It’s Time the Tale Was Told…

Preface: I was initially not going to write about this until a couple of things happened. Number one: I saw the face of my rapist and who I assume is his wife pop up in my Facebook feed under “People You May Know” yesterday. Though it DID shake me, I was more horrified to learn that this monster grew up to have children. One is a GIRL. I sat and wondered if she would ever know what a fucking horrible monster her father was/is. Number two: I realized via Facebook that I DO have support; that many people never even KNEW that I was raped.

As a part of my own healing, it is imperative that I tell the tale of what happened to me that day. I do not tell this to you to ask for your sympathy or your prayers or whatever-else you are inclined to do. I write this now so that I might make a difference, no matter how small, in the life of someone who has suffered a similar injustice.

So now, I share with you my story.

***************

It happened 24 years ago.

The fact that time could pass me by (or any/all of us, really) so quickly is frightening.
So much can happen in 24 years.
It’s strange to me, still, that an event that has happened so long ago could still be interwoven into the very fabric of my being, my personality, my belief system…what changed me immediately, the very act that made me a victim, also served to make me stronger; to make me a survivor.
Of course I didn’t realize any of this until recently.
It’s all in how you look at things, I suppose. That’s not to say I haven’t spent oodles and gobs of time in therapy: examining every detail and every feeling over and over and over again until I just didn’t want to think of it any longer. Until I just wished I had committed suicide after that horrible event.
I am talking about the day I was raped.
I was a fourteen-year-old girl on that day in March. Even though I had a somewhat rudimentary knowledge at the time of what sex was and that it was useful for procreation (Helloooooo, ancient sex-ed videos in the fifth grade, anyone? Christ.), I wasn’t terribly concerned with it because I had other things to worry about; fitting in (which I never managed to achieve, and in hindsight I am SO glad for this), make-up and how to apply it, what the homecoming dance would be like and what I would wear, WHY was my mother so vehemently opposed to my dying my hair black…y’know, typical things that fourteen-year-old girls SHOULD be worried about.
I had dated an “upper classman” for a short period of time the previous fall. My parents were SO NOT happy about this. I recall my father meeting this “upper classman” once when he came to my house to pick me up for a date. My father’s intuition about this boy was so right on the mark–I wish my father would have punched him out and locked me away until I was better at listening to my own intuitions.
Anyway, things with this boyfriend went south when I heard through the grapevine that my he was screwing one of the cheerleaders at my school. I broke off with him. I remember confronting him in the halls of my high school and forcefully THROWING his class ring at him, using some choice words like “motherfucker” or “worthless asshole” or “fucking dick” or something equally as colorful. (I have ALWAYS sworn like a sailor. If you can’t handle it, you should probably stop reading ANYTHING I write. You will be offended again and again.)
The particular day in question was like any other horrible day in high school. (I HATED high school, for those of you who LOVED it, I’d think you’d best re-evaluate your life–if high school was the best time in your life, then you have not lived. Truly.)
My day was unremarkable, and I was plagued by the usual teen-angst that usually stems from teen heartbreak and blah, blah, blah.
It had been about 3-4 months since I had hucked that wanna-be Josten’s heap of shit siladium ring (purchased at Walmart) at my former crush (whom I shall refer to as ‘X’ for the purpose of this writing). Since I lived in a small town (6,000 people, give or take) and attended a small high school (92 people in my graduating class), I had the unfortunate opportunity of seeing X about school on a regular basis, and of course hearing all about his sexual escapades with girls from both my school and from the schools of surrounding towns (of which I am now certain about 60-70% of these encounters were likely rape situations).
But, I digress.
The particular day in question was like any other horrible day in high school. I recall being on the second floor near the library. The lockers were yellow at the time (perhaps they still are). I was walking from my English classroom to the Drama/Journalism classroom when X presented himself directly and said to me: “Hi!,” he said, “What are you doing after school? I’d like to talk to you.”
I remember looking at him very suspiciously.
I was not a cheerleader, nor a blonde, nor was I popular. I couldn’t fathom why he would even be addressing me, much less why he would want to talk to me??
I believe I said something like: “You want to talk…to ME. After school. About…what, exactly?”
He replied in a smarmy manner “Well, if you want to know, you’ll have to find out.”
My intuition screamed at me: “NO NO NO NO! This guy fucked a cheerleader BEHIND YOUR BACK. Don’t do it. Whatever he has to say does not matter because he is a lying sack of shit!”
