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Jett Superior laid this on you on || August 1, 2001 || 2:25 pm

I was talking with a new acquaintance on AIM last night and the conversation inevitably turned to how we write and what we write about. Ultimately came the admission from both of us that we feel less-than-honest at times because there are things that are held back since they involve other people, and who are we to subject someone else’s life to scrutiny? I have been wrestling with this as of late, because there are a couple of things that I would like to articulate, and even though I use aliases and hardly anyone close in ‘real life’ comes here, I will have shared something that I am not completely at liberty to share. I feel this is true whether or not the situation directly involves me…..

Anyway, he cited a time in particular as example; a friend of his had been raped and he was one of the few people she shared it with….perhaps the only one. It went unreported, from what I gather. A rumbling started low in my gut as he told me that this was how she lost her virginity and since last night a long-untold story of my own has been gnawing at my chest. Now is time for the telling.

I was barely fourteen and I was spending the summer in the town of my birth, staying a few days here, a few days there with various relatives. Most of my entertainment was derived from passing time with those cousins in my age group, most of whom are males. Of course, they had mostly male companions and I began to get acquainted with them, becoming the ‘token female’ that hung out around the perimeter. I did everything that they did save pee standing up: played basketball, participated in the neighborhood football league, cruised the strip on weekends, went along on swimming and hiking expeditions in the local state park.

I was tall and slim and beautiful in that way that pubescent girls are, fraught with unsure tendencies and unaware of the extent of my attractiveness to the opposite sex. I was most comfortable just being ‘one of the guys’ and that is basically how my male cousins saw me because it had always been that way. So what if I was leggy and had sprouted breasts in my time away? I could still pound the boards with the best of them, was still not squeamish when it came to baiting a proper hook.

Over the course of a few weeks I developed a maddening crush on one of my favorite cousin’s best friends. His name was Mike, he was 16, and he had a sly, easy smile and green eyes that made all my normal self-assuredness crawl away with it’s tail tucked.

I was not accustomed to being rebuffed, as Mike easily did; it bewildered me and set me off-kilter. Angst-ridden in a way only teenage girls can be, I would wail to my cousin Wayne, “What’s wrong with me that he doesn’t dig me back??” I guess reciprocal chemistry just wasn’t there, and that was something that had never happened to me before. I did not like it in the least.

In the midst of all this was Kevin. He was 17, tall and athletic, a towhead who was tanned and pretty. Kevin sat back and watched, bemused at my covert girl-wailing. He began to subtly court my emotions, to somehow always be there when an offhand or unintentional rebuff was handed to me by Mike. Eventually I grew very fond of Kevin, though I don’t recall being especially sprung for him.

I was not yet allowed to date. The bar had been set to the age of sixteen by my parents and I found this simply ridiculous. Like many my age, I knew everything and had it all under control.

The time came when Kevin wanted to take me out, and I was thrilled, but I knew it would not meet with family consent. I began to secretly plan.

My aunt and uncle would be in a neighboring town on Friday night for a dinner party, my cousins Wayne and Danny would naturally be going out. I could opt out, no problem, as I had stayed home alone before to catch my breath from our constant running. My aunt and uncle would be gone until at least 1 or 2 a.m., Wayne and Danny would likely skin in right before their return. Kevin was due to pick me up at 7:30, plans were left open-ended for whatever struck our fancy at the time.

Friday found everyone out of the house by 6:30 and I carefully selected what I was to wear that night: a pretty blue short-sleeved angora sweater, crisp white walking shorts and white keds. Kevin was prompt, and explained to me that he was driving his mother’s Olds because he had loaned his Jeep to his brother. We went to a drive-in joint for a coke and fries before settling on just driving around for a couple hours to listen to music and talk. I remember the blue-gray seat being huge between us, me feeling awkward and small in that large car while bearing the weight of my dating inexperience. Hello, I am Jack’s sense of playing it cool.

