Christopher Nelms
My high school crush was a lovely young lady named Nicole. I met her my sophomore year and we became fast friends. We talked on the phone every single day after school, we flirted, we hung out at school, she would occasionally come hang out with me at my brother’s apartment after school or on weekends. I was totally in love.
The problem was that we were never single at the same time. If she was single I had a girlfriend, if I was single she had a boyfriend - usually one of my friends. Eventually I married one of my girlfriends, and we fell out of touch.
My marriage lasted less than a year, and I thought that maybe now was the time to try to make things work. I had moved in with another old friend from high school (I was twenty at the time) and he gave me the bad news that she was now married, and married to an abusive jerk at that.
Eventually my sister convinced me to come live with her and her first husband, and in the process mentioned that my high school crush had just gotten divorced. We worked out a plan, and she called Nicole and asked her if she wanted to come visit her for a few days (they had become friends in band together in school). Nicole had no idea I was there, we hadn’t spoken in a couple of years. When my sister pulled up at Nicole’s house to pick her up, she was shocked to see me step out from the passenger side of the truck.

(回答一)我高中时的梦中情人是一个叫妮可的可爱女生。我在高一的时候认识了她,我们成了好朋友。我们每天放学后都要打电话聊天,我们互相吸引,我们经常在学校里闲逛,她偶尔会在放学后或周末来我哥哥的公寓和我一起玩。我完全爱上了她。
问题是我们从来没有同时单身过。当她单身时,我在谈女朋友,当我单身时,她在谈男朋友—她的男朋友通常都是我认识的朋友。最后我和女朋友结婚了,我们也就失去了联系。
我的婚姻持续了不到一年就结束了,我想也许现在是时候试着联系她了。我搬去和另一个高中时的老朋友住在一起(那时我20岁),他告诉了我一个坏消息,妮可现在已经结婚了,而且嫁给了一个虐待她的混蛋。
后来,我姐姐让我去她那住一段时间,她提到妮可刚刚离婚。于是我们制定了一个计划,她打电话给妮可,问她是否想过来住几天(她们在学校的乐队时成为了朋友)。妮可不知道我在那里,我们已经好几年没说过话了。当我姐姐把车停在妮可家准备接她的时候,她看到我从副驾走了出来,吓了一大跳。


Now let me clarify something here - I wasn’t angry because she was sleeping with her ex. It was her right to do whatever she wanted with whoever she wanted, I didn’t own her, and I didn’t think I did. I was angry at her because I had seen what he did to her, I had seen the migraines she got from the concussion he gave her, seen the scar from the stitches she got after he broke her jaw. I had seen all of the things this man had done to her, and I was furious that she was willing to put herself back in a situation where he could do it again, and even more furious at the fact that I knew there was nothing I could do to stop her, to protect her. Sure, I could hurt him, I could scare the piss out of him if I wanted to, but if she still kept going back to him then all that would do was make it even worse on her once he forgot the fear. The only thing I could do to actually protect her would be to kill him…but if she was going to make the choice to go back to him, then why should I ruin the rest of my life to stop her?
I was also angry that she thought, in my moment of rage, that I would ever physically hurt her. She had known me for six years by this point (not a long time now, but at the time it was almost a third of our lives), she knew that I would never strike a woman, that I would never do anything to hurt a woman, and especially not her. But in that moment she looked at me and saw him, and that also made me angry.
I took a step back away from her, put some distance between us, and said as calmly as I could “If you go over there tonight, don’t bother ever coming back over here.” Then I turned around and walked inside. I left the door open, an invitation to come back in if she wanted to. About five minutes went by, and then I heard her car door open and close, heard her engine start, heard her drive away.

