All I can really do is let out a deep sigh as I begin to write this, partly out of relief that my ordeal might be over, and partly because I feel disappointed that I didn’t have the self-esteem to put an end to it a long time ago. I’m not here for the mere sake of putting someone on blast. As per usual, my goal is just to entertain, offer some social insight, and provide some chuckles to visitors of my column. But more than anything, I’d like to share some life lessons that might prevent you from falling down the same rabbit hole I did. So if you’d like to hear them, I encourage you to read on.
Personally, I know I really enjoy watching those “my stalker story” videos on YouTube. Some are clearly click bait, but others are legitimately terrifying. I highly recommend Tana Mongeau’s stalker series if you’re interested. Sadly, I am completely inarticulate when it comes to actually talking, so instead, I write stuff. The following events occurred over a long stretch of time, and there are a lot of complicated facts involved, so bear with me if things get rambly at times. But I guess I’ll just try to start from the beginning and see how it goes.
The summer before my junior year of high school, I decided it was time to get off my ass, get a job, and start saving for college. I was pretty fortunate in that I snagged one pretty easily and before I really knew it I was in new-hire orientation. Another young girl was sitting across the table from me in the conference room. She looked pretty normal, like the prototypical white girl, dressed in whatever was on-trend at the time. The human resources coordinator had us introduce ourselves to each other, and it turned out she had actually just graduated from my high school.
“Oh, so you two might know each other!” the HR lady clapped. God, I had all of that phony pre-employment crap. I didn’t know this girl from fucking Adam. She was two grades ahead of me.
But to my surprise, she looked right at me with a grin and said “yeah, I know her.”
It was kind of weird since I went to such a big high school, but I just chalked it up to either me being recognizable for being a weirdo scene kid, or her just trying to be polite.
We filled out I9s and pissed in cups or whatever, and eventually, we got to work. I was excited to see one of my longtime classmates, Allie, was working in my department, along with the girl from orientation. Let’s call her “Zane” from here on out. We all seemed to vibe pretty well and even managed to have some fun when we were stuck inside on prime July days. It also helped that it was just a pretty chill gig that involved getting a lot of free stuff and working over our supervisor, so it meshed with my 15-year-old attitude nicely.
In case you’ve never worked in the wonderful world of the non-set schedule service sector, over time, you come to amass a lot of your coworkers’ numbers. It’s pretty well understood that you only really hit them up about work related stuff, whether it be to ask them if they can pick up your shift, when they might be back if they’ve been out sick, or if you just want to share something funny that happened with a customer or whatever. But Zane didn’t see to pick up on that unspoken memo.
Pretty quickly, it became clear that she wanted to continue our friendliness at work into friendliness over text. That was back when texting was still kind of a novelty and the hot thing, so I didn’t really think too much of it, until one night she actually asked me to hang out. Even though I had just entered the working world, I was aware of what people say about getting too chummy with coworkers, so I felt hesitant about saying yes. But fuck, I didn’t want to be mean, so I agreed. What’s the worst that could happen, right?
We went to this outdoor mall in my area where we ended up hitting up a coffee shop, and I immediately noticed some little things that were just kind of, well, odd. She perseverated on every little thing when it came to deciding what she wanted to order, she seemed to know every goddamned person at our high school, and she openly admitted how much she loves to get attention from guys. But, yano, we got through the evening.
Not even two days later, I was chilling at my then-boyfriend’s house when Zane texted me asking if I wanted to hang again.
“It’s like she’s trying to date me or something,” I remember saying as I threw my phone against his pillow and laid my head down on his chest.
Funny enough, we had run into her at the mall about a week prior, and he immediately got the impression that she didn’t really have much of a soul. My ex is not a good person at all, but I will say this – he can read someone perfectly in about .001 seconds. Even funnier, Zane texted me after the run-in about how cute she thought he was.
“Just tell her we already have plans or something,” he said through gulps of whatever piss beer we were drinking at the time. I don’t even want to speculate.
