They say that the state of Missouri should be called Misery, and since I lived there, I understand why. I am very obsessed with England, and even though I am a history buff, I believe that the true reason that I am drawn to the country is because it is the place where some sense of happiness managed to slip through that very thick wall of dysfunction, before the dark ages. The dark ages being Missouri.
My family went through quite a bit of trauma in that state. Not that the state is to blame of course, but you can't help but hold on to it when you look back on your life history. You tend to relate one to the other. I really have no desire to return to Missouri, and even though I loved camping as a kid, I just can't bring myself to do that either. Allow me to explain.
Our base was boring, and being that we lived near the glorious town of Knob Noster, population 1185, you can imagine, there wasn't very much to do. Hence, we invented things. The summer before my junior year, a tent was put up behind the house of the Harris family. Now, innocent as this sounds, some things occurred in that tent that haunt me to this day. See, we became quite skilled, our little group of about 6, of sneaking out of our houses at night, during the summer, and running to the base pool, to swim. Now, I know what everyone is thinking, but no. No skinny dipping was going on. We simply jumped the fence, and swam around for a little bit, then would jump the fence again, go to the tent behind the Harris house, hang out for a little bit, and all go home before sunrise. Seemed harmless enough, but we thought we were so cool.
I was really shy, and quiet that year, and having just broken up with my first love, going through an awkward time of confusion. He was the only guy who had ever really shown interest in me, and he was extremely popular. We broke up, and I felt very lost. All of a sudden, my phone started to ring on the weekends, and I didn't quite know how to handle this attention. Then, Jerry Casey. Now, I actually liked Jerry. He lived about 4 houses up from us, and was always really nice to me. He had been going out with another girl for a long time, but they too had broken up recently, and all of a sudded my surprise, started winking at me on the school bus, saying hi to me in the halls. Geez....now what? Sounds harmless and silly now, but for an awkward, skinny 16 year old...OMG.
July 1st, 3 days before my 17th birthday, and I am outside of my house, talking with some friends. Jerry Casey comes walking down the street, and wants to talk to me alone. He asks if he can come talk to me at my bedroom window later, and if I am going to sneak out tonight to go swimming. It's a decision that I have regretted my entire life. Big sigh...huge sigh...deep breath.....
Later that night, I hear a tap on my window. I eagerly jump out the window, and there is Jerry, and one of his friends Don Hammons. They also have a bottle of Bacardi 151. Yeah, I don't drink, and especially at that time....well...anyway. We go sit out by the curb, harmless enough, talking, and start sipping straight out of the bottle. Having absolutely NO idea what I am doing, I drink away...I think this is just great.
I wake up. My arms are being held down and I don't even know if I can move them. My head is spinning, and I don't really understand why I can't hear very clearly, but I know right away what is happening. I look up to see that it is Don holding my arms. Jerry is telling me it's okay...but no, it's not okay. He asks if it hurts, but I just feel so sick to my stomach. I tell him to let me go, let me up, I am going to be sick. He tells me no, I am not. Everything goes black.
Wake up again...I am stumbling, and I know someone is holding me up, but I have no idea who. My stomach is turning, and I start throwing up. I feel something running down my leg, but I am so sick to my stomach, I don't even care. I know we are by the creek, because I am kneeling in the water. I try to flush my face, but someone is saying, "just get her home, just get her home". They keep walking me, towards my house, which is up a very large hill. I fall, stumble, and throw up again. I hear my brother Franks voice. He must be talking from the window well in the basement. He is telling them to shut up or they will wake up my parents. I go black again.
I wake up in Shonda's bed. I have no idea how I got there. I don't remember walking there, I don't remember much at all. I feel so sick, I go to the bathroom. My legs hurt, and I feel something that I haven't felt before. An aching, and soreness that isn't normal. After I use the bathroom, I notice that I am bleeding, but I am not having my period. I look down, and I have bruises on both sides of my inner thighs. I have bruises on my knee caps. Scrapes and scratches on my legs. I look at my wrists, and they look the same. I get to the mirror, and look at my face. I stared at myself for maybe 30 minutes. This was how it happened? This was my first time? This was what really took place? My life was shit. I threw up again. I think in the span of the next 3 days, I must have been sick to my stomach a hundred times. I couldn't shower enough. I felt like every single person who looked at me....KNEW. I couldn't tell my parents. What? Are you kidding? My father would beat me. My mother would call me a whore. Where could I go? What could I do? I was damaged now. My life would be forever scarred because I was not a virgin, and not only was I not a virgin, but I had been used, like garbage. That's it. I was garbage.
This has haunted me for so long, and I have never been able to write it down. There are only 2 people I have spoken to about it, and Shonda is the only one who knows it took place. Jerry Casey's girlfriend bullied me for months afterwards, trying to beat me up, tormenting me, telling all kinds of lies, confronting me at school, because she thought I had relentlessly searched out and cheated with him. I withdrew. I turned in, and never recovered. I became timid, scared, damaged, disgusted with myself. It's something that I still struggle with to this very day.
Things in life happen and you do your best to go on. I know that I have not been through the worst, but sometimes, I really wonder what I did in a past life to deserve some of the shit hands that I have been dealt. It's hasn't been an easy ride, that's for sure. I am still trying though. I am....I don't want to give up.