I remember that up to this point, this was the most difficult my life had ever been. I was struggling through the complete devastation of everything I thought I knew. Having to keep functioning and trying not to lose myself in the rubble of my life. This small celebration for a big win at work was such a welcome reprieve. As a part of a small specialized group of nerds, we helped secure a very large hotel contract that would change the face of business class internet for our company. We were celebrating this win with the sales team that closed the deal. Dinner and drinks at a local hot spot.
You had been working on bringing my wall down for months. Playfully calling me a man-hater, you set out to prove not all men were the same. You complimented me on my burger eating ability instead of my figure. You invited my whole family to the monster truck show. You got to know my husband and son. We got to know your son. You made me prove to the rest of the nerds that I had what it took to be part of that team, when I didn’t even know for sure if I could. But I did and I trusted you because I thought you believed in me.
You knew what was going on in my personal life. My world had been shattered and you were there for me. A listening ear and a shoulder when I needed one. You never tried to fix it, just let me vent without taking a side, which is exactly what I needed at the time. The only advise you gave was to get a kitten. I loved that because it seemed like such an intimate suggestion. Something to love that would not hurt me. I have no idea if that was your intention or not, but it worked. I got two.
You knew how desperately I needed this night of carefree celebration. A chance to really throw my cares to the wind and enjoy my successes. You knew my history with drinking and that I simply couldn’t; unless I had a trustworthy chaperone. I was surrounded by friends and coworkers. I was safe. You encouraged me to let loose and assured me I would be OK. I trusted you. You even told my husband I would be OK because you had my back. Then you turned my cell phone off.
I remember begging friends to not leave yet. We were having too much fun. I remember strong strawberry margarita’s and dancing. I remember feeling free and light. The weight of the world was gone. I remember feeling the music and dancing with a girl in a brown dress. That girl. I remember being mesmerized by her freckles. As consciousness slipped away, I remember trying to stay close to her. Wishing she would never leave. I knew when you started holding me up, that I was crossing over into the danger zone. But even then, the way you leaned into me with your shoulder made me feel safe.
Then I remember the quiet. Still silence. I felt heavy. It was so dark. With my eyes still closed I remember trying to determine if where I was felt familiar or could I remember how I got here? Nothing. The position of my body was awkward. I could feel movement. What was it? A large hand on my body. Squeezing, groping, I could feel the warm rough skin on my breast. Why? How? I opened my eyes and took in the familiar shapes of trees, silhouettes in the night, a wrought iron fence and the soft glare of a dashboard. My seat was reclined. My yellow shirt was hiked up sloppily, exposing me. As my eyes adjusted I recognized the parking lot of the largest cable provider in Texas. As my mind adjusted I recognized the familiar feelings of broken trust and ravaged boundaries.
Once again, I found myself in this strange place; caught between guilt, rage and fear. I did not want to do anything that could make my situation worse. I did not want to be physically hurt or even left here abandoned in the dark with no way home. Reluctantly, I decided on the best strategy I could think of in my fog. I pretended not to notice the stumbling fingers on my breast. As the hand made its way down to my thigh and tugged at my knee trying to create some space between my legs, I took the opportunity to stir. Pretending to have simply been disturbed, I stretched and then curled into a ball facing away from you. And I prayed.
I remember hearing some rustling and the gear shift into reverse. A slight jolt of the vehicle and we were in motion. It must have lulled me back to sleep because the next thing I remember is waking up in my own home. It was now Saturday. As I tried to piece the night together, I found my phone in my purse but little else. The remaining contents must have spilled out onto the floor of your truck because I found them in a small pile just outside my front door. Looking back, I think that says a lot about that night. It says a lot about you.
Monday came and I had to face you. Part of me thanking God I didn’t have to sit with your group anymore, part of me wondering if this would have happened if I had still been part of your group. But I know it would have. A weasel is a weasel. You came sauntering up to my desk with your arrogant swagger and delinquent grin. You made small talk while I sat there burning from the inside out. I don’t even know what you said until I heard “What do you remember from that night?” In my mind I ripped you apart. I like to think that the me I am now would have known exactly what to say, what to do, how to react. I know I would never have let you get away with it. But the me that was sitting there at that moment was full of guilt for getting drunk, remorse for letting my guard down once again and shame for what was done to me in your truck. “Enough” was all I could muster. Those were the last words I would say to you and that was the last time you ever looked me in the eye. “I remember enough.”