caiti

 

I ran down the hill covered in lava rock as fast as my flip flops would carry me. Sobs racked my body from throat to thighs. I made it as far as the main drag in the tiny Hawaiian town before I ran into my friend. She was a dear friend, someone who saw bits of herself in me, someone who saw my cut wounds and said, "I know this pain."

 I ran straight into her arms, surprising her with the force of my embrace. I had purged my last meal in the dorm and been caught by our room mate, the confident one who was friends with all the cute boys.

"I can't handle being here, I can't do this anymore!" I wailed while my friend did her best to calm me down. At that moment I heard a familiar voice from above. Not the voice of Jesus or a sage of wisdom who had come down to tell me all would be resolved; it was the silky, smooth voice of the Brazilian boy we had met while hitchhiking.

He was tall and tan, straight nosed with piercing green eyes that softened and sparkled when he laughed. He had tawny blonde tendrils that waved gently with lingering salt from spearfishing earlier in the day. He was charismatic and charming; he was trouble, and here he was calling down to me from a rooftop bar, in the middle of an emotional breakdown of an 18-year-old girl.

I sat in his open jeep with my friend while he went inside a liquor store. "I have a feeling a might do something incredibly stupid tonight. I'm not in a good frame of mind. Please watch out for me," I said, but she was a falling star like myself, curiosity for adventure had already flooded her veins.

To be honest, I just wanted to be free of the emotional torture chamber I had put myself in on this island in the sun. I wanted to feel perfect, unblemished; I wanted to be healed and I was so angry at myself for relapsing. But you can't rush your healing. And you can't expect perfection in flawed human beings. So, I sat in the middle of the floor of a bachelors' bungalow and took the deepest rip off a bong my lungs could muster. I drank one vodka tonic, two vodka tonics, three vodka tonics; ripped another hit from the bong.

I felt lighter than my childhood kite, darting in and out of the gusty wind, only to plummet straight into the prairie's soil. I felt free for a moment, on top of the world, and then out of control all at once.

Before long, he had his arm around my waist, pulling me towards the jacuzzi on the deck. No one else was following, so I faltered; I wanted to stay with the group. But the world was spinning and he was holding me steady. I should be feeling special, right? This was the most beautiful male on the Big Island. Every female I knew adored him. I stumbled into the hot tub with my bra and panties on. He was immediately on my neck, fingers running down my spine, clawing at my bra strap closure.

"No! No, I don't want to," I said hazily, a war raging inside my head. I absolutely wanted nothing to do with this. The kissing and nuzzling continued and I made a feeble attempt to push him away again, "No! Please! I don't want to." My world was spinning and I couldn't tell which way was the night sky and which way was the roiling white bubbles of water we sat in. I twisted out of his embrace and drunkenly tumbled out of the hot tub.

There are moments that come to clarity and fade out from my memory; like the breaking of a television channel that's no longer available. I see myself dripping wet, looking for my friend, wanting so desperately to run away from him. I cringe remembering the moments when he pushed himself against me, forcing himself into my hands, onto my chest, toward his mouth.

I woke up on the floor between him and my friend. I thought I had won the battle, but my friend had informed me otherwise. We had class at 7 AM, so we shook him awake to give us a ride back to campus before day break.

Now I see these messy moments for what they are; rape in the most average of cases. I've blamed myself so long for not fighting hard enough, for putting myself in the situation. I've heard, "You were the drunk one who put yourself in that situation, who else is to blame?" And so I've kept silent, because I've felt shame and guilt. Because I was the dirty one, the one who chose to get that drunk, the one who really wanted it. I’ve felt such fear to voice my story, because I was the “white girl wasted.” But the fact remains; whether a girl is drunk or sober, no should always mean no.