How Deep the Bullet Lies, Part II


I was fifteen and sitting in the back of a pickup truck in a parking lot at UW-Stout on Christmas Eve eve. We’d gotten a bit off track.

On track would have been meeting the guy to whom I was going to “lose” my virginity. Virginity didn’t actually mean anything to me, but mine was getting annoying. I kid you not, there were two guys, uncle and nephew but very close in age, arguing over which one of them was going to take my virginity nine months down the road when I turned sixteen and was legal.

I had other plans, which included shutting these guys up already. They also included the younger brother of the fiance of a friend of mine. They didn’t include everybody but me, my friend, and her fiance’s father working until sometime that evening, but they all were. Hence the diversionary road trip until we could pick up younger son.

There was a topper on the back of the truck and maybe a heater. I don’t remember it being freezing. I do remember being offered a rum and Coke. My friend, who at eighteen was hoping she was pregnant, didn’t drink anything. I’m not sure whether I had a second drink.

I’m not chatty, so I didn’t really notice how hard I’d been hit until it was time to climb out of the back of the truck and back into the cab. If I didn’t have a second drink and the rum wasn’t 151, I was drugged.

He insisted that I sit between him and my friend. Then he unzipped his pants and explained that unless and until I “lent him a hand,” we weren’t going anywhere.

So I did. I was too intoxicated to think to counter-threaten with the fact that he’d already committed one federal felony by hauling me across state lines to get me drunk. I had nowhere to go, because I was trapped between him and my sober, silent “friend.” My one coherent thought was that this would be a very useful time for that passing out thing some people did around alcohol. I did that too.

I couldn’t stay passed out through the whole ride home, though, probably because it wasn’t safe. So there are nightmare flashes here and there of streetlamp illumination moving at freeway speeds. I remember being back at my friend’s house, younger son showing up after work, losing that pesky virginity because it was part of the plan (if not necessarily right then) and because if I didn’t follow the plan, I’d have to figure out what else to do.

My friend told younger son a few days later what had happened. It was apparently important to explain to him why I didn’t want to date him, although the truth is that he was very sweet but not that bright. She never said anything to me about why she didn’t try to stop it.

Every few years, she sends a note saying she’d like to catch up. She sent another one yesterday.

Lessons learned: (1) Letting someone mix your drinks means trusting them with your life. (2) The number of your friends is much smaller than the number of people you hang out and kid around with.

As I said before, I’m writing this now for the one person who deserves to know. I’m posting it because there are a few others who might get something out of it. I’ve never talked to anyone about it, not for any of (what I assume are) the standard reasons, but because I don’t want to spend any more time or energy on it. Even then, I knew people who’d been through far worse experiences and far worse betrayals.

This might be painful to you, which I understand and am sorry about. I still don’t want to talk about it. Or hear about it. If you feel you need to write something, Sheril’s got some suggestions about where your note can do some good for people who need it, badly. If that’s not enough for you, she has some other suggestions about things you can do to help those people. Not all of them involve your money. Do those instead.