Two summers ago I had a relationship which I think about often. It was a different emotional phase of my life but I still have some pretty intense and complex feelings about it. It started after a show, let’s say in New Jersey, when we were loading the van and I was approached by the two hottest goth girls I had ever seen. I had noticed them in the crowd. Both had long straight black hair with bangs, luminous white skin, ornate silver jewelry, occult tattoos and tiny black cut-off booty shorts. They had various cuts, bruises and burns all over their long legs. They were both very drunk and on pills. Without introducing herself, the more hammered one pressed her body against mine and said if I came home with them I would have the best night of my life. I felt very little other than lust and disbelief.
Once we were in the cab we started talking. Let’s say the more hammered one was Amy and the quieter one was Julie. They were from a “depressing shit town” where Amy still lived while Julie went to college in New York. They were both cackling with laughter about what sluts they were. Amy called herself a “broken-down bitch”. I asked how they knew each other and they told me they were sisters. I still felt very little other than lust and disbelief, both of which were deepening. For half a moment I wondered if this situation was wrong but I said fuck it. This is the world. It’s fucked up. I come from it, I live in it and I fuck in it. It’s either going to be me doing this or some other guy.
We arrived at the apartment where they were crashing and went straight to some room with only a mattress and a boombox in it. We put on Wolf Eyes’ Burned Mind, drank two forties each, smoked weed until we could barely see and then savagely fucked each other in every possible constellation we could imagine. After a while Julie seemed ambivalent about the whole thing, particularly about fucking her sister. Amy however was writhing and howling for hours without pause, unwaveringly committed to the night. I remember how much she smiled and laughed. Her face wasn’t a twisted agonized sex-face. She had this huge, gorgeous, radiant smile. There was a real joy in her smile. Eventually they both passed out and I left.
A few days later Amy tracked me down on Myspace. She said she hoped I didn’t just think of her as some band slut, that she was a musician herself, that she’d like to come visit me in New York, and that Julie wasn’t really her sister. I felt slight disappointment at the mock incest, but also relief. I also felt an unexpected surge of affection for this total stranger. It was weird. How could she be anything to me other than some slut? And yet Amy suddenly seemed not only like a full human being, but someone cool. Someone I felt an actual kinship with. Someone who played in a noise band. Someone funny. Someone sad. Someone who would cook up that incest fantasy for me.
Amy started visiting me regularly. We would greet each other with a deep embrace and twirl around together. She was always smiling and laughing about drugs and death in her cracked hoarse voice, so full of life. When I used the word “depravity”, she gasped and said I love you. I fucked her harder than I had ever fucked anyone. I would choke her and hit her when she asked me to and tears would stream her face. I called her a cunt while I was on top of her and I said I love you when we came together. I held her gently and stroked her hair while the record finished and we listened to the needle’s idle whispering. She left me notes in the mornings with hearts on them, signed “… your cum dumpster”. I don’t know exactly how to name what I felt on these nights, other than profound exhilaration. In many ways, these really were some of the best nights of my life.
One day I got an email from her saying that she had just got out of the emergency room. Minutes after getting off the phone with me in a parking lot in her town, she had been kidnapped at knifepoint, dragged into a car, robbed and raped. She didn’t cry to me, she spoke plainly, quietly, wearily. She didn’t want me to visit her. The police didn’t believe her because of how she was dressed. Her father was driving around the town with his gun. I felt utter horror and sadness. I was disgusted by the world, by men, and most of all by myself. I was so ashamed and scared at what I had in common with the rapist. I wanted to help Amy, to support and heal her. But I saw that so much of my desire to help her was motivated by my own guilt, my need to prove I was good. I realized how self-centered this was and I felt even worse. I felt like a fake even trying to be there for her. I wasn’t her boyfriend or even her friend, just another abuser. Why even pretend.
A week later Amy came to visit me. It was Extra Life’s first show. She wasn’t smiling much, occasionally trying to crack a joke but quickly returning to her new deadened affect. I sat with her and her friend and we talked quietly. She came home with me and we tried to fuck. I felt almost paralyzed, not knowing how I should do it, not knowing how I even wanted to do it. It started to hurt her. Before, the pain would have just spurred us both on, but this time I couldn’t continue. We lay there, trying simply to hold each other. I felt like absolute scum.
We didn’t talk for a couple of weeks, then she called to invite me to see Wolf Eyes. I said I’d meet her there but I didn’t go. I wish I had. Maybe I was ashamed. Maybe I was just using shame as an excuse to avoid the responsibility of actually being there for her. Maybe I was using guilt disingenuously because I actually want to be more like the rapist than I really am, like a kid who wants to be more evil and badass. I left her several messages in the following month before she finally responded politely that she had a new boyfriend. Her loyalty to him touched me. I hope they’re still together and that he’s good to her. I haven’t talked to Amy in the two years since. I don’t know exactly what I feel about my role in this story, but I know I miss her.