My mom won’t be able to handle it if I die. I don’t want to die. I’m not ready. I’m still supposed to do something with my life.
They’ll think it was my fault.
We hold each other and wait for death. I think they are taking a smoke break. They are taking a smoke break and then they will come kill us.
No one can ever know about this. We will escape, go back to the party and forget this happened.
The sky sparkles. I try to tell myself like I did with the rape:
You are now going to die. They are going to kill you.
I can’t do it. It doesn’t work with death.
With the rape it worked. I knew that they were going to rape me; I could prepare myself for it. But death … I’m not ready to die. No matter how insignificant my life ends up being from here on out.
Where are you? I shout to God.
We lie there for the whole of eternity. On those rocks we die. We shed everything that we are and we know. We fall off of ourselves like crumbs, and cleave to the rocks, to be lost in darkness forever. We are not born again. I realise I am dying. I do not accept it but it is not up to me. Someone else decided. You do not know what the complete absence of hope, faith and love looks like until you see the look of someone else deciding whether or not you should die. Rape is not something. It is the absence of everything. And we shed our lives, our dignity, and I shed my love on those rocks.
Crumbs to dust. We lie, and the rocks consume us.
In the distance.
Louder. Our friends are coming for us!
I pull all of me together. I use the last bit of myself to get up. And I scream. I scream and scream. I see Nick, Kieran and Julia. I scream. Snot and tears mingle and flood into my open mouth, they melt onto my tongue and leave my body in the scream. Some of them are running. I scream. Someone has stopped dead at the sound of my voice. My scream burns into my flesh, and shoots up my spine before bursting into my head, an explosion of terror. Evidence of life.
We are sitting on Nikki’s couch. Our friends crowd around us, comforting and hugging us. I feel nothing. I am completely empty. I hear my friend crying and complaining of pain. I feel tears carving a path down my cheeks. I screamed loudly as we were walking back to the house. I screamed, “Make them stop looking at me!” I screamed it over and over and over again until everyone who was still at the party turned away from us.
I saw it in their eyes. I was not Michelle anymore. I was already the girl who got raped. And I hated it. But when I sat down on the couch I stopped. I stopped screaming. I stopped. Everything stopped.
Someone tries to give me water. I push it away. Julia holds me. “We phoned the cops. They’re on their way.” She rubs my back.
I glare at her. Is she insane? The last place I want to go now is the police station. I want to go home. Now. I want to climb into bed. I am tired. So tired. I want it to be over.
I hope the police don’t come.
Every time my friend moves, her face contorts with pain. From down there. I don’t feel anything. I stare at her. When they found us, I was convinced that we shouldn’t tell anyone we were raped. My plan was to say that we were mugged and return to the party. But the moment our friends came, she started shouting, “We were raped! We were raped!”
I don’t understand how she found the words to do that. I don’t know how she found a way to tell them.
I take Julia’s phone and dial my mom’s number. No answer.
All I want is to speak to my mom.
I want my mom to come and hold me. I need my mom to tell me everything’s okay. That it’s not my fault and that she loves me. I need my mom.
The edges of the phone blur. My mom isn’t answering. I can’t remember my stepdad’s cellphone number.
“Is there anything you want? Is there anything we can get you?” They all look at me.
“I want my mom.” My voice is flat. Lifeless. Words are so much effort.
Malini hugs me. “You are safe now,” she says. I believe her. “It’s over.”
But I don’t want them to touch me. I want them to leave me alone. I want everyone to go away. I want my mom. And my bed. That’s it.
“Where the fuck are the police?” I hear them shouting outside.
I don’t care. I hope they never come. I want to go to bed. I need to sleep.
Someone decides to drive us to the police station. Some of the girls help my friend stand. She grimaces in pain when she rises. I push them away when they try to get near me.
Somewhere during the rape, we lost our shoes. And strangely enough, it is raining outside. It’s so surreal; I thought that only happens in movies. Perfect setting, I think, detached from my surroundings, panning out the camera in my head. My feet smack the puddles, I zoom in on my red toenails dirtied with mud. The night is black. The street lamps flicker in our wake and the roads are deathly quiet, the quiet of a small town soundly sleeping. We walk to the car. Everyone looks at me. I can see it in their eyes.
I am not Michelle. I’m the girl who was raped.
Question: Who is the first person you would want to speak to after a horrific experience like that?