She eventually retreated, but not without being kind of petty about it. She started getting really close with Allie and would go around saying how they were the best workers there. It was annoying af, but at the same time I was more focused on getting into college and being up my ex’s ass (Editor’s note – if you’re talking about pegging here, you’re my hero) to pay it much mind.
By the middle of my senior year of high school, I dipped the fuck out of that job. I knew I was leaving to go to college soon, so I just didn’t really give much of a shit anymore. Long story short, I did school in Philly for a semester, transferred back home to be closer to my ex like a little bitch (PSA don’t do that), and after a year of college down, I knew I needed to start working again.
So, I did the easiest thing I possibly could do and asked for my old job back, and I was fortunate to actually have it given to me. But things were a lot different than they were before. We had this crazy supervisor that killed me and some of the other kids with hours even though she knew we were in school and I quickly started to hate life. But, I was at least happy to see Allie was still working there, and curiously, not Zane.
When I finally asked Allie about where Zane went her eyes got super big and her smirk even bigger.
“Oh, she works in such and such department now…”
One of my dude coworkers chimed in.
“Tell her about what she did!”
My head immediately snapped back to Allie like bitch, da fuck happened.
“Well you know how her and I were close before?” she explained. “Well we became, like, best friends, but then she got obsessed with me and showed up at my house one day claiming that I had said I needed a ride to work when I never did.”
Needless to say, I was pretty taken aback. I knew Zane had her issues with dudes and ordering scones or whatever the fuck but I never thought she was quite on level stalker. I think I just threw Allie and “oh, that’s crazy” type of thing out of skepticism and intrigue.
When I finally saw Zane again one day when I was floating around the building, let’s just say I approached things from a step back. She immediately hit me with an “oh HIIIIII!!!!!!!!!” or whatever white girl shit and I remember literally the next thing she said was “did you lose weight?” accompanied by an excited mouth gape face. Um yeah, Zane, I did lose weight…because my anorexia was the worst it ever was at that time.
“Oh yeah, I guess so,” I said awkwardly.
She wanted to know all my tips and tricks and I made up some bullshit about how I was into fitness now or something. We chatted some more, but I made sure it was only small talk. I was surprised to hear that she mostly seemed to be doing alight. As usual, we got through it.
One day, I came in for an afternoon shift to find Allie nearly shitting her pants.
“JENNA! Go look at the schedule!”
It took me a while of staring into the bulletin board to realize what she was talking about. But then I saw it. Zane was back on the schedule, and back in our department. Honestly, I felt kind of bad for Allie, but being one that tries to avoid the indulgence of drama, I went about my work and just accepted that whatever was going to be was going to be. Before I really knew it, Zane and I both seemed to be stuck with the early morning shift weekend, after weekend, after weekend.
It was miserable, and I really don’t know how I didn’t fail out of school. Being stuck together for all that time, it was almost inevitable that Zane and I would become friendly again. We would commiserate over the struggle to balance work, school, and dudes, and pretty much everything else in between. Eventually I even came to look forward to working with her, and was one of my few chances to get to socialize in my hectic schedule. Allie had to have just been exaggerating…right?
Zane and I started hanging outside of work again. It started out innocently enough; one day she asked me to go out to the Cheesecake Factory with her after work since it was payday. I mean hey, it’s fun to step out and be bourgie sometimes, so why not. We ate that really dank pumpernickel bread, drank our five dollar lemonades, shared some laughs, and I went home feeling cool about things. And also kind of hating myself because fuck the Cheesecake Factory.
But eventually she wanted to go out together all the time, and quite frankly, I didn’t have time, mostly because I took my grades super seriously. I would literally tell her no over and over again, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“Just do your annotated bib for like an hour and then we can meet up at 7:00.”
She would make it all sound so rational that I felt crazy declining. It wasn’t even that I didn’t have fun with her, I just really didn’t have time for some sort of BFF relationship. That probably sounds harsh, but sometimes that’s just the reality of stepping up and being an adult.
But Zane just continued to suck me in. One night she wanted to go out so bad, but I was sick of spending a bunch of money, so I told her to just come over to my house and I could cook us food and she met my parents or whatever. Honestly, this was such a mistake. If you even have a suspicion that a friend is clingy, don’t let them find out where you live or bring them around your family or anything. Keep things on neutral ground until you see what their true colors are.