Unfortunately, at fourteen, I had not learned to listen to that little nagging voice in my brain that was oftentimes full of suspicion and dread. I agreed to meet with him after school.
It was only talking at the school. What was the harm?
How regretful I was that I had NOT listened to my inner voice. I am still regretful that I did not listen to that inner voice.
I have been told/learned that this is the guilt that all victims of rape feel; “If only I would have/would not have…”, and/or “I wish I would have done ______ instead…”
I have blamed myself for decades at this point. Through over a decade of therapy, I know the fact that I was raped was NOT my fault. This I consciously know. But it doesn’t quell the feeling that I somehow did something wrong.
I met with X after school on the second floor with the yellow lockers. Outside the library.
I was nervous. I felt nauseous. I told myself the conversation would be over soon and I would walk to my mother’s work immediately afterward.
He wanted me to walk with him. He said he had something to show me. We left the second floor of the building, down to the first floor, on to the gym and eventually outdoors–behind the building. I had assumed perhaps his car was parked back there and that this was the end of line and I would be headed home soon.
But his car was not there.
He had something to show me in the basement of the school. In the wrestling practice room.
I had never gone to this part of the school before, and, as with most basements, I immediately felt uncomfortable. This needed to be over and I needed to leave.
It was then that I realized two of X’s friends were in the wrestling practice area, as well. J. And C.
I had never really considered either of these boys before–both had seemed relatively benign, and other than not liking them by their association to the cheating scoundrel X, I didn’t really have any issue with them. I assumed X and I would talk, I would leave and they would finish doing whatever wrestling-related things that boys who participated in wrestling did in their ‘practice time.’
I nodded hello to both of his friends.
Of course I did not realize their role was to be the ‘lookouts.’
X ushered me to a room that was padded in green, with mirrors on the walls.
I recall muttering something like “So this is the practice area, huh? Huh.”
At which point, X grabbed me about the waist. He tried kissing me and I responded by turning my face away from him and attempting to push him away.
“What the fuck are you doing?!! You know you’re not my boyfriend. You made that clear months ago when you fucked that stupid cheerleader. REMEMBER?”
Once again, he pressed himself against me. I realized I could feel his erect penis through my clothing. I didn’t know it were possible, but I became even more uncomfortable that I already was.
I immediately wanted out of that room. He was attempting to take off my clothes and was met with my resistance at every turn.
“C’mon. Let’s fuck,” he growled.
“NO. NOOOO! I…I have to go. Also, we can’t have sex. I could get pregnant and…”
He grabbed at his crotch and I saw his pants were unzipped.
He then said to me, “No, you won’t. I have a condom on.”
I started for the door and he grabbed me around my waist. I struggled to free myself and landed promptly on the floor. He had used some wrestling move to put me there. A leg sweep, perhaps (I do not currently, nor will I ever know or want to know the correct term)?
And then he was on top of me.
He was heavy. And I couldn’t break free.
I began to cry. I began to try to reason my way out of the situation. I struggled. I prayed for God to deliver me from my situation.
My prayers went unanswered.
I BEGGED him to PLEASE STOP.
Please stop.
Just please STOP STOP STOP STOP.
As I begged he forcefully removed my black leggings and my underwear (from one leg only) and SHOVED his member into me.
I remember pain.
I remember tears streaming down my face.
I remember looking at the mirrors on the wall, watching this girl…this girl who certainly could not be me…watching this 110 lb, sobbing girl who was trapped underneath a grunting 18-year old male. This could certainly not be ME.
Could it?
After he had finished, he grabbed both of my wrists; his face likely less than 3 inches from mine.
He then licked my face.
I nearly vomited.
He said to me “Don’t fucking tell anyone. If you do, remember I know where you live. I know where your family lives.”
I thought of my brothers. My younger brothers. My baby brothers. I was protective of them as a child, I was protective of them in that moment and I am still protective of them, even in our adult years. I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone hurting my brothers, moreover I could not bear the thought of my brothers being hurt because OF ME.
X loosened his hold on me.
He stood up, looked at me in what I understood to be hatred and disgust and said “Get up.”
He left the wrestling practice room.
Bewildered and ashamed, I put my leg back into the leg of my underpants, back into the leg of my black leggings.
I walked out into the main practice area and met the faces of J, C and X.
I remember the faces of the two lookouts; expressionless.

I walked up the steps and out into the back parking lot of the high school. Into the cold sunlight of late March. I heard laughter behind me, in the wrestling practice area.
The word ‘rape‘ was not a word I was familiar with.,.perhaps in church, in some Old Testament shit that I didn’t pay attention to.

