How I Met My Chuck – Part II
That night, I drove into the darkness, not knowing where to go. Too proud to call anyone. I drove until my mind and body gave into exhaustion. Quickly, I pulled into a lone gas station and closed my weary eyes. Around 4am, I woke up with a sudden shock. It was deathly quiet. Almost pitch black, save for the flickering light of the dying streetlamp. I got up and stretched. And then I heard it. A low guttural moan. My heart was jumping out of my chest, but I willed myself to remain calm. I looked over to my left. Nothing. I looked over to my right and silently screamed of fright. A pair of soulless maniacal eyes pored into my soul. Behind what I now believe was the devil were 6 meat hooks hanging from the ceiling of the vehicle. Fresh blood dripping. Drip. Drip. Drip.
One of the hooks was swinging back and forth ever so slightly, while the others just hung there, dead still. Coated with a rusty crimson glaze. Horrified, I stared at those hooks, and out of the corner of my eyes, I saw the curved end of a meat hook slide slowly into my slightly cracked window of the passenger side door. Screaming loudly at the top of my lungs, I jammed my key in the ignition, but it would not start. The thing at the end of the meat hook was growling and making inhumane noises. Start! Please start! Please for the love of God, START! The thing kept staring at me, baring it’s yellow fangs. Its filthy hands were pawing at my window and the meat hook was dangling from the crack, but it could not get in. BANG! BANG! BANG! It started hitting my window.
And then… my car started. I quickly reversed, ran up a curb, and accelerated out of the parking lot. Behind me, the meat hook clanked to the ground. Speeding down the interstate, I thought to myself, well, twice tonight I avoided death. Time for a new car. And no more sleeping in the parking lot of empty gas stations in the middle of the night.
Meat hooks. Before that frightful night, I never knew how such an inanimate object could inspire such fear. Of course, the meat hook, like many other things is just a tool. An object. The intent of the living creature that wields the inanimate object is much more frightful. To this day, I will still wake up at exactly 3:33 am or at 4:00am with a start, body drenched in sweat. I would lay there and see that the world is still. Dead, even. And I would tell myself that there is nothing to fear, but fear itself, and I would talk myself back to sleep.
Now that I have Chuck, these middle of the night frights are a bit more manageable. It’s only when I wake up at 3:33am to find Chuck staring at the corner of the dark ceiling growling and gnashing his teeth that I find myself reliving the swinging closet string, the scratching noise outside my bedroom window, and the silver glint of those bloody meat hooks. My night from hell would most likely not be forgotten anytime soon. Left with no choice, I called my only sibling living in the city and asked if I could crash at their one bedroom apartment where they lived with their significant other, and to which, they readily opened their door wide open to me. I spent the next few weeks curled up on a small futon that doubled as the living room couch. It was not comfortable, but at least it was safe. It was also during that time, that I began searching Craigslist for a roommate and a place to live. Craigslist. Yup, I said it. And I did it. Welcome to the first day of the rest of my life.
Unfortunately, it was not the first day of the rest of my life. To truly start over, one must leave everything behind. And that I did not do. For the very thing I was running away from was back within my reach. I found myself back in the snare of the lion’s den. But I had no choice. When you’re confronted with very little choice, you run back to your old habits to score a quick dollar. Oh, my readers. I know you’re certainly thinking of a profession of a lascivious nature, but it is nothing of that sort. Sorry to disappoint.
No, this was nothing more than just waiting tables at a restaurant. But it wasn’t just any restaurant. This was a place of deceit, heartache, and tears. A place very much ruled by the epitome of King Henry VIII. Favors could be bought with a flirtation. Destruction brought by lies and half-truths. Friendships ruined by a mercurial tyrant. It was not a healthy place. But I told myself I had no choice.
Today, I know now that is not true. In life, there is always a choice. Is one stronger because they stayed in a bad situation or is one stronger because they made the decision to leave and never look back? Having done the former for a short while to eventually come to the latter, I have no regrets. I am who I am today because of the trials and tribulations. And thank God this time of my life is finally over, because this was when Hell was just beginning.
To be continued…
All images: @zerochucksgiven