Another day soon after, a few hours before one of our afternoon shifts, she called me up all upset, saying that her salon fucked up her eyebrows and that she wanted to come over before work and have me fix them
“And while I’m there, you can do my makeup!”
I was kind of disgruntled about it, honestly. I was raised to never invite yourself over like that. But again, the Tina Belcher in me just let out an “uhh…okay.”
When she got there, I sat her down in my mom’s vanity chair and took a look at her allegedly fucked brows. They looked great. What the fuck was the problem? She pointed to one tiny spot where she thought her lady didn’t take enough. To humor her I tweezed one random baby hair. I wasn’t really sure what else to do. Part of me felt like she had just been fishing for an excuse to come over, but I tried to suppress it because this is just what girlfriends do…er, right?
When it came time for makeup, I just pretty much did my usual routine on her just because, fuck, it’s not like I had the time to think of anything else more spectacular. Not to sound conceited, but people at work would sometimes pay me really kind words about how I did my face or say that I should model or whatever. Again, to be clear, I really do not think I am a special snowflake, I just think when you like to do some bold hair and makeup like I do it sticks out a lot more when everyone is stuck wearing the same clothing uniform, if that makes sense.
But I could always feel Zane’s jealousy whenever she’d overhear someone paying me a compliment. One day she even blurted out “you know I wear makeup, too!” By the time I was done with her in the chair, I had unintentionally made her a clone of myself, with the same winged eyeliner and contouring staring back at me. At work Allie asked me if Zane and I had done our makeup the same way on purpose. I could tell she was weirded out, and quite frankly, I was a little bit too.
The fall of my junior year of college, my boyfriend became my ex. And it sucked. It was also around that time that I started to have a lot of weird health problems. And that sucked even more, mostly because I suspected there was something really wrong with me. But, you pick up the pieces. You learn to cope. And I have to say, Zane was there for me, and I dismissed some of her crazy as just idiosyncrasies and accepted her company because I really needed it. I left my job once more to focus on school and myself, but Zane and I still kept in touch on the phone and occasional dinner dates. That was actually probably one of the nicest periods of our friendship, honestly. We could have good times when we wanted to, but not working together provided some breathing room.
But the harmony didn’t last too long. Later that fall I started fucking with a dude from work. I figured the scenario wasn’t inappropriate since it occurred during one of the periods when I wasn’t actively working there. It eventually fizzled out, but that just meant Zane had to start fucking with him too. He eventually ended up ghosting her too, but she didn’t take it well at all. She bought him birthday presents that she demanded he come pick up from her and blew up his phone on the regular. It turned out that he dipped on both of us because there was another girl he had been talking to that he wanted to get serious with.
I cut my losses about it, but the prospect of another girl being involved made Zane lose her shit, and the whole ordeal led to a screaming match between the two right in the middle of a shift that I, of course, had to come and help diffuse.
“WHATEVER, TANNER” I can still hear her screaming as she ran out the door.
A few months later I was casually wondering aloud about why he had made it seem like he liked me when he had really been into his now girlfriend. Zane immediately snapped back, “he liked ME,” with genuine rage in her eyes. I was just of the whatever dude-kind of attitude. If she wanted to feel like she was his girl then she could go right ahead because at the end of the day, that dude wasn’t really my type. But Zane did proceed to go around saying his girlfriend was nasty and has STI’s. Yano, just normal stuff.
For those of you wondering where this is all going, just know that the story thus far has only been a mere preface to the utter insanity that began to erupt in 2015. The first week of spring semester, I was running across campus to grab my third coffee of the day before my next class when I saw Zane had texted me.
Can I ask you something?
Ugh, that is literally my biggest pet peeve. Like just ask it. You don’t need my permission.
Uh yeah, I replied, probably before digging around in my bag for my inhaler.
Are you going to get busy with school and abandon me like Jessica did?
I literally wanted to throw my phone across the parking lot, but before I even get into that, let me tell you about Jessica.