I knew I had been forced to do something that I did NOT want to do.
And I felt it was my fault.
I remember going to my mother’s place of work after leaving the high school.
She knew something was wrong as I was visibly upset. She asked me why I was upset and for the first time in my life, I could not tell her. I was fearful of the repercussions.
I told her I didn’t feel well and that I needed to go home. I kept telling her I felt sick.
I wanted home.
I just wanted home.
I just wanted home and my momma.
But I couldn’t tell my momma, and she couldn’t make it better.
This is all I can handle for now.
Please excuse me. Even though 24 years has passed, writing this has made me physically ill.

Ya Can’t Polish a Turd…

The months passed by and I felt fairly content with my realization/decision.

If I had to be friends with Il Postino, then so be it; I mourned my loss and decided to move on with my life. One cannot pine away for a man one cannot have–it just doesn’t make any sense. (Well, I suppose technically you can pine away for a man you cannot have, but I chose to be smarter than that.) I made a few very sad attempts at having one hundred lovers…NONE of which panned out.

Do you have any idea just how hard it actually is to accomplish a lofty task like having one hundred lovers? It’s a LOT harder than you would think.

Especially when you REFUSE to engage in online dating and you rely on your witty charm and beauty to float you through the trainwreck that is dating.

Umm…there are a LOT of turds in the dating bowl, so-to-speak, and I’m pretty sure I sifted through more turds than in a three-week overdue litter box.

This is exactly why I ended up abandoning my mission.

I’m entirely too picky to realistically think that I could possibly ever even find twenty lovers over the span of my lifetime, let alone one hundred.

You see, the problem with ME having a hundred lovers is as follows:

1.) I fucking hate most people, and 2.) I have high standards for anyone I would deem worthy of actually being my “lover.”

Number one is pretty self-explanatory: I hate human beings. Period.

Overall, I find them to be petty and stupid. I don’t understand a race of creatures willing to go crazy over a football game for example, or watch ‘reality television’ (hey, I don’t know if you know this, but that shit is soooooo obviously NOT REALITY). I don’t get why bands like Nickleback and Creed still continue to exist. (Oh, yeah. Some people like that shit. And by shit, I mean ‘shit’ in its literal definition–as in excrement; feces.) I don’t understand why people subscribe to organized religion and then follow it to the point of self-destruction and/or the hatred of others. I don’t understand why people don’t/can’t/won’t exercise common courtesy and politeness toward others.

In short, I am an observer. And from what I have observed of human beings from the time I was a child until this very day, I can only conclude that society is rapidly plummeting deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of ignorance and blatant stupidity.  I weep for the future of this planet, especially since medical science is now so far advanced that ‘natural selection’ is practically extinct.

Number two is closely related to number one, in fact, number two is really just the fairly rudimentary system I unconsciously put in place to sort out the douchebags from the quality guys. (Here’s a helpful hint: quality men are far and few between. Ladies, if you find yourself with a quality man, hold on to him as long as you can and then some. They are truly a dying breed.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been the girl who said shit like: “My husband will be over 6′ tall, with blue eyes, blond hair–NOT BALDING–, six-pack abs and lot and LOTS of money.” (Although I do tend to find myself attracted to men with dark hair.) 

In fact, outside of being so dead-set on Il Postino, I guess I’ve just kind of dated and found out very quickly what I do and do not like in a partner. I’ve never really thought myself to have a “type.”

Here are some highlights from my (very short-lived) “Hundred Lovers Project”:

–The over-zealous Christian who chose to remain a virgin well into his late 20’s, which, was the last time I had any contact with him. The likelihood that he is now a 30-something virgin is quite high…unless he actually got married to someone who would put up with his strange self-flagellating relationship with Christianity/God.  (“My body is not mine to give to you sexually. My body belongs to God.” Um, really?? Really.)

Although, he seemed to believe that *ahem* other methods of sexual pleasure were not exempt like intercourse was (ever see that episode of Family Guy where they kids abstain from vaginal intercourse in favor for ‘doing it in the ear’? Uhh, yeeeeeah.), and I seemed to believe he had some seriously fucked-up belief structures. Also, it was a long-distance relationship which eventually gave way to him suddenly and inexplicably cutting off all contact with me in favor of some hussy named “Libby.”

He contacted me via email about one month after cutting off all contact with me to say he was sorry and he wanted to ‘be friends.’ I told him to shove his friendship and his Christianity up his ass.

