My Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

This was taken from a journal I used to keep. I've redacted some keep names and phrase because my family wants nothing to do with this.

April 26, 0000

I guess it stems from a long time ago. Way before it actually happened. But how could I have known? I mean, I'm just now realizing it. Because I remember now. All those times... all those- signs. Why did no one see the signs? It's common for every little girl to walk around with a shirt off. Their undeveloped chests don't raise any eyebrows. But you grow out of it at some point. One day you never walk around shirtless again. And you don't know when it starts. When you get that feeling that something's amiss. Maybe it's your parents who never suggest you take it off even on a hot day. Maybe it's an internal feeling of wrong. Not early on, no. No early on, it was Nana who suggested I take off my shirt. Her lack of air conditioning cause her to cut the sleeves off our shirts so we could play without getting too warm. But there's only so much you can cut off a shirt before it's not even a shirt anymore. So we'd just take them off. And no one cared. The boys were boys and I thought nothing of it. But as I got older, I kept my shirt on. The boys were still boys but I had realized that I was a girl. I don't remember when... maybe it was when Nana no longer suggested I go shirtless. But then there was Thomas. The oldest of all four of us. He, like A------ and M------, would be bare chested, cool and relaxed and it appeared I was the odd one out. "Take off your shirt."...I guess that's what he said. What else could he have said? Sometimes he was able to coerce it from my back... other times he was. But that feeling - that feeling of wrong - why did I ignore it? I think Thomas knew exactly what he was doing. It was only in the later years when he suggested we all "cuddle." Why we had to be shirtless escaped me - and why he was always the one next to me never crossed my mind. But I think Thomas knew what he was doing. Nana never told me to take my shirt off again, but she never stopped me. A------ was a punching bag to Thomas, he was too scared to stop me. M------, my sweet Mlllllllllll, he always had my back. Maybe he was more annoying at the time but he always had my back. But he was younger than me, more innocent than me... he didn't stop me. And me. That little voice in my head that whispered something was wrong never spoke loud enough to stop me. 

That evening... it was hot. One of those hot days when the boys all had their shirts off. Nana had cut the sleeves off my shirt but it was still a shirt. "Take off your shirt." But not this time. He pulled me in to cuddle. But it was too hot. However this night was different. This night offered a different opportunity. For the life of me I can't remember why were staying the night at Nana's house. But we were. Funny enough, Thomas usually liked sleeping next to M------. But something had changed as we got older and suddenly he wanted to sleep next to me all the time. It was hot on that rug with heads resting on thick pillows and the only blankets seemed weighted. So we slept with no blankets. Only the ones underneath us. "Take off your shirt." But something told me no. 

