Thursday, February 18, 2016

JM - 19

I don't want to wrestle.

When I was 12 or so, my mother worked at the old Eisendrath Tannery.  There, she met a woman named Peggy and they became friends.

Peggy was in her middle 20's, part Native American, and attractive.  She was married to a guy more than 20 years her senior named Harley.  Harley was a toothless, shriveled up man.  Why these May-December marriages occur, I do not know.  Peggy also had a younger brother, Tom, who had just turned 21, legal age for alcohol.

My parents began to "hang" with Peggy and her husband.  Often, they would come to our house first and then all go to a bar later. Sometimes, Tom would accompany them.  I loathed it when that happened.

No matter if I was doing homework, or watching TV, or working on a model, or whatever, Tom would say that I wanted to wrestle.  Then he would proceed to "wrestle" me to the floor and pin me and hold me there, and hold me, and hold me, and hold me.  He was 21, I was 12, it wasn't much of a contest.

I hated it when he pinned me and would start saying things like, "So, you wanted to wrestle, eh?  You're not so tough now, are you?"  I remember one time seeing Peggy, Harley, and Tom approach the house,  I grabbed my jacket and ran out the back door.  I don't remember what I did, but I probably hung out at a friend's house for a couple of hours.  When I returned home, it was dark  They were at the bar.  Good.

One weekend night, I was dosing off to sleep.  The living room lights were on and the door was unlocked.  This was standard practice for weekend nights because my parents would return home drunk.  It was easier if they didn't have to fiddle with keys.  As I was dosing, I heard the living room door open and close.  That was odd, because when my parents came home, I always heard the car, a huge, '58 DeSoto Adventurer with a semi-hemi and dual quads.  (Gas was cheap.)  The head of my bed was just a few feet from the garage.  Usually dad dropped off mom at the sidewalk and then drove the car in.  I would hear the car as the front door opened.

But not this time.  I just heard the door, no car.  Suddenly, there was a silhouette in the doorway of my bedroom.  It was Tom, Peggy's brother.  I don't remember what he said, but he laid down next to me in the bed. The bed was a twin and I scrunched up against the wall to avoid contact with Tom.  Tom just scrunched up against me even more.

He smelled of beer and cigarette smoke.  I figured he had been at the bar with my parents and Peggy and Harley.  He must've realized I was home alone and this time we were really going to "wrestle."  I kept telling him that my parents were due home any moment (a lie).  Miraculously, I did suddenly hear my parent's car pull into the garage.  I don't think Tom heard it or believed me when I said they were home.  I jumped out of the bed, put on my robe and went into the kitchen and turned on the light there.  The back door was there.  I kept telling Tom he should leave because my parents were home.  He didn't believe me.  We were near the back door and I had opened it.  Suddenly, Tom dropped to his knees and opened up my robe at the same moment as our front door opened.

I looked down and Tom was gone.  My mother asked me what I was doing by the opened back door in the middle of the night.  I told her what had happened and she told me it was just a dream and I should go back to bed.  I kept protesting that it was real.  By that time, dad was in the house and my mother told him in Latvian what had happened.  He looked at me and said, "Go to bed."  I realized the futility of any more protests.  I just did what they said and went to bed.  The next morning at the breakfast table, there was no mention of the previous night.  I wanted to say or ask something badly, but my fear of my father kept me silent.  That was the end of it.

Many decades later, after my father had passed away, I asked my mom one day if she remembered the event.  She did.  I told her what had happened was the truth and not a "dream."  She said, "I know."  "Then why did you tell me it was a dream?" I asked.  She said, "Because that's what you did back then."

What I didn't know is that my father sought out Tom, but couldn't find him, so he spoke to Peggy and Harley about the incident and told them that he would beat the shit out of Tom if her ever saw him near me or our house again.  I guess that ruptured the relationship because I never saw Peggy, Harley, or Tom again.

1 comment:

OrbsCorbs said...

This is when I learned that sexual assault is more about the assault than the sex, that rape is more about power than sex.