I’m profoundly aware that my life could be different today.
If my father did not answer the call to play that piano.
If my mother told me no when I asked to play with the boy next door.
If my parents followed the minister’s demand to abort the baby who was the sister I prayed for.
If a man said no to being our new pastor.
If my parents let me stay behind when they left the church.
If I would have walked away when the boy took my hand.
If I ignored the voice that told me to run. Run and don’t look back.
If my father never said yes when I asked to leave home at age 16.
If a man named Bill said no to parenting another “wild” teenager.
My life…would not be my life. One choice changed the course of my life and really, the life of my family.
I had a boyfriend. He was a nice boy who thought I was the cutest girl he’d ever seen. He wrote me inappropriate notes. Called me the name my father hated. Tried to teach me how to ride his skateboard. He wanted one thing: me and I refused … until I decided that he could have me, if he’d just love me enough to make me forget that I hated my life. That decision undid me. I lost my boundaries. I lied to my parents. My teachers. My friends. My aunt. Myself. I spent more time in the principal’s office than I had my entire life. After a month of smoking, drinking, skipping school and flirting with sex…I found myself in a place I didn’t want to be. A place that can only be described as hell.
Jack and I had a huge fall-out. I was trying to juggle two boys at the same time and it blew up in my face. Jack was the good Mormon girl who smoke, drank and got high, but she did NOT tolerate having multiple boyfriends. I became the target of her wrath, which meant I was fair game to everyone else. I found myself bullied in the hall, bathroom and classroom. Skipping school was much easier than learning how to defend myself or ask help from the adults.
This particular morning was rough. When I arrived at school, Jack was in a mood. She decided she was going to beat the crap out of me. I managed to get away and spent the morning locked in a bathroom stall. After 1st period I called my uncle who is two years older than me; ten minutes later he showed up. I knew I couldn’t go home as my parents would just take me back to school. We spent the afternoon at Lake Lowell sitting on the dock while he tried to convince me life was really going to be ok. After school we picked up Charlie and headed to the mall. Charlie was the girlfriend of my boyfriend’s best friend and she was T-R-O-U-B-L-E. The boys met us at the mall. While there Charlie ran into a couple boys she knew from her previous school. I didn’t like them. At all.
One of the boys invited us to go to their house to hang out. I really didn’t want to go, but my uncle promised he’d take me home if I wanted to leave. I decided that it was safe as long as he was with me. When we arrived the boy introduced us to his dad. He offered us beer, which I didn’t really like. After a couple hours my boyfriend and his friend had to go home for dinner. Charlie begged me to stay with her; I agreed despite my mind telling me to leave. My uncle told me that I could call him if I needed him, so I decided to stay. I began to worry the minute he walked out the door.
It was just Charlie, these boys, the dad and I. The dad brought out the coke. I had no idea what it was until the boys started snorting it. Charlie joined them. “You have to try this. You’ll like it.” I knew one thing about cocaine: I didn’t want to try it. I told her no which was the wrong thing to say to those boys. They began to harass me. After being around kids who respected my no, this was not easy to deal with. I wanted desperately to leave. I asked Charlie if we could leave. The dad joined the boys. Finally he looked at me. “You are going to join us. And when you’re done I’m going to rape you.”
I freaked. My mind said run. Luckily the door was right there. I ran. Ran. Ran. I didn’t stop until I reached my boyfriend’s house. He wasn’t home so I headed to his friend’s house. I burst into tears the minute they opened the door. We sat on the couch. Me crying all over his lap while he petted my hair. Charlie’s boyfriend ranting about how stupid she was and how he was going to kill her when he saw her again. I was beginning to calm down when I realized that I had left Charlie alone. With the man who just threatened to rape me. I begged them to go back to get her. Wisely, they both refused.
In the meantime, my parents learned from the school that I had skipped and were searching for me. About 8:30 my angry father arrived accompanied by Charlie’s even angrier father. I told them I was worried about Charlie. I didn’t tell them that the man had threatened me. When we arrived, my father told me to stay in the car … I had no problems obeying him this time. After an altercation between our fathers and the boy’s father which involved a gun, Charlie came out of the house. The threat of the police arriving was the only thing that motivated them to let her go.
It was a long, silent ride to Charlie’s house. We endured 3 hours of lecture and a plan to keep us out of trouble. I was grounded for two months. My uncle was banned from being near me. I would break up with my boyfriend. Cut ties with Jack and the gang. I sat there and wondered if it occurred to my father that the person who was responsible for taking me into that house was the very girl he sat across from. I decided he was the stupidest man on the planet. When I crawled into bed I poured out my pain in my journal.