Before me, before Allie, before anybody, Zane was best friends with Jessica. They got matching bangs, Zane went on Jessica’s family vacations, the whole nine. But then they had an absolutely horrific falling out. Jessica worked at the same place we did, and Zane would literally talk at this chick about random bullshit for twenty minutes during shifts while Jessica would say nothing and stare at her like “go away.” It was the most uncomfortable thing to watch since the hint clearly wasn’t being taken.
This kept happening for literally months until Zane screamed at her for being a bitch and not wanting to hang out with her anymore. Apparently Jessica had kind of told her to fuck off the nice way in the past by saying she was too busy with her school work to hang out, but as Zane would so confidently protest, “you can always make time.” I never really got the full story on what happened, but now I just think that Jessica wasn’t willing to make mental excuses for her craziness anymore.
Whatever the case may be, Zane would go around saying that Jessica was really a lesbian and in love with her and was jealous of the dudes she would get. She would sabotage Jessica’s work. Straight up Regina George shit. I was scared to stop being her friend because being on her bad side is such a terrifying place to be. Pro tip: if someone has had a bunch of dramatic falling outs with people, stay clear of them, because they were the common denominator in all of the situations.
And so, I was angry and unsettled when I got that text from her at school. I was creeped out that she used the word “abandon,” and I was scared that I would have the same fate of Jessica if I dipped out on her. I was also hurt that us going to the fucking Cheesecake Factory was more important than me being successful in school. Another pro tip: a true friend has your best interest in mind. I didn’t respond, and she proceeded to blow up my phone all day. I ended up just turning it off, and eventually, by some miracle, the topic was dropped.
That spring I did something really fucking stupid. I took my old job back for a third time. Basically a bunch of drama went down and I thought I was going to have to lease a new car, so I was desperate for cash. Fortunately, the supervisor this time was a really awesome internal hire that knew what shit was really like, and got me back on the schedule right away. Unfortunately, this meant Zane and I were up each other’s asses again. I was hard at work on my senior thesis, but Zane just didn’t really seem to care and was always hounding me about going out. She didn’t seem to understand why I would want to put so much effort into something school-related when I could be channeling that energy into our friendship. But Jenna the doormat struck again, mostly because by this point I seemed to be trapped at every move.
That May I went away for my three weeks in Europe. She acted so upset that I was leaving and put on this big goodbye show. Yet while I was over there, she only emailed me once to see how I was doing. Casual acquaintances were hitting me up more than the girl that liked to claim she was my “best friend.” It was weird as fuck. When was home she was constantly blowing up my phone about nonsense, but then when I was actually doing something that was really important to me she didn’t care. I had been home a full day and she hadn’t even asked if I had made it home safe. When people chalk things up to jealousy I always feel like it’s a little bit of a cop out, but it was the only explanation I could come up with.
Although her unconcern was kind of shitty, I was kind of relieved that she had unlatched herself a bit. But she finally emerged in my inbox once more, and came over to my house to “hear about my trip.” Instead, she just used it as an excuse to talk about this dude she’s crazy obsessed with. No, not Tanner; yet another dude. He used to work at our work as well (sense a pattern here?) but had quit literally years ago. They had stayed in touch over text and she was convinced they’re soulmates…yet he’s stood her up to actually hang out about four million times. I can’t even. Oh yeah, she did say one thing about my trip: I had gained weight while I was over there.
That summer is also when the copying really began in earnest. Back before I was vegan, there was a very specific coffee order I would get. She started ordering it. I started wearing fake nails. She goes and buys them. You know, those little things. But little things add up. And they added up to fucking weird. What bothered me more than anything, though, was when she thought it was cute to copy my smoking. I had some other really tough things going on at that time and stared habitually buying cigarettes to cope with the stress instead of just bumming here and there when I was drunk.
She would randomly text me “bought some smokes,” like we were in junior high and wanted to impress me or something, and she’d try to say she needed them because all of her self-inflicted dude drama had her sooo stressed. Yeah, okay. Yet alongside this copying came all these little digs. They could be about my appearance, my room, my choices with men. I guess if she couldn’t completely become me she would just have to tear me down. But I still wasn’t willing to risk what might happen if I cut her off, so I told myself I was just being paranoid and oversensitive.
