My Medusa :
There are few times in life when a man can admit that he’s afraid of a beautiful woman. Sure, the shyness of lust and romance may be one excuse, but the legitimate fear of her power, as small or infinite as it may be, is something very hard to come by. This is the reason I am afraid of Laura. The role of a man is to protect his woman, never the other way around. I love her, but I am scared to death of her.
We met in junior high school. I wasn’t much to look at back then; I was a scrawny nerd obsessed with Pokemon and anime, often daydreaming day and night, never really doing much in favor of my social status. I would drift in and out of classes, letting apathy get the better of me. It was a lunch period that I first met Laura.
I sat by myself often, enjoying the time to think and reflect on my imagination, when Laura came to sit across from me. I looked at her but couldn’t help but notice her low-cut shirt. She had the body of a model at 15. I was instantly turned on, to say the least. Awkwardly, I’d said hello to her. She told me she was waiting for ‘a friend,’ but never mentioned who. We spoke a bit, generally about television shows, I mentioned Pokemon. I started to feel as if I’d instantly lost her interest. That’s when she started talking about books.
I’d never really read anything before that point, often caring nothing about that part of life, as no moving images meant no entertainment. The thing is though; your mind is a powerful thing. You can envision anything you want to, and that’s exactly what she taught me that day. “Let’s say you look at a book. On every page, you have adjectives, nouns, verbs, all of them describing things. Don’t think of the words themselves, but what they’re talking about. You can imagine the details in your head, like a movie.” From that point on, I started looking at reading differently, and slowly but surely, I adapted to this new form of nerdy obsession… Reading.
I didn’t see her again that year. As a matter of fact, I sort of forgot about her apart from the lesson and her beauty. It wasn’t until I was a 16 year old kid in high school that we met again. Laura was into gymnastics by then, and had just gotten through a relationship with one of the seniors on our school’s football team. I, sadly, had become picked on by a lot of kids, many like him. I never could stand up for myself, and I was used to getting pushed and hit like I was nothing more than a toy. I’ll admit, I had my habits that encouraged such behavior, but people always took it too far.
Laura and I met again as I was being shoved into my locker. A brute by the name of Carson was trying to pester me into making an ass out of myself in front of the crowd, telling me that if I didn’t take my shirt off and start squealing like a pig, I’d get a knuckle sandwich (well, it was worse than that). Laura came out of the blue and shoved him away. “Leave him alone,” she had said, “what are you, a kid?”
Carson just looked at her like she was nuts. “Dweeb boy’s your boyfriend?”
She didn’t respond. She just glared at him, and offered me her hand. I took it, and she hoisted me up from the bed of papers in the tiny metal jail. “I can’t believe you’re doing this to him. What’d he do to you?”
Carson just shrugged, and walked away. Laura and I ate lunch that day, and discussed how things had been through time. She remembered me very well, and asked about my reading. I told her I was starting to become more of a writer. She appreciated that change, and said I might be able to make a living off of it, if I got good enough.
For the first time, our eyes met in an intimate fashion, we just stared at one another, smiling. I knew she was beautiful, far too much so for me, but I was attracted to her. I was falling in love, I felt. We hung out frequently, and my daydreams quickly became filled with her. She added me on Facebook, expanding my friends list to 32. I became a bit of a stalker… I would look at her photographs, pleasure myself, and feel like a sickening dog afterward.
It was on my Junior year that something happened between us that I didn’t ever understand until this day. It was a homecoming dance, and she’d asked me if I wanted to go. I reluctantly said yes, not wanting to embarrass her. I did my best to dress well, but an oversized Armani suit still doesn’t go well with thick rimmed glasses.
I had to be dropped off by my older brother, who thought it was a pointless venture until he saw her. “God damn, bro,” he had said, “how’d you get that?”
Laura had driven herself, since she had a permit and owned an old Plymouth. She was a fan of classic cars, she had told me. It was an old 1950′s model, very rare back in 2008. We danced together for the entire course of homecoming, she didn’t ever take her eyes off of me, not even for a minute. She showed such great devotion and trust that I started to feel a little afraid.. how was I supposed to compete with the intimacy of someone so beautiful? What could I do in return?
After the dance, she offered to drive me home. We went out to the car, and she set out on the road. The radio played an old forgotten tune, something from out of 1950′s suburban America, I was sure. It was then that she reached over, putting her hand on my leg. She asked me, “do you know what love is?” I couldn’t answer. Dancing with her was alone the pinnacle of my life. When we had sex in the back seat of her car, it all quickly overtook that, and I had never felt so alive…
Or, so changed.
After that night, I completely gave up on what I now call my “past-life,” and started to feel dead. Everything I did revolved around Laura, and everything she did involved me. We were inseparable, but I was modified, to say the least…
I ditched the glasses, and began to wear contacts. I threw aside the hand-me-downs and started spending every cent of my birthday money on new clothes, dressing fashionably. My “friends” faded away, and were quickly replaced by the people that Laura knew, the jocks and rough talkers, many of which I had known even before meeting her, and had bullied me when growing up.
The only person that didn’t see me any differently is Carson. Carson hated me with a passion that I can only equate to the anti-Semitism of Adolf Hitler. I didn’t “deserve” Laura. I didn’t “earn” sex. As far as he was concerned, I was nothing more than an insect getting laid by a goddess. I wouldn’t know how much he hated me until he, and a few friends, decided to trash my SUV.
