a killer.

I dated a murderer.

It’s still hard to hear, hard to believe, hard to reconcile.

I dated someone who killed another human being.

It was senior year of high school, our class amping up for the last series of celebrations of our school careers. The first to come was homecoming and couples were quickly pairing up. *Ben and I had hung out a bit and when he asked me to go to homecoming with him, I was excited that we could accompany each other that upcoming night.

That weekend in October came quickly, my girlfriends and I spending the previous few weeks shopping for dresses and discussing hairdos, and that Saturday afternoon, putting all the pieces together. We curled each other’s hair and gave makeup tips, passing the time until the boys would come and pick us up for the evening.

We waited.

And waited.

No one came.

Then a cell phone rang. It must be them telling us they were running late.

“Hello?”

A girl’s voice responded, “Hey, is Brooke there? Is she safe? Did you hear about Ben? He did something bad.”

We all chuckled, thinking it was a joke and hung up the phone.

But then it rang again. Someone else telling us the same thing. Then again. And again.

“Did you hear? Ben killed his parents.”

He what?

We had received a call from a school staff member confirming a nightmare. My date had murdered his parents earlier that day.

I fell to the ground in shock. My girlfriends and I stared at each other in horror and helplessness. What were we supposed to do now? How did this happen? We decided that we should head to the police station.

It was a surreal next few hours. We sat in a room for what felt like forever, writing statements and waiting for our parents to arrive. The moments were full of shock, the comprehension of what happened beyond our grasp.

I never heard from Ben again. No phone call, no letter, nothing. I was saddened, my heart broke for him, a 17 year old boy throwing his life away because he had run into conflict with his parents. I was angry and felt used. I was thankful I had decided to hang out with my girlfriends that Saturday instead of spending the day with Ben.

It took me a while to learn to trust others again, keeping myself at a distance, thinking everyone harbored deep and dark secrets within their being. However, I didn’t shut myself off completely because I knew I didn’t want to live alone and isolated. The process of healing was long and I still have so many questions I wish I had answers to, but I have been able to not hold onto the past as tightly as I once did.


People will hurt us and people will let us down. They will do things you thought they were never capable of doing. Do we hold onto the anger, hurt and bitterness, walking throughout the world with a lens of negativity? Or do we process, heal, and grow, using what we’ve been through to gain empathy and understanding in life?

I’ve chosen the latter, as difficult as that may be, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The rest is up to you. Which will you choose?

*name changed

7 Comments

    1. Agreed. Sometimes I look at pictures from that weekend and it brings me back. I still struggle with wishing I would have known and could have prevented it.

      1. I’m confused by this. This was 10+ years ago? Clearly Ben had some issues at home but closing yourself off and trying to take responsibility seems counter productive for something so clearly out of your hands. It seems equivalent to knowing someone who was struck by lightning and blaming yourself; wondering what you could’ve done to prevent it and then being afraid of the rain for the rest of your life.

        I guess I have always been of the mindset that there are incredibly awful things in this world happening right now far worse then anything we can imagine and people still find a way to move forward. It seems like sometimes we choose to hang onto pain because it becomes apart of our story and then we allow that chapter to define the whole book of our lives. I suggest not worrying about someone that has zero barring on current life and happiness.

        That is pretty damn wild though.

      2. Hey Sean, whats confusing for you? Yes it was 10 years ago, but this blog is the process of sharing my story and this is a part of it. I am not taking responsibility by any means, but when we lose people due to an unexpected event, we sit and think about what we could have done to stop that.

        I also am not stuck in the past. If you have read any of my posts, or even the past few paragraphs of this current post, you would see that I always choose to keep moving forward.. it’s kind of the theme of my entire blog!

  1. Wow, that is pretty harrowing and so very unsettling to read, let alone live through. Something like that will inevitably make you question whether you can trust again but I’m glad you’ve managed to work through it and didnt isolate yourself from the world. Speaking from experience, thats the worst thing you can do.

    Its a sad fact of life that people will hurt us. Can’t really fault anyone who sees the world more negatively after being hurt, despite it being about the least productive and loneliest thing you can do. I admire people who can process. heal and learn from their pain. You definitely chose the more difficult path to walk but ultimately, the healthier one which will lead you to live life, not simply suffer it.

    I hope your path in life is as pain-free as possible from now on.

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