6. Looking Back.

One of the advantages of having a best friend in another town when you’re 14 years old is that you have access to a whole different set of boys to have crushes on.  And so it came to pass that in August, 1990, my best friend from two towns away introduced me to a 17 year old boy from 3 towns away.  We exchanged phone numbers and Tommy and I chatted until all hours of the night, every night.

We hung out a few times when he was able to get a car.  I didn’t want my mother to know about him so there was no way to get a ride to his house.  Sometimes I’d go to my best friend’s place and we’d all meet up, but her parents would disapprove of us hanging out with Tommy and his friends and I had to uphold my reputation of being the friend every parent wanted their kid to have.

One afternoon, Tommy called to beg me to come over.  He promised that if I walked the nearly 4 miles to his house, his uncle would drive me to cheering practice later.  Normally I’d ride my bike everywhere, but it didn’t seem like a cool thing to do.  I agreed to meet him at the 2 mile mark and then go back to his house.  I recruited another friend to come along since my best friend, the one who knew Tommy, was busy.  Tommy had two of his friends coming along as well.

When we got to Tommy’s house, the five of us immediately went to his room.  His friends played video games while my friend watched them.  Tommy got beers for everyone, but the girls declined.  Tommy and I settled onto his bed to start making out.  We only came up for air when he needed another sip of his drink. 

Every now and again I’d glance up at my friend to make sure she was still there.  She had a boyfriend and the other guys were gross, so she wasn’t interested.  They were only interested in their game, so I could see she was getting bored.  I still had a little time until I had to head to practice and I was starting to think this wasn’t the greatest idea going all the way to his house.

At some point Tommy decided we should be doing more than kissing.  He reached up into my shirt and under my barely necessary bra.  He unhooked it and my face burned hot as I realized I was going to have to rehook it in front of all these people.

I didn’t want to seem like a prude, so I let him do what he wanted to do.  But it still wasn’t enough for him.  He reached down toward the parts of me I wouldn’t dare talk about at that age.  I pushed his hand back up towards my chest and hoped he would be happy there.  His hand slid across my stomach and he began to unbutton my jean shorts. 

“Don’t,” I whispered.

“Why?”  He was still kissing my neck, trying to give me a hickey.

“We aren’t alone,” was all I could think to say. 

“They don’t care,” he said casually, as if he went down girls’ pants in front of his friends all the time.

I continued to kiss him and try to redirect his groping, but it was no use.  He climbed on top of my 85 pound frame.  He was persistent.

I leaned my head to the side and called out to my friend that I thought it was time to leave.

Tommy sat up and said not to go.  I told him I needed to and asked where his uncle was to drive us. 

“Oh, he’s not here.  Guess you’re going to have to walk.”

“You said he’d drive us?  When will he be back?” I was furious at him for lying to me.

“I don’t know, but if you stay we could keep going here and maybe he’ll show up.”

That was the last thing I needed to hear.  I cleared out of there fast and began the long walk towards home.  When I got to the half way mark, the point where I could make up a story about where I had been, I called my grandfather from a payphone.  He picked my friend and I up from a street corner and drove us to practice.  We told him someone was supposed to drive us but her car broke down.  We told him we had been at my other friend’s house.  We didn’t mention the boys.  I told him my face looked like it did because it was so hot out and that I definitely had not been crying.

Tommy called me that night to tell me he didn’t want to have a baby or a prude for a girlfriend.  He said I shouldn’t ever call him again.  I know he told everyone I was a tease, that I got on his bed with him and then didn’t let him do anything. 

For a long time, I was ashamed of how immature I was that I couldn’t get past his friends being there to see him try to take my pants off.  I thought the reason my friends had boyfriends was because they did sexual things with them that I was afraid to do with my boyfriends. 

Looking back, I know I was foolish to think I should go to his house without an adult knowing where I was and without a way to get home.  I should have known what he wanted to do. 

Looking back, I still blame myself and not him.

This is Post 6 in NaBloPoMo and my entry to the Yeah Write Challenge Grid.  If you head on over to Yeah Write, you’ll find an array of wonderful bloggers participating in both events.  Also check out the Speakeasy, featuring fiction and poetry.  And if you’ve got something that fits the bill, please join us!

49 Responses to “6. Looking Back.”

  1. Oh Michelle I am so sorry that this happened to you. Being a teenage girl is hard enough, but a teenage girl who meets a (not so nice) teenage boy? Awful. It was never your fault. All the blame is with him. No always, always means no.

    • It was definitely poor judgement on my part, just to go to a boy’s house/bedroom in the first place, but yes, he was a jerk. It’s crazy how the mind can trick you into to thinking something different.

