12 | My Rape / Why We Don't Go To The Police | 1963 | Part 3 - Awakening Into A Nightmare
The reality I’m waking into is a nightmare. It can’t be happening. Girls like me don’t get held at knifepoint in dark deserted city dumps. Something of mythic proportions has entered my existence and obliterated the previous ordinary day-to-day innocence of it. I'm face to face with evil, and no one is here to help. I’m inhabiting a state previously unknown to me, unimagined. My observing mind is poised outside my body, watching, with ever so much care, the mythic battle I’m locked in. I actually remember thinking something like; “This is the place of horror, where mythic evil meets my life.” The only thing, besides pure luck, that can save me, is for the prey (me) to outwit the predator (him). My senses sharpen. I absorb everything in minute detail, hyperaware of the slightest nuance in his words and movements. In the forefront I see the knife, sometimes in his hand, sometimes on the dashboard. My mind is hyper focused, racing. My awareness is everywhere at once. I am full-on present, inhabiting every cell of my body/mind.
A deep intuition tells me that my best hope for survival is to do the only thing I know to do; forge a relationship with him, get to know his humanness and let him know mine. Appeal to whatever shred of humanity there is in him, to perhaps take pity on and spare me.
All I want, everything I want, is to live through it.
I talk at him about myself, who I am and where I’m from. I ask him personal questions and keep them neutral. Where was he raised? How long has he had the gas station? I’m hoping it will be harder to kill someone who’s a real person. Sometimes I think the relationship we carved out in those hours saved my life. It's something I’ll never know.
For the first time I think about the possibility of being raped. I’ve been so focused on staying alive that rape hasn’t even occurred to me.
Everything in me contracts in a spasm of terror at this thought, but I decide then that I will suffer it in silence. Only my survival is important. A wave of abject terror washes over me. I can’t believe that he'll let me live. I know who he is. I can identify him to the authorities. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for him to spare me. Sometime during the living nightmare, maybe an hour or so in, with him talking and me hanging on to every word to detect a possible way out, the energy changes. He places the knife on the dashboard, turns to me and speaks in a new voice, with warmth and sincerity, like a kind big brother. “I was never gonna hurt you. Just wanted to teach you a lesson. You should never hitchhike. It’s dangerous and you could get hurt. I need to know you’ve learned your lesson and you won’t hitchhike again.” My guard comes down. I collapse in a flood of tears, tears of immense relief. I profusely thank him, even taking from my backpack a gift to give him, one of the trinkets I'd brought from Honduras. Tearfully, I press it upon him. He is my savior. I owe my life to him. He is omnipotent and omniscient and has chosen to spare me.
Then, abruptly, he grabs the knife from the dashboard and holds it against my neck, blade up, underneath my chin.
He keeps it there for a few minutes muttering and swearing under his breath. Again, all my senses are on full alert. He orders me out of the car, to lie down on the back seat. He climbs on top of me. I lose track of where the knife is. I know that he is raping me, but I can hardly feel it. My body is numb. All my sensations are thoughts in my head. I'm silently praying that he’ll take his time as I madly search for an escape plan. The looming fear is that once he finishes there will be nothing left but for him to kill me. I have no plan, and with that knife close by, and even without it, I am completely at his mercy. I'm certain he will kill me when he finishes. I search my mind for a reason that would make him choose to let me live. Then, suddenly, the rape is over. My body is still numb. I don’t know how deeply he entered me or if he ejaculated. I’m rigid with terror. He orders me into the front seat. He gets in the driver’s seat, starts the engine, and drives. This is a positive development; I have vividly envisioned my lifeless body discarded out there in the dump. Who would ever find me? I stay hyper alert as we drive away. Soon we pass some houses, a miraculously welcome sight, and he stops in front of a large wood framed building. “There’s the local bus depot. Get the fuck out of this town.” With that he pushes me out the car door on to the ground and throws my bag on top of me. His car peels away into the night.