Thursday, April 21, 2011
The Story Behind "Pure Hate"
When I was 15 years old, I dated a young Italian girl named... let's call her "Amy". "Amy" was the first girl I ever loved and I loved her with the sort of smothering, obsessive adoration only a lonely teenage outsider could feel. Her parents were racists who forbid her to see me, so we had to sneak around behind their backs. After three months of dating me in secret, she couldn't take it anymore and broke up with me. That was the worst pain I had ever felt and it changed me. The damage that little break-up did to me still sticks with me.
Over the next few months we continued to talk and send each other love letters and eventually, a year later, we started dating again. This time, she told her parents about us and they threw her out of the house. For the next year, she was bounced from one shelter to the next and I was always there, trying to keep her spirits up, buying her clothes and shoes and anything else I could to make her happy, smothering her. I got her into the same high school as me, The Philadelphia High School of the Creative & Performing Arts, so that I could better take care of her. That's where she met my then best friend... let's call him "Reed". Amy and "Reed" became close, too close. I confronted Reed about it, never really believing that anything was going on, but believing it to be a matter of respect and appearances. She began to change and I resented even the slightest alteration from that perfect girl that I'd fallen in love with and placed on a pedestal so high it gave her nosebleeds. Finally, my relationship with Amy ended and I started dating a lovely young girl named... let's call her "Natasha" who was Amy's polar opposite. "Natasha" was the wild daughter of a hippy whose mother not only approved of me but frequently hit on me. The problem was, I still wasn't over Amy.
I was an asshole toward Natasha. I knew it then and freely admit it now. For that, I am deeply sorry. I resented her for not being Amy and pointed out every "un-Amy-like" thing she did. Soon, she began spending a lot of time with my good friend Reed as well. Then, one evening, I caught Reed at her house, in her bedroom. I was so angry that I couldn't even kick his ass. I wanted to murder him and if I touched him I would have and that would have been the end of both of us. I had a knife in my pocket and I wanted to stick it in his throat repeatedly. I didn't. I controlled my temper, but I had to walk away to keep from murdering them both. The next day, when Natasha came to my house to apologize and explain herself, she told me that not only had she slept with Reed, but Amy and Reed had, in fact, been sleeping together as well. I went ballistic. Fist through a window, eight bottles of Tylenol, type of ballistic.
Now, to put things into perspective, I didn't really think much of life before I met Amy. I was fourteen when I met her and at that time I expected my life to end by suicide. It seemed inevitable. The only question in my mind was how many people I was going to take with me when I went. Then I met her and everything changed. I could see beauty in the world and life was suddenly worthwhile. So, when I heard that she had cheated on me with my best friend, I went berzerk. I wound up in the hospital getting my stomach pumped and then, later, there was a little incident with a gas stove and a lit match that could have ended badly.
Reed was jealous of me. He coveted my popularity, my self-confidence, and most of all, my girlfriend(s). I loved the guy and would have done just about anything for him. I even tried to set him up with a girlfriend, several times, but he wanted mine. So, when he betrayed me, I wanted him dead. With that passionate angst and single-minded rage that only teenagers can muster, I wanted him to suffer. It was all I could think about for months, years.
Well, you know how the story ended. I got over it and went on to live a relatively normal, happy and well-adjusted life. But what if I hadn't? That's the premise of Pure Hate. It's basically about what would have happened if I had carried that hate around with me for the rest of my life, what kind of monster I might have become. Of course, this is fiction, so Malcolm is not exactly like me. His past is not my past and the characters he surrounds himself with are not quite the same as the ones from my life. They are a bit more interesting. This novel is only "inspired" by true events. It is not even close to what I or my friends were really like. There was no Detective Titus Baltimore or Detective James Bryant in my life. And Malcolm is a bit more warped and a lot more dangerous then I ever was and what he does to his victims is worse than anything I could ever do. Or is it?