Do you know what it feels like to be missing a day of your life? How scary it is to not know what went on? It took years of me slowly remembering bits and pieces, just enough to figure out what happened, just enough to know I was a victim. I was young and naïve, a runaway with nowhere to go. Actually that’s a lie I could have gone home but I thought I was old enough to know what was best for me, turns out I was wrong. I put my self in danger, I put myself in a bad situation, and I put myself in the home of a stranger. I think back to that morning, that awful morning. Opening my eyes slowly, I know I’m not in my own bed, or even in my own home. I see liquor bottles that are empty, yet I know it wasn’t me that drank them. The ashtray is full, yet I don’t remember smoking those cigarettes. Should I get up and leave? Where should I go? I don’t even remember what part of town I’m in. Why can’t I remember last night? What happened to me? I remember going to the mall with some friends the day before. They were good guys; they wanted to make me go home, where a little girl belonged. So I tricked them, I asked them to take me to the mall, to have a little more fun before I went home. I ditched them as soon as we got there. I light up a cigarette, at the mall, sitting on the balcony where all the cool kids hung out. It’s outside the food court; the smell of McDonald’s burgers tantalizes my growling stomach. I’m starving, haven’t eaten in days. I brag about it like its cool, like it’s cool that I’m a starving, runaway with nowhere to go. God was I stupid. He over hears me and starts chatting me up “There’s a party tonight, at my place, you should come.” I very nervously agree, while quietly thinking to myself “Why is this older, mature guy, talking to little old me”. I try holding my composure, trying to appear cool, when the truth is I wasn’t, I was the girl that got made fun of for being a “goody too shoes” and a “prude”. On our way to the supposed party we made a few stops to pick up some party favors. First we stop at a liquor store; I feel uneasy as I wait outside. I’m out of my comfort zone on this side of town. Then we stop by a gas station, nowhere special just your average 7 Eleven, just to get some cigarettes. Then we were finally on our way. Looking back, I realize I was just another party favor for his night. When we walk into his apartment, it’s empty, ere, silent. I feel uncomfortable, like something isn’t right. I tell myself more people will be showing up soon, and break the unsettling silence. Him and his buddy break out some pot and start smoking. They tell me the rule for staying there is that I must do everything they do; every shot they take, I must take, and every hit they take, I must take. I only remember taking one shot, after that nothing. Why can’t I remember anything after that? Why didn’t more people ever show up? Then it slowly sets in, random, hazy, flashbacks. Just glimpses when the fog, that covered my mind, would lift only for a moment. Then it hits me like a smack in the face. I was not his only victim, I don’t know his other victims; I don’t know how old they were, I don’t know how it affected their lives. I do know that I was only 15 years old, and he was at least 21. I take responsibility for putting myself in that situation but he will never take responsibility for being a monster. I turned into a very angry, depressed little girl. I was in and out of therapy, on and off medications. Nothing ever helped, until one day I realized that I chose to be that girl, that sad little girl and by choosing to be that girl, I was letting him win. If I could choose to be sad and choose to be angry, why can’t I choose to be happy? I decided from that moment on, I wouldn’t let him win anymore. I was a victim. Now I am a survivor.
© Copyright 2016 Jessica Lee. All rights reserved.