I was 16 when I met Richie at the restaurant on the water where I was a junior hostess and he was a busboy.
Richie was quiet, and soon to be handsome, and two years younger than me so it was safe to flirt and fan his adoration.
He was a summer kid so when September rolled around, he returned to wherever he lived while I remained at the shore and grew up.
A handful of years later, when I was the manager of the restaurant, our paths crossed again.
Richie was big and strong now, still quiet, and definitely handsome, but no longer “too young.”
We were at a gathering one night, circling each other as we drank and laughed with friends. It was a small apartment and so the party spilled into the bedroom which is where I had migrated with him.
One by one people left the room, and soon I found myself alone with Richie, standing in front of each other, as he leaned down for a kiss.
It was our first kiss. And it was weird. Like some kind of time warp. How had we become adults, let alone peers?
But there was something else.
A prickling up my neck.
He was leaning in too hard.
He was too quiet.
I glanced out into the livingroom and into the kitchen and my stomach tightened. Where had everyone gone?
Richie began driving me toward the bed.
I tried a joke to shift the mood, but the Richie who I knew wasn’t there.
I felt my stomach sour. I knew immediately that 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 whatever spell he was under.
Richie stumbled out of the apartment into my car and rode with me up town. He climbed the stairs and he 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 like that before.
Afterward, I slipped on what was once my mother’s silk nightgown, the one my grandmother gave her to wear in the hospital after my birth.
I stepped out onto my small porch and sat down in the rain until it soaked me through.
Richie came out looking for me.
“Is everything okay?” he said.
“I’m fine,” I said, offering what I could of a smile.
25 years have passed since that night, and I can still feel the rain on my skin, and the humiliation in my belly.
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