day six; at fox’s

i didn’t write yesterday because the only real thing that happened is i got out of town

sleep was mostly elusive, but i got some dozing. around seven thirty in the morning i got up and quietly started packing some stuff. cheetah woke up and got up for a moment to go pee, but aside from me saying “pardon me” while we dodged each other in the door to the office, we didn’t interact. he went back to his bed and pulled the cover over his head. i finished packing and loading, scooped the cat’s litter box, took out the garbage, put on my shoes, and left by a smidge after eight

i’m at fox’s. i feel safe here

that’s the weirdest thing: watching my own behavior. i’m acting like i’m hurt

logically i know there has been very little actual damage. i’ve got one moderate bite mark, and my top lip is still a little torn, but i’ve had worse damage before. and all the legal charges against me were dropped, so what i got out of that experience was just some good research for that scene in my book when one of my characters ended up in jail for a day

sure, cheetah has more legal weights that we need to deal with, but i myself am fine, right?

yet watching my own behavior, i’m definitely acting like i’ve been hurt

like i got to fox’s and just kind of sat myself against the wall on the bed and didn’t move from that spot for anything, not even to look outside when later in the night he lifted the curtains and told me it was snowing. also, i’m usually i’m the first person in the room to be naked, but this time i even slept in my clothes. and this morning, despite all the logical reasons we could find to get up and go do things, all i really could get myself to do was lay there for literally hours, hugging my fox and slightly shivering

jail was cold. that was one research note worth remembering. not so cold as to be legally a problem, but just cold enough to be unpleasant

we’ve been talking it all over. i expected fox would be more interested in what jail was like. instead he asked mostly about the fight itself

okay then. it’s a couple days now, but best i can recall, this is how it played out:

i woke at around three, cheetah was yelling at the tele. i went past to the bathroom, and his show finished while i was in the bathroom. he excitedly hollers at me some things about the show. i gather he just ran off the end of what’s been made in the series so far. i have a small coughing spat in the bathroom. when i’m walking past him again towards my bedroom, he asks me about it

i don’t really want to answer him because it’s a sensitive thing for me to admit that the amount of weed i go through is actually killing me. but i realize after a couple seconds that not answering cheetah is likely to annoy him a lot, so i grab my water bottle and take it to the sink to refill and while doing that i answer him that i was coughing because of all the weed i smoke

we always have to talk about me, he shouts at me, annoyed. you asked me a question, i holler back. we repeat those same sentences for a few times back and forth at increasing volume

fuck it, i’ve got my water in my hand, i’m just frustrated at how utterly unreasonable he’s been, i splash some at him

yeah, i absolutely shouldn’t have done that

in my mind it was harmless. a few ounces of cold water does not actually hurt anyone

cheetah’s response was to get up and charge across the room at me, and i have this oh shit moment when i realize the magnitude of my mistake

he grabs my water bottle, shakes all the rest of the water on me, then throws the bottle at me, hard. i take this. sure, i likely even deserved it. then he picks it up, throws it at me again

i think he jumps me then? somehow we end up wrestling on the beanbag chair

this is standard tactics when he fights me, we get into a wrestling match. the thing is, even though he’s filled in a lot since he moved in (35 lbs he told me recently), i’m still a lot bigger and heavier than him. also, he keeps making the same mistakes, and by this point we’ve done this so often i can pretty much slip his guard at will to get behind or above him

add on top of that, he’s tired and drunk, and i’m fresh off eight hours sleep and sober. basically the whole wrestling match is just him trying to attack me while i hold him in various awkward positions where he can’t really move very well to get to me. at one point i find a way to roll him clean off of me. he mutters something sarcastic about how loving i am, then tackles me again before i can get away

a few seconds after that i have him from behind, and could shift just an inch or two to apply a choke hold. i do not apply the hold. i even say this part out loud, “i’m not going to choke you out. it would prove nothing. instead i’m going to let you go.” then i shift myself around and let him go, backing myself away as i do it

