"Happy birthday!" shouts my boss when I walk into work. I clock in.
I begin to set up the pastries in the case as the smell of coffee protrudes the restaurant's air. Lunch time, the afternoon rush, hours go by.
I clock out. I have dinner with my family, then get ready for a bonfire with friends. As I get ready to go, he texts me. "Stop by the restaurant, I know it's late but your coworkers and I have a present for you," he says.
I pull into the parking lot and walk up to his car. He's alone. "Where is everybody?" I inquire.
"They'll be here in a bit. Let's sit in my car while we wait," he assures me. He pulls out a bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey wrapped with a big red bow. We're listening to music as we take a shot or two. We talk.
Moments later, the whiskey bottle is being held forcefully to my mouth. I have no choice but to drink it. It stings my throat and my insides burn with regret. He tries to kiss me. I turn away. I look around frantically, searching for someone, anyone, to help me...but we're alone. I freeze in fear.
He rips open my button-down shirt and unzips my shorts. I look down and see the handle of a knife in his pocket, so I sit in silence until he is satisfied. I close my eyes tightly and pray. Tears stream down my cheeks, but I don't make a sound.
"This is why I hired you," he whispers in my ear. I am finally granted permission to leave. I exit his car, my shirt still torn open, as I stumble (not from drunkeness, but from pure shock) to my car for safety.
Hours later I am laying on a hospital bed as I wait for a rape kit to be administered. It's warm, I'm covered in a heated blanket, yet I'm shivering violently. I am questioned by detectives and policemen, but my case is later dismissed due to 'insufficient evidence'.
In May I had another birthday. The one after this one. It will never again be a celebration of being brought into this world. It now serves as a day filled with guilt, shame, and unspeakable pain.