I do want to share though, because I read about other people's dealing with their own damage, like Allie Brosh, or Jenny Lawson and their depression, or Julia and her infertility, and I see what a positive effect it has on people to hear about another person dealing with the same shit, and I know that it makes me feel so hopeful to see others making it out the other side. If I have stories to tell that could make other people hopeful about their own hurts, I should try in spite of that I don't feel powerful enough to manage any such thing. There's 7 billion people on this planet but it's so easy to feel like you are alone.
So, no more stalling, no more silence.
* * * * *
October in Northern California is usually balmy, and the second month of my 7th grade year in 1993 was no exception. My friends dressed me in black jean shorts with rolled cuffs and a turquoise stripped tank top - much cuter than the faded, slightly ratty jeans and shapeless t-shirt I arrived wearing.
We three were going out to the movies with two neighbor boys and my friend's cousin from Indiana. The boys were all 13, and near strangers, which was cool, but made my socially-awkward, 12-year-old self extra nervous.
We caught a bus to within a couple blocks of the theater, the six of us sprawled into the last two rows of seats: the boys legs taking up all the space they were reserving for their impending manhood, and us girls curled into ourselves, playing at coquettes with none of the necessary confidence to pull it off.
We bought our own tickets - six Adults for Cool Runnings - and sodas, the boys bought massive bags of popcorn, and had gummy candy from the grocery store bulk-bins stashed in the pockets of their big baggy jeans. One of my friends paired us off when we sat down: boy/girl, girl/boy, boy/girl in the center of the second row. The cousin from Indiana and I were the third pair.
The theater was never so dark that I couldn't see the cousin unfurling his arm across the backs of the seats to drape around my shoulders, the tips of his buttery fingers resting on the top curve of my right breast. It was the first time a boy had ever touched me with intention or kindness. The whole world reduced to the spot under his hand.
There were no buses when the movie let out into an indigo twilight, so we walked the three miles back to the neighborhood. I was edgy from the unaccustomed and unexpected attention and wished to latch back on to my friends, but they were happily paired off with the neighbor boys, so I was left with the shambling cousin at the back of our straggling line. He was bold in the lowering darkness, his arm back around my shoulders, his hand closer to my breast with the advantage of height and the lack of a separating armrest.
We fell farther and farther behind, his slow lope no match for the purposeful strides of the neighbor boys. At the turn to his cousin's street, we cut into the park, to catch up, I thought, until he steered me to the picnic tables past the horseshoe pit. We sat on the edge of a table, our feet on the bench, and he told me about Indiana, his parent's suburb and the uncoolness of it all. I told him about how boring my neighborhood was, and how lame my family was, and he stuck his tongue in my mouth.
It was hot and sloppy, his teeth mashed my lip and his wispy stubble rasped my chin. I pulled away has his inhalation threatened to suck the air out of my lungs, but in a breath his mouth was back on mine and he was leaning me back onto the top of the table with his hand sliding under my shirt to be frustrated by the band of my bra.
"No!" I gasped, trying to squirm away from his hands, but his thigh pinning mine and the splinters digging into my shoulders held me still.
"It's so hot when a girl plays hard to get."
And I froze.
His too-strong hands slid the band of my bra up over the swell of my too-large breasts, and he grunted as his hands made contact with my nipples. He soon had his pants loosened, and it was only one long moment until my overlarge borrowed shorts and Jockey underpants were down to my knees, and then scraping to my ankles as he wedged my thighs apart with his bare hips. Then he was punching me in the crotch, but his hands were by my shoulders and I realized it was his penis, and the hardness of an erection.
The punching stopped as he dropped his weight onto my chest and reached a hand down between our pelvises. He propped himself up to his knees and brow-furrowed, aimed his penis against my vagina with his hand. When they were lined up he thrust his hips forward, into a sensation of fire that displaced a keening, "ohh" from my throat. His grunting intensified to moans as he thrust into me, and in a few seconds or an eternity he was done, with a final grind and a gasp, he flipped onto his back next to me.
"That rocked," he said. "That was awesome," and still panting, he grinned at me. We lay there staring at the sky, me surreptitiously trying to slide my clothes back where they belonged, hoping that it was okay for me to do, and that he would be ready to go home now, wishing I could go home, or anywhere that no one would know what had just happened.
I got my clothes all the way on, and tried to suck swelling tears back into my eyes. He got his underwear back on, thankfully covering that which I was too embarrassed to look at, and pulled his jeans up as he rolled off the side of the table and popped to his feet. He held out his hand, gallant now, and proud of his manhood.
I took his hand, and swung of the edge of the table. He pulled me back under his sweaty, stinking arm to walk back to his cousin's. It was hard to match stride while trying to keep the seams on my underwear away from the wet rawness at my crotch, so I gave up and let the pain draw me inside myself, away from the touch of my rapist, away from this quiet, fancy neighborhood where no one walked in the park at night to interrupt two kids on a picnic table.
The cousin flew back to Indiana, to be homeschooled in an uncool suburb. He wrote me a letter about how he hoped I could be his girlfriend again the next time he came to visit.
I didn't write back. He doesn't know that he would have been a father, had I not spent all my savings to go in secret to a clinic that would call me a whore, but help me birth a quivering, purple, translucent, baby boy who fit in the nurse's hand, as she bagged him in plastic, and took him away. He doesn't know about how I pressed my aching, leaking breasts against the icy cold handrail, and at the last minute, decided not to jump, so that no one had to fish my corpse out of the bay. He doesn't know about how I spent the next eight years hating myself for my failure to fight him off, but so much more than that, hating myself for killing my son. He doesn't know about how I forgave myself and learned to be whole again; he will never know that I needed to.
I’ll be 32 when October rolls around again, more than old enough to be that raped girl's mother (old enough to be mother to a going-on-19 year old son). I look back on that child, and I wish I could mother her with what wisdom I have since earned, and show her the beauty in the life she would have. I am married now, my home and my heart are both warmly filled with true and honest friends and support, the likes of which that 12 year old girl couldn't imagine. I'm sorry for what that girl had to live through, but I am so glad for the me that she became.