It's funny, those nights. All four of us on the floor. Nana and Papa slept on their recliners. I don't know why they didn't just go to bed. Maybe they thought we'd wreak havoc. But regardless. I should have been safe. In that dark room with only moonlight shining through the windows to cast dark gray eerie light onto the carpet, I should have been safe. In the midst of my half-awake state of concious daydreaming, I should have been safe. I should have stopped him... But I didn't. In that dark room, when he reached out to lift my shirt I was only slightly startled from my imagination, but I became acutely aware of my body, and his, and their interaction, and I was no longer daydreaming but solely focused on the present. My eyes stayed lightly, relaxedly shut in delicate curiosity - because his slow movements and slower breaths suggest to me he thought I was asleep - and so I feigned sleep. My eyelids never so much as flinched as he lifted my shirt ever so slowly above my head, sliding the sleeves over my arms until he was able to cast it completely aside. Yet, still I didn't move. His 12 year old hand made contact with my 8 year old breast and still I never moved. In fact, we stayed here for so long I almost fell asleep for real. But Thomas didn't. Because Thomas knew exactly what he was doing. Only when his wandering fingers reached the waistband of my underwear did my breath finally catch in my throat. Why didn't I stop him? When he carefully slid down the fabric to expose the smooth skin beneath why did I never open my eyes? When he started touching me in the most vile way why didn't I raise my voice? The whispers in my head told me to turn over and so I did. I turned over and observed with my ears his frantic return to "sleeping" and everything was still. I wish it had stayed still. But in flipping my body I had only opened up something else to explore. And slowly he inched closer to me and I peeked at him through the darkness that must carry years and years worth of secrets and mine is another one it would claim. His fingers found their way between my legs once more. But still I did not stop him. Why didn't I stop him? I had to know it was wrong... I turned over again, and again Thomas E------ dropped his head on his pillow as if he had been shot dead and I watched him through half-open eyes in silent curiosity. He stirred much quicker this time, sat up just long enough to return my single undergarment back to where it belonged and I assume, now, that he come to close to waking me and therefore didn't touch me again. But I could feel him watching. Those hairs that stand on the back of your neck work even for 8 year olds. And it's almost like the eyes of another hold you captive in consciousness, like you can't sleep while being observered. Because only when I heard his breathing return to normal - no longer being quieted by his wariness - did I finally drift into an empty sleep. Little did I know that that one night would be with me forever. That one night would tear my family apart and set two households against each other. But how could I? I was eight. The next morning I partnered with Thomas E------ to play hide and seek... because he wanted to. He wanted me to take off my shirt. We were hiding under Papa's desk and I don't know why I said it but I said "I was awake." And, then, I didn't notice. But now, I imagine a look of great panic must have swept over the face of Thomas E------ that day. A quickened heart must have pounded in his chest when he realized more than just the darkness had known what he'd done. He made me promise not to tell. I shouldn't tell anyone. And I didn't... not until later. Not until I grew up and realized the innocence that had been taken advantage of. Not until I realized the vast difference between a seventh grader and a third grader. I think I let slip of that night to my dad once... maybe a year later. I swear he almost crashed the car we were in when I said those words but I didn't understand why. When Thomas was pulled into the back room by mine and his mom to apologize to me, I didn't understand why. When we no longer spent the night together in hotel rooms I didn't understand why. Little did I know one slip up had cause great rifts between the P------s and the E------s. Because my dad wanted to kill Thomas - who said he never did anything and P--- - who called me a liar. My mom had to stop my dad I think - because we were the trophy family of the S------ side and if something like this came out - that this happened to me - well I'd be the laughing stock of the family. A fountain of glee at our imperfectability. So then maybe it's good the whole truth didn't come out then. It would be a long time before that. A time when I had almost forgotten the whole think. But eventually I let slip again that final detail - that final nail in the coffin and even though it was years later the tidal wave it caused was destructive and rifts popped up everywhere. Because the E------s said it didn't happen. The P------s said it did. And Nana pleaded to just ignore the whole thing. I remember the angry phone calls between mother and daughter - because my mom defended me tooth and nail. And I finally realized everything of the whole situation. Because a young, innocent girl had been taken advantage of on dark, dimly lit night by a boy four years her senior and curious in the ways of anatomy. But she should've been safe. Why wasn't she safe? I suppose it stems from years prior and "take off your shirt" became white noise to Nana. And maybe that's why she pleaded to ignore it. Because deep down she felt guilty, because under her roof I should have been safe... it would take 8 years before she could finally look me in the eyes and apologize and I was 16 when I looked back at her with unexplainable pity - and told her it was okay. 

 