We drove and talked as planned and, engrossed in the conversation, I paid little attention to the town falling away behind us, to us turning off the main highway. We drove along darkening tree-ladened roads that wound back into nowhere, past shacks masquerading as houses, into a tangle of nothing and nowhere. When the road became gravel, a mild alarm began to go off and I asked where we were.

We turned into an alcove heavily shielded by trees and the evening became a bad made-for-television movie.

He turned to me after turning off the motor and politely told me how gorgeous I was.

“I’d like to kiss you, Beth….is that okay? Have you ever been kissed before?” I nodded, one hand on the door handle. I had been kissed. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be just then. He leaned toward me, putting his large left hand on the back of my neck. I was nervous and stiff and he shifted as I turned my head slightly. His kiss landed on the left corner of my mouth. I stated my desire to leave, batting away panic as best I could. Before I knew it the situation evolved and events were swallowing me up whole.

We were in the middle of nowhere and he was simply much bigger than me and I had no control. The shock was so great that I didn’t even have the wits to beg. It was vile and it wasn’t: my virginity was being taken and I had no say-so, but he saved me the shame of the vulgarities of speech that I had imagined such an attack would bring. After his third release, he quietly put his clothes to rights and asked me to do the same. I couldn’t move save for shaking and he found my panties and shorts and gently helped me dress. This seemed the biggest assault of all. He was helping me after he had irrevocably harmed me.

I was dropped off at the end of the drive, limping and bleeding, my thighs bruised and my lips swollen from his unwelcome kisses. I sat for over an hour in the dark, shivering and sighing while watching a movie about giant rats on the Friday Night Creature Feature. The boys stumbled in just shy of midnight, mildly buzzed.

It sounds corny to say that Danny took one look at me and asked, but that’s the way it happened.

I came unglued, coherent in turns, set off crying once again every time I saw the sick paleness of Wayne’s face. He and Kevin had been friends since the cradle, had been Boy Scouts together. Danny’s jaw worked angrily and his leg kept jerking. At the end the silence was palpable, a thing that lived of its own accord.

I was ashamed, I was guilty, I was humbled, I was, I was, I was….. There aren’t words for it all.

I swore the boys to secrecy, ignoring Danny’s pleas and demands that I report it. In the end Wayne was the decisive one. They left me there to eventually fall asleep on the couch, fully clothed.

I awoke to find the house still and quiet the next morning; I rose quickly and bathed, stuffing my blood-stained panties and shorts into a paper bag. I walked painfully to a ravine behind the neighborhood cul-de-sac and flung the bag as far out into it as I possibly could. I stayed in the rest of the day, claiming illness, which was no lie since I was measurably soul-sick.

Later in the day, when everyone else was out and about, Dan entered my room, telling me what had transpired after he and Wayne took off the night before. They left a note for my aunt and uncle saying they were staying at Mike’s house for the night. After finding Mike and his brother Stevie, they went in search of Kevin, who they found at home alone. Dan told me that they nearly didn’t stop, since his Jeep wasn’t there, but thought his mom might know where he was. She was apparently working an overnight shift at her hotel job and Kevin’s younger brother was not yet home.

Kevin, not knowing the boys had already been home and seen me, invited them in. He offered them a beer, and they took it. Just as Kevin cracked his can and was sitting down, Wayne palmed his unopened beer and smashed it into Kevin’s face. I shook with mournful relief as Dan relayed the unholy beating that the sweet, laid-back Wayne unleashed on his lifelong friend.

After it was all said and done, Kevin was essentially run out of town on a rail. Wayne gave him an ultimatum: “Pack your shit in your Jeep within 12 hours and be gone or wind up dead.” Kevin went to his father’s in Jonesboro, some 4 hours away.

I’ve told maybe a half-dozen people in my life this story, and only because it seemed relevant. The boys and I never speak of it. My own mother doesn’t even know to this day. I never reported it. After a time, I regained equilibrium, but it has shaped some choices I have made in the past.

