A Story in Learning to Say No: Part I

By Brooke Davidoff

Moving across the country as a single mother is stressful. I moved here in June from Long Beach, California to live with one of my best friends from high school. There ended up not being enough room for my son and I at her place, and I had to hastily relocate without even unpacking. When I had found an apartment and was ready to move my stuff out of my friend’s basement, a male acquaintance in California offered to fly in to help. 

The last time he and I hung out was awful. 

I read his text message inviting himself to my new place. I cringed as his words flashed across my screen. He and I had lived on the same street when we were in middle school. We’re in our early 40’s now and had not seen each other since 8th grade, until that uncomfortable day two years ago. He had driven two hours to see me, and we had spent an afternoon together.

That day, we walked to the beach boardwalk across the street from my apartment. Immediately, he took my hand in his. We had never dated. We had never had a physical relationship. Our text messages had been G-rated, there hadn’t even been flirting. Maybe he’s overly friendly, I thought. 

We walked into an arcade, and my son went to play a video game—the man kissed me. It was random, unwanted and unexpected. I didn’t know how to pull away, and the rest of the afternoon was just as uncomfortable. Every time my son would walk away, this guy was in my face; his hands travelled all over my body like we were a couple.

We were not. 

He went home a few hours later while I sat with my confusion in silence. Questioning myself. Maybe I led him on. Jeans and a t-shirt shouldn’t have given off flirty signals—though I know now nothing I could have worn would have given him permission to touch me. 

Later that night he Facetimed me. He was drunk and begging me to flash him. I said no multiple times, he argued that he wanted to see them. I hung up. I didn’t speak to him for over a year. 

However, like many people, I give others second chances, expecting and hoping they have changed. We began texting again after I moved; I felt safe. He couldn’t drive up the freeway to see me anymore—I had states of distance to protect me.

But now he was inviting himself to my new apartment.

Hear the rest of Brooke’s story in Part II posting tomorrow!