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 31, 1974
It was dark and quiet when I woke up. I found my pants, the glittery shirt and shoes. I snuck into the front room. I found a dollar and change on his desk. I took it. My heart was pounding even after I was out his door. I didn’t know if I should take the elevator or the steps. Elevator.
I got to the street. No one stopped me. Which way? I just started walking. I didn’t want to be seen running. Subway steps. It was open. I went down. I bought a token. It was 4 in the morning. I never been on a subway before. It was empty, which was so scary. I watched the steps hoping no one followed me. A train came and I got on it.
I wanted to breath. I was safe now. He couldn’t get me. But I was scared. I don’t know how to get out of the city. The train came above ground. I was in Queens. It was the last station. I looked at the map. Time Square is near where you leave New York. I went the wrong way. A man with a beard was staring at me and I was so scared. I stayed on the train and it went back.
Times Square to the tunnel was easy. I got to the entrance at dawn. A huge truck picked me up right away. He asked where I was going and I said the Poconos. He wasn’t going there but told me the route.
Getting rides was easy at first. An older man nervously asked if he could pay me. I wouldn’t have to do anything. I let him. He was very nice. I got a huge breakfast at McDonalds and cigarettes. It happened again in time for lunch.
Further into the mountains the rides got fewer. Someone knew where the exit was for Mosey Wood Campground. I found out which way to head. It was just a road in the woods. I didn’t know how far.
I didn’t get any rides. I heard animals in the woods. There were no houses or anyone. I was sacred. I walked in the middle of the road. To scare off the animals I smoked one after another.
I got to camp at sunset. It was beautiful. Everyone was down at the pond getting ready to sail their floating candles. My twin was the first to see me. She ran up the bank. Then my mom and little sister.
Mom set me in an empty in a tent. She asked why I came to the camp, instead of home. I told her some quick story: I left AC in the dark and there were two glows, one Philly one NYC, I picked the wrong one. She called Dad. She asked if I needed anything, a beer, cigarettes? I drank the beer and fell asleep.
There was a cascade of automatic thoughts. I didn’t plan on stealing money, but survival kicked in. When I left his apartment I wasn’t planning on leaving New York, I was only getting away from him.
My mother was an elementary school teacher. At the end of each year, a number of classes stayed at a girl scout camp. I knew it was her last day there. The decision to head to my mother was pretty instantaneous, even though it was further. I was afraid to see my Dad alone. He probably wouldn’t have said much, but I was less comfortable with him.
The campground was 50 miles in the opposite direction from Atlantic City. After so little sleep, no real shower and the events the night before, I have no idea how I looked or smelled like. It astonishes me that no one had ever challenged my flimsy explanation. But then again, they didn’t really want to know.
The day was bracketed in fear. I didn’t know how to leave where I was, and I didn’t know exactly where I was going to. It was dawn when I got to the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel. When I was left off on Rt 80, I didn’t know how far the camp was. It was a 5 or 6 mile walk. I arrived at dusk.
Though it was a long and scary journey. It was the day I realized something powerful about myself: my determination was a fierce force. Once I was “safe” it swelled in me. I marched to the tunnel entrance. When I was faced with that long country road, yes I was scared, but I kept going. There was no doubt I would get there. I walked into the camp at dusk, the light was warm. I’m still learning what that glow means to me.
Thank you for reading. Comments and constructive conversation are always welcomed. I can be reached privately via the contact page.