After the rape, I played fast and loose with myself, with my body. I showed no fear in any circumstance and very little discretion. While I was the same on the outside, the inner workings ticked differently. I had held my virginity, with care, intending to not have sex until I married. When it was forcibly taken, I adopted a “Well, my sanctity has been abolished, so it’s not like it matters anymore” attitude. I had a lot of sex, many explicit encounters and experiences, in the eighteen months to follow. I was careful to do it some distance away, so as not to be labeled a whore, but I did it nonetheless. In time I came to see that physically I had lost my virginity as a result of that attack, but in the truest sense of the word, the more subtle meaning, I was still a virgin until I gave myself willingly. Regrettably, I saw too late and had already dealt it out shamefully.

My feelings and opinions on rape are somewhat strange for a female. Unlike most, I don’t wholeheartedly cling to the “No means NO” theory. A woman holds a certain amount of responsibility in certain circumstances. While I don’t believe that I was responsible for my rape, I believe that my lack of judgment put me in a situation that certainly could have been avoided. I had no business being where I was, and I take full responsibility for that. Had I done what I knew to be right, I would not have been his victim and would not have carried part of the weight from Kevin’s actions. Perhaps I would have never been his victim at all.

Sometimes I am a bit skeptical when women cry rape, having known some women that simply regretted their actions later (be it simple regret or having been caught in a comprimising situation) and mutated the story to the detriment of another’s reputation. Moreso, to the detriment of their honor.

I saw Kevin some years later, after I was grown and married and had two small children. I was attending my grandfather’s funeral; he was a prominent member of the community and the services were packed out. The funeral procession itself was nearly two miles’ worth of cars.

As I was leaving the church with the rest of the family, there he stood in the back, not five feet from the door I passed through. The family lined up our cars, a twenty-minute process, and as I slowly pulled from the parking lot, his vehicle faced me from the adjacent parking area. He stared at me through the windshield of his truck, a tight and hard little smile playing on his lips. It was long gone for me, and after the mildest of internal starts, I was oblivious. I smiled sardonically back at him.

“You fucker,” I mouthed, “if it were today, you would not make it out of that car alive.”

—————————————————-

Don’t you mess with a little girl’s dream / ‘Cause she’s liable to grow up mean

Surprised you to find that I’m laughing? / You thought that you’d find me in tears / You thought I’d be crawling the walls / Like a tiny mosquito and trembling in fear

Well you may be king for the moment / But I am a queen understand / And I’ve got your pawns and your bishops / And castles / All inside the palm of my hand

While you were looking the other way / While you had your eyes closed / While you were licking your lips / ‘Cause I was miserable / While you were selling your soul / While you were tearing a hole in me

I was taking control

Now I have taken control / Now I have taken control…

This is beginning to feel good / Watching you squirm in your shoes / A small bead of sweat on your brow / And a growl in your belly your scared to let through

You thought you could keep me from loving / You thought you could feed on my soul / But while you were busy destroying my life / What was half in me has become whole

While you were looking the other way / While you had your eyes closed / While you were licking your lips / ‘Cause I was miserable / While you were selling your soul / While you were tearing a hole in me

I was taking control

Now I have taken control / Now I have taken control…

So this is how it feels / To breath in the summer air / The feel the sand between my toes / And love inside my ear / All those things that you taught me to fear / I’ve got them in my garden now / And you’re not welcome here

Come a little bit closer / Let me look at you / I gave you the benefit / Of the doubt it’s true / But keep in mind my darling / Not every saint is a fool

While you were looking the other way / While you had your eyes closed / While you were licking your lips / ‘Cause I was miserable / While you were selling your soul / While you were tearing a hole in me

I was taking control

Now I have taken control / Now I have taken control…

Don’t you mess with me
(Father):There has to be more to life than this, because in our confrontation with a cold cold universe, there is something comical to the idea that we can really impose our will on humanity– power corrupts!
(Daughter) : This is scaring me…

// Poe, “Control”

Nobody worked it out »

Don´t be shy. Lay it on me.

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