The first time I was raped was in the back seat of a car. I was 16.
In those days the legal age to drink was 18, and underage drinking mostly went unnoticed. It was pretty typical for all of us kids to first hit the Connecticut bars, then, once they closed, head to either Port Chester or Purchase — state line border-towns in New York where the bars stayed open past midnight.
The guy I liked was already there when my friends and I showed up at the bar that night — he was easy to spot, head up close to the low ceiling. It was a weekend night, and the narrow rooms of the house-turned-drinking-hole were crowded; not long after he invited me out to his car.
An indistinct car parked in the back lot. He asked me there because he said it was somewhere we could talk. A place where the sound of music and the noise of the crowd wouldn’t reach. We would be able to hear each other and not have to shout. It would be quiet. He wanted time with me alone.
He wanted to talk to me.
When we reached the car, he suggested the back seat. Did I want to split a smoke? Sure. That all sounded great.
Truth is — I wanted him to kiss me.
He had a habit of constantly flipping his too long bangs from his eyes. Sandy brown hair that some would have described as pin straight and not very thick. In the daylight, he had a smile that was slow to spread, but once it did, it reached his eyes. There were also freckles enough to give the impression of a small constellation scattered across the bridge of his nose — other than that — his looks were indistinguishable.
It was cold outside. Cold enough, that when you sat in the car and talked, the windows fogged up.
We swapped stories and the cigarette between us until the glow of it reached the filter, then, he flicked it — along with his words — from the briefly rolled open window.
Without invitation, he kissed me. I remember his tongue hungrily, if not greedily, exploring my mouth.
He likes me too…
Then he was on me. He Shoved me deep into the seat of the car, jacket off my shoulders yet still worn by my one free arm, an arm attached to my hand that tried to push him away. Shoes on, pants yanked down, legs split apart and the weight of that guy — a guy I thought I liked — thrust into me.
Then, faster than a shooting star in the sky could fall, it was over.
He righted himself to his knees, zipped his pants, raked the back of his hand across his mouth and without as much as a word, climbed out into the night and left me alone in the back seat of that car parked in the back lot.
There was a light mounted just under the eaves of the building — the hilltop bar that was once a home — and it was bright enough that I felt exposed. I don’t recall pulling my jeans back up from around my calves, nor do I know how long I stayed in the back seat of that car.
What I do remember is walking back inside the bar and searching for a sign that what had just happened meant he liked me. And when our eyes met he turned his back on my gaze and with his hand cupped to his friend’s ear — the same hand he’d raked over my body and his mouth — he said something then left.
Once home, I showered: A long. Hot. Shower.
It was a tub-shower that if you could have seen me, you’d know it supported my hunched-in-a-ball-body at the bottom of it, all while the constant stream of water worked to rinse the night down the drain.
We never spoke again. I saw him at school. We had mutual friends. He pretty much acted as if I didn’t exist.
I never said a word.
Every so often I see his name appear on Facebook — People You May Know — he has a wife now, daughters too.
Author note: For resources about sexual assault, please refer to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network)