(Oh, and those penis photos you sent to me, Captain Abstinence? Don’t be surprised if they wreck your life one day. Have fun worrying about that incessantly, dickwad. Oh, and good luck explaining that to your future children. ALSO?? Why in hell’s name do men EVER think it is okay to send photos of their penis? So. Classless.)

–There was the drumming genius who played with several bands (as a ‘hired gun’) and also toured with a Canadian heavy metal group. I met him one night at a concert I attended with a few friends, and even though his intellect level was obviously waaay below mine, I decided was just drunk enough to give him a chance.

He and I saw one another for a long enough period of time that I became fairly attached to him, yet, a relationship never came to fruition. This was not due to my lack of trying to make it happen. At one point, I asked him a question that I didn’t think I should have to ask a man in his late 20’s: “Um. Uhh…am I your…girlfriend?”

His awkward silence and hesitation was all I needed to know that I needed to get him the fuck out of my apartment and my life. We did not see one another for probably 8 months after that and then, one day, he came back to me out of the blue. I had been hopeful that he had ‘manned up,’ so-to-speak, and realized what a catch I was.

Instead, he was looking for a regular ‘booty-call’ (I hate that phrase. In fact, I hate the word “booty.”)–though he never said it in those exact words. (And he didn’t have to. The implication that he would only contact me when he was looking for fun had become quite obvious. Eff that ess.) He continued to attempt to contact me even as recently as two years ago. Imagine my delight upon receiving a text from him that said: “Hey what r u doing for Thxgvg,” and I was able to reply: “Hey. I am going to my boyfriend‘s parents’ house. With my BOYFRIEND.”

I was happy he messaged me, actually. Not only was I able to block his number from my phone, but I was also able to let him know that this girl is not anyone’s fuck puppet.

–There was the radiology student from New Hampshire. I met him at a Modeselektor show that I attended with my (then recently) ex-boyfriend and his female co-worker. Modeselektor is a German electronic group, whom I saw at the Paradise Rock Club. Because I am part German, and took German courses in college, I decided I would shout at the band in their native tongue.

Radiology Boy approached me from the crowd, yelling toward me over the music: “YOU SPEAK GERMAN?!!!”

To which I replied: “EINE KLEINE!!!”

He practically begged me to take a photo with him as my ex-boyfriend was clicking off shots of the show left and right. I granted his request and we exchanged email addresses as I promised to send him the photo.

This entire exchange seemed to burn my ex’s ass, so I hammed it up as best I could juuuuust to piss him off a little more. By the end of the evening, my ex was making multiple attempts at shaming me for “just picking up some guy at a concert,” when I turned to him and asked, “What’s the matter? Jealous, asshole? Hey, how’s your 26-year old girlfriend that you met at work???” (Y’know–the 26 year-old girlfriend you had been banging behind my back when you and I were still together?? I wonder, have you tried to strangle her yet?)

Radiology Boy emailed me the very next day and eventually through a few email exchanges he asked me out on a date of sorts. He was of French heritage, was a huge fan of the band KISS, liked to travel and had a great sense of adventure.

I liked him okay as a friend. But I did not like him as a relationship interest, serious or otherwise. At times, I found him to be very sweet, but mostly I found him to be annoying and abrasive. His breath was horrible, which I could never figure out because he had great oral hygiene (unless he ate shit, like actual feces–now THAT would have explained a LOT)—flossed and brushed three times a day.

But, I digress.

Eventually, after quite some time of playing companion to one another, he wanted me to be his girlfriend.

As you can imagine, this put me in quite a pickle. I liked him enough to hang out with him but I didn’t really think he would fare well as my boyfriend (read: I was pretty sure he would annoy me to the point of murdering him). He could be sweet. He could be wicked annoying. He could be kind. He liked to spoil me with presents and adventures. He could ALSO be WICKED ANNOYING.

I didn’t want to be lonely. I didn’t want to be alone.

Eventually, I caved and took on the official title of “girlfriend.”

This did not last long.

At ALL.

After one of my best friends died from breast cancer, I also had a sort-of family emergency of my own. Apparently Radiology Boy felt more comfortable sending me a self-help book from Amazon than he did actually listening to my concerns over this particular matter.

I became incensed upon the receipt of a self-help manual via Amazon dot com, and promptly dumped him via email.

It was a clean break. I probably owed the kid a better explanation than the bullshit one I had given him, but really–how does one tactfully say: “I don’t wish to see you any longer. You have managed to piss me off further than you previously have. Also? Your breath and your personality both stink.”