he actually lets me get away. that’s awesome. last time we were in the same situation i didn’t say out loud what i was doing, and that time he just spun around and tackled me again

i flee to my bedroom

i hear a loud thunk behind me, and poke my head out of the curtain to see what happened. cheetah has just thrown his aluminum water bottle at the wall by the clothes washer. he picks it up again and throws it harder. he’s reaching to repeat this action again when i pull back into my room

there’s a hole in the wall now that i didn’t see that night, so i guess he succeeded on his third try

anyway, he rips the blanket down out of my doorway and comes into the bedroom. he’s talking down to me, literally and figuratively. he’s standing above the bed, while i’m laying on my bed, so he’s kind of looming over me, and what he’s saying is just a steady stream of insults. “pathetic” is the key word today, the one repeated more often than any other

there’s this big mirror leaning up against the wall. it’s his mirror, he had me pick it up at his mom’s place and bring it back for him last time i was in denver. he tilts the mirror out from the wall and drops it back a couple times, while telling me i’m pathetic, that i go into other people’s houses and look down on them. i guess because i picked up the mirror from his mom at his own request? i’m relatively sure he’s going to break the mirror, but he decides not to. maybe it’s because by this point i’ve got my phone in hand and have started to record what’s happening

my intention was to show him the video the next day so he could see for himself how out of control he was. i watch the video now and i’m impressed just how fast things evolved. the video clip is five minutes long, i would have guessed it took much longer. for the first half of it he’s just looming above me and talking insults down to me. i ask him a couple times how much he’s had to drink. the first time he tells me he’s going to slap me so fucking hard. a bit later when he’s backed off some i ask again and he says a beer and a couple shots. i’m very sure it’s more than that, but i don’t say so. instead he goes on for a while about how “mechanical” i am. that’s actually a word he’s been throwing at me for a few weeks now

he goes back to calling me pathetic and lame for a while. he tells me i can’t handle reality. i respond that this is reality we’re in. he gets right in my face and raises a fist, asking me if i can handle it. then he starts hitting me, still asking me if i can handle it. then he starts poking my eyes. then he climbs on me and we start wrestling again, and while we tussle he actually does shove his thumb into my eye, hard

in the recording you hear me complain about that part, because it really actually hurt. you also hear me keep asking over and over, why are you hurting me? after a while i end up pinning him again. he wants me to let him up and you hear me ask if he’ll leave my room? then he starts biting me, and you hear me comment about how that’s his normal step at this point, and ask him how many bite marks he’s given me over time?

we stop wrestling. i show him the new bite mark he just gave me on my arm. he starts biting my leg. i’m not even holding him at this point, he’s just literally latched onto my leg with his teeth sunk in just below my knee. but i get free. then he starts punching me. the camera’s facing the wrong way now to show it, but i think he punched me three times in the back of my head. then he gets a hold of my phone and shuts off the recording. i think the next thing that happened was he gives me a headbutt to my face, then leaves the room with my phone

i hear a crash from the kitchen and i think he’s just smashed my phone. i’m busy putting on clothes though

i get fully dressed in rapid order and head out of my room. cheetah has also started trying to get his clothes on, has succeeded as far as underwear and has one leg into a set of sweat pants. i see glass shards in the sink and think it’s from the screen of my phone, but i don’t see the phone itself anywhere. i don’t take time to linger and search. i just grab my wallet and keys, dodge around cheetah, put on my shoes, and go

and that was the fight

the next we saw each other was when we both got home after they let us out of jail

he actually thought i called the cops. i had been confused about why he did, because that wouldn’t have been in his nature at all. i point out there’s no way i could have called the cops, because he smashed my phone. he says there’s my phone, and points to it on a shelf. i say thanks and take it and go into my room. he follows me, saying we’ve got to work this shit out. i tell him i’m madder at him than i’ve ever been, and he needs to leave me alone to think about it for like three days. he tries to press the issue, and i drop to my knees and beg him, and verbally point out that i’m on my knees and begging, for the love of all that is holy, please leave me the fuck alone

