Wednesday

Things I don't talk about

We all have life changing events in our life. I call them catalysts. There are some things in my life I've alluded to, confessed to, mentioned as background information....but I don't really talk about it. In short sentences, my pain can be ignored and over-ridden by some sarcastic or sardonic remark...and I can just get on to living my life. Usually its easier not to deal with some issues...so I talk about everything else and make jokes when bleeding. This is one of those subjects that I don't talk about. I need a catharsis though. I need closure because I almost did a very stupid thing. Warning this will be a long post. Maybe you will cry. Its not for children. I met B when I was 12 years old and he was 13 or 14. He was tall tan and blonde. I idolized him from a distance because I was gauky in pigtails and chunky and to be honest I had an acne problem. I was a geek...a year's worth of puberty would take care of most of that.... meanwhile I just liked him. He was always nice to me when we did run into each other at the library or something. He held open doors and he would smile at me. He was in the really cool crowd, so it was a big deal. A year and a half later entering High School we actually started hanging out in some of the same circles and a friendship started. I helped him with his homework, and he was one of the guys who introduced me to drugs. The other was my first serious boyfriend, J...and I still can't talk about him. This is an important part to remember. We were not 3 people who hung out together. B was my friend and the one who's shoulder I cried on about the crap J kept giving me. B's family was so fucked up. He said he could only talk to me about it. I was friends with one of his sisters as well, and that is a really sad story...but not for telling here...I only hope her soul is at peace now. She was murdered. The stuff he said was true too....really sad and terrible things. We both had our problems and we handled them by getting stoned. B was one of my best friends. I thought He would risk death for me. I would have risked my life to save him. Sometimes I still crushed on him...we even tried to make-out a couple of times but he would stop it and say our friendship was too important and eventually that stopped happening. During this developing friendship, a friend of mine from jr high, and one of his old girlfriends as well, tried to warn me not to trust him. I was angry and set to defend him but with tears in her eyes she told me that I didn't know what he was capable of. I ended the friendship with her. She just didn't understand B the way I did. I guess he and I spent at least a few hours together a week even after he graduated. I even helped him get his first job. It was one of those great friendships where you know what each other is going to say before you say it and you don't share the friendship with others because, well because they just don't *get it*. I never felt afraid with B. He was going to be a hero one day. At the beginning of my Junior year of High School I became the project of a couple of my teachers. Bound and determined to clean me up and help me succeed. It was crazy the things they did to help me and I didn't deserve any of it. It worked though...the Summer before my Senior year I was clean and working at a great job. I was looking forward to college. B just laughed at first and blew smoke in my face from the joints he smoked. He kept offering me speed like free candy and it was so tempting....but I never gave in. When I was nearly 18 I broke up with J finally and for good. I also ended up missing over a month of school because of scarlet fever. There was no way I could catch up so I quit with the blessing of the Asst. Prinicipal who agreed it would be best if I just returned to school for 1/2 year later rather than kill my GPA. I had plans to go to college. B was joining the Navy. I'd met a nice boy who was a marine and was seriously considering him for my future. He wasn't from around here so he didn't know any of my crazy history. Life seemed full of limitless possibilities. Spring came and B called me a few days before he was scheduled to ship out and invited me to come to his going away party a few days before. I hadn't seen him for a few weeks but no way would I miss his party even if I had to take a break to go to work in the middle of it. I guess I should have thought it was wierd for the party to be on a weekday when he was leaving on a Monday. I never thought B would lie to me. I went to his house. I figured I was just early or that he had wanted me to help set up so we could have a few minutes alone to say good bye. He seemed nervous but I just thought he was *speeding*. He brought me coffee and sat closer than usual to me. We started talking and my new boyfriend came up and B was pissed. I had ruined everything he said... I realized then that B thought we were going to be together. He went into the kitchen to get some coffee or steady his hands...I don't know. I shouldn't have followed him, but I did. I didn't want to lose his friendship. I wanted to talk it out. He threw me against the refridgerator and started trying to make me kiss him. I didn't and he just went weak. I didn't know what to do so I started talking to him...and he seemed to be listening. He was just bummed....wasn't going to rule me out though. He was going to wait me out and we both chuckled. I said...there really wasn't a party today was there B....and he said no...he was just hoping to talk to me. I was really uncomfortable by now and thought I should be getting out of there. B was still acting odd....I didn't know if it was drugs or something worse. I'd never seen him like this before...agitated and ungodly calm at the same time. So I told him I had better head out since I was due at work. He said he wanted to show me something he made first...it was upstairs...too big to bring down. I shouldn't have went. Once I turned on landing I was no longer climbing I was being dragged up stairs. There was a gun on the banister and he grabbed it. I couldn't find my voice at first. I tried to scream but nothing worked right. He was so big. I'd never seen him angry at me but he was. He choked me, he beat me and he raped me. I tried to talk him out of it but it didn't work. He said I thought I was too good for him. He was angry that I looked down on him like he was a druggie. He said I was a fucking tease. When he was done with me he threw my clothes at me and told me to get the Hell out and if I told anyone he'd kill me. I must have walked around crying for three hours. Half the time I didn't even know what my name was. I couldn't go to work. I couldn't go home. I couldn't go anywhere. I got on a bus and somehow ended up at the police station. It was so hard to report him. It was so hard to admit that it could happen to me. I was broken. Not by the rape but by betrayal of my friend. I kept trying to make excuses for it. I kept trying to convince myself that B was just overcome with love for me. I didn't want to end the friendship. I didn't want to believe what happened. I kept thinking I must have done something to make him believe it would be ok. Maybe it was the blue jeans or buttons on my shirt. Maybe I smiled too much. I wanted to go back. I wanted my friend most of all. Maybe it was his fault but not his fault. His family was so bad, he just lost his sister... I hadn't been there for him. Maybe he'd just gone crazy. B wouldn't do this to me. But B did. He did. The police arrested him and his family got him out. (I lost a lot of friends by reporting it. Funny thing is he never denied it. He told the truth too, with a different viewpoint. I don't know why my friends hated me...but some of them did. Even after he told them the truth.) That night he kept walking in front of my house like he did when I used to sneak out the window to join my friends. To let me know people wanted me. My little brother took my father's gun and sat on the roof outside my bedroom to keep him away from me. My little brother was only 14....and felt he had to protect me... I don't know why B did that. He knew my family wouldn't think twice about killing him. I used to think he was desperately hoping we could somehow make it all go away and go back...but now I think he was just hoping we could make it all go away and that's it. Prosecuting someone for rape in Indiana is no piece of cake. I had all this physical evidence on me and that was not proof. There was physical evidence in his house that was not proof. He confessed even knowing all that. That was proof. It was a done deal. I didn't even have to testify beyond a deposition. Still I jumped at the opportunity the Prosecutor presented to plead it down to battery and the State would ensure he spent the time in a mental health facility so that he didn't repeat these actions. It would make it all go away and then B would get the help he needed. I still loved the friend he had once been. I believed his confession was proof that he was truly sorry and wanted and needed help. I think part of me thought that one day he would be *cured* and that he would say he was sorry and be my friend again. It didn't happen. What happened is he made it impossible for me to trust anyone but those very closest to me. What happened is that I hid away and tried to live in a world of my own making for at least 5 years after it happened, and to some degree to this very day. I got married soon after. Not to the marine, my battered heart proved too much for the marine...but that's another story. Basically I made my own prison so I could be safe from the rest of the world. I tried to go back to school...but I just couldn't do it anymore. I didn't care about anything but hiding from people so they couldn't hurt me anymore. Flash forward to a few days ago. I sat at the dining table analysing my life and realizing that if I want to move forward I have to let go of the terrible things that hold me back. I decided I would find B and forgive him. I have prayed often for his soul but not for mine regarding all that went down. I know the conviction ruined his life just as the rape completely changed the course of mine. I would write him a letter and forgive him and ask him to do the same for me. I began my search. It didn't take long to find him. He is still here, in my old neighborhood. It was easy to find him because he is a registered sex offender. The last time was for child molestation. I can't forgive him but I can let it go and forgive myself. I'm glad I wrote this and not a letter. (note: actually written and published on 11/13/2010 redated it to put it to the oldest posts in this blog)

