Helen was my first steady girlfriend. She was four inches taller than I was, lanky, with dirty red hair and an enormous forehead and snaggly teeth. She had huge tits, which delighted me, but with inverted nipples, which I considered an unfortunate but acceptable flaw. She smoked almost constantly; the taste of cigarettes seeped out through her skin. Her pussy smelled of them, and I don't think she washed down there frequently-- she didn't shower regularly --but I was ecstatic to have any girlfriend who was halfway sexy. She also had a car, which was a plus.
We met in one of the secret terminal rooms in Weil Hall. Geek love, except that we didn't, we just liked to fuck. Helen later professed love for me, and like everything else she told me, it was suspect.
Helen was a pathological liar. I think that's one reason why she found me so appealing, because I was inexperienced and believed just about anything she told me. She would just make up stories for no reason... maybe she thought it would impress people. When she said that she used to run with a gang in Homestead, Florida and would to go down to Ft. Lauderdale and steal Lamborghinis and Testarossas, I believed her because I didn't understand what she had to gain by making it up. It was so irrelevant I never thought about it much. I also believed her when she told me she'd been a heroin addict. I had no idea what a needle track was and she was certainly messed up enough to be on heavy drugs.
Neurotic and edgy at her best, she would often lapse into panic attacks... not that I knew what a panic attack was. She would sit in a corner and hug her knees to herself, staring ahead, going almost catatonic. She might not want to be touched and couldn't say what was troubling her. She claimed to have blackouts and to lose minutes or hours of memory. There was paranoia, too. Now and then she'd talk about an ex-boyfriend from her old gang stalking her with a knife, that she'd 'seen him.' She'd told me that she'd been abused as a child. It was probably true, despite everything else, but what kid wasn't abused?
When I met her she was working at the Steak & Shake on 16th Ave and 13th St. One morning at 3AM, a former employee came into the restaurant carrying a gun. He herded the 3rd shift into the freezer and had them lay down on the ground, face down. Then he shot them all in the back. Helen was supposed to be working that night but she'd switched with one of the murdered girls. While we were busy having sex her co-workers were being executed. Usually when a mass-killing happens in a restaurant, the main office closes it and has it torn down out of respect for the dead or good PR. The Steak & Shake didn't close; they just hired new staff and opened it back up a couple of weeks later. Helen switched jobs and started working at Pizza Inn.
We started messing around during the summer between my sophomore and junior years at college. Before long we had become an item among our little coterie of computer geeks. We weren't boyfriend and girlfriend but everyone knew we were fucking. Often I'd stay over at her place in Kenwood Apartments, possibly the flimsiest building in Gainesville; it was a gigantic shoebox with partitions and the entire building vibrated whenever somebody walked down the hall, feeling on the verge of collapse. Its depressing parking lot was full of beat-up cars. Helen's bedroom was a complete rathole which I foolishly tried to clean once; the next day it looked like shit again.
Sex was mostly unmemorable college sex. She would lap at the inside of my mouth, trying to paint every surface with nicotine. The way I knew she was having an orgasm was that her eyes would roll back into her head until only whites were showing. Or maybe this is what she did when she pretended to orgasm. She would have me gnaw on the twin sphincters that were her nipples because this was the only way any sensation would get through to the flesh within; after we made out they would be surrounded by purplish teethmarks. At first I was alarmed by how hard she wanted me to bite her, but I learned to enjoy savaging her flesh after a while. We would fuck on an orange flowered futon made of foam rubber and cover up with a threadbare pink blanket.
After a while the sex was not worth tolerating Helen's assorted mental illnesses. She was never straight with me about anything, and she was always trying to provoke me. We had been together long enough that she'd learned what would annoy me. Helen would get angry about something irrelevant (to her as well as myself), trying to get me to argue with her, and when I'd gotten upset enough she'd stroke my hair and kiss me, pushing her cigarette-flavored tongue into my mouth. Generally I was too bewildered to get really mad, but the weirdness was draining. She also kept saying she loved me, and pressed me for a more serious relationship, although we'd agreed ours was casual and although I was growing disinterested in that much.
What ended it was when she asked to borrow my bike and then lost the key to its lock. She was always 'losing' stuff that she borrowed and getting caught with it later. She had the key when she got home, but said she blacked out and forgot where she put it. We ransacked the place, as it became clear that a less thorough search should have uncovered it. She apologized, as she always did. I shrugged, told her that it was okay, and went out and got a new lock, although I had a spare key. I knew the next stage of this game was Helen borrowing my bike at will. I never officially broke up with her, but made myself unavailable when she wanted to do something.
Not long after this, Helen came up to me in one of the labs and said she had to talk to me about something important. Outside. We went out, she lit up a cigarette, and told me that she was pregnant. It took me a moment or two to realize what significance this had to me. I didn't imagine she might have been seeing other guys. She was pretty sure it was mine, she said, since she'd only been with me for a while now. I agreed, it seemed pretty likely. The first word in my mind was 'abortion,' and this was her intention. Whatever her attempts to hold onto me, she wasn't inclined to be a mother. I was only too happy to contribute my half of the clinic fee. I offered to drive her there but she had me ride with her instead. Maybe she was afraid I wouldn't wait around for her afterward.
I remained friends with Helen, but didn't want a more intimate situation where she might feel free to make demands of me. When we hung out, she never failed to paw at me and make it clear that she was ready to go back to fucking. I never gave in, except one time when I got in a fight with my mother on Thanksgiving and drove back to college to get away. Helen was one of the few people I knew who was in town during the break. Also I wanted the sympathy. I was aware that I was exploiting her feelings for me but tried not to feel guilty about it. Naturally we ended up having sex. It reacquainted me with all the little unpleasantries which I'd ignored when I was desperate.
A friend of mine named Rob started dating Helen a few months after I stopped seeing her. He offered me insight that was startling in its simplicity. Helen couldn't have been a heroin addict. She was far too squeamish to have ever stuck herself with a needle. She'd told him the truth of this herself, because he was committed to an actual relationship with her and that demanded honesty on her part. I don't know if that was his imperative or hers. She calmed down a lot after going steady with Rob.