so he does. i hear him on the phone badmouthing me later, but i just put in headphones and stay in my room. i don’t budge from my bed until about one in the morning when i finally get up, go to the bathroom, and get a hot shower. then i step back to my bedroom and stay in bed until seven thirty in the morning

with that, this story has looped back to where we began

i talked this all over with fox. i asked fox what kind of difference he sees in me when i’ve got weed or no weed in my life. fox tells me i’m more stable when i am on weed, more irritable when i’m not, which he clarifies to mean i’m less willing to accept bullshit from people when i’m not doing weed

the cops were totally unconcerned about weed. i even told them i have a chronic cough because i smoke a lot of weed. when they were in the house, my recreational weed supply was right next to the bed. they didn’t care because it’s not a big deal. weed is not a drug that makes people violent

further, i can line up a long history of people i’ve dated. not a single one of my ex’s would ever claim i punched them in the head, or gouged my thumb into their eye, or headbutted them in the face, no matter how much weed, alcohol, or even occasional other drugs we had

after reviewing the video, it seems like cheetah’s reason for hurting me was to see if i could handle it. this kind of reminds me of our third fight, which was also a doozey

that fight and this one stick out in my mind as parallels, because in both cases it feels like he was out to hurt me, just to see what i’d do about it. i remember times in both fights where he kept asking me if i could handle reality, as he cuffed me in the face. they’re also both the most violent fights we’ve ever had, the ones where actual house damage happened. number three is also the one where he gave me the most physical injuries. fuck, he cracked one of my ribs that night

fox and i were trying to review the order of my fights with cheetah, to clarify the count. here’s what we came up with:

1 - a couple years ago, in his apartment when cheetah still lived off girton. we were both very drunk. we uber-ed home to his flat. then he was going to go out and do drugs, and i didn’t want him to do that. he put on shoes to go out – my shoes. i tried to get him to take my shoes off. we started wrestling

i lost a lot of hair and got several severe bite marks that night. he’s never actually bitten me so badly since. or maybe i’ve gotten better at not letting him bite me in sensitive regions?

1 ½ - minor wrestling match in the room i’d rented in downtown denver after a pizza and beer night with friends to celebrate my birthday. we tussled on the ground for a bit, but kept it fun and friendly and hardly made any noise. we continued to hang out when we were done wrestling. accordingly, i’ve never counted this as a fight. later cheetah went home with lindsey, then later yet i got a call that he’d left her on the street and driven off. but then while she was on the phone with me he came back and picked her up. he at least takes her home, but then she texts me to tell me he went out later to do dope

2 - he’d just gotten out of jeffco jail, and came over to montrose to visit for a week. near the end of that week, i made the mistake of trying to show him some of my art, and he was on a royal badmouth spree for hours about how terrible i was and how stupid i was for even trying and all those normal points. i actually pounced first, and tossed him onto the bed. we wrestled a lot, and neither of us was really out to hurt the other, but i lost a lot more hair and took some bite marks anyway. he smashed the dresser on the way out and then went off to go back to denver and do dope

for what it’s worth, after this, i went most of a year without talking to him

i also missed him terribly, and during the low point of last winter i reached out to get a hold of him again before i accidentally drove off a cliff somewhere. that’s how, a few months later when he was considering his own metaphorical cliff and doing the thing where you go around and tell a few people the exact time and day you’re going to drive off it, i was cognizant enough of what was going on to go out to denver and try to talk him back from the ledge. and that’s how i ended up with him moving in with me a couple weeks later