  2. cynk says:

    I hope you stop blaming yourself someday. Right now, preferably. You deserved/deserve better.

  3. Azara says:

    That last line was heartbreaking. I’m so glad you held your ground on your comfort level with what you did with your own body, but sad to hear you feel like you did something wrong. Imagine hearing this story about some other teenage girl – wouldn’t you feel compassion for her learning the nuances, mixed signals and respect (or the lack of it) involved in interactions with the opposite sex?

    • If someone told me this happened today, I’d be furious at the guy and not the girl. It’s silly how distorted my perception was. If this happened to me now, I’d view it so differently, but remembering it with my 14 year old brain I don’t see it that way. It’s crazy.

  4. Aw, I’m so sorry. Don’t you blame yourself! What a jerk. You did nothing wrong.

  5. Angela Ryan says:

    Fuck that kid. It’s all his fault. Sorry for you, but glad you have the strength to share.

    • As an adult I know that to be true, it’s hard to look back and see my role in it. I’ve always just been matter of fact about this, like it was just this random thing that happened. But something reminded me of him the other day and it doesn’t seem like such a small random thing anymore.

  6. Vanessa says:

    But you were mature enough – mature enough to say no and mean it and deal with what had to be done to get yourself out of there.

  7. Kiki says:

    I have a few of those types in my memory, and it makes me want to go and give pep talks to all the young girls out there. I feel like now more than ever, young girls feel they are “supposed” to be sexy. Not just attractive, not beautiful. SEXY. I’m sure it’s worse than ever, and while some may be doing things they want to, I know that some are having this kind of inner dialogue and the kind I had, feeling the pressure to do something, not wanting to, belittling themselves because it’s expected and desired. UGH. So sorry and so glad you got out of there.

    • That’s it exactly. I thought this is what girls did and that I should too but it didn’t feel right. I guess that’s what adults mean when they say you’ll know if it’s the right time but back then I felt like I was the jerk, not him. I’m glad I got out to and didn’t do more than I did. He probably would have dumped me anyway.

  8. TriGirl says:

    At least you made the decision to leave; he clearly was only a 17 year old mass of hormones and you were a conquest. Imagine how much worse you would have felt if you had let him go further, or worse, had gone to his place by yourself.

    • Yes, exactly. I was so pissed at him for making me walk because I didn’t give it up for him. I didn’t really think through how much worse this situation was for a long time. I’m so glad I didn’t let things get further out of hand.

  9. Oh my. Your post gave me shivers. In early high school there was a boy I’d grown up with and had a crush on. He touched my lady parts. A few times. Nothing more happened thank God, but I got mad at myself for going back. I’d never been kissed, and he was cute -the envy of my friends (omg you know him??!!) so I didn’t stop things. Then I realized he was being a jerk and that it had to stop. I had issues for a year or so later, expecting any guy who even looked at me to use me.

    I wish I could go back in time and talk some sense to myself and avoid the pain. Don’t you?

    • I do wish I could go back. What’s sad is that when I was young I was glad for the attention and I thought I was a tease for enjoying it until I got scared. It’s such a hard time and I thought I knew everything and could handle myself no matter what. That’s scary when you think about it as an adult.

  10. Kim S. says:

    Oh please don’t blame yourself. That guy was by all accounts an immature asshole. You a prude!?!? Hardly. He was a pig. Why do we, as young girls, constantly fall into this trap or craving acceptance and approval to the denial of our own dignity. I just hope he looks back and his own behavior with embarrassment and shame. But that’s probably too much to hope for..

    • I’ll be money that he doesn’t remember my name or what happened. It was probably just another forgotten summer day for him. I just hope that I can teach my son how to treat a girl with respect, even in the midst of raging teenage hormones.

  11. Wow. Been there, done that, right down to the lying about the friend who was “supposed to drive…” AND the part where I blamed myself for being so naive. Let me join the chorus here and say that what you did was stupid, okay, sure. But you’re allowed to be dumb at 14. That doesn’t give that boy license to do jackshit to you, with you, or about you, however. HE deserves blame, not you. Not you, nope, unh-unh, no way.

  12. christina says:

    oh Michelle!! i’m so sorry you had to go through that but SO GLAD you left. Tommy’s an asshole! ugh!!

  13. lumdog2012 says:

    You actually seemed to be very mature under the circumstances. And I don’t see how any of this could be your fault. This was a touching story and as a guy, I was a little embarrassed that this jerk is the same sex as me. Very well written.