Along came fall and my 21st birthday, and I was all ready to put on my birthday sash and crown and be a basic ass bitch because fuck. The plan was that I would go out to dinner with my family, and then go out with my friends to da club afterwards. I don’t exactly remember how, but let’s just say Zane weaseled her way into coming to dinner. I had mentioned to her a few days before that my dude friends couldn’t make it to the bar, but my sister would be there along with Madison, my friend from school. She didn’t really say anything in response. While I was re-curling a few sections of my hair before we stepped out, I reminded her that we were just going to have to make a pit stop to pick up Madi.
All the sudden everything in her just snapped.
“I thought it was just going to be us and Julie,” she said all huffy as panic grew in her eyes. I guess she could tolerate that my sister was going because it was my sister, but another girlfriend was too much for her to handle.
“Well, I mean Madi is my friend, too, so I can’t just not invite her,” I said as I stopped for a spray.
“Well am I going to like her?” she demanded to know.
“Um yeah, she’s a nice person…?”
Like what do you even say to that? It was my party regardless, and I was going to invite who I wanted to
Poor Madi. We picked her up and she introduced herself to Zane really sweetly and Zane just gave her a cold “hello.” Madi and I were chatting about this and that and Zane just sat there, silent, and I could tell Madi felt so goddamn uncomfortable. I was about to cry, to be honest. I had been looking forward to turning 21 for so long, and I felt like I had let the kind of negativity into my life that was going to ruin it. I was a grown ass fully legal adult, yet I was friends with someone I was legitimately afraid of after having already dated someone I was legitimately afraid of for years before that. Why did I keep letting this happen? Fortunately, somehow, by the grace of god, or probably more by the grace of Madi’s ability to talk to anyone, the two ended up breaking the ice once the booze really started flowing and no one ended up killing each other. But it was a close call, that’s for sure.
Meanwhile, I had been desperate to get out of town. Luckily HHF was coming up, and I tacked on seeing New Orleans as well. I could tell she was jealous that I was going to NOLA without her, but I tried my best to explain to her that I was just kind of going for me and that in San Antonio I would be busy reporting on things for this new blog I was writing for. She didn’t really seem to understand any of it. When I got home, my column was well underway and she didn’t seem to care for a second, mostly because every facet of her mind was consumed with that boy from our work, that “soulmate” of hers. He was still standing her up and ignoring her. I would talk until my face turned blue about how she just needed to focus on herself and not him but it was like speaking to a wall. Her universe was made up of planets with different people’s names on it, and they all revolved around her.
As the holidays approached, my health took a decline again. I found out I had to get a tumor removed from my breast the day before New Year ’s Eve (not cancer, yay), and I grew worried about who could possibly want to cover for me at work during a holiday. And you know how Zane responded to the situation?
“Well I love you, but I’m not working for you,” she said, lying on my floor in between bites of my pretzels.
Because that’s what love is, folks. So I fucking worked. And if any of you have ever had any kind of breast reduction/augmentation/excision you know that you can’t lift your arms for a while afterwards because then your boobs move and you can possible rip your fucking stitches. I was standing there crying at work, attempting to go about my duties with a nagging fear of seriously injuring myself. Not one time did Zane ask how I was doing.
I was done at this point. My supervisor could tell I was upset and I told her about everything that was going on. She urged me to talk to Zane about how I was feeling, but I felt like I shouldn’t have to. Some things should go without saying, i.e. help your friends when they get surgery. At this point I knew I needed to get of this web of craziness, even if it meant that Zane would be dragging my name through the mud for years to come.
I got a better job in addition to another side hustle at a new bar that was opening up in my area. Of course, Zane had to apply there too when she found out I was. Luckily, it fell through for her, and worked out for me. The work problem was solved, but I knew I had to back out from everything else slowly because she ain’t the type of person that will accept being ghosted cold turkey. I responded to maybe 50 percent of her texts and agreed to hang out here and there.
