Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Truth is Enough

One of her favorite pastimes when she was a teenager was hitchhiking. Typically, with at least one other girl, on quiet nights they would take rides looking for something to do. When she was 16, she and one of her younger friends found a ride with 2 older guys. They had a few drinks as they drove the streets of the small city, nothing serious and no harm done. Her friend was interested in the driver and had exchanged numbers with him.

A short time later, on a boring Sunday afternoon, this girlfriend called with an invitation to go with the guys for a few beers and a drive in the hills. It was right up her alley, so of course she accepted. After several hours and beers, she was quite buzzed and they were having fun listening to the Tragically Hip as they drove. Time flew, and she was actually surprised when they pulled up to a gas station, they had taken the back road ALL the way through to the next town. She was also concerned about the time. She lived her with “over-protective and strict” mom; curfew, especially a simple dinner curfew was just not something she usually ignored.

After much pressure from her girlfriend, who did not have such limitations in her home, and of course the guys, she gave in and called home offering an explanation of car trouble that would keep her out later than planned. She knew she was going to be in trouble, and at that point, her inhibitions what they were, she didn’t really care, and so she quietly accepted that they would continue on down the road a few more hours to another small town. They made several stops and had many more drinks before finally making the roughly 4 hour trip home.

She recalls how dark it was and how loud the music was as she sat in the backseat of the truck. She remembers feeling tired and numbed by the alcohol. The guy next to her started to move closer, his hand heavy on her leg. She felt the pressure of his large body as he closed in on her, suggestions becoming actions. She said no. Again, she said No. She repeated NO! The loud music drowned her out as she watched her friend turn with a smile, laugh and then she turned to make her own, welcomed, move in the front seat. She tried to resist as they struggled in that small backseat, but, he was heavy and she was drunk.

They finally made it home in the wee hours of the night. Her mom was obviously beyond angry and afraid for her daughter as she waited near the door. Too out of it to feel, too tired to care, she went in and took the reprimanding that she knew she deserved before her head managed to hit the pillow and succumb to sleep.

She offered no explanation, only hollow apologies as she fought the consequence of being driven to the front door of her school after only a few short hours of sleep; she was still intoxicated. She faced the ridicule of her friend, who insisted that she had obviously asked for it and then received. Her friend basically told her she deserved it and was on her own. And so, she questioned herself and her actions. She hadn’t the strength to fight back as she had wanted, so it must have given the ok. Under his force, his strength, she had given in and so that must have meant that inside she really did want it to happen.

She knew better, and so she relayed the events to a closer friend who insisted that she was not to blame, and what happened was NOT HER FAULT. She knew it was true, and yet, she said nothing to anyone else. She kept inside, where over the years she continued to question her roll in what happened. Years later, she had still wondered if she should have tried harder, screamed louder and resisted longer. She knew the truth, and that was all she needed.

Of course, some of you will instantly recognize my “use” of another voice in this piece, and to avoid questioning, I will admit that I am the “she” in the above.

I certainly do accept and recognize that the fault does not lie inside me, no matter the actions I took that led up to the events. I don’t ask for sympathy, or apology. I have dealt with it, not dwelled on it and have certainly moved past it. I am open to sharing these things because they are a part of me; who I was and who I have become. Since I was young, I have wanted the words that I wrote to touch another, to show them that they have never been alone in what they have experienced. I don’t mind sharing my inner self and experiences if it means that I can reach someone who needs to see that they aren’t the only one.
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