Oh, it’s nice in here! Not what I expected. Who’s your decorator? Well, I suppose you don’t have much say in the decor of this place do you?
What calm colors! Didn’t they do some study on the effect of colors a few years back? It’s nice. Better
than puke yellow or prissy pink. Soft blue and gray……..still rather depressing if you ask me.
I would paint your walls bright red! HE would have said I was being dramatic again. Dramatic! Dramatic! Oh how I grew to hate that word. He would look me straight in the eyes and say I was being DRA-MA-TIC ! But that’s what he wanted. HE wanted me to be dramatic. HE made me dramatic. I was his Play-doh and he molded me. I was such a gullible lump.
I should have known better! Why didn’t I know better? Why did I fall for his sweet talk, his intelligence, his cute smile? His big baby blues burned right though me. I believed everything he said. I was an idiot! I should have listened to my head. I always said he was too good to be true. I was right, but I didn’t listen to my inner voice. I would tell him he was wonderful……..the dummy that I was, playing to his ego. HE would say he wasn’t that great. I didn’t listen! He knew himself better than I knew him, but like a fool I wanted to believe he was “the one.”
Can you please shut that clock up?
TICK TICK TICK! That annoying TICK! Get a ladder and get that clock off the wall.
I don’t know why we had to do this in here. My room was just fine. There’s nothing on MY walls. My room is nice and comfy. I can lay down on my bed while talking to you.
Did you know that my walls are so soft I could even fall asleep leaning again them? Of course, with all the little button thingies on it I would wake up with little indentations on my face. Have you seen my walls? It’s the greatest thing. They look like mattresses.
SHUT THAT THING UP!
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 In through the nose out through the mouth. I feel better.
Thank you for unplugging that clock. I didn’t know digital clocks ticked.
So where was I? Oh yes, I thought he was “the one”……..my soul mate. Do you remember how it is to feel that first spark of love…..the kind of love that makes your blood pulsate through your veins so fast that it hurts? No matter how many people you love in your life there will always be one person that made your blood rush faster than anyone else did.
That spark! It’s unforgettable. HE was that spark for me, the kind of person who liked everything I liked ……..who liked to watch sunsets and full moons……..who liked candles and wine……who liked to watch cartoons in bed on rainy Saturday mornings………who liked romantic movies just as much as the Three Stooges………who didn’t laugh when I said that the red M&Ms tasted better than the brown ones…..who liked to listen to Van Morrison over and over and over. “My brown eyed girl”
He was my spark. I thought I was his. LIES! ALL LIES!
He was poking my brown eyes all along, that bastard!
I should have known he was playing with me. I should have known he was messing with my mind. I was a psychology major at one time for Christ’s sake! Everything he was doing was classic text-book operant conditioning! I was just his little unethical experiment!
Count to ten again? Ok, I’ll count to ten again. One I hate him. Two I hate him. Three I hate him………………………..ten AAhhhhh! I’m sorry. I can’t shut up. You know, he made me this way? I was so shy and he was the loud articulate one……and now………..how ironic huh?
OK, OK I’ll get back to the story.
Every time I went to his house I would look at his bookshelf. You can tell a lot about a person from his or her book shelf, but obviously not when you’re in love. He had hundreds of books on psychology. Not too odd since he was working on his doctorate in that field. Most of the books were on B.F. Skinner and behavior modification. I thought this was just his favorite guy so I didn’t read much into it until that last week in December when I put all the pieces together.
You see our relationship had started to change. We had been together since mid-May and in early November he suddenly stopped calling me. Just like that! When I would call him he’d tell me he was busy and would call me back later, which he never did. I’d go over to his house and although his car was in the driveway, he never answered the door. I knew he was home. I could hear the music he was playing. It wasn’t “our” music either. I swear, sometimes I even saw his baby blue leering at me through the peep-hole. I guess that’s when I became a little obsessive, I admit it, but HE made me that way!
Anyway, I wanted to know why the sudden change. I deserved to know the truth. If there was someone new in his life I wanted that COWARD to tell me. I wrote him a letter and asked him just that. I put it in his mailbox one evening and walked away sobbing. He called me later that night and told me that he had met someone and that he was SSSooooooo Sorry!
I was angry and hurt, but now that I knew the “why” of this situation I thought I’d be able to let it go and move on. I swallowed my pain and went about my daily activities of work and school. I didn’t think about it or rather, I tried not to.
I knew it wasn’t good to keep my feeling bottled up inside but that was all I could do at the time. Everything was okay until that one lazy Sunday afternoon when I was watching PBS.
“The Founders of Psychology” was showing. The first person up was B.F. Skinner. They discussed his theories on behavior modification and his famous Skinner boxes. Surely you know about those right? You know how those boxes were used to train pigeons to get them to peck at a button or turn in circles to get a pellet of food. The more they talked about Skinner’s theory that “all behavior can be changed by external stimuli,” the more it reminded me of “that” relationship.
After the show I wanted so much to go break into his apartment and go through the daily journals he kept. I wanted to know if I had been an experiment for him. The memories of the reinforcement he used to get me to do what he wanted started popping up in my head.
When I first met him I wasn’t the kind of person who could go on and on talking about stuff, but I changed so much in just a few months. At first when he would ask me about my day, I would give him a quick “oh it was all right” kind of answer. He later started asking me to tell him more. He used compliments as reinforcement to get me to talk. “Oh, I love you voice. PPpppplllllease don’t stop talking! It’s soooooo serene!”