The last few times we did were legit shit shows. One night she walked into my house and handed me a tube of M&M minis and I must have looked confused as fuck as to why, probably because I was.
“Remember,” she explained. “We were talking about how they didn’t make them anymore, but then I found them at Walgreens.”
No, I didn’t remember, until finally after 30 minutes of wracking my brain I conjured up a conversation we had about six months prior at a 7-Eleven. She remembers some pointless thing I said ages ago, yet she can’t remember that I can’t eat milk chocolate? And THAT, my friends, as silly and ridiculous as it fucking sounds, sums up our relationship. She’s obsessed with me, yet doesn’t even really know what I’m about, which probably makes this the weirdest fucking single white female story of all time. Not wanting to be “that vegan,” I quietly put it in my kitchen and headed out for the night. She proceeded to make absolutely horrendous comments about everyone from strangers to old co-workers, and it just reaffirmed to me that backing away was the right thing to do, afraid or not.
One Friday Zane was blowing up my phone all day when I was at work, even though I knew she knew I couldn’t answer while I’m on the clock. On the off chance that there was some kind of emergency, I called her back on my break and asked her what was up. Her boy was claiming once more that he wanted to hang out with her after he got home from a party that night. Her issue was that she didn’t want to look sketchy to her parents by leaving her house late at night (even though she’s well into her 20s?) to go meet this dude, and asked if she could stay put at my house until homeboy gave her the okay to come down. I agreed, partially because I saw prospects of getting happy hour, and partially because if things went awry it would be a good opportunity to finally make my exit for good.
The plan she ended up hatching was that she would spend the night at my house in the event that he pulled the plug on things, which I wasn’t really down for, but I figured that if he wanted to bail it would still be early on in the night that I could talk her into just going home. So, I told her yes, under the condition that she got the fuck out of my house by 8-9 the next day. I had morning obligations and it was my dad’s birthday weekend, so I really wasn’t about to have her there forever. She agreed
We decided to kill time at a local bar until we decided to call it quits around 11:00 and head back. We still hadn’t heard shit from this guy. I was starting to get nervous and annoyed. All Zane could do was speculate about what he was doing that was keeping him from texting her. I desperately kept trying to change the subject.
“Do you want something to eat?”
“There’s this law school that wants to interview me.”
“Look at how nice these nails turned out.”
But it didn’t matter. It was a one-way tunnel with her boy at the end and me as the pavement. It grew later and later and it was plain to see I was getting frustrated. I was exhausted after a busy work week, and I was 200% done. Finally, at fucking 1:00 am he texted her. Apparently his uncle got cancer, so he couldn’t hang out. Look, I have no idea if this kid’s poor uncle has cancer or not, but I can’t help but feel like he, too, had been stringing Zane along out of fear of what she might do if he ghosted.
“Please never talk to this dude again,” I said as I handed Zane a pile of sheets and blankets.
“I can’t promise that,” she said.
I watched as Zane laid the bedding out on the floor.
“You know there’s that bed in Julie’s old room you can use,” I said confused.
“No, I’ll stay in here with you.”
I woke up the next morning around 9:00 with Zane staring at me from the foot of my bed. Oh god, she was still there. I had been hoping it was just a bad dream and I would wake up to some peaceful Saturday sun.
“I guess we can head downstairs,” she finally said. I was excited at first because I thought that meant she was heading out. I put on my spandex since I needed to get a work out in and deposit my state refund before I took my dad to lunch at noon. But to my surprise, she just began marching down the stairs in her pajamas and parked herself in my kitchen for an hour like she was expecting me to make her a grand slam breakfast. My parents saw what was going on and were clearly weirded out since they hadn’t been expecting her to stay. To try to reinforce the message that I had shit to do I practically shouted to my dad “we’re still doing lunch at 12:00, right?” He confirmed.
“Well you still have two hours,” Zane said nonchalantly.
After another half hour of attempting to hustle her out the door, I finally managed to get her on her way.
“What was that all about?” my mom asked, standing in the doorway of the living room with her arms folded like moms do.