Does one do that with flowers? A pallet of Listerine? Skywriting?

By this point, I had grown tired of trying to find a hundred lovers. It was more trouble that what it was worth, truly. My sanity was cracking.

As I watched what seemed to be EVERYONE I KNEW getting engaged, getting married, having children, I found myself becoming embittered. Envious.

I wanted those things, too! (Well, at least the having a significant other and getting married part. Not the children part…just…NO. Thank you.)

I began to wonder just what in the fuck it was/is about me that made me different from everyone else. How come all of these undesirable mouth-breathing fools have someone to go home to and I have NO ONE?

I began to wonder if the majority of people just end up settling for someone.

I kind of believe that a lot of people do.

I found myself thinking “Yeah…I guess I could see myself married to this guy/that guy.”

And then? I would find myself swearing at Il Postino under my breath. (“WHY did you get married? WHYYY??”)

I continued to see Il Postino postally.

We would chat and cut up, sometimes taking longer than postally necessary.

One day, Il Postino told me his band was going to be playing their first show since getting back together. I could tell he was excited about it. I made a mental note of the date and location of the show so that I could look it up online.

I was sooooooo gonna go to that show.

And I did.

C’mon, Get Happy.

It was over.

I had found that Il Postino was married. To some chick who wasn’t me.

I tried to make myself feel better by telling myself she was probably hideously ugly, but the thought never comforted me.

Over the years I had come to know Il Postino through my post office visits, I had become quite fond of him…not just in the “oh-my-gawwwwwwds-you-are-my-soul mate” kind of way, but in the way one grows to love and respect another human being, their thoughts and feelings. In the same way one would care for (or should care for) their very best friends.

I believe the word I am looking for is “cherish.”

I had grown to cherish Il Postino.

The truth of the matter was; I cared enough about this gentleman to actually hope the best for him. I hoped his wife was pretty and nice. I hoped they had a good, loving relationship. I genuinely wanted happiness for him.

So, I gave myself three days to experience profound sadness (for something that never really was) and then, my old friend anger stepped in and, thankfully, took over.

I became so very, very pissed at Il Postino.

How dare he be married (without consulting me first)!!!

I avoided the post office nearest my work like the plague. Instead, I walked the one block from my apartment to my nearest post office. There, I wasn’t greeted by a handsome devil, but instead, a gruff female postal worker who tended to remind me of someone’s elderly, failing, long-haired Chihuahua. She had a milky blue-ish, ‘floating eye’–the kind that sort of drifts away to the side and may or may not be functional…the eye that you don’t know if you should look directly AT because it may steal your soul. She made me feel very awkward and uncomfortable, but…when one is avoiding a married postman, one cannot be choosy.

There was one day when I had to go to his post office. I was feeling like a royal bitch that day, work was horrible torture and the only way I could escape to catch my breath (and pee, and maybe have a sip of water) was to go to the bank and on to the post office. I took the opportunity.

The air in the post office was positively stifling. The air conditioning was not working and neither were their computers. There was a sign stating “cash only,” no doubt thanks to the computers shitting the bed. I quickly ran back to the bank to get some cash and returned to the post office. I didn’t see Il Postino, but instead I saw my favorite salty postal clerk, Bill.

I would have guessed Bill to be in his late 50’s/early 60’s. His white hair mostly slicked back, a few pieces trying to run astray in the heat of the building that day. I refer to him as salty, because he was (and still is) sort of infamous for hollering or saying funny things at some of the post office patrons.

Quips like: “What are you, a boy or a girl?,” “YO, LADY!,” and “Put the baby down!” His delivery of such quips reminded me a bit of Rodney Dangerfield and always made me snicker or smile. Near the end of my transaction with Bill, Il Postino walked up from the back of the post office.

YOU!!! I haven’t seen you in a while! I thought maybe you had quit your job or something!,” exclaimed Il Postino.

I took a moment to regard him and then I said as coldly as I could, “Nope. I couldn’t get that lucky.”

We made a very tiny bit of chit-chat and I left.

I wanted so badly to hate him and be angry at him, but I just couldn’t.

One night in the weeks following my dreadful discovery, I dreamed of Il Postino.

In the dream, he and I were together. In my apartment. In my bed. Though we were both clothed, I remember the very tangible feeling of longing and desire. It felt SO real. I moved in close to kiss him and he pulled away. He said to me: “I am a married man.” I felt dejected and embarrassed. But, I understood the message: Back off. Respect the space and decisions of others.  

