I still remember how the carpet looked and felt underneath my feet. I thought it was pretty because it was one of my favorite colors, a deep, rich, red. It was a deep pile, expensive and felt nice under my stocking feet.
The curtains were aqua, a color scheme that was popular then (still is now). The staircase where he first touched me was beautiful, likely oak. It was one of the nicest houses on the block, on the corner of Queenston road and Chestnut. It looked so fancy from the outside, so much so that you assumed that they were rich. Just a few houses down from my second home-my besties house.
I remember that feeling of unease as he ran his hand down my back and copped a feel of my ass. It was subtle, so subtle that I thought maybe it was an accident.
I was eleven.
I was shy and awkward as fuck. I was enjoying the last days of summer before getting ready to go back to school; but before I did I wanted to go to my aunts farm in Durham. I had a paper route in the neighbourhood delivering the Cambridge reporter. All of us had it at one time or another, we knew all the people that lived on the route and they knew us. It was the 80’s-1987 and things were different then.
I had casually mentioned this to one of my clients that I delivered newspapers to because I wouldn’t be the one dropping off the paper for a few days. He offered my a tip to give me a little extra spending money before I went away and asked me to stop by on the Saturday.
What’s the harm?
I can’t remember how long I sat there in his upstairs apartment. I vaguely recall him telling me some story about him busting his head open on the pavement roller skating-something that I used to love. I was getting antsy and bored but I didn’t want to be rude. He was considerably older (in his late 70’s I found out later) I was also too shy to speak up.
The house was empty, it was just the two of us. Yet another thing that I found out later.
I remember wanting to get the fuck out of there because my instincts were screaming at me that something wasn’t right. I wanted to go home so that I could go fishing with my dad and I didn’t want to miss out.
I can remember his wrinkled face coming in at me, his lips pursed for a kiss. I was backed into a ‘corner’, praying for this moment to just be over with so that I could go home.
Somehow I found my voice…
I remember the look on his face as he shoved me out the door, threw a two dollar bill at me and called me a little bitch and a tease. I felt gross, violated and so many other things. I went home fast as I could and sat in my dad’s chair. My initial plan at the time was to wait until we had left for fishing because I was really looking forward to hanging out with my dad and I didn’t want anything to interfere with that. All the while knowing that what happened was wrong and I really should tell my mom.
Waiting for my dad to come home was torture, I finally broke down and told my mom what happened. She called the police, my dad came home finally, they were both upset. The detectives were kind to me and patient.
I recall overhearing that due to his advanced age, he wouldn’t likely serve any time on child molestation charges and would most likely get a slap on the wrist with some probation/community service.
We never went to court, my mom told me years later that they had decided not to put me through that for what would most likely be nothing. Although karma is a splendid thing…
My bestie took over my paper route shortly after the incident. I was helping her to collect that weeks paper money. I walked up to a familiar house and knocked on the door…
I inwardly froze while waiting for Sharon to get me her money and I happened to glance over and see that bastard sitting on her sofa.
He was living with her and she had grandchildren that were younger than me over at her house.
I remember telling the bestie that he was there, I felt sick and angry. When I got home that night I told my mom and said that I was going to call her (Sharon). It was so damn awkward to share my story with her but I couldn’t in good conscious not say anything. It must have been fate or something that I still had her phone number.
A few years later, we got a call from the detective that he was dead. I thought that I would be relieved or happy.
Except I felt nothing like how I had expected to. When the #metoo movement took off, a lot of my lovely lady friends had lamented on how they were afraid to share their stories because they weren’t that severe (or in some cases so severe that they were still dealing with the trauma of it all). It’s not a contest or a competition. All too often we compare people’s experiences and traumas against our own and we as the ones doing the comparing think that it’s OK to disregard those that have had it less than us because somehow what they went through doesn’t count.
Except that it does.
We always say that it could have been worse, as in dismissing our own experiences because they may not be as bad and/or traumatic as what someone else went through. As if that somehow it doesn’t matter or how dare we feel the way that we do when it could have been worse but it wasn’t.
Here’s the thing: I am thankful that what happened to me on that August day wasn’t worse-only because here I am thirty one years later and it still haunts me.
Most days I can’t remember what I had for breakfast…
I can’t imagine how fucked up some people are after their own traumas. I’ve been through much worse since then and yet this is the one incident that still haunts me. I was violated and while it “could have been worse” that doesn’t dismiss the fact that it still happened, I was violated as a child by an adult I had grown to trust and that’s what’s really at the heart of the matter here.
It never should have happened in the first place.