I let him hit me. Not punch me and not “I let him” as in “Sure! Go ahead and hit me” but I let him hit me. He’d push my head with an open hand. I told him to stop, but he didn’t. He’d hit me more than I’d like to admit, and sometimes I even told myself we were really friends.
Some time ago, I started to believe that it began in Algebra class, and that I was Tourette’s-and-facial-tic-free until I sat in front of Axel Sidezski that sophomore year of high school. I don’t remember having or feeling the tics before then, and for years I felt shame for knowing that I let him do that. It took many more years to begin to understand why I did.
I googled searched Axel the other day, asking two questions: Is he still the same? And is he doing better than I am? I searched for 10 minutes, and I only found white-page profiles of other Axels. Nowhere could I find that parted, reddish-blondish hair. Nowhere could I find that smirk.
I made a promise to myself long ago. I told myself that I would write things and create things of immense beauty. I told myself that if the Axels of the world ever came back, I could do one thing better than they could, one thing no person can take away.
Is he still the same and is he doing better than I am?
I don’t even think he’d remember my name.