现在让我澄清一点——我不是因为她和她的前夫上床而生气。她有权做任何她想做的事,我不能控制她的行为,我也不认为我想要控制她。我对她很生气,是因为我看到了她前夫对她做的事情,我看到他把她打成脑震荡给她带来的偏头痛,看到他打断她的下巴后缝合留下的伤疤。我见过这个人给她造成的伤痕,我很愤怒,是因为即便遭到虐待,她也愿意回到她前夫那里,我知道没有什么能阻止她,保护她。当然,我可以把她前夫打一顿,只要我愿意,我可以把他吓得尿裤子,但如果她回到前夫身边,我的做法只会让她的处境更糟。要想真正保护她,我唯一能做的就是杀了她前夫……但如果她一定要选择回到前夫身边,那我为什么要以毁了我的余生为代价去阻止她呢?
另一个原因也让我很生气,因为她在我发怒的时候以为我会伤害她。她认识我已经六年了(不算很长时间,但那个时候我才20出头,我们认识的时间已经占了我们生命的三分之一),她知道我永远不会打女人,永远不会做任何伤害女人的事,尤其是伤害她。但就在那一刻,她看着我,就像看到她前夫一样,这让我很生气。

I never saw Nicole again after that night, but I did speak to her again twice after that. About a year later I was at my brother’s apartment when she called him. He had maintained his friendship with her even though I hadn’t, and she called to check up on him from time to time (my brother had leukemia). I answered the phone when she called, and she was so happy to hear my voice. She told me she had moved to Florida and was working at a bar, and she missed me terribly, and she wished she could see me again. We spoke for a couple of minutes, then I handed the phone to my brother and took a walk.
I found out from him later that “working at a bar” actually meant she was dancing in a strip club. She had gotten back together with her ex and they moved to Florida together. He was dealing and she was dancing. Apparently he got her hooked on a few other drugs then took off with some other dancer, so she was living down there and dancing to pay her rent and her habit. It was sad.

我后退了一步,拉开了我们之间的距离,并尽可能平静地说:“如果你今晚去你前夫那里,就再也不要回来了。”然后我转身走进了屋子。我没有关门,这是无言的邀请,请她回来,只要她愿意的话。大约五分钟过去了,然后我听到车门打开和关上的声音,听到引擎启动的声音,听到她开车离开的声音。
那天晚上之后我再也没见过妮可,但在那之后我确实又和她通过两次电话。那是大约一年后,她打电话给我哥哥时,我正在我哥哥的公寓里。我哥哥和她一直保持着友谊,而我已经和她断了联系,她不时打电话来探望哥哥的病情(我哥哥得了白血病)。她打来电话时我接了电话,她听到我的声音很高兴。她告诉我她搬到了佛罗里达,在一家酒吧工作,她非常想念我,她希望能再见到我。我们聊了几分钟,然后我把电话递给哥哥,出去散步了。
后来我从我哥哥那里知道,“在酒吧工作”实际上是指她在脱衣舞俱乐部跳舞。她和前夫重归于好,一起搬到了佛罗里达。前夫贩毒,她跳脱衣舞。很明显,她的前夫让她染上了一些其他的毒品,然后她的前夫和其他舞者私奔了,她就住在那里,通过跳脱衣舞来付房租和买毒品。听起来让人悲伤。

The last time I spoke to her was ten years later. Out of the blue one day I decided I wanted to talk to my old friend. I used an online people-finder service to get her number, and I called and left a message on her voicemail. She called me back, and we talked for about twenty minutes. It was so depressing. She was completely burnt out, she told me she was living on disability, and she had some Indian dude that took care of her. I think he was her dealer. She was so out of it that she forgot who she was talking to three times during our conversation. At one point she realized she need to tell me that her friend Robin had died six years earlier. I had to remind her that Robin was my brother, and she only knew him because of me. She kept apologizing for being so forgetful, and I assured her it was okay. It wasn’t. When I hung up the phone I knew I would never speak to her again.
I still held out hope that she would turn her life around, and a few years later I did a Google search on her name to see if I could find any social media accounts for her. All I found were her mugshots, she had been arrested seven times over two years for various drug charges. Her pictures were so disturbing, she was a year younger than me, but looked twenty years older. She looked nothing like the beautiful, vibrant girl I fell in love with in high school.

