Friday, October 28, 2005

"He was laughing"

"Do you really want to know what happened, Steve?"


"I was 12 years old, in sixth grade. It was a Thursday. May 28, 1992. I remember there were two weeks left of school.

We didn't have that much money. We were renting an apartment in a bad section of town. There was this Puerto Rican guy who lived in my building; his name was Alex Rodriguez, just like the baseball player. He used to hit on me constantly. 'My queen,' he used to call me. 'Hey, my queen, when are you gonna go out on a date with me?' He was 18.

I kept telling him I was too young for him, I told him I was 12 and I figured that that would get rid of him, but he didn't care. He just kept hitting on me, all the time.

On that day, my dad was at work and mom was out shopping. It was really hot outside, and we didn't have air conditioning. When I got home from school, I was feeling kind of sick, so I opened a window, laid down in bed, and fell asleep.

I woke up with a... pinching feeling on my neck. I opened my eyes and Alex was standing there with a knife to my throat. He had climbed in from the fire escape. I was so scared.He told me if I screamed he would kill me. I think he was high; his eyes looked really weird.

I was kinda naive and I didn't realize what he wanted. I just thought he was going to rob the place or something. But then he told me to take my clothes off and I knew he was going to rape me.

I got really pissed off all of a sudden, and I said, 'NO!' and he freaked. He went to stab me in the leg and I pulled away, and we struggled a little, and the knife dug in and went up my leg. It started bleeding really bad. And you have no idea how much it hurt. Sometimes I have nightmares and I can still feel it.

I wanted to cry so bad, but I knew he'd get even madder, so I bit down on my pillow as hard as I could. I was almost glad that he cut me, because I figured he'd see all the blood and get scared, or grossed out, and he'd just leave. But he didn't even care. He just told me again to get undressed.

So I started pulling off my shirt, really slow, figuring that my mom would come home and catch him. But he knew what I was doing. He said, 'You're trying to stall until your mommy gets home, aren't you? Well, if she gets home and I'm still here, I'll just kill her too. How about that, my queen?'

He said, 'I'll kill her TOO.' I figured that meant he was planning on killing me, and I thought that if I was going to die anyway, I might as well fight back. So I started fighting him, and he grabbed my leg where he cut me, and squeezed it, and I was in such pain that I blacked out.

When I woke up, I was naked and he had his pants down. He almost couldn't get it up; he was... standing over me, jerking off, until he got hard.

He really hurt me. I had, you know, fingered myself before, just out of curiosity, and even putting a finger inside me hurt, so imagine how this felt. He wasn't gentle, obviously. It felt like he was ripping my insides apart. My leg was already killing me, and by then I just wanted to die so all the pain would stop.

The cut wasn't that bad at first, but he was being really rough with me, and it kept opening up wider and wider. I looked down at one point, and there were huge splotches of blood all over the bedsheet. I thought I was bleeding to death. He had his pants down, and there was blood all over his pants too. I was still really scared but I started feeling weak and I just stopped fighting him and let him finish, because I thought maybe he'd leave.

He came inside me, and then he got up and saw the blood and said, 'Eww, gross!' and he put the sheet over my leg. Then he started playing with the blade of the knife and looking at me with this really sick, twisted face, and I figured he was going to kill me. I wanted to say that I wouldn't tell, and that he didn't have to kill me, but I was too scared to talk. My heart was pounding so bad I thought I was going to have a heart attack.

Then someone banged on the front door. I don't know who it was, the paperboy, probably, but I didn't answer it. As soon as Alex heard it, he ran back out the window and got away.

I called my dad at work to tell him what happened, and they wouldn't let me talk to him. I was hysterical crying, and I said I really needed to talk to him, and they said, 'He's allowed a 15-minute break; he'll call you then.'

I was afraid to call 911 because I thought they'd say that it wasn't a real emergency, so I went and got an ace bandage and tried to wrap up my leg, but it was still bleeding pretty badly.

I laid there in bed shaking until mom came home, and when she saw me, and all the blood, she started screaming. She looked like she was going to pass out.

They took me to the hospital, and I needed 60 stitches in my leg. The police came and asked me who did it, and I told them. I told them everything that happened.

They found Alex at a movie theater, watching
Wayne's World. He was laughing, cracking up at the movie, like nothing had happened. They took him out of the theater and he still had the bloody pants on. They put him in jail with no bail.

The prosecutor was a dick. First he was really nice to me, but then he started doubting me, implying that it was consensual, like I wanted to get raped and have my leg cut wide open. It was the inner city, and it wasn't unusual for 12-year-old girls to be having sex, and I think he thought it was just a lot of ghetto drama.

Anyway, they set a court date after all, but when I was supposed to be in court, I was in the hospital with asthma, and I couldn't go, and they didn't reschedule. So Alex got away with it.

I used to have these daydreams, where I'd be walking two pit bulls, and I'd see Alex, and I'd let go of the leashes and watch while the dogs ripped him apart. I also used to fantasize about setting him on fire and just listening to him scream while he burned up.

I got really obsessed with fire because of that fantasy. I used to light up those long fireplace matches and burn them all the way down. And then I would light up the burners on the stove and stare at them for hours. That's how I started cooking: Mom said, 'If you're going to play with the stove, you might as well learn how to cook.' So I did!

I went to therapy for a long time, and I feel ok now. I've gotten past it, so I don't like to revisit it very much. I don't want special treatment, and I don't want sympathy. I just want to live my life and be happy. I never would have told you, Steve, but you asked me twice, and I felt like you needed to know.

Steve, don't cry."