This is a very brief chapter in the two-month ordeal. After arriving in Bellingham, I went to the ATM in the bus depot and swiped my card to withdraw the $700 needed for that month's rent. I was responsible for March's rent as Theo had burned through his Social Security income when he'd met me in Salt Lake City. The ATM declined my card and after numerous calls to the out-of-state credit union from which my card originated, we decided to try later. With no money even for the bus, Theo convinced me to walk the five miles across town to the apartment. This was all while I was carrying my backpack full of clothes and a heavy synthesizer. On the way there I listened to his long-winded lecture on how the women of Bellingham were all shameless lesbians that would turn me into a feminist man-hater should they ever speak to me. As if not to scare me away, the lecture was more subdued, changing tone later in the month from a warning to a strict rule. Theo made it very clear in the passing weeks that if I even looked at anyone without his permission, I would be branded in his eyes as a cheating slut unworthy of his trust and affection.
Upon arriving at the house in which we planned to rent a room, Theo introduced me to Mark--the extremely corpulent landlord. Although we didn't have the money for rent at the moment, Mark let the issue slide for that day but warned us not to tell the other tenants that he'd done so. Because it was over the weekend, he told us that if we didn't have the money by Monday, we would have to vacate the house. Thanking Mark, Theo took me upstairs and had me change into the outfit he'd bought for me at a Hot Topic in Salt Lake: a red and black striped corset with a matching thong and fishnet thigh-highs. There was only a couch in the room, so he had me lay down on the couch and spread my legs while he undressed in anticipation to consummate what he called our marriage.
Losing my virginity was painful. I was on the verge of tears as he thrust inside of me, only pretending gentleness at first as his rabid sex drive took control of his mind. Before this point I had only imagined sex--both from fantasy and what I'd read and heard about it. It was supposed to be this long, romantic, passionate act, carried out with such love. Instead, my first time was more like being raped in a back alley. I was shaking and hurt after he pulled out, but because I didn't want to upset or disappoint him, I hid it. He had me stay dressed like a whore the entire night.
I found out on Monday that because I shared a joint account with my parents, they had locked me out of the account so I wouldn't spend their money as well as mine. At the time, this made me upset as I'd planned in advance, even setting up a different account with my money. The credit union representative I talked to on the phone explained that the account I'd set up was only a sub-account, one over which my parents still retained control.While I refused to completely condemn my parents and their motives, Theo was eager to call my mother all sorts of obscenities. We contacted my Aunt Neeta as a go-between, and it was during the conversation that Theo called my mother a bitch and other choice insults. This made me uncomfortable but not enough to protest because Theo could be quite frightening when he was mad. After finishing the call with Aunt Neeta, Theo decided we should go downstairs and try reasoning with Mark. Mark, understandably, refused to let us stay, sparking another fit of rage in Theo. With a curt goodbye to Mark, Theo took me out of Mark's office and began ranting. He claimed from the moment Mark saw me, all Mark wanted to do was have sex with me. He branded Mark a creep, no longer his friend. While we packed our things, I didn't try hiding the fact that I was scared. Although I was in tears, Theo offered very little comfort, something I would become acquainted with quickly. His reasoning? If I cried or looked unhappy, it made him look like the bad guy. We left without another word to Mark.
I admit I don't remember much of the two weeks that followed. I remember Theo finding some way to get just enough money to buy a cheap tent and sleeping bags, which we utilized as our home. We ate at the Lighthouse Mission, even staying there a few nights when the damp and rainy weather of Bellingham became too much for me. This was far from what I had in mind when Theo promised he would take care of me. Our days were spent roaming: since he had a laptop, we would scout out wi-fi hotspots to find cheap apartments. And after a long two-week period, we seemed to finally find our new home.