    • I was one of those too mature for her own good but still a stupid kid kind of kids. Mature would have never let it happen. But at least my maturity got me out. Don’t be embarrassed, I’m sure most guys would not act this way. I think most men (and boys) are more respectful than this.

  14. From Tracie says:

    It was so very much not your fault!! He was a total jerk. You were probably very lucky that your friend was there to back you up and leave with you.

    Sure it would have been better if you hadn’t snuck over to his house, but we all do stuff like that when we are kids. Once you were at his house, it was all him, and all his fault.

    You were strong to stand up for yourself and say no.

  15. Jester Queen says:

    I like that you present the story honestly, without trying to hide the events, your own immaturity, or the things that went wrong. I don’t like the way you blame yourself for being a teenager. I was so proud of you for actually being the kind of kid your parents could trust in that situation, even if they didn’t know it. The guy was a prick. His manipulations were not your fault. You cannot impose what you know NOW on who you were then. I thought you were brilliant to get your friend to leave, since he was about to rape you. Fucker was about to rape you, and you used your head and walked out safe. Absolutely, you are not the one at fault here.

    • I like what you said about imposing my knowledge now on who I was then. I think that’s the worst part of looking back on things – so hard not to do that! But you make an excellent point. And maturity or responsibility aside, I was a kid, even though at that age I was 100% convinced I could take care of myself. Funny how growing up makes you realize how little you really knew.

  16. Oh, sweet girl. I hope you can take in what everyone here is telling you and stop blaming yourself. Not for one more minute. I hope my daughters are as brave and resourceful as you were when they get themselves into ugly situations. Cause they will. Cause we all do. Or at least I did. Great story, lovely writing as always. Big hug.

  17. Larks says:

    The ending of this piece was very moving. This whole post really resonated with me. Being a teenage girl is rough.

    And if they ever invent a time machine please use it to go back to 1990, kick Tommy in the junk, give your 14 year old self a hug, and tell her that it’s not her fault.

  18. I don’t think you did anything wrong (except lie to your grandfather so you didn’t have to explain what happened) Yes, it wasn’t the best judgment to go to this boy’s house, but you thought his uncle would be there. Yes, as adults we know that a 14 year old dating a 17 year old is a terrible idea…but you figured that out fast. You made good decisions once you were uncomfortable with what was happening. I think that’s something to feel proud of not ashamed about.

    • Thanks very much. I’d like to think I’ve used much better judgement over the years, but I’m sure I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes along the way. Thankfully no more like this one though!

  19. Kianwi says:

    That’s so sad that you blame yourself, when it was clearly his fault for trying to take advantage of you. A 14 year old girl is not a tease. Period. Thank God he didn’t want to see you anymore is all I can say! This was so well done!

  20. IASoupMama says:

    Oh, darling… Your younger you did the right thing and got you out of the situation before it became the ugliest. You were smart and resourceful and clearly had a very strong drive of self-preservation. You can’t always tell when you get into a situation that it will turn out badly, but when that one took a bad turn, you stood up for yourself and took care of yourself. I’d be proud if you were my baby girl. (((Hug)))

  21. Gina says:

    You did the right thing. I knew boys like that way back when too and I was like you. I wasn’t comfortable in those situations. The scary part is that we used to go places without telling our parents (no cellphones) and got ourselves, thankfully, out of jams. The world is a little different now and I worry for those girls that don’t speak up or get in over their heads. I have a 22 year old daughter who stands up for herself. I’m thankful for that just as I am that you got the hell out of there with your dignity. Your gut was correct.

    • I’m glad your daughter stands up for herself. It’s not always easy. When I think of the places I used to hang out with no phone and no one knowing where I was, so scary. So glad I’ll be able to stalk my son when he’s of roaming age!

  22. I knew boys like that too and bless their hearts, they probably need help today as men. Glad you had a good head on your shoulders and got out of that mess!

  23. Bill Dameron says:

    I felt myself growing angrier as I read this. As a father of two girls, I shudder to think of the things they have gone through. That was never your fault, never. Boys can be awful. Girls can be awful. Tommy was awful. Thank goodness you got out when you did.

  24. Kathleen says:

    I’m so sorry this decision still haunts you, but we all put ourselves in bad situations sometimes. You had no reason to think he was a jerk until he showed you his true self.

    I give you so much credit for having the strength and courage to get yourself out of what could have been a truly traumatic situation — not that what you experienced wasn’t bad enough.

    • Thanks Kathleen. I think I was looking at this through only one perspective and everyone’s points here really made me see things differently and perhaps more as an outsider and an adult.

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