One morning, while I was still in school as a post-grad, a good friend of mine — let’s call him Jon — texted me something that my hungover/still drunk self couldn’t quite comprehend.
“Was [Lauren] ever in a porno?”
I texted back: “F-ck off, it’s too early for this.”
He persisted, “No, no really, google this: University Takeover 4. You have to tell me if it’s her.”
As I Googled University Takeover 4, I called my text-eager friend and started to watch the preview.
Less than two minutes in, I realized it is Lauren — my then-girlfriend of almost two years — WASTED, and with shorter hair.
The whole clip is just over three minutes long. She appears multiple times, in the various stages of sexy time activities that she seems just coherent enough to perform (#dark). I took a deep breath. I then ran to the toilet.
And violently threw up. This was a less than preferable way to regain your sobriety.
My memory of what I did next is hazy. I was at a loss. A moral issue presented itself. We had been very close to “officially” breaking up for a while now. The day I witnessed this video was the day she was leaving to go on a month-long Birthright trip (I know).
Now, it’s important to bear in mind that I thought loved this girl. There were a number of times when we bared our souls to one another and as such, had ample opportunity to have spoken about this. Had I heard about this from her, I’d like to think things could have gone differently (they wouldn’t have). You would have to think I’d find out about this sooner or later. The city we went to school in is not that big.
So what was I supposed to do? Call her up, tell her I knew about this, proceed to get angry and alienate myself from her right before she’s about to leave? Or, sit on this, take the ‘high road’ and wait until she gets back?
Snap decision. I called. I had no idea what to say.
I took the ‘high road,’ otherwise known as being a pussy. I made the call seem friendly and like I was wishing her well on her trip. I choked on all the words I wanted to say, and all the anger that I was stifling. We talked for only a few minutes. It was cordial but distant. I felt like a liar. She was flying to Israel in a few hours where I knew she’d get hit on (at the very least) by a ton of horny Jewish dudes. But given what I just witnessed, that thought passed quickly.
Off to Israel Lauren went.
The month passed, and she called me upon her return. She’s near where I live at her new Birthright bff’s place, and she convinced me to come get her (whatever, she was hot). She needed a ride to her family home in a town an hour outside the city. I brought her back to my place. We talked. I got angry. She cried. I asked “Why didn’t you ever tell me?” too many times. We had sex (we all knew that’s where this was going). She told me she didn’t hook up with any of the Jewish dudes who were all up in her business. I didn’t care anymore.
Immediately post coitus, I am entirely filled with dread. We get dressed. Not only do I want her to leave, but I’ve never wanted to be farther away from her in my life. Aaaaand we’re about to get into the car for an hour.
We smoke a joint before the drive (because I am responsible). I also buy cigarettes.
After that, we didn’t speak again. And haven’t since. That was over three years ago.
I eventually started to tell my friends about this. People seemed to love this story. Nearly everyone I’d end up telling had seen the video, and watching their face connect the dots was a pretty good time.
One of my oldest friends bought the DVD. He and his wife watched the entire thing with another couple that I’m also very close with. I never could watch the DVD. They waited quite a while to tell me that they’d done this. Finally, they thought it was time to ‘joke’ about it and air out what they’d been dying to tell me about the video and this girl in general. It didn’t help that they never really liked her.
At the time, it hurt to hear about what else happened on the video. And I felt embarrassed that I loved this girl. My whole romance was invalidated. I came to realize that this was probably the reason her two previous boyfriends had broken up with her. I also discovered that her parents had found out, and as you can imagine that news caused them some distress. They tried to sue the production company but were not successful as she had signed a waiver. This company made porn — of course they had waivers, and students are dumb.
After all of this, I felt sorry for her. Sorry that she felt she could never tell me, sorry that she had to live with that and sorry that it’ll never go away. At least I did. Now I just don’t care.
This post originally appeared on Thought Catalog.
Hot bikini girl photo via Shutterstock