“Don’t stop talking while you go get me a soda from the frig! I want to hear you! I’m out of toothpaste. Can you go to the store and get me some? Take my cell phone so I can hear your pretty voice while you go out in the hot August weather in your AC-less car with only 1 working power window!!!!!!!!! I kept talking and talking. I kept falling for the stupidest most obvious reverse psychology ploys in the book! I was the blind one back then. Ha ha!
Oh, he did so many things. He learned how to push my button. He manipulated me in order to change my behavior. He learned how to make me paranoid by writing me a note or phoning me. He e-mailed me at work one morning telling me we needed to talk that night. “It was very important,” he said. I thought it was “the talk.” The “it’s over speech.” I worried the entire day trying to figure out what I had done wrong.
Do you know what he told me that night? DO YOU? HE said “Do you think you can give me a lift to work tomorrow, my car isn’t working?” That was his important talk! He did things like that all the time! HE taught me to be paranoid and insecure!
I spoke up. I told him how crazy he was making me, but he didn’t want to hear me speak then. He would quickly interrupt with his sweet talk and his justifications. If I tried to continue, HE would glare into my eyes with his glassy, evil baby blues and tell me I was being overly DRAMATIC!
Anyway, that last week in December after that PBS special, I started suspecting that somehow he had made me his pigeon. Somehow I had been living my life in his Skinner box. This bird had to get free or I’d die.
I stopped by his apartment on the 29th and 30th, but nobody was home. I needed to know where he was
so I decided to drive by to see his sister. He had taken me over to visit with his family several times. I guess he wanted our relationship to appear normal. She lived with her parents and always knew what was going on in the family. She was a nice, innocent girl, a bit Forrest Gumpish, but I knew she would give me all the information I wanted without suspecting a thing.
On the 31st I bought her a gift and dropped by the house with the excuse that I had not been able to leave her Christmas present earlier. I learned that he had gone out to his family’s secluded cabin in the country……….ALONE. He had taken me to this one room shack once. He had filled the place with flowers. How sweet!
I decided to pay him a visit. I packed up and left within an hour of visiting with his sister. It was about a 2 hour drive from home.
When I got there I almost chickened out. But the thought of being a chicken made me think of BIRDS, which made me think of PIGEONS, which made me think of………well you know the SKINNER BOX!
I got down from my car with my backpack and walked slowly towards this small gray house with bars on the windows. I knocked on the door. It opened up and there he stood, a 6 foot 3 inch man towering over my short body……………his mouth wide open……..the look of shock in his eyes as if I had caught him in the act………like a unfaithful lover. I heard some footsteps coming up behind him. His sister was wrong. To my surprise he was not alone.
This petite little thing came up and stood next to him putting her boney little arm around his waist. I knew I could take this 80 pound woman out with one slap if he was not there.
“So what are YOU doing here,” he said.
I I I ummm I was on my way to Grands City, which is about an hour away and I was having car trouble. I remembered this place and hoping someone would be home, I stopped. My car is overheating and I’m afraid to go any further. I’m really sorry! I didn’t mean to interrupt anything. I’m sorry.
I don’t know why the hell I was apologizing. It just came out that way.
I heard a squeaky voice from the skeleton by his side tell me it was okay and introduce herself as Pauline. She invited me in, HE didn’t say a thing.
I walked in. It was just as I had remembered………the roses, the empty bottle of wine. I wanted to stop right there and scream, but I held it in. I know it’s not good to keep my feeling in. I know what that does to me, but this was building up my strength.
He offered to go check my car so I handed him the keys. He walked out and I was left standing there with his new pigeon trying to figure out what to do. She was unexpected! She was in the wrong place at the wrong time as they say.
As I fumbled with my backpack, she tried to start up a conversation. I almost felt sorry for her when I pulled the gun out of my bag and hit her over the head with it. The poor little thing barely made a sound when she hit the ground.
I was aiming straight at him when he pranced in announcing that nothing was wrong with my car. He saw little Pauline on the floor and started screaming the usual “What have you done? What’s going on? You’re crazy!” kind of stuff.
“STOP BEING SO DRAMATIC!!!!!!”, I yelled.
He started coming towards me and I pulled the trigger. Got him in the arm.
I never thought I would use this gun. I had only purchased it for protection, but here I was using it on someone I had once loved.
He bumped against the wall as he pleaded with me to stop. Now I was the one loving his voice!
OH DON’T STOP!
I DO REALLY LOVE TO HEAR YOUR VOICE!
YOU SOUND SOOOOO APOLOGETIC!
But I know now that you LIE! You LIED to me from the START!
You probably HATE sunsets and full moons and wine AND AND AND everything else you told me you liked!
I was just a scene in your play……a pawn in your game, an experiment gone wrong!
WHO’S IN THE SKINNER BOX NOW?
Jump around some more and maybe I’ll throw you some food!
I hope you enjoy it!
What? I’m totally insane?
Remember, YOU made me this way!
And as the curtain fell on his “dramatic” pitiful life, I put a few more bullets through him as reinforcement for the behavior he had created.
I pulled a CD out of my bag, placed it in his stereo, and sat listening to “our” song “Brown Eyed Girl” over and over until I knew he was dead, then I wished him a happy New Year and left.
Ok ok, you can ask me one final question.
Why did I put the red M&Ms in his eyes?
Why don’t YOU tell me?