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So this story happened to me when I was 15 years old. I was a super lonely kid; my home life was in shambles, mom was cheating on dad and told me about it, and I had just started at a new high school the year prior where I didn't know anyone.

Creating art quickly became my biggest coping mechanism... to this day I still love to draw.

I discovered the website DeviantArt around this time, and started submitting my drawings every day. Through this, I made some friends online of all ages. Some very talented people were giving me positive feedback on my work, and this really inspired me. In my deep depression, I felt like dA was a safe haven of like-minded people who appreciated one another. For the first time in a long time, I belonged somewhere... I spent many hours talking to some regulars on the site. Even now, 10 years later, a few of them are still in my life and I cherish their friendship.

But this story is about someone who I never want to meet, EVER again.

DeviantArt also allows writers to submit their stories/poetry to the site. One day, I was on the front page and a poem caught my eye. It was more of an angry rant, full of weird twisted imagery and anti-Christian subtext. Sounds stupid I know, but it was actually quite well written and funny (at least to my 15 year old self). Being a very angry, depressed high schooler, I was drawn in and decided to check this artist out.

Not only was he a prolific writer, with maybe 100 poems and stories on his site, but this man was a very talented visual artist as well. He created amazing illustrations of weird, funny creatures. Some of them were a little sexual, like naked women, but most of them were humorous or gross. His name was Tom. The combination of Tom's writing and visual art skills intrigued me. Even though he was 30 years old, I decided to send him a private message.

We bonded. Soon we began to talk on AIM. I would look forward to talking to Tom every day, and came straight home after school to connect with him. Chatting for 5 hours was a daily thing for us. In hindsight my family probably wondered what I was doing, but they never said anything. Anyway, isolating myself in my room wasn't abnormal at this point. I was so grateful for my artistic friend. I could be as dark and confident as I wanted when we talked... I unloaded a lot of my pain onto him, and he told me about his troubles too. Tom even started to write poetry about me, HAPPY poetry! It made me feel very special, because I had softened this angry dude's heart with my friendship (so I thought). He was reliable, always online whenever I came home...


After maybe 3 weeks of talking, Tom asked for my phone number because he "wanted to hear my voice." I was extremely uncomfortable with this and reluctant. He insisted, and gave me his number to call. Fearing I would lose a friend who was so important to me, I finally gave in.

I should mention that I'm 23 now, and I'm still a shy person... but at 15, I was painfully awkward and detested phone calls. My heart was racing and I was shaky and sweaty as the phone rang.


Tom picked up. "Hello?" my voice sounded shaky. Tom spoke.. I knew his age, but to my relief he sounded like a teenage boy. This made me feel less uncomfortable, but still weirded out. I had no idea what to talk about, and for some reason I felt like crying. Tom and I spoke for a bit. He laughed at the awkward things I said, so I guess the conversation went alright. Honestly I can't remember what we talked about... all I remember is that he barely spoke at all.

We got off the phone and talked online more. He said how happy he was to hear my voice. I was still pretty upset, but glad that I didn't disappoint him. I hoped he wouldn't ask me to call him again, because it was such a stressful experience. But I had poured so much time into talking to this man, that I was willing to be uncomfortable to preserve our friendship. My self esteem was nonexistent.

The next day, Tom wanted me to call again. On the phone I could hear him breathing heavily. He was masturbating. I talked about my day at school, some random thoughts... he stayed silent apart from the breathing. Then when I was mid-sentence, he hung up on me.

When I asked him what happened over AIM, he told me I wasn't talking about anything sexy, something along those lines. I apologized and felt a total sense of failure. The conversation then turned sexual. I told him that I was a virgin (in reality I hadn't even had a real first kiss). Tom was overjoyed by this. Now I really had his attention.

At this point it was May. Our relationship progressed to the point that I let him jerk off to my voice, and even sent him some pictures of me in my underwear when he asked. I had no idea what I was doing, but felt like I had to obey him or he wouldn't be my friend. He started to write poetry about taking a girl's virginity. To his fans on DeviantArt, they were just fictional poems about a fictional girl... but I knew they were really for me. This both thrilled me and made me queasy.

My 16th birthday was coming up in June. Tom and I constantly talked about how badly we wanted to see each other... in the back of my mind, I really missed the days before everything got so sexual. I told him there was no way I could ever fly to Florida, where he lived. Tom insisted on seeing me before my 16th birthday. Eventually we picked a date... he found a hotel near my family's house that was relatively affordable, and even bought tickets to fly out. The plan was that I would skip school that day, and spend the day with him so he could take my virginity. I can't remember if he was even going to stay more than 1 day, to be honest. Before we said our good-nights, Tom wrote, "Will you let me get your ass, too." Not a question, a statement.


I came home from school one day, and my mom was extremely solemn. She told me she knows about Tom. Apparently I had remained signed-in on AOL, but I think she actually got my password to see what I was up to. I began to cry, and defended Tom at first... but then I admitted I was terrified of him. I was so ashamed that my mom saw our sexual conversations, but she hugged me and told me "He won't be coming, I promise." She emailed Tom which really fucking spooked him. Tom began to yell at me, and blow up my phone. He told me he spent $500 on the plane tickets that he couldn't get back. I never picked up any of his calls... he wrote me tons of emails in all caps (I have a few of them saved). He wrote angry, violent poetry on dA about how I betrayed him. I was devastated and hated myself.

On the day Tom was supposed to come visit, I stayed at my best friend's house which was miles away in a totally different community. My mother gave our apartment building a photo of Tom, to make sure nobody let him in. I was totally paranoid that he would pop up for a while after that, but he never did. In fact... I didn't hear from him at all. He stopped submitting any art or poetry.

Over a month went by, and Tom was still MIA. My family and I went to Canada for a music festival... life was slowly going back to normal, and my guilt was fading. Suddenly in our hotel room, my phone rang. It was Tom. I tried to pick up, and I can't remember why, but for some reason since we were in Canada I couldn't talk to him. I think it's because I had an American service provider, or something? In any event, he left me messages. My memory of this is very foggy (he may have actually been texting me, I can't remember at all). A few days later we took a train back to the US, and as soon as we crossed the border I sent him a text. I apologized for what happened and explained that I was in Canada... but that I missed him and I hoped he could forgive me.

Tom told me the reason he was gone for so long. He said that on the day he was supposed to come see me, he got very drunk and tried to kill himself. He stabbed himself all over, including his stomach, left hand, and legs. Feeling last minute regret, he called his mother and she called the police. He told me that his whole apartment was considered a biohazard from all the blood, and after he recovered he spent time in the psych ward. Tom had mutilated himself so badly that the hospital had to amputate his leg and he lost 2 fingers. He told me this was my fault.

I was utterly speechless and my blood ran ice cold. I refused to believe him... but lo and behold, he uploaded some pictures of himself on DeviantArt. His leg was amputated above the knee, and he was missing fingers. I had seen previous photos of him... this was my friend alright.


It's hard to explain how I feel about this situation. I feel very sad for Tom, but I also understand that this wasn't my fault. I was a very lonely child, and desperate for a friend. Tom was a schizophrenic man and a pedophile, as was later revealed by his explicit poetry about little girls. Eventually he was banned from DeviantArt, and I never talked to him again after age 16. A few years ago I looked him up and found his profile on a different site... admittedly I was googling him to see if he was still alive. In his profile picture, he was next to a young woman with his hand over her mouth. It looked like he found someone who was willing to visit him after all.

So Tom... I hope you're okay, but please... lets not ever meet.


P.S. If I take this story down, it's because I'm afraid.
  

---by reddit user meowcat91 via: reddit.com/r/LetsNotMeet  

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