I have to tell you, my mom ain’t the woman to mess with. She can smell a rat from a mile away and she won’t bullshit you for a second. At first she thought we had been up all night drinking; a common worry of hers just for the simple fact that I’m not the healthiest to begin with. I explained the whole shit storm of drama, and she seemed absolutely horrified. She had already asked several times in the past why I was even friends with Zane, and I always grappled to find an answer.
“You know she wants to be you so bad, right? And I think if she had her way she’d be here five nights a week.”
“I know,” I said. I headed out for my jog.
The whole rest of the weekend Zane blew up my phone all day. She asked me how lunch was going, what I ordered, what time I was supposed to meet my sister that night, where we were going, if we were alive. Sunday, the day of my dad’s actual birthday party, she kept hey girl-ing me and calling and calling. But blood is thicker than water, and I would never impede on my family time to deal with her clinging. I responded to about one text, and then let the rest of it rot in my inbox and call log.
I was out enjoying some of the best margaritas of my life with Julie that Wednesday when she started to lose it. She was sending me that whole are you mad at me? Everyone is mad at me victim-playing type of deal and I couldn’t take it anymore. I finally came clean about my frustration with Friday and how the ordeal had gotten my mom worried for nothing. I told her that I needed my space, and urged her for he millionth time to focus on herself. She sent me one of those book texts about how sorry she was and that I was her insides and her soul sister and that she would never do anything to hurt me. I encouraged her to seek professional treatment. She sent me a couple more book texts that I didn’t really bother to read. I had guacamole to eat.
“What do you do when someone tells you you’re their soul sister and you don’t feel the same?” I asked Julie. Her eyes got real big and slowly turned her head to face me.
“Back the fuck away.”
Zane kept texting my phone but I just ignored it, until later that week she sent me one while I was at work that got my attention.
I left something on your front porch.
My stomach dropped. I wasn’t sure if it was some sort of cursed amulet, more M&Ms, or just herself, sitting there. I drove home under the low cloud cover with half-massed eyes, questioning every decision I had ever made since birth. Hesitantly, I pulled into my driveway to see what awaited me. The front steps were bare, and I had a faint hope that I might of hallucinated what she said after staring into my computer for too long. I headed inside and heard my mom holler something from the back room with an awkwardness in her voice.
“Jen…Zane put something out front for you.”
I turned into my kitchen to see a plant sitting on the table with an I’m sorry card poking out on a plastic stick.
To my best friend. Love, Zane.
On paper, it’s a nice gesture. But in reality, it just felt…wrong. I didn’t even want to look at it. I just sort of pushed it to the side behind the napkin holder and went along with fixing dinner. It was uncharacteristic for someone of our age cohort. It was uncomfortable that she came up to my house without me knowing. But more than anything, shit like that is nothing more than a smoke show. You know what really says you’re sorry? Making substantive change that would have prevented you from being sorry in the first place. I was also having flashbacks to when my ex used to sporadically buy me extravagant things to try to keep me around after he disappeared on his benders – far from an uncommon practice in abusive relationships. Hell, maybe I was still in one.
I sent her a text simply acknowledging that I got her offering, and decided that I wanted it to be the end of our communication. So I blocked her number. I ran out for training at the bar, ready to move on to new and novel things.
It was a beautiful two days of peace until it happened. I was in my room, speed-folding some laundry so I could get a work out in before my shift at the bar. My mom’s a teacher and tutors kids at the house for side money because she’s a boss, so she was helping little Timmy work through his algebra problems in the kitchen. But our hustle was broken by three decisive knocks at the door. The anxiety dispersed throughout my body. I knew exactly what it was. Or rather, who.
I put down the socks I was sorting and ran to the window. Yep, Zane’s car was outside. I heard my mom’s chair slide out as she went to go investigate. Before I could even do anything, I heard the lock unhinge and the sound of Zane’s voice as she stepped inside and greeted my mother.
“I need to talk to Jenna, and to you too.”
“…well I’m kind of tutoring right now…” my mom said, clearly puzzled af.
“Ohhh you are? Well is Jenna home? Jenna!” she called.
