Monday, May 02, 2005

just a girl

dear marissa,

i hope you will think a little bit about your boyfriend of six months and why you said you've "never had a boyfriend like this before." i hope that i didn't embarrass you too much when i came up to you at the rock show and asked if you were ok, and if you needed help, and if you wanted me to help you. but i had to. you were so small and blonde and pulled into yourself, holding your black bag in front of you with both hands clutched tight, the only thing you could put between him and you.

i just wanted you to know that i heard him badgering you, and i saw him following you when you kept on walking away from him, multiple times. i heard you scream "leave me alone!" that's when i went after you, because the way you were moving reminded me of a small, scared creature that is trying to escape a bad situation but can't find a way out. frantically darting about, seeking to get away. he was shouting at you, and you hadn't raised your voice (except to scream). when i asked you if you were ok, and he started berating you -- "see what you're doing, marissa?" "see what you're causing, marissa?" -- my blood ran cold. b/c to me, he was the one doing the causing.

when i caught up to you, and we exchanged names, and i asked you again if you were all right, you lowered your head and said so quietly, "i'm fine." but you weren't, and we both knew it. b/c when i apologized for bothering you and explained that i don't usually do this sort of thing, but something in his tone of voice disturbed me ... you seemed to sort of blank out for a second. at that point i thought i was just making things worse, and i apologized again for butting in, then turned to leave. but then your head came up, and you looked me right in the eye and said you couldn't believe you were having this conversation. marissa, neither could i. the more i learned, the more frightened i felt for you. i struggled to tell you something you could keep and use, but not to overwhelm you with too much. i wanted you to know that you're not responsible for his bad mood. not at that moment, not ever. b/c boyfriends like him have a way of slowly making you believe you are responsible. and also i wanted you to know, like i said, that i heard you and i saw you, and i just couldn't turn away.

when you asked me to walk with you, and he came over to us and started trying to intimidate me -- "are you gonna be one of those women who interferes?" and "i'm in law enforcement" (puh-lease!) -- i wasn't afraid for myself. i have a lot of power, and, anyway, i was safe where we were. i was not so sure you were, however. and so it was easy for me to simply, tersely, tell him not to talk to me, and that i wasn't speaking to him but to you. but when he actually said, "you can't talk to her"?!? i waved him away, but i became even more afraid for you. i am glad you spoke up then and told him, shaky but determined, that i was just concerned about you. i couldn't figure out why he, your boyfriend of six months, was not more concerned about how he was upsetting you. he even denied calling you a bitch, even though i heard him. (and so did one of my friends.) i noticed you didn't deny it.

it was hard for me to walk away from you, even after your friend arrived and you said he would take you home. at least your boyfriend of six months backed off then without further agitation. but i still wanted to grab you and take you with me, even though i knew i couldn't. you were just so young and so uncertain, and i wanted to know for sure you would be all right. but i could not know that. i could only look you in the eye and tell you, "remember what i said to you." and then good night.

i hope you do remember, marissa. we will probably never meet again, but i know who you are, and i'm thinking about you right now. i see you. i hear you. and i am glad i talked to you and that i know your name. b/c i would be feeling a lot worse for both of us if i were writing this to "the girl whose boyfriend was yelling at her in the VIP section at coachella on sunday night."


michelle said...


i'd like to read your compelling post, but the type size is so small my pauvre 41 year old eyes cant quite make out the words. please let me change the type size so i can enjoy your work.

nn said...

hi michelle. you should be able to change the type size in your browser. at least, i can make the size bigger by choosing "make text bigger" under "view" in safari. (but maybe not all browsers do that.) thanks for being interested; i will try to fix this.

nn said...

ok, michelle (and anyone else reading the too-small type on this blog), i upped the point size some. is that better? are you still there?