April 27, 0000

I suppose you're wondering why the hell I wrote the chapter above. I realize now it's kinda random... but lately this event has forced itself into the forefront of my mind and for the life of me I can't understand why. I do my best, you know, to push it back, to try and forget the oddly specific snippets that come back to me. But going back through my journals - -------- ---- ----- ----- - it made me realize something. And so I fully embraced what had happened to me and above is what I came up with. A complete, unscattered series of events. Because what I realized is that no one knows what happened. No one besides me and Thomas Essssss - and maybe even he's forgotten...  shoved it to the deepest corner of his brain and let the marijuana and bong vaporize any inkling of something he had done wrong. And when I say "no one knows" I mean the details. Of course people know. The list is so short I could list them all here but people "know." Rather, I believe they are aware that something happened. Because never in my life did I ever describe what had happened to me in full. In fact, the only reason people know about it is cause I accidentally mentioned it. Because how do you find the words? How do you describe something like that to another person. I couldn't even bring myself to relive it until now - and it left me emotionally drained writing that down so imagine looking someone in the eye and telling that story. That's why I think the above text is the first and last of that whole thing I will ever divulge in. It is the only account of everything that happened  - unless Thomas told people but I highly doubt that. So if you do happen to stumble upon it, consider yourself lucky I suppose... because secrets are few in this world and that is one I will continue to keep. 

I can't remember when this all started popping up again. I think Peer Ministry might have been it. At our ------ retreat we had a share circle in the dark... and for some reason this is the story I shared. And I started it by saying that "God wants us to be forgiving to all - but there are just some things I can't forgive." And I told my story and it brought me to tears and when my voice cracked it brought everyone to tears with me... and ever since then I've been obsessing over a few minutes in a dark room - incapable of shutting it out anymore. I remember in H. English 2 class while reading Kite Runner, I was reminded of Thomas E------, once more. And at the end of the class I marched to the wrestling room and punched the walls until I couldn't anymore, and my hand had swelled to twice its size. And I screamed that I fucking hate him. I fucking hate Thomas E------. But I also hated myself. Because I was awake. I mean - obviously right? Or how else would I have known? But I was awake and all I'd have to do to stop it was open my eyes - cause deep down he knew what he was doing was wrong. But I never lifted a hand against him and when I acknowledge this a wave of indescribable guilt washed over me - because maybe I wasn't the victim I was making myself out to be. But then I put my story in words. And I realized that in my innocent and delicate state of mind I could think of nothing else to do. It's taken me up 'til now, today, this very instant to accept that it was not my fault. And to those of you reading this you probably don't understand unless you've gone through something similar. I imagine, however, that you are familiar with the term "guilt" usually connected to victims of sexual assualt. And I imagine you can't fathom why anyone would feel guilty about the actions of another. But there's always that what-if factor that plagues us. That what if I fought harder. What if I said "no." What if I just opened my eyes. But in the end I find it true that we cannot blame ourselves for the actions of someone else. And so I hereby forive myself. I hope, Sam, that you no longer look back on this cockroach of a memory and twitch your head in guilt or uncomfort. I hope you can see the only one to blame goes by the name of Thomas E------. And so that brings me to the man himself. Thomas - the next time I see you will be the first time I ever look at you without feeling scared. The next time I see you, I will look you in the eyes - something I haven't been able to do since the day you took away my dignity. And I imagine you will be unable to hold my gaze because you alone have no one else to blame but yourself. God, and I want to write so bad that you are not forgiven. That I will hate you 'til the day I die. And maybe I will. And maybe I shouldn't. Because I have cried for you. I have hidden for you. I have punched walls until my hands were purple for you. And I don't want to do anything for you ever again. I have wasted my life obsessing over your attention seeking ass and I don't want to waste another second... so I forgive you. Thomas E------ I forgive you for what you did to me. You're 20 now and still an immature little shit. But I pray to God that you find it in yourself to grow up. Maybe one day you'll be able to look me in the eye - like Nana did - and apologize. The day that happens I will be happy for you - cause maybe you will finally have accepted the wrong you have done. Maybe you never will. Maybe you've turned it into a blurry memory so fogged you might think it a dream. Maybe by lying to your parents that nothing happened you, in turn, convinced yourself of your saintlyhood. If that is the case then I can only pray that you never destroy the life of another ever again. That you never violate an innocent, exploited girl. Because it may not be big to you. A quick feel comes and goes to you. But to the girl it sticks. To the victim it sticks. I can testify - because I'm 9 years running now from that night - and it sticks. 


Submitted: April 27, 2020

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