When I was 16, I met this sweet boy, Richie Abbott (not his real name.) He was quiet, and handsome, and two years younger than me so it was safe to flirt and fan his adoration. Richie was a summer kid so when the September came, he returned to wherever he lived while I remained at the shore and grew up.
A handful of years later, our paths crossed again. Rich was big and strong now, still quiet, and handsome, but no longer “too young.” We were at a small party one night, circling each other as we drank and laughed with friends. One by one people left, and soon I found myself alone with Richie in an unfamiliar bedroom, where a few of us had been talking, and Richie leaned in for a kiss.
It was our first. And it was weird. Like some kind of time warp. (How did we become adults, let alone peers?)
But there was something else. Something wasn’t right. Richie was leaning in too hard. He was too quiet. He had been drinking too much.
A prickling went up my neck, and I quickly glanced out into the livingroom and into the kitchen, for someone else, but the apartment was suddenly empty.
Richie began driving me toward the bed, and I felt a panic rise up ins me that I had never felt before. I tried a joke to shift the mood, but he wasn’t budging. (If I didn’t think of something fast, I was about to be… raped.)
“Not here, let’s go to my place,” I said, hoping to wake him from the spell he was under.
It worked. Richie stumbled into my car and rode with me to my apartment; climbed the stairs, and got into my bed. Whoever he had been at the party was gone; and now he was only generous and gentle. But I felt dirty.
I’d never felt that before.
Afterward, I slipped on what was once my mother’s nightgown (the one she wore in the hospital after my birth), and stepped out onto the porch where I sat in the night rain until Richie came out to ask what I was doing. “You’re getting soaked,” he said.
“I want to,” I answered; and that was all I ever said.
25 years have passed since that night, and I can still feel the rain on my skin, and humiliation in my bones.
Author’s note: Do you ever wonder what makes you write something, all of the sudden, that happened long ago? And then you see this CLICK HERE. And you know. We’re all connected.