Thank you, brain. Thank you, universe. Who needs a moral compass when you’ve got wretched, horrible guilt? Ha.

When I awoke the next morning, I felt somewhat renewed. I thought to myself: Ya know? So what if he’s married? I dig him as a person. And for a girl who doesn’t like the majority of human beings, that’s a HUGE thing for me to say. I truly believe that every single person you know, good or bad, enters your life for a reason. Maybe he and I were meant to be friends, I thought. Maybe I am supposed to learn something from him or learn something about myself through him. The thing with this crazy journey we call life…is that you just never know.

As my attitude softened toward Il Postino, I found it easier to talk to him on the occasions I needed to visit the post office. It’s easier to get to know someone when you aren’t starry-eyed and stupid over them (and sweating profusely out of nervousness). I learned that Il Postino had an actual name (Josh), and that he not only played lead guitar in a (his) band, but he also sang lead vocals. I learned that his band (The Humanoids…are awesome. Check them out on Facebook IMMEDIATELYhttps://www.facebook.com/TheHumanoidsBoston ) had been previously disbanded, but had recently gotten back together. Josh even mentioned to me the remote possibility of potentially hiring me to make rings for the members of his band, to which I happily agreed.

Instead of being pissy about the fact that nothing was working out the way it had in my head, I had chosen to seize the opportunity that was presented to me.

A friendship over a relationship.

If that was all I could get, I would be happy to take it.

And I was.

Which left me time to ponder a new conundrum: One. Hundred. Lovers.

A tale for next time, my friends.

:*

Il Mio Cuore Spezzato

When I first saw him, I was thirty years of age.

Three years later, just before my thirty-third birthday, I “grew a set”/threw caution to the wind: I invited him to a birthday party that my friend/coworker/non-conjoined conjoined twin, Goga, and I were throwing for ourselves (her birthday is four days before mine).

Of course when I say “him,” I could only be referring to Il Postino.

The only reason I felt as though I could even invite him without passing out and/or vomiting all over myself was because my brother, Aaron, was in town visiting me. The added support of having him there propelled me to ask.

I don’t even think I knew Il Postino’s given name at this point.

I recall mailing something from the Brookline post office that day, with my brother in tow. Of course there were probably dozens of other post offices in between where I lived and where I worked that I could have easily mailed the package from, and even though I had to commute in order to mail something from his post office, I felt it was entirely worth it.

I introduced my brother to Il Postino that day, and I had already gushed endlessly to my brother about this guy. I’m sure my brother likely thought I was either crazy or delusional. Or crazy-delusional. (But not “cray-cray”–GAWDS, WHY do people even USE that term? It’s horrible. I find it to be ignorant. Actually, I find most people to be ignorant, but…I guess they can’t all be as blisteringly smart as I am. Right?)

I remember saying to Il Postino: “Oh, this is my brother, Aaron. He plays in a band, too!”

(At that time, one of the few things I actually knew about the mysterious Il Postino was that he played in a band. It was a quick effort at attempting to connect with him.)

Geez–in hindsight, it sounds so pathetic. Shit, perhaps it was pathetic. Perhaps I was pathetic.

Il Postino and my brother exchanged pleasantries, I paid for my postage, and my brother and I were getting ready to leave.

Halfway out the door, I was gripped by the thought: It’s now or never. Do or die.

I wheeled around on my heel and went back to the postal desk, pulling a business card out of my wallet at the same time. (*Ahem*–Shameless plug: www.esteinert.etsy.com for most of your hand-made sterling silver jewelry needs.)

I heard my mouth saying to Il Postino: “Sooooo. Yeah. My friend and I are having a birthday party for ourselves this weekend and, uh…I’d like to invite you! Here’s my card–that’s my address. There will be beer. And cake.”

And as the words ran out of my mouth, my brain was screaming at me: WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING??? You sound like a moron!!! GET OUTTA THERE!!! ABORT MISSION!!! ABOOORRRRRT!!!

Il Postino looked at me somewhat bewildered (probably sensing the battle raging within my crazy brain), and said very simply and graciously, while smiling: “I like beer. And cake.”

To which I think I replied: “GREAT! I hope to see you there!”

I walked out of the post office in a cold sweat…and yet I felt strangely light.

I had done the unthinkable.

The impossible.

My brother smiled coyly and shook his head at me.

I remember grabbing his shoulder and using it for leverage as I jumped lithely into the air with a yelp.

I felt good.

I felt crazy.

I felt high.

I felt…very uncertain.

I knew Il Postino had a dog.