It was late after school, I’d stayed to watch Laura’s Gymnastic tournament, and she was a no-show. I stayed anyway, talking to a few of her friends on the team instead, trying to get a bearing on what a good gift would be for her. Something was wrong, though. Nobody had seen or heard from her for about a week, yet I had spoken to her only hours earlier at the end of classes. They told me she may have been going a little crazy; she had blocked a few of her friends over minor things. What stuck out to me was, they were the same people who didn’t approve of our relationship.
After the tournament ended, I made my way into the parking lot. I twirled my keys on my fingers, bored, ready to get home, maybe call Laura to ask what was up. That’s when I saw my Tahoe sitting in it’s lot, windshield busted out, tires deflated, and an axe in the hood. I was taken aback at this, as you might suspect. Some people gathered around, watching in confusion, asking one another if they knew anything about it. My vehicle was totaled, and I had a good idea of who was responsible.
It was then that, out of nowhere, the round headlights of Laura’s Plymouth appeared. I stared into them as they came closer and closer, people began to clear out of the street, as if she wasn’t going to stop. The hood of the car was inches away when the car halted. It was as if I knew somehow that it wasn’t going to roll me over. Laura got out and yelled, “get in, right now.”
I did as I was told, not questioning her order. I stared at her as she drove, eyes dead-set on the road, a slightly furious expression on her face. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“The guys who wrecked your rig broke into my house,” she stated. She twisted the steering wheel, swerving the car down another street.
“What?” I asked.
She glared at me. “You don’t even know what…” she hesitated. She pointed to the glove compartment. “Open it.”
I swallowed the knot in my throat. I slowly gazed at the glove compartment. I unlatched it and let it drop open. Inside, a knife sat on a paper towel, covered in blood. “We’ve got to finish the others.”
“What?” I asked.
“Carson,” she said. “He broke in. You know god damned well what he tried to do.” She pointed at the knife. “I stopped him, but his friends got away.”
“Wait, what?” I asked again.
“We’re going to kill them, Arnold. We’re going to destroy them.” She grabbed my wrist. “I will not let them ruin this one.”
Not only was I confused, now, but I was getting frantic. “What?” was the only word I could muster.
“They’re going to KILL you, Arnie.”
“No, that’s…” I didn’t believe a word she said.
“Your brother’s dead, Arnie.”
My eyes started to water. “What?” I repeated.
“You have no fucking idea.” She swerved down another road, and then into the driveway of an unfamiliar house. “Take the knife,” she said.
“I don’t even know what’s happening,” I pleaded. “Don’t.. push me into this!”
“You’re already in this,” she stated. She switched off the car and held out her hand. “I’m in it with you.”
“What the fuck did I even do?” I asked.
She shrugged, then instead reached for the knife. As quick as she grasped it, she was out the door of the car. I watched the tight jeans she wore move up driveway, then glanced up at her darkened hair. She didn’t turn back. She went straight for the door, jiggled the knob, and began to violently kick when it didn’t budge. She did over and over again, until the frame finally cracked, and the door rattled aside.
When I heard the screams, I gripped the handle of the door, pushed it open, and stood up, ready to rush into the house to save the one woman who meant the world to me. The screams rang out again; they were not Laura’s.
I stared at the house, mouth agape, waiting for something new to happen. Dead silence enveloped the subdivision. Then, I saw my princess leaving the building, bathed in blood that was not her own. I stared in awe and horror as she made her way back to the car, the plain red knife in hand. “Get back inside,” she commanded. I did so, slamming the door as she sat at the driver’s seat. She stared ahead at the garage door, then leered over at me. She reached out and pulled me close, locking her lips with mine. “We’re not finished, yet,” she said.
The thing about love is that it is always hungry. It is fueled by a ferocious desire to consume your life. Your family, friendship, and time are her main course, your sexual drive is just the appetizer. Chances are, you don’t know what it’s like to be in love, and to sacrifice so much to power that urge… It can be, at times, insane. If I were to tell you that Laura were the “man” in this relationship, it would be an understatement.
When she told me that she’d set them up for a fall, but it ended up costing my own brother, I couldn’t stay angry. It was a possession of sorts… She would bribe me with her love and body. I would take that bribe like there was no tomorrow.
I didn’t even attend my brother’s funeral. I haven’t spoken to my family ever since. I have not seen my old friends, nor her old adversaries.
No man I know is as brazen and fearsome as Laura. Like medusa; all who sought her seemed to turn to stone. The next person we “visited” was her ex, the old quarterback who was now an alcoholic drop-out. She told me how they broke up, and why. The minute she mentioned a drunken stupor and the black out, I was in on the plot. We set him up. I was merely a passive accomplice, but a participant no less. What we did was illegal, but that wasn’t anyone’s concern, not for a man like that.
The only question I have is why am I the only one she has faced and not destroyed the life of? Why am I the only one she can not destroy? What is the key that keeps me from turning to stone?
It is only then that I realize that it is she who made me who I am. I am her creation. I had no life before Laura, and that is the blindness that protects me. It is the blindness that drew her to me in the first place.
Laura is my protector. My Medusa.