I've been thinking about what to say next because there is going to be a next, the question is how many nexts and do I have to actually write it down and if so, when?
In the beginning I talked about it all the time and let me tell ya, this freaked people the hell out. Nobody wants to hear anything (be faced with, confronted with) quite so sordid as rape. Hell no, get that outta my face! We still don't want to talk about it; that shit's DIRTY! And it's UN-Comfort-Able. You bet it is. I talked that shit up non-stop. And almost nobody said a damn thing because what the hell do you say to a 17 year old girl who opens her mouth only to spill out a sea of unexpected truth which ebbs and flows about your feet and ankles and other times knocks you right into the dunes? It's only salt water though, not sulfuric acid. People think they're being blinded. I understand.
One time though, one time a man said something. I was working at a restaurant in Westport called The Inn at Longshore. It's called Splash now which is only sad if you're attached to traditional things and I am so I'm sad about that. I've been to Splash once and I am duly unimpressed. Anyway, I got a job as a dishwasher at this restaurant because my friend Lori who really wanted to be a hardass something awful wanted to get a job as a dishwasher (really, who hires girls, and small sized girls especially to do the work of very strong men) and she didn't want to apply alone. I went in for moral support and they laughed at her so I filled out an application too. They hired us both on the spot, laughing at us, and they only had one open headcount and they figured I'd never make it through the door because I was wearing sandals but I got my dad's drop zone sneakers out of the back of my car (don't know why, but I'm glad they were there), put those suckers on and went to work unloading and then later that night loading the hobart. Lori punched out at 9:30 and waited for me on the back steps. I punched at when the last mat was laid back down and the lights were turned out and it was just after 2 AM and said I'd be back again tomorrow. I took Lori home.
There's a reason for that segue. Those guys had to listen to me talk nearly every single night. I'd go to my shift at Burger King and then I'd drive down the road to the Inn, tie my white canvas apron on and start loading that machine. I still love the smell that comes off a hobart. And I'd talk. One night in the parking lot around 3 AM after drinks with the wait staff one of the waiters just said it. Not so much like a bad thing, but an observation. You know you talk about your rape all the time, right? Yes, I know. It helps.
So I was badass then and I'm badass now right up until I'm not. Ah so, see, the other day I went to see my therapist and I can no longer afford to see my therapist because my new INsurance doesn't cover mental health visits until you've met your normal out of pocket deductible (ok, I get $5 toward the negotiated fee of $100 and without my INsurance I wouldn't have the negotiated rate... yeah ok) so I figured I'd better take full advantage of the last 50 minutes I'd be getting for awhile so instead of going on about my relationship or my job or how I was balancing my life and staying sane, well, I unloaded.
I don't believe I've ever actually made anyone cry over this shit before.
This is good though I think. This is indicative of, um, I guess telling the truth as opposed to telling it like I was reading a weather report. And it was HARD. I remember shit I don't remember remembering. I remembered shit they asked me in court at the pre-trial hearing. Holy shit, they wouldn't get away with that shit today. I remembered a lot of things. I listened to the whole story unravel and watched my life from 33 years ago unravel with it. I watched my family unravel. It was nuts. It wore me out. I had to go to work after that.
I sat there and tried to tell myself, tell her, what it was I'd done or how I'd justified walking away. I knew that my father gave me an out, that much was clear. The real question was how I managed to give myself an out. I was way too old for Dad's out to be enough. Shit. How the hell did I justify that?
I didn't know.
I worked it out early this morning.
I posted something on Facebook last night about Stand Your Ground not applying to victims of domestic violence and it was late and I was somewhat dis-inhibited and should not have been posting because when I post incendiary things it attracts trolls and I hate that on my Facebook page but aside from the expected troll (there's just the one) somebody made the following statement in response to my statement about 'old white men' deciding my fate:
"Put them in the Colosseum with swords, and let God sort them out.
I read that when I got up this morning. I wasn't sure who he meant at first but then I realized it didn't really matter. I started to respond thusly:
Been there, did that and it hasn't worked out for me all that well. He's 60 years old and living in Bridgeport. God has not handled him. I didn't type much of it before I realized I was still dis-inhibited and closed the window.
This is what I did 33 years ago:
I chose the compassionate route.
I'm really angry right now so I don't really know what to do with this. That means I can't say if it's right or wrong and at this point nobody can. It's just a choice. Neutral.
Here is a human being. He was not born this way. That's what I decided. Maybe we'll decide something else later but for right now, here is a human being and he was not born this way.
Something pretty wrong has got to happen to break a human being because I think a human being has got to be broken to do that to another human being. That's what I think.
I might be wrong. Maybe at the root we're all animals and we need to be taught not to rape, pillage and burn but still, right now I don't think so. My nearly 14 year old daughter is one of the loveliest, sweetest human beings I know and she hasn't exactly been dealt the sweetest, loveliest hand. She hasn't been beaten either. My point being that she is truly, of all of us perhaps the most compassionate and sensitive. We didn't teach that, at least not entirely (we don't suck), we just failed to beat it out of her.
I made a deal with The Universe. I was still saying God back in 1982 because I didn't have another word and not being raised with a religion I didn't have a box to put a god in either, I just had ideas. The Universe works a lot better.
The deal with The Universe was this: This man is broken. He did a really, really bad thing to me. Please take him back and fix him. I don't want him to be broken anymore.
My concept of hell was dubious at best.
I was fairly clear on the idea that The Universe wasn't going to get him back to 'fix him' until he died. I wasn't thinking in terms of heaven. I was just thinking, FIX IT!!!! Like a body with a broken foot, you set the foot. If you have a broken spirit you set the spirit.
But the thing is the broken foot isn't going around kicking the shit out of people, it's just getting gangrenous and falling off or killing the rest of the body. I'm running out of metaphor fast.
I just needed to explain.
Right now I'm not feeling very compassionate.
I got back to my desk and I started looking for search engines. I typed his name into one of them, came up with the correct hit, including his brother and started the download process. NM, when I look back over the string of text messages, worked very, very hard to get me to stop. I stopped. No credit card number was provided, no report was turned over. At some point I may do this but yesterday my state of agitation was through the roof.
Like a live wire on a wet bathroom floor.
Thanks for listening.