4 comments:

Cathy said...

It was initially too emotional to respond to this outpouring of pain and betrayal, and something else I can't identify but what feels like "I deserved it" kind of thinking, perhaps. I know you say you forgave yourself, my dear friend, but do we ever? Rape is a life-changing horror and the younger you are, the harder to stop blaming yourself. I just couldn't find words when I first read it, I had to put it aside and do other things before saying anything. It's hateful to me that someone hurt the younger Tressa so badly. No amount of jail or punishment can fix that sweet soul, so badly betrayed, hurt in everyway possible - heart body, spirit. This is powerful, more so reading it over a few times. I wonder if others out there are still beating themselves up for what they had no control over? I was, for a long time. Now, I have no idea, I simply don't think of it - I'm too busy dealing with getting old lol. Still, a psychic wound like this, you can only hope for healing - I pray you've found a soothing balm for the hurt done to you, my sweet friend. Whilst my heart cries for that helpless girl, my soul soars for the spirit of staying strong on your journey that you've shown. Namaste!

Tressa Bailey said...

Cathy you understand me well. It was difficult to portray the truth because, for obvious and not so obvious reasons, I didn't want that to be the truth.

In some ways I still blame myself because I should have known he could be dangerous. There were warning signs and an actual warning.

Learning as I go said...

I am very, very proud of you! You have shown that someone else's decisions, and bad judgement can no longer rule your life. You have pulled yourself out of a horrible, life changing event. That takes a lot of courage. Also; you realize that only YOU can change YOU. It is hard sometimes to think this way, but I truly believe that God has a plan for you. You have gone through so much, but maybe, just maybe it's to shape you into someone he can use for good. Keep your eyes and heart open.... I think one day you will play a part in a miracle.

Tressa Bailey said...

You know me well my dearest friend and I so hope you are right. I really don't think courage had anything to do with it...except maybe the courage it takes to get up in the morning. Time.... I hope you are right about God's plan...and I hope I deserve the many chances I've been given despite my frequent foolhardiness... I wonder not so much if I am destined for great things but if I am a link to someone more worthy to do his bidding than I. But....I feel HIS presence on a regular basis in my life. I am truly blessed.