I knew he liked beer. (Um. Who doesn’t??)

I knew he was in a band.

But, what I didn’t know (and this is a biggie) was whether or not he had a girlfriend. I mean, I assumed he was probably a lady-killer, but I didn’t know if he was one of those dudes with many ladies or one of those dudes with one lady. I sincerely hoped he was one of those dudes with NO lady, but in my heart I felt that probably wasn’t the case.

The date of the party arrived.

My guests arrived.

We ate, we drank, we belly danced, and we had a good time.

But…no Il Postino.

It was at this point that I realized it was highly likely Il Postino already had a lady friend. Of course, the thought made me feel slighted and I hoped that she–whoever she was–knew how lucky she was, and I hope she appreciated him.

After the birthday party, I slipped back into my old routine. And by ‘old routine,’ I mean my OLD-old routine. Pre-Il Postino.

I found myself not wanting to see Il Postino. Partly because I was embarrassed I had asked him to my birthday soiree, and partly because his non-attendance led me to believe he was ‘with’ someone. I rarely stopped in to his post office, and the times I did, I found that Il Postino was not there (to my relief).

I assumed he had quit.

But.

The assumption that he had quit was incorrect, as I saw him at the post office sometime later that summer. And what I saw while waiting in line instilled a sense of anger and grief deep within me. As I stood in the line, I watched Il Postino work. And as I watched him work, I noticed what NO woman wants to notice on a man she is interested in: a sudden, but unmistakable flash of gold on his left ring finger.

MOTHER. FUCK.

He had gotten fucking MARRIED.

I was crushed.

I felt as though I was suffocating.

I remember leaving my place in line at that very instant–I walked out in a daze.

How could I have been so stupid? So hopeful? Nothing else had worked out for me thus-far in life, and I was angry and ashamed at having been so ignorant to blindly believe that just because I had some stupid crush on someone that I could potentially walk off into the sunset with this person, hand-in-hand.

I remember coming back to my work from the post office.

My coworker/non-conjoined conjoined twin asked me, “Did you see your postman today?”

I sadly and quietly said, “Yes. And I saw a ring on his finger. And I left.”

She told me she was sorry and offered a hug.

As I returned Goga’s hug, I thought about how dumb I felt and how I probably looked even dumber. To everyone.  A grown-ass, 33 year-old woman acting like a fourteen year old girl. What the fuck.

I remembered a statement I had made approximately ten years earlier; I had decided at that point (after being shit upon and tossed aside for another woman by my then-fiancee) that if I did not marry or find a suitable life-partner, I was going to try my damnedest to have a hundred lovers before I died. They would be, in short, a means-to-an-end.

And in that moment of remembering my earlier statement, I also thought to myself: “What fucking good is it?”

Ash Street Terror

The moment I stepped out of the kitchen early that December morning with my roommate directly behind me, we stopped short as we were met with a highly unusual sight.

There, in the middle of our scarcely furnished living room, a black cable cord hovered in mid-air as if someone were holding it outstretched above their head.

The real kicker was there was NO ONE HOLDING IT.

It was as if the invisible man had decided to enter our home and play a prank.

My hair stood on end and a chill went down my spine.

I had drawn my hand up in front of my mouth, my eyes no doubt the size of saucers.

Words that fought to escape my lips in a horrified scream only came out as a high-pitched squeak: “Oh, Jesus Christ, Mary and Joseph!!!”

And with that, the cable cord dropped to the ground.

We stood paralyzed for what seemed to be a lifetime.

Staring.

Waiting.

After my roommate had pried her hands from my shoulders, the look we exchanged only further cemented our mutual and unspoken decision: we HAD to get out of that house.

We were absolutely certain it was haunted.

*******

It began in September. I believe the year was 1999, but I can’t be for certain (I’ve slept since then).

A friend of mine and I had rented a house on Ash Street in Hays, Kansas, where we were both attending college. Dawn and I were from the same shitty little hometown, which is how we knew one another, even though she was about four years my junior.

I moved in to the three bedroom house about a month before my friend.

I didn’t sense anything weird about the place, but the landlady was kind of a stuck-up bitch. Ha.

Dawn moved into what was to become our shared home about two weeks later and set up her room, which was on the main floor of the house.

My room was upstairs and it was huge–the whole upper floor. The carpet was blue and the walls were made of actual wood paneling (not that cheap shit) with little storage compartments built into the eaves of the home. The ceiling was low and the walls began to slant inward toward the center of the roof at about three feet. I loved that room. It was my little sanctuary.

