This is an older story I forgot to publish from a few years ago:
It all started with a feather... A blue feather, chosen by my friend Mandy, placed in my hair alongside my blue streak and secured with a plastic bead. "There," she said, admiring her handiwork in the mirror of the salon where she styles hair. "That seems right."
I'd gone to visit Mandy and to support her salon's art show, which was displaying some art she and her fiance Dani had created. I brought my friend Kyle with me, and, although he declined a feather, we enjoyed an impromptu rock concert and some wine- a fun outing with fun people.
The next day was my friend Elissa's birthday, and she'd invited everyone to join her in some karaoke in Culver City... I HATE karaoke, but I love Elissa. She was one of the first friends I made when I came to LA, and has been a social staple in my life ever since. So I had to go and endure some Empty Orchestra.
There was a two drink minimum, but I more than met it by engaging in a drinking contest with my friend Erik, who happens to be Kyle's roommate. Not feeling buzzed at all, I matched Erik drink for drink, baffling him with my abnormally awesome liver. That night, more and more friends showed up- Kyle, John, Zach, Annalisa, Chelsea, Melissa, Sean... all these familiar faces I've been working and playing with over the last year. A mismatched group of Lost Boys. Fighting for survival, bonded through sweat, blood and tears, I was looking at my LA Family. I sat back with the last of Erik's challenge swirling through my system and gazed at my friends as they danced. The same powerful sensation of love and bonding I'd felt with my Band, with my Karate Family, with my Universal Family- here it was again, surging through my veins alongside rum and godknows whatelse.
We are a tribe. I had a feather in my hair. I am a fighter. I am a Warrior.
All of the battles of the last 6 months had been registering in my body, leaving heavy scars on my psyche. I suddenly felt free and liberated. My handsome Dark Haired Boy asked me to dance, so, leaving my cares on the sticky barroom table, I joined my people and danced and sang alongside my fellow Warriors. The night belonged to us.
I left the feather in my hair to remind myself of my new outlook.
I've been suffering for long enough- I'm tired of feeling like a victim- I need to remember that I am strong, I am a fighter, and I can survive.
I kept this attitude when my roommate, Jon, informed me that even though I'd only been living with him and his girlfriend for 2 months, he was in a bad financial state and needed to raise the rent. By $100 a month. Being a badass Warrior, I no longer take shit from anyone, so I told him I'd be moving out. Jon is in a Metal bad called "White Wizzard." They don't suck, but (did I mention they're a Metal band so) they aren't that sucessful, and financial hardships and rockiness within the band were making Jon grumpier and grumpier. I don't need that in my life- I'm a fucking Warrior. Warriors don't take shit from Wizzards.
Over the next few days, things got tense between Jon and his live-in girlfriend, Jane. (not her real name.) Jane is from Thailand, and although there is an occasional language barrier, we both speak Empathy, and had been growing closer as friends. As we spend time together at the gym, or swimming in the pool, she began to confide in me. Things about Jon. Things like, how he told her that "if he ever found out that she'd been sent by the cops to spy on him, he'd have her killed." Things like how he calls her names. Things like how she is forbidden to ask him where he's been, when he's coming home, or who he's been spending his nights with. I'd heard him speaking to her, and telling her how "fucking stupid" she was. I hated how he'd wax philosophically about the beauty of open relationships, but insisted she not see other men. He'd cut her off entirely from all of her friends, and she no longer had a social life because Jon did not allow her to go out.
This came to a head two days after Elissa's birthday, when Jon sent me a text stating that he was intending to have a "mellow night at home," that he'd had a death in his family, and that Jane was spending the night elsewhere and he needed some down time to be with some friends, so could I not have any guests over that night. "Sure," I wrote back. "Understood- I'm sorry you're sad."
I stopped by the apartment to grab a few things, intending to spend the night with my Dark Haired Boy, when I saw Jane, also packing. Jon was not around. I asked where she was headed, since it wasn't like her to spend nights out of the apartment.
"Jon has asked me to sleep in the van tonight."
"He say he needs to be with his sister. But he has no sister..."
"Jane, this is stupid- come stay with me tonight- I don't like the idea of you sleeping out in the open streets. It's not safe."
Jane whispers now, looking at the floor. "I think he cheat on me..."
