Dear Dionysus XXI: Most Dramatic Mess Disorder

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Dear Dionysus XXI: Most Dramatic Mess Disorder

Dear Dionysus,

You can’t possibly imagine how shook up I was after this entire ordeal. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as sick as I did that next day. Not knowing makes me nauseous, and not knowing what was to become of me or Isadora or our relationship drove me positively batty.

I had some vague notion of the possible sentence for statutory rape: years in prison, eternal public stigma, registering as a sex offender, forced chemical castration, etc. But I had no way of knowing which would happen to me.

And so I decided that all of them would happen to me, because that’s how my mind works. I just love imagining each and every disastrous, tragic way each and every situation, no matter how trivial, can play out. Then I usually pick the worst one and convince myself that that’s all she wrote, dig?

Remember that time I got that STD test and convinced myself that I had AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, Clamydia, and Down’s Syndrome while I waited for the results? Case in point, Dionysus.

I crawled home that next morning with my tail between my legs and tried to sleep. I had no idea where my truck was or how to go about finding it and I didn’t seem to care. That wasn’t important; what was important was that my life was over. I was eighteen years old and I had lost my girlfriend forever and was to be shipped upstate for all eternity where I would never see another classroom again. Professor Hurtlinge? Never. Prisoner Hurtlinge? Forever.

Do you know what my dreams were plagued by, Dionysus? Cops and handcuffs and jail cells and fucking crew cuts. I could see Isadora in my dreams, just out of reach. I would try to embrace her, but just as I would, my hands would be jerked back and I’d find myself in handcuffs, being dragged away by grinning gestapo goons.

I didn’t need Carl Jung to tell me that shit was fucked, Dionysus.

Since sleep was out of the question, I tried to shower. Perhaps if I scrubbed hard enough, I thought, I could erase all that had transpired or whittle myself down into a different person, one who wasn’t looking at prison terms and terminal sex offenderdom. It was insanity and I knew it but it was all I had.

In all of my haste to forget the night before, I had forgotten all about Isadora. How forgetful I was! I would have made a great absentminded professor, I thought. But alas, that was never to be!

It’s the strangest thing, Dionysus, the way in which I plan and rehearse things over and over in my head (especially in those days) and then when it comes time for the big show, I flip the script and the scene gets mean.

I swear that I called Isadora with every intention of being comforting, of being strong, of being hopeful. But somehow, when she came to that phone, it all went sideways.

I screamed at her and blamed her for everything. If she wouldn’t have had me pick her up, if she wouldn’t have told me to park in that spot, if she wouldn’t have been fifteen (nearly sixteen), then none of this would have happened. I had to get real loud to get my voice over her sobs, but I made it clear that we were through and that she should never contact me again and that I never even loved her to begin with.

I hung up that phone, fell to the floor, and cried myself to sleep, because I hadn’t planned for any of that and I had no idea what had come over me.

But I know now: It was you, Dionysus.

And I also know that, if I had gone to prison, I would have truly earned it after the way I spoke to her.

I’m sorry, Isadora.

</3 Sir Rateval Hurtlinge

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One response »

  1. I typically read your work inconsistently, which is to say when I travel. I like your work, what I’ve read I find endearing and humorous, among other things. It felt like a bit of a copout to simply ‘like’ this entry without submitting an accompanying comment. After all this piece is not humorous, and how many girls are savvy about rape and are quick to press the ‘like’ button? Perhaps I feel like the piece itself deserved the comment, for the obscure relation it has with the reader.
    I found this entry one that has a darker tone, yet still very relatable (statutory rape aside), and the first of your memoirs that has lingered with me for over a week now. If I hadn’t considered you a nightmarist before, I certainly do now. Why I was so attracted to this entry was elusive at first, and being initially offended by it, I tried to ignore it. Still, my brain would try to figure it out when I wasn’t paying attention. Tricky, that brain of mine.
    At the surface of the writing, its about a boy and his gf (a minor adolescent), neurosis, penance, and self-fulfilling prophecies. What I found so interesting in this entry is the pathos and how it relates to people culturally and individually.
    In order to relate to it culturally you strip the story to its core theme: fear. We live in a culture of fear, where most of what we decide collectively is with a filter of this kind resulting in the cause of our own suffering, or so it seems to me.
    Individually, the appealing aspects of the story feel like penance we’ve all had to pay at one point in our adolescent or adult life, with no absolution. Fear and the regrettable acts committed on its behalf are the only audience. Affairs, crime, drugs, booze, murder, and insecurity are all subjects with the potential to have the same type of pathos.
    This was my first reading of Isadora, and also the first of your pieces that I really love. Sex offense aside. Its delightfully dramatic in the way that adolescence has an all-or-nothing perspective. My mind connected it to the character Fred Savage played in The Wonder Years, who had the typical behavior of thinking of doing one course of action but taking another, usually causing himself more harm. Its also reminiscent of Flannery O’Conner short stories.
    In addition, this particular letter to Dionysus or at least my encounter with it feels like its the only one of its kind. What I mean to say is that it particularly feels like a letter Dionysus deserved to have. I do question if he deserved to be blamed, however.
    The implicit offense, sense to cleanse, forget, and find forgiveness are aspects of the human condition. I debate consistently if the apology should be the closing line. Personally relating to this piece in more than one perspective was not something I was prepared for. I just had to read it over and over again and figure out what about it I loved so much. Its the refraction of my own human condition. Those who dare read this entry will inevitably find the moments in their life when they were on the giving or receiving end of a most dramatic mess disorder.

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