A friend asks me to go to a party with him. He’s a friend I’ve been hanging out with for a while now, and someone who’s been a casual friend for a number of years. He’s in a bit of a dark point, and I’m hoping to cheer him up by spending time with him.
We go to a party on the outskirts of town on a property that’s a few acres. It’s a house and a warehouse. The drive is full of cars. He parks on the gravel next to the warehouse and we go inside.
He encourages me to take a few shots, which isn’t weird. He’s legal and he knows that I like to party, so I do. There are girls there, and we start having drinks and dancing and having fun.
I’m nine shots deep when he tells me he has to get something out of his car and that I should come with him, because there are a bunch of guys there that are older than me and that I don’t know. He says he doesn’t want them to try anything. I’m sober enough to worry about it, and drunk enough that I don’t question being alone with him.
When we get outside he pulls me around to the other side of the car, to the brush in front of the gravel drive in the shadow of the warehouse. His car is a ways away from everyone else, and it’s cold outside so everyone is inside. Immediately I tell him no. He doesn’t seem perturbed. Instead he starts pulling at my clothes. I thrash around but even sober he’s stronger than me, and drunk there’s no chance at all. I kick at him and yell, so he grabs me by the hair and tosses me against the side of the warehouse, which is made of sheet metal. The impact and the noise of it send me to the ground, and he has his way with me. I’m too fuzzy to do anything.
When I come out of my trance, he’s gone, and I’m delirious. Something has kicked in. Something I haven’t felt before. I feel better than I have in a long time—light and loopy and fun.
I go back inside, torn between telling everyone what happened and feeling like that’s a part of my brain I shouldn’t touch because that part of me has been shut off. So I go back to the party. I have another drink. I don’t remember a lot. I remember Steven pointing me out to his friend. I remember him smiling. I remember him sober, with a cigarette in his hand and a leer on his face. I remember him nudging his friend towards me, and his friend pulling me out the door.
We’re on the trampoline outside that I saw in the distance when I came in. The house is a ways away. The light is too far for me to bother yelling. I’m getting tired, and everything stings. Pins and needles everywhere. And then there’s pain that’s real—it comes crashing down on me. I’m thrashing and whimpering because I can’t seem to make a noise and he’s swearing. There’s the jerky movement of him clamoring off and I sink into nothingness.
I’m being carried back inside the house by a guy when I come to. Some stranger. I’m freezing to the core and the pain hasn’t stopped. I’m handed off to Steven, who throws and arm over my shoulder. I can feel everything happening but I can’t see it. I hear him laugh. Smell the cigarette smoke close to me. Feel him move me towards the car.
He’s talking to me as I’m driving home. He’s telling me he did me a favor. He’s telling me no one is going to buy anything I say, so not to bother. When he opens the door from the driver’s side and undoes my seat belt I stumble out of the car and nearly faceplant on the pavement. He’s gone before I make it to the front door. I curl into a ball on the couch because I can’t bother with the stairs.
When I wake up fully clothed before the rest of family does, there are pills in my pocket that I won’t push back out of my life for nearly another year.