You best believe I stood there silent like a goddamn squirrel in the middle of the street. Except instead there being a nut in my little hands there was a face towel I was nervously folding. She called my name again and I heard her footsteps coming up the stairs. Don’t you hate it when you’re standing in the middle of your bedroom, minding your own business, and the person that copies you, blows up your phone, and treats your house like a B&B appears two feet from your face like
Yeah, me too.
Forgive me if my account of what followed is kind of fuzzy. I was shaking so bad and my mind was going blank. I wanted to be big and bad and tell her to get the fuck out of my house. But I just don’t have that in me. My soul is made out of bananas and capybaras and Sleep. So I let her go on some spiel about how sorry she was about making her drama my drama and playing a hand in “getting me in trouble” with my mom. She swore she was going to change.
Except I knew she wasn’t going to, because nothing with her ever did. I was done undergrad, applied to my law programs, and had put plans in motion to move out. I was growing up and moving on with my life. But she was still in the same spot, cycling through her obsessions. And I wasn’t going to let myself be one of them anymore.
I told her how she had stopped being there during times when I really needed her and that all she did anymore was take and take from me to the point where it felt like she had taken a piece of my soul. I told her that it was strange that I had welcomed her into my household and she didn’t reciprocate. I told her that I wasn’t sure about her, but I’m 21-years-old and don’t get in trouble anymore with my mom, who had just thought things were as weird as I did. I told her that I was feeling ambushed, and that I hadn’t been ready to talk. Not even close. My voice was shaking, I kept looking at the ground, but I did it. And even though she was staring at me non-stop the whole time while sipping absently on my coffee order, none of it sank in.
“Okay. I’m sorry.” She smiled. “Do we have to talk about this anymore?”
Clearly she said her piece and didn’t care about mine.
“Can I just hug you?” She asked.
Before I could say anything she pulled me in tightly. I just sort of awkwardly tapped my hand on her shoulder.
She proceeded to try and make small talk about my new job, but I wasn’t having it. I somehow managed to hurry her out once more.
“Oh, and tell your mom I said sorry, too,” she said as I kept her moving back down the stairs.
“Uh huh, okay.”
As I opened the front door for her to leave, she turned to me.
“You know I love you, right?”
“Yeah, OKAY. Buh bye.” I slammed it shut, probably missing her by an inch.
About a half hour passed, but my anger just continued to brew. The result? Me sending probably the two meanest texts I’ve ever sent, basically saying not to come over uninvited again because I would never do that to her, and I couldn’t even if I wanted to, because, oh yeah, I forgot to mention: I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO THIS GIRL’S HOUSE. SHE HAS NEVER INVITED ME OVER. I HAVE NEVER MET HER FAMILY. THIS CHICK COULD LIVE ON THE SUN FOR ALL I KNOW. I felt bad stooping to her level of crazy texting, but I felt like I needed to have it on record that she was no longer welcome on my property. I immediately re-blocked her number, got on the bike, and went on with my day.
I eventually got to talk to my mother about the whole thing, and she felt so bad for having even let her in the door. Like most reasonable people, she had assumed I had known Zane was coming over, but as soon as Zane had opened her mouth, she knew she had made a mistake. You know what’s really funny? Apparently when she went back to attend to little Timmy he was like da fuck was that all about. If random children can tell something is stank, you know it’s stank.
I’m not going to lie, all of this was really pushing me towards the point of madness for a while. You may have already been able to tell by the fact that the conclusion of my past four articles has been that I just want to be left to my YouTube and hummus. I even ended up quitting my job at the bar not long after it began, partially because it sucked, and partially because I didn’t feel safe working in such a public place given everything that’s happened. I couldn’t shake the image of Zane coming in just to stare at me and knock napkins on the ground for me to pick up.
So there it is. I hope with all my heart that this isn’t going to be a TBC story, but I have a bad feeling it may be. I still get jumpy whenever I hear any banging, even though it’s usually just my mom trying to get her crescent rolls open. In the meantime, if you stuck with me this far, I hope you enjoyed the tale. And if this article didn’t already get you thinking about lonerdom, give this one a try.
Editor’s note – when Jenna stops answering emails, we will know to begin looking for the body.