I am approaching the anniversary of my rape differently. I will be posting pseudo diary entries chronicling the events in real time, be it on a 43 year delay.
May 28, 1974
I woke up around 10 or 11. It was a bright hot day. I wanted to see the gay beach before I left. I got on the boardwalk and found the Claridge. Guys were already laying in the sun. I went down onto the sand. I was out of place, I had on jeans and no towel. So I just walked.
I saw Billy right away. He had blonde hair and looked even younger than me. I didn’t know how to cruise in broad daylight. I walked by him a few times. The man he was with came over to me and started talking. The boy was Billy. The man was Richard, Richard DuPont. He said they were going for lunch.
When we got to the cafeteria I realized I didn’t have enough money for anything. Richard offered to buy me lunch. Billy had to go back to their hotel. Richard and I talked.
Richard lived in New York. He was a male model. He meticulously took care of himself. He had an extremely dark tan, blonde hair. He smelled like vitamins. He said he was over 35, the end of his career.
He knew I liked Billy. He was his guardian. He stayed with him when he was in New York.
Richard asked if I would want to go to NYC with him. I could stay at his place. I flashed on a daydream of holding Billy’s hand on the sofa. He said Atlantic City was nothing compared to the city. I could find a different boyfriend every day.
Yes, I wanted to go.
He told me where the bus station was and when to meet him there. He went to his hotel.
Before we boarded the bus he had me call home. I wasn’t to stay on the phone to long, just tell them I got a job bussing tables, all was well. Richard signaled to end the call so I said I had to go to work.
We got on the bus. Turns out Billy was coming in a few days.
I wasn’t worried about missing school. I skipped so frequently I gave up on excuses. A full day in school was the exception. Why would I go to school? To be shoved around, called names, to expose myself to the relentless humiliation of being me? I didn’t need a fucking audience.
Though I was obviously not going home for a while, I still didn’t think of myself as anything, least of all a runaway. It astonishes me now how little thinking I did. I don’t bring it up to admonish myself. Research has shown how shortsighted teenagers are. I didn’t understand consequences. How would I feed myself, I had never looked at that question before. Food was always provided. I certainly didn’t expect Richard to feed me, but I also didn’t have a plan. The hope that Billy and I could become boyfriends knocked my brain off line. Richard played me so easily.
In the brief phone call my dad said he thought I was hurt or dead. It was hard hearing him cry. I never knew I meant anything to him. Me as a person, as a son? I was a division of a whole, 1 of 4 kids, a quarter. He made sure everything was equally divided, always. How I regret not seizing the moment, what would have been if I accepted his love, understood it. If I would have not gotten on that bus, what could have happened finally feeling I was loved? But I did, and when I came home I had more shit to keep from them, barricaded and rotting.
Today I celebrate the peace forgiveness offers. I had been angry with my father for so long, more as a figure then a person. When I first discovered he loved me, I had no where to put it. I was to steeped in my believes to take it in and hold on. But as an adult I’ve come to appreciate his challenges and successes. Before he passed we found ways to enjoy each other’s company, and I truly believe he was proud of what I’ve done. I wish he were here to see what I’m doing in the gym. No matter the age, boys always want to impress their fathers.
Thank you for reading. Comments and constructive conversation are always welcomed. I can be reached privately via the contact page.