The following is the first part of a two-part excerpt Utterance is featuring this month. The author has requested anonymity, and all names have been changed. This piece includes a detailed account of rape and other sexually explicit situations — reader discretion is advised as material may be particularly sensitive to sexual assault survivors.
Justin came to the door to get me and meet my parents, like all assholes do at first.
When my mother opened the door she, for once in her life, seemed proud of me. Proud I could possibly be a normal person. Proud that here was this very normal and cool guy who wanted to be in HER DAUGHTER’s company. He was handsome and charismatic and charming, nothing like any of the weirdos I usually hung out with.
She gave me a generous curfew and sent us on our way.
As we drove to the party, I was nervous. I had never been alone with him like this before. This wasn’t art class, this wasn’t school, and there weren’t other people around to distract us. What I did know was that I had to look and act cool…like him.
We sat in silence for five minutes and I started to panic. What was I going to say to him? What would make this amazing guy think that I was cool? I went over several topics in my head and settled on, “Look at how beautiful the moon is tonight,” as I stared out the window. I was instantly proud as I heard the words come out of my mouth certain this would make him think I was deep and observant and aware of the world around me.
“You aren’t going to say weird shit like that when we’re around my friends, are you?”
When we walked into the party everyone greeted him. It felt like being with a celebrity, everyone wanted to shake his hand or nod their head in his direction and be acknowledged. He was the “it guy” and I was with him. As we swayed back and forth through people, he introduced me to the ones I didn’t know. He went to get a beer, so I found a couple people I knew from school and walked over to talk to them.
No one could believe I was there with him. I was a nerd and so weird and it was out of place and everyone made a point of letting me know. I started to feel self-conscious and nervous. I really wanted to make a good impression. I really wanted to be one of these people.
As I walked around the party aimlessly, I felt someone grab my arm. I turned and found myself looking right into your eyes. Something happened. I couldn’t move. I felt like my stomach hit the floor and someone pulled my feet into the ground. Your grasp was tight, but it didn’t hurt. Without thinking, I put my hand on top of yours. You were warm with rough skin and I looked up into your eyes again. Three seconds ago, I was desperately set on going home but, staring into your eyes I knew one thing for sure. Love existed.
I stared at you for a while. My entire life I had been abused and mistreated and it all flashed before my eyes, like I was dying and going to heaven. I saw my grandfather on top of me, my mother’s scornful look, missing my brother, and losing my family back home. It came together into a tidy little box to be thrown away. All the hurt and the pain melted away and were replaced with warmth and an intense feeling of safety. Your hand on my arm was the only thing holding me together as I lost myself in this moment.
Finally you said, “Hey, are you okay? You look lost.”
But, in fact, I had never felt more in the moment. I managed to say, “Yes, I’m fine.”
“Are you sure? Something isn’t right.”
I’m not like the girls he’s usually with…
I snapped out of it, the tidy little box fell open, and reality hit. I let go of your hand and you let go of my arm. I reaffirmed that I was fine but that I wanted to go home and I was looking for Justin.
You gave me a sideways look and said, “Why are you here with him?”
“I know, it’s weird…I’m not like the girls he’s usually with….”
“What? No, I mean…he sucks. Why are you here with him?”
We laughed but I started to cry. I felt a rush of relief and comfort and like, if I was going to be upset then this is where I could be. You were the man that would let me be myself. In an instant, I felt it. An aura, a vibe, something glowed off of you with love and respect.
You were different.
You knew I was upset, “I’m sorry. He went over there with dude.” I looked over that way and then back at you. I didn’t want to walk away and wasn’t sure if I could.
A drunk girl came up to you and you turned away to talk to her. Crushed that I was facing your back, I went where I was directed.
I looked and looked and looked and finally found him. It was dark at first and I couldn’t see. Eventually though, I got the picture. He was on his knees and dude was up against the house with his head up moaning.
Although I was only at the ripe age of 15, I had seen a great deal. My father was a rampant drug addict who cooked crack and heroin in front of me. My mother had had several boyfriends with whom I witnessed endless nasty things. I lost my virginity long ago to a family member who raped me. I was no stranger to real life and the oddities that came with it. This though, knocked me over. I was in shock.
She’s no one.
The two of them spotted me. Dude flipped out and screamed at Justin, telling him that I was going to tell everyone. Justin stood up, caressed dude’s face, and looked him right in the eye, like a lover would, and said, “Her? No one will believe her. She’s a fucking weirdo. That’s why I brought her. She’s no one. It’s perfect.”
I started to cry and turned to run. Although I didn’t know you, I looked for you. I found you kissing the drunk girl. I cried harder and everyone saw. I ran in the direction that we came from. Then, he came up behind me and said, “I got to get her home.” He grabbed me by the arm just as you did — but just as you didn’t.
Part II of No Title will be presented next week on Utterance.