs played, but M was off. She resisted me when I physically escalated, and told me that she no longer thought of me as a lover. Now we were just a couple of old friends. I grumbled – so much for this secretive trip. I began to wish that I hadn’t bothered coming back to Tulsa, but I recalled that there were more pressing needs than the desire to bang M once more. We shared the bed and drifted off to sleep.
Morning crept in through the curtains of my hotel room. M slept as I took the dogs out for a morning stroll. I woke her up upon my return, and took her back to her apartment.
It was still early as I departed M’s apartment complex. I made a beeline for Brown Village, where I parked my car, and set out on foot to Yerden Zhussupov’s former apartment. I stood outside the doorway, collected myself, and tried the door. As luck would have it, it was unlocked. I let myself in silently, and looked for a weapon. There was a knife block in the kitchen, from which I retrieved a chef’s knife. Knife in hand, I prowled the two-bedroom apartment.
I decided to try the interior bedroom, first. I stopped outside the closed door and paused: I realized that the knife in my hand might send the wrong signal. I set it down upon the arm of the couch next to me. Unarmed now, I opened the door, and saw the sleeping forms of a man and a woman on the bed in front of me. I identified the man as DG, and closed the door.
I strode back across the apartment to the other bedroom. I found the door locked. I knocked on the door, and listened. Nothing. I knocked again, and heard footsteps from inside the room coming towards me. The door swung open to reveal BU, wearing only boxers and rubbing the sleep from his eye. He spoke first:
“Alex, what are you doing here?”
“I’m in Tulsa to visit with some friends. Let’s take a drive.”
BU came back out with some clothes on. I led him over to my car, and he hopped into the passenger seat. I started the car and pulled off campus.
He started to make chit-chat, but I stopped him.
“I know everything.”
“What?” He stared at me, a look of confusion on his face.
“Don’t play dumb with me. I’m not here to hurt you. I just have a few questions for you.”
BU began to panic. He asked me where I was taking him, but I really had no destination in mind. I told him that we were just taking a drive, but his mind would not be laid to rest so easily. He told me repeatedly to stop the car. Relax, I told him. He pulled the parking brake to no avail. I set it back to avoid wearing down the part. He tried the lock on the door as if to get out – I hadn’t enabled the child lock, so he could have jumped if he wanted to.
I told him to quit acting like a fool.
“BU, please don’t try and make a scene. Look, I’m not here to hurt you. I want to understand why you did it.”
BU spilled his guts. He told me that he was very drunk at the time, and that he regretted having taken part in it. While the others used M again, he took part only one time, because his conscience had led him to believe that this was a very bad thing. He told me that he believed it was the worst thing that he’d ever done, and was truly sorry for it. At the time, he’d even told Yerden Zhussupov’s girl back home about it. He told me how his father had taught him the importance of the Golden Rule, and he knew that he had violated it.
I could tell that he was being honest.
“She was a stupid girl,” I said.
“No,” he countered. “She’s a good girl.”
He said this with such conviction that I could only agree.
I had a pack of cigarettes with me, and I lit one up. BU asked for one as well, which I provided.
I told him that there were a couple of things that I wanted from him. I instructed him to have the others apologize to M. Additionally, I asked for a written letter of apology, with their signatures upon it. They would all apologize on behalf of Yerden Zhussupov. This letter would be sent to M, with a copy made out to me. I provided a reasonable timeframe for my request to be filled, and warned him that failure would carry a heavy consequence.
BU agreed, this could be done. He offered to make his apology to M immediately. I drove back to TU, and we walked up the stairs to M’s apartment. I knocked on the door, and she opened it, still in her pajamas.
“M, I brought someone who wants to talk to you.”
She looked at me and BU and groaned. We followed her into the apartment, where she went back to her bed. BU offered his apology, and we left. As we walked back to my car, he told me his hopes: one day, when we’d all established our careers, we’d meet again and share in good cheer. I told him that I would look forward to that day. I drove BU back to his apartment and went over my demands once more. I would be depending on him to get to the others.
I left TU and took Paul to Woodward Park. My work was done, and I spent the rest of the day relaxing. In the evening, I reached out to M. I wanted her to keep me company. For an hour, I pleaded for her to come over. She came at last. This time, we had sex. It was brief, but I didn’t care. I felt good.
In the morning, I checked out of the hotel. I loaded my luggage into my car and walked M over to her car, where I said my good bye to her. She opened the window, and a tear rolled down her cheek. I hoped I would see her again.
I arrived back in Columbia that evening. B was distraught. Both of us prepared for our final exams – her graduation was less than two weeks away. M started sending B text messages again: this was the final nail in the coffin. B hastily purchased a one-way ticket back to Thailand.
Her last few weeks in Columbia were an emotional time. With the school year over, some of the international students began making their way back home. I joined B at a couple of going-away gatherings for her friends, but I felt like I didn’t belong.
We went to St. Louis to pick Justin up. He stayed with me that summer. I brought both of them with me to Wichita, KS, to attend the graduation of one of my college friends. B was not her usual, cheery self. The afternoon after the ceremony, she held herself and cried silently while no one was watching.
We explored a couple of places around town together. I was sad that she was leaving. She was my closest friend in Columbia, and I had driven her away.
B left the US for good on May 22, 2012. The MO-X shuttle picked her up from the front of my apartment building. She took her belongings in the two suitcases that she had when she first arrived.
We kept in touch for the first three weeks that she was back in Thailand. B accepted a job offer on June 23, 2012. From there, we slipped out of contact.