我最后一次和她说话是在十年之后。突然有一天,我决定和这位老朋友谈谈。我使用了一个网上寻人服务获得了她的号码,我给她打了电话,并在她的语音信箱留言。她给我回了电话,我们谈了大约20分钟。谈话过程太令人沮丧了。她整个人已经垮了,她告诉我她靠残障救助生活,有个印度人照顾她。我想应该是毒贩。她已经神智不清了,在我们谈话的时候,她三次忘了在跟谁说话。她对我说她的朋友罗宾在六年前去世了,于是我不得不提醒她,罗宾是我哥哥,她是因为我才认识了我哥哥。她不停地为自己的健忘道歉,我嘴上说着没什么。但心里五味杂陈。当我挂断电话时,我知道我再也不会和她说话了。
我仍然对她会改变自己的生活抱有希望,几年后,我用谷歌搜索了她的名字,看看是否能找到她的社交媒体账号。我只找到了她的照片,在过去的两年里,她因各种毒品指控被逮捕过七次。她的照片让人唏嘘,她比我小一岁,但照片却看起来比我大20岁。她看起来一点也不像我在高中时爱上的那个漂亮活泼的女孩。



Two months ago I went back to my home town to attend the retirement concert for my Godmother, who was retiring after twenty-five years as the choral director for my hometown high school and middle school. I was meeting a group of former classmates, and we were all going to surprise her at the end of the concert. One of the people in our group was Nicole’s older sister. I approached her before the concert and asked her how Nicole was doing. She let me know that Nicole had passed away three years ago.
It isn’t surprising that she’s gone. That was the lifestyle she chose.. I’ll never know how things might have turned out if we had just done things a little differently. I wouldn’t change anything.if I had ended up with her I never would have met my fiancee, and even though I lost her last year I still wouldn’t trade the seven years we had together for anything.

两个月前,我回到家乡参加我教母的退休音乐会,我教母在我家乡的中学担任了25年的合唱指挥,即将退休。我和一群以前的同学见了面,我们准备在音乐会结束时给我教母一个惊喜。其中一个人是妮可的姐姐。音乐会开始前,我找到她,问她妮可怎么样了。她告诉我妮可三年前就去世了。
她走了我一点也不奇怪。这是她选择的生活方式。我有时在想,如果我们只是稍微改变一下做事方式,也许会有不一样的结局。但我不想改变任何事情。如果我最终和她在一起,我就永远也不会遇到我的未婚妻,即使我们在去年分手了,但我仍然不会用我们在一起的7年时光来交换任何东西。

EDIT: A couple have people have asked why I shared her pictures, and it’s a fair question. I debated for a bit about whether it was appropriate before I finally decided to include them. I wanted to illustrate the change that she went through, to show how much her choices affected her. I know from talking to her that last time that she regretted those choices, although she couldn’t stop making them. I also know that she would have been okay with me sharing her pictures. She was always very open about who she was, and I believe she would be happy knowing that people had heard her story, as tragic as it is.
Also, a few people have asked why I didn’t do more to prevent her from going back to her ex or trying to break her addiction. The problem is that it wasn’t the drugs that she was addicted to, it was the control that her ex had over her. He made her believe that she was his property, and in the end I couldn’t get through to her that the only person she belonged to was herself. Either way, I couldn’t force her to make different choices, all I could do was show her that there were alternatives and then leave her to live her life.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to read and comment.

附注:有人问我为什么要分享她的照片,这个问题问得好。在我最终决定把照片发出来之前,我也很犹豫。我想展示她人生所经历的变化,展示她的选择对她有多大的影响。我从上次和她的谈话中知道,尽管她无法摆脱自己的生活轨迹,但她确实后悔了。我也知道她会同意我分享她的照片。她对自己是什么样的人很坦率,我相信她会很高兴知道人们听到她的故事,尽管故事本事是个悲剧。
还有一些人问我,为什么我没有做更多的事情来阻止她回到她的前夫身边,或者试着戒掉她的毒瘾。问题不在于她对毒品上瘾,而在于她前夫对她的控制。他让她相信她是他的财产,我无法让她明白她只属于她自己。无论如何,我都不能强迫她做出不同的选择,我所能做的就是让她知道还有其他选择,然后让她选择过自己的生活。
感谢每一个花时间阅读和评论的人。