I startle. I didn't expect to hear a voice behind me as I get my shopping bags out of the trunk of my car.
I leave the bags and turn toward the voice.
"Sorry about that," he chuckles.
Ick! It's the neighbor man who lives in the house directly across the street.
"It's ok," I reply.
"John, my name is John."
He wants me to call him John but I refuse. The guys is creepy. He's told me that he works in a laboratory or something trying to invent things and that seems kinds of cool but I swear I've seen him staring at me since I was like only 14. When I would catch him looking at me he never turns away. He would just keep staring at me and I would feel uncomfortable and turn away. I felt like this man who looked to be around 40 years old, you know like my parents age, was undressing me with his eyes and thinking about touching my body in wrong ways. I don't know for sure because I would never ask him and I don't think I wanted to know but that was how I felt. It's only gotten worse the last year. I just turned nineteen. Yesterday in fact. My shopping bags are courtesy of gift cards from my friends at my birthday party last night. Over the last year, he walks over regularly to engage me in conversation and trying to get me to call him John. After the first few times I understood that it was just his excuse to try to look down my shirt since I like scoop tops so I try to stay very conscious to not bend over to give this creepy scientist man any cheap thrills.
I feel the best response is no response. I don't want to talk with him.
"Do you want me to show you what I'm testing at the lab?" he asks. He's holding a blue aerosol can.
I still say nothing. It works for me!
"Guess what it does?" he asks.
Ugh! He's making it harder and harder to ignore him.
"What?" I say giving my best "I don't give a shit" shrug.
He sprays it in my face! What the...
"Give me a hug," he says.
Ok, like this is so weird but I'm thinking that there's no way that I'm giving this pervert a hug yet I step forward and open up my arms and I hug him. I put my arms around him and I put my head on his shoulder because that's how tall I am to him. He wraps me in his arms too. We're hugging. I know, I absolutely freaking know, that I don't want to hug him yet here I am doing it anyway. So not only am I hugging the creepy neighbor from across the street but it feels good to hug him. I'm disgusted by this in my mind but my body is telling me that this feels pretty good.
He stops the hug and says, "That was nice."
"Uh..." I have a headache and I feel confused. I had this need to hug him but what happened right before that?
"Talk to you later," he says.
I grab my shopping bags and go inside my house and try to figure out what just happened.
I didn't want to hug him but I needed to. I had no choice. Why?
I see the neighbor standing in his front yard as I near my house. As I pull into the driveway he begins to cross the street. Ugh! Is he waiting for me to get home? What's with him? I wish I could get out of my car fast enough so I could avoid him.
He's at my door as I exit my car.
"Hi," I grumble.
"Please call me John."
No way. Never gonna happen. Only if I'm talking to the police about something he did will I use his name.
"Look," he says. He holds up a blue can with an aerosol top.
"What is it?"
The spray goes right in my face.
"Give me a hug," he says.
What is wrong with me? I can't control my body. I'm giving him a hug. Again!
"You feel good," he says. "Call me John and tell me what you think of our hug."
"I like your hug, John," I say. "I like the feel of you holding me."
Ugh! The hug does feel good but I don't want to tell him that. I don't even want to hug him. Why am I hugging him?
We stand in an embrace for what feels like a long time but in reality is probably less than two minutes.
I slowly push away and he lets me go. I'm able to stop the hug after all.
"Thank you," he says. He doesn't wait for my response but simply goes back to his house.
What just happened? Why did I hug him even though I know I don't want to hug him? Am I sick? Is he doing something? He's a scientist or something. Could he do something to me? All he does it come over and say "Hi" and I try to ignore him. He's not doing anything. So what's wrong with me?
I try to avoid John - Ugh! I'm calling him John now - but he always shows up. The one time I make it to my room, my mom not knowing any better, lets him come to my room and I end up hugging him again.
Over the next two weeks I give up trying to avoid him. It's useless.
I pull up to the house today and as usual he's waiting for me. Ugh! I might as well get it over with. I hug him.
"It feels good to be in your arms, John." He always asks so I go ahead and say it beforehand.
"I especially like it today," he says. "Thank you."
We separate. I notice a blue aerosol can in his hand that he's never had before.
"What's that?" I ask.
"Something not needed today." He has a very big smile. He's super happy about something.
So I continue to hug him over the next week. It feels completely awkward but what can I do?
He thanks me but I can't do otherwise. He is much happier now.
"Hi John." I've given up not using his name also.
"Have a potato chip." He's holding a pringles can. The lid is off.
"I'm not hungry."
"Just one chip." He shakes the can. "I insist."
Ugh! I guess the sooner I do it, the sooner he's out of my hair.
I reach in and pull out a chip. Ewwwww! "It's blue."
"Eat the whole chip. Try to figure out what flavor it is. I sprayed a coating on it then baked it into the chip.
I eat it. Blueberry? No, I'm just thinking that because it's blue. It's just normal flavor - I think.
"I want you to change out of your jeans and into shorts then come over to my house."
I didn't want to go to his house. Why in the world would I want to go to his house? Yet, here I am saying I will come over. I feel a desperate need to do as he said. I don't know why but I change like he asked.
I walk across the street and ring his doorbell.
"Oh, good. You came over right away. Come in."
The last thing I want to do is come in but my body obeys anyway. What is wrong with me?
I follow him into the den. The TV is on.
He lies down on the sofa on his side.
"Lie down with me." He pats the sofa cushion.
Oh, no! Why is my body obeying? I don't want to do this. Please! Stop body. Stop!
I lie down in front of him. John and I are like spoons. He puts his arm over me with his hand directly on my stomach because he put his hand under my shirt.
We watch TV. It's some boring science show. I'm physically content lying here even though I don't mentally like it.
I think it's about a half hour later but I say, "I should go." I move his hand off my stomach.
"Didn't last as long as I expected. Have another potato chip."
"I haven't had any." I can't have another unless I've had a first.
"Oh, right. That's right. Try one, tell me what flavor it is."
It's alright. It's part of the flavor"
I eat one. It tastes ordinary.
"Lie back down with me."
I spoon up against him.
"Was that pringles can always there?" I ask. I just noticed it.
"No. I just brought it out.'
"Your body feels wonderful," he says. "How do I physically feel to you?"
I would say I'm creeped out but he said physically. "I feel good. I feel safe."
"I'm happy to hear that."
Later when I get anxious to get up and leave, he allows me to do so.
I'm so glad to get out of there.
Why am I doing this? It makes no sense. Ugh!
I spoon with John the entire week.
It's weird but I swear that a pringles can keeps appearing out of thin air. I worry that I'm going crazy.
By the end of the week, we're together for an entire two hour movie. I hate that he rubs my stomach and sometimes puts a finger in my belly button but I always admit to him that physically it feels very nice. It's the truth.
I get anxious and begin to move away.
"It's lasting longer now," he says.
I don't know what he means and I don't want to know. I just want to go home.
I ring his doorbell. I feel depressed. Why am I here?
The door opens.
"Kelsey!" John greets with a big smile. "You've come over here without me coming over to you first."
"I wanted to," I reply. What could I say? That I feel compelled? That I can't control myself? No, I don't want to come over but my body does. How in the world could I explain that to anyone?
.... There is more of this story ...