sonny’s van

sonny was in his forties, my sister’s best friend, and in charge of buying beer for us, the teenagers. it was nearly midnight when he was going for a second beer run and this time i asked to go with him because i also wanted to pick out some candy.

as the van sped away from the house he didn’t say much and after a few minutes veered onto a dark road, away from the 7/11. he stopped on a patch of dirt, turned to me and without a word slapped the shit out of me before grabbing and pushing me to the back of the van where he tore off my clothes while punching me. he turned me over on my stomach and began raping me from behind and though i screamed no one could hear, and though i fought, was no match for his strength.

i don’t know how long it went on this way but at some point he went to the front of the van and taking advantage of the moment i kicked the back doors of the van open and began running. i didn’t feel my body and don’t know how long i ran before arriving to my other sister’s house and telling her and her husband what happened.

they told me to calm down, not to go home, and to clean myself up in the backroom. i did what they said and after a few hours went home. my sister and brother in-law never called the police and as far as i know, never told anyone. i never told anyone either, just kept it to myself and got past it. sonny died a few years later from some sickness and it was a happy time when i found out.

“don’t think i ever told you that story, did i?” my mom asked.

I shook my head no, wondering how much darker the day could possibly get. i’d been raped so many times by different men i wasn’t sure what to say. instinct kicked in until a numbness fell over me like being submerged in ice. it was a pleasant kind of pain, one where in less than five minutes i’d feel nothing. it’s the kind of numbness that looks like apathy and feels like drowsiness. i wasn’t planning on thinking about rape today, and in my heart know i’ve made her story about me when it’s not, but at the same time think everyone’s story is kind of the same and that we all elicit from one another memories of joy and sadness, some on one side more than other, and find ourselves wanting to be attached to those who elicit the parts we don’t feel able to reach on our own, parts we know we can’t reach on our own.

now it’s gray, so perhaps by evening color will return and i won’t feel so unbearably cold.

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