She insisted on following Jon's orders, because he had to meet up with her for some reason that night. She waited in the van all night, and he never arrived. However, when she got back to the apartment the next day, she found Jon passed out in bed next to a bottle of pink tequilla and a bottle of body oil. He'd had sex in their bed, and left the sheets messy.
Taking advantage of his unconscious state, she grabbed his cell phone and began to look through the texts. She found plenty of evidence that he was cheating on her.
She told me this through a storm of tears that afternoon.
"I hate him! He take everything from me, he threaten me, he say he's going to smack me if I ask any question, then he cheat on me in this bed! I want to leave him!"
Being a Warrior, I feel protective of Jane. This man has no right to threaten to hurt her.
"Whatever you need," I said. "I will help you."
Jane looks at me with determination in her eyes.
"I want to fuck him," she said, in perfect English. "On rent. I want to fuck him on rent. I want to leave right away so he is fucked."
"Okay," I said. "Let's make a plan and be smart about this... If you want to move out when I move out, I will help you move. But Jane, if he's threatening to hurt you, I think you should get out sooner. He doesn't love you- no one who loves you would talk to you that way..."
She hugged me around my neck, and promised to figure out a plan to leave.
I talked with a bunch of people about the situation that day, and got some good advice. I also called Jay, just because I missed him and I wanted to talk, but he was not particularly helpful. "You shouldn'tve moved in with them," he said.
"It's not like I had a lot of time to hunt and look- you LEFT me, so this means I am victime to CraigsList."
"That's not my problem," he told me.
Awesome, cool, thanks Jay.
That night, Jon was still out, but I sensed trouble on the morning's horizon. I had such a powerful feeling that something bad would happen, I slept in my clothes and left a lamp on in my bedroom.
Sure enough, at 5:20AM, I awoke to the sounds of them arguing loudly. Then Jane started screaming my name, yelling "Jaime come help me!"
I bolted out of my room to find them squared off in the kitchen, her back to the wall.
"He choke me!" Jane said.
"Grab your bag, we're leaving."
Ah, but Jon the Wizzard was angry now, in full Metal mode.
"Oh so now you're waking up our roommate with this bullshit- you pushed me to the limit, so you can get the fuck out!"
Jane screamed back at him "You cheat on me!"
"OK," I said. "Probably time to get that bag now."
I wedged myself physically between them and stayed there like a wrestling Ref.
Jon was furious. "Where the fuck do you think you're going?"
"I'm not getting in the middle of this, I'm just taking her somewhere so you two can cool off."
Jane finally grabbed her purse, and we took off. She was hysterical, crying. "He choke and scratch me!"
She was adamant that we NOT call the cops because then she would be deported.
"That's not how that works," I said. "They don't care about whether or not you're a citizen, they care about whether or not your boyfriend attacked you."
We arrived at Paul's (the Dark Haired Boy) house at 5:30, and texted him out of bed. I'd kept him in the loop, so he wasn't completely shocked to see us at his door. Jane had scratch marks on her back from the Wizzard's guitar fingernails, and was pretty much in shock. I took pictures of her scratches and we convinced her to let us call the cops.
They arrived in true LAPD fashion- an hour later.
They, too, took photos of Jane's scratches and reassured her that they didn't care where she was from, they were just there to get the bad guy. By now Jane was calmed down and able to talk with them about all the awful things Jon had said to her. They listened, sympathetically, then left to go arrest him. Sadly, by the time they arrived at the Wizard's, he'd already gone.
This wasn't surprising as the man already has an arrest record and is behind on his child support payments.
...did I mention he's a pretty awful human being?
I was meeting my huge awesome friend Carlos that afternoon to carpool, but he couldn't get there until 11. That meant Jane and I had to kill a few hours and get as much stuff packed as possible during that time.
I knew Jay lived just down the street from us, also in North Hollywood, so I sent him a text:
"I know it's early but LAPD just left and I'm scared- can you please come over?"
He groggily phoned me back after my 4th call, and told me that it wasn't his job to take care of me anymore and that I should wait in Panera Bread.
Thanks, Jay. Thanks for showing me your true colors- now I can focus on the people who actually give a shit about someone other than themselves, like pretty much every other friend named in this story.
Jane and I spent that night at the Paul's, and came back the following evening to an empty apartment. Paul stayed there, with us, just in case.