3 - this was the big one a few weeks after he moved in with me last spring. i mostly remember how calm he was as he stared straight into my eyes while he proceeded to start breaking shit

i’d made him some late night snacks, but he was so drunk he thought he’d made the food and got mad at me for saying otherwise. then he looked me straight in the eye as he picked up the plate and brought it down onto the edge of the table to shatter it. then when i didn’t really give him much of a reaction, he stood up, picked up the chair he’d been sitting on, and again looking me straight in the eye, he brought the chair down against the floor to shatter it. next he came after me. i wasn’t even standing, he just bowled me over as i sat there at the table, knocking me into the glass door of the cabinet next to me, breaking it too

one thing of note: i wrote earlier there was a prior time i could have used a choke hold but let him go instead. that was this fight. i was silent about it though, and he just spun around and kept fighting. that is why on our fight the other day i verbalized that i was choosing not to choke him out and was releasing him instead. and i guess that worked because when i verbalized it he actually let me go for a minute

anyway, lots of damage on this one. broken chair, broken plate, smashed cabinet door, many deep gouges in the kitchen floor, and a hole in one wall, which i can’t even remember how it got there. i had some bite marks, we’d bloodied each other’s noses, i had a cracked rib, and i also had a pretty bloody gash on one elbow from rolling around on the floor on shards of broken stuff

4 - this one was a few months ago, and the reason i couldn’t remember this in my count the other day was because i always felt this one was my fault. i started us wrestling. not because i was mad, or frustrated, it was absolutely meant as play. but cheetah got mad, or frustrated, or something, because it got violent very quickly. like, somewhere in there i got shoved into the television very hard, so hard that i’m really surprised it didn’t break the tele. yet, when i did drop to my knees and beg him let’s stop please just let’s stop, he actually did back off long enough to let me leave. only real haus damage ended up being we knocked the handle off the freezer. on my end, i had a really spectacular bruise all up and down one hip from hitting the tele and the bench it sits on, but i don’t remember any other damage

5 - that’s the one just the other day, i guess

so as many as six fights if you want to count even the one that stayed friendly

the thing is, numbers 3 and 5 on that list seem somehow real-er than the others. maybe because those are the ones where he emphasized he wanted to see if i could handle the “real world” while he proceeded to hit me over and over. those are also the ones where it felt like he actually wanted to hurt me. in 3 he cuffed me across the face a few times. in 5 he punched me on the back of the head, headbutted me in the face, and gouged his thumb into my eye

and that’s part of why this one worries me so much, i think. because it’s escalated. this feels like the most he’s ever tried to hurt me

yes, i’m a little miffed that we landed in jail. i am now registered in the system in a way i never was before, and that actually bothers me. plus, despite how fascinating and educational a day in jail was, i have to admit it was a little bit scary too. so yeah, i am miffed about the jail thing

but it actually scares me how much he tried to hurt me, and that it’s more than ever before

as they were processing me out of jail, they were asking all sorts of questions to fill out my file, including things like who my doctor and dentist were. i could tell they expect they’ll see me again, and probably with more severe injuries

i’m also worried that in the very brief time we did interact afterwards, cheetah was trying to justify having tried to kick the shit out of me. sure, he was mad. he spent all day in a cell brooding, thinking i’d called the cops on him. but he still tried to justify that somehow circumstances were that it was appropriate that he had tried to kick the shit out of me all over again

i think that worries me the most, that somehow in his mind there would ever be circumstances where it’s appropriate to try to kick the shit out of a loved one

okay, it was wrong for me to splash water. i probably triggered a flashback. but at what point does he look down and see a loved one below him in pain that he’s the cause of and think to himself, let’s keep doing this!

anyway, he’s been making a point lately that he doesn’t want my help on anything in life right now. i guess he’s got his wish. i’m in no hurry to get home. i haven’t even telegrammed him. i keep planning what i’d say, something like “other loved ones are worried about me, i’ve got to go check in with them for a while, i’ll be back in a handful or so of days, please give the cats some love for me while i’m gone.” but i haven’t actually sent anything

he has tweeted a couple things about the world being against him but he’s carrying forward. so that’s good

update: he just called and left a short voicemail, hoping i’m doing okay

so now i really have to figure out what i want to say back

here’s what i went with: “i’m okay cheetah, thanks for checking. in all honesty i’m a little bit scared of you right now. i think i just want to stay away for a little while while i think over some things. please give the kitties some love for me”

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