Jane and I decided to act normally around Jon (if he came home) for 2 more days until I could help Jane drive her personal belongings to her new place where she'd be living with the one friend she had left. She had about 2 cars worth of stuff, so we'd caravan her out before the Wizzard knew she was gone. We were going to be quick- we were going to be smooth. It was going to be easy, and then he'd be unable to take any agression out on me, because I am his size physically, and he clearly prefers to pick on smaller girls without citizenships.
Thursday arrived, and I rounded some troops to help extract Jane. I was counting on the Wizzard staying gone, but we couldn't be sure, so I put out a request on FaceBook for some fellow Warriors to act as Guardian Angels. My prayer was answered in the forms of Joop, an old friend from Oyster's Secret in Orlando, and Kyle, a new friend from Halloween Horror Nights in LA. We held a pow-wow at a newarby coffee bean and tea leaf and discussed the plan while we waited for Jane.
She arrived, dishevelled.
"He's home," she said, then started to cry. "He make me have sex with him- I feel disgusted."
She began to have second thoughts about whether or not she should move out, but ultimately decided to move forward with the Plan. We were behind her 100%.
"If he hurt you once, he'll do it again."
As soon as she started packing, the Wizzard freaked out and began to yell at her. He bellowed over her shoulders as she began to stuff things into boxes and bags. I signalled to the boys to not leave her side while I went into her closet and began packing her things. Joop and Kyle stood like stanch soldiers in the living room while the fighting escalated. The Wizzard kicked over the kitchen table, flinging hot coffee everywhere, as he ordered Joop and Kyle to get the fuck out of his house. He took an exceptional shine to Kyle, who he insisted was somehow smirking at him.
Kyle may have been, but he also just kind of LOOKS like a smirker, so, what can you do?
To calm things down, I suggested Kyle and Joop wait outside, and we'd keep the door open.
The Wizzard slammed the door shut, and continued screaming at Jane, who by this point was so stressed out she began to vomit.
While she was retching in the bathroom, the Wizzard turned on me, telling me that I was a lying sack of shit for stating that I didn't want to get in the middle of things, and that he wanted me out as well.
We loaded everything into my car and Jane's car, but I had a horrible feeling that the Wizzard would do something evil to my cats if I left him alone in the apartment. I have no bedroom door, only a curtain flap, and even if all he did was let them outside, I'd be devastated. I sent out a text to Todd, Paul, and Carlos, all of whom responded instantly. They were on their way. Todd arrived within minutes, and the Wizzard immediately picked a fight with him. This would've been awesome, as any one of my Warriors could kick the Wizzard's ass, but Todd just smirked, which I knew was the best reaction.
I sent Joop to drive my car to Jane's new place, and I sent Kyle home. Todd waited with me until Carlos and Paul arrived. Once they got there, it was obvious.
"You need to get out. Tonight."
Carlos called his girlfriend (and my friend) Shaunelle, and between the four of us, The cats were moved to Todd's, and I was packed and moved out of the Wizzard's and into Paul's within 4 hours. Surprise!
The next day, I went back for my bed and some shelves (the only items left) with my friend Gabrielle, and her friend Emily. And their boyfriends Nick and Matthew, who are, respectively, Marines and humongous.
The Wizzard literally gnashed his teeth when I arrived with such giant Warriors. He said not a single word to me as we packed, but proceeded to write me a nasty email, which I read over his shoulder as we moved out.
I'll be happy to post the letter online, because it's funny, but it's mostly blaming me for his problems with Jane because I introduced her into my circle of numerous guy friends, who encouraged her to act on her irrational fears. He also stated that I would not be receiving my security deposit back until he found a new roommate to replace me.
This may mean small claims court for me, but I'm OK with that. I can continue fighting, because I am a Warrior. Oh, and there's that little matter about a police report filed against him that he doesn't know about yet- that'll be a fun surprise to break to him!
In the meantime, I'm safe and loved, here with my Dark Haired Boy and my group of Big Hard Fucking Heroes- Joop, Kyle, Paul, Carlos, Todd, Shaunelle, Gabrielle, Emily, Matthew, and Nick, and everyone else who's shown me love and given me the courage to keep fighting and standing up for what is right.
...Jane moved back in the the Wizzard 5 days later, after he promised to marry her early next spring. Paul says, "sometimes the only reward for doing the right thing is knowing that the right thing was done." He may be correct, but I like to think that maybe in helping Jane escape the Wizzard once, we'll have at least given her a little courage.
When I finally take my feather out, I'm going to send it to her.