In early October, I was up in my room studying for an art history exam when Dawn hollered up the stairs asking if she could come up.

I hollered back, “Sure,” and she joined me.

She stood in the middle of my room and stared at me for a moment and then, she stated to me very simply: “Edie. Our house is haunted.”

I looked up at her in disbelief.

“Uhhh…what?”

She rolled her eyes and stated again, emphasizing each syllable: “Our. House. Is. HAUN-ted.”

I took a moment to turn her statement over in my mind and asked, “What makes you think that?”

Dawn had a collection of bells. You know, the kind with the handle that rich folks probably still use to summon their servants. She had all varieties: crystal, glass, metal, ceramic–in all shapes, sizes and themes. Some of the collection she kept in her room and the rest she put into the built-in china cabinet in our kitchen.

She explained to me that on several occasions she was awakened by someone “picking up the bells and quietly ringing them.” So, I asked her who it was. She said she couldn’t really tell and that all she could really see was a shadow, but that the shadow was darker than the darkness of night.

I paid her all of the attention I could spare at the moment, as I had an art history exam coming up and desperately needed to devote my attention to artist names, artwork titles, dates, medium and location.

In short, I let her say her piece and then promptly forgot about it.

I felt that if we were living in a haunted house, I WOULD KNOW.

One day soon after, I was laying on the floor of my room listening to music; Portishead, to be exact. It was a gorgeous day outside and I thought I would open the window.

I sat up from the floor and suddenly, I had the uncanny, creepy feeling that someone was watching me. I wheeled around expecting to see Dawn and was met with nothing. No one was there.

And yet.

I felt as though there WAS someone there.

I felt as though I was actually FACING someone.

And I wasn’t.

I was so creeped out, I decided to leave the house and go to the jewelry-metals lab.

I don’t recall if I mentioned any of this to Dawn; I chalked my feeling of “being watched” up to nothing but being over-tired and decided to forget it. I went to school full-time and worked a full-time job. Surely I was tired. That’s all it could be.

The next weekend marked a visit from Dawn’s brother and her boyfriend–both had traveled two hours from our hometown to visit us in our “college town.” They had arrived on Saturday morning and would leave on Sunday afternoon; after their arrival we all hung out in the living room of the house until the early evening, catching up on small-town gossip and perhaps drinking a beer or two.

At one point, I was sitting in one of the two upholstered chairs in our living room (rose/mauve striped; don’t judge–I picked them up at a garage sale) with my legs slung over the side. My left side was facing the entryway that led from the living area to the hallway, which then led to the bathroom and the two main floor bedrooms. We had turned on the lamps as the October dusk arrived early on that particular night.

Dawn’s brother was talking to me; he was standing to my left with his back toward the bathroom door.

I turned to look at him and out of my periphery I saw something that froze me where I sat.

To my immediate left, about three feet from where I sat, I saw two hands, solid black in color–like they were cut from the black night sky, slide around the corner of the hall entryway. I THEN saw the top of a black head peek from behind the entryway–as if someone’s extremely dense silhouette was playfully peeking around the corner at me.

Dawn, her brother and her boyfriend all noticed I was suddenly mute and staring in HORROR at something. Dawn’s brother turned quickly toward the hallway but he saw nothing.

I explained to them what I had just experienced and Dawn’s comment was: “FINALLY!!! YOU SEE HIM, TOO!!!”

I will never forget that evening, that moment, when I stared directly at this shadow creature. I could feel his consciousness and yet I could not SEE his eyes or expression. I had experienced these shadow creatures before, and those times were just as alarming. It was just so…dense. Like it had actual mass. Unlike the phantoms of lore, I felt that had I reached out to touch him, my hand would have met the resistance of physical mass instead of passing through.

After the evening I saw the shadow creature, the ‘activities’ at the house became more frequent. The television set in my bedroom would turn on and off of its own accord. Initially, I was pissed about it but when it wouldn’t stop (even after I unplugged it!), I became fearful.

Dawn reported more nocturnal activity centered around the bells in her room and in the kitchen china cabinet, and additionally complained often about missing or misplaced items.

We had discussed whether or not to ask the girl who was living in the basement apartment of the house if she had any otherworldly experiences since moving into the house, and one day while Dawn was in the basement doing laundry, she asked her.
Apparently our basement neighbor had no knowledge of any shadowy figures within her living space.

It was only Dawn and I.

Dawn had even gone so far as to confront our bitch landlady about our experiences. The landlady didn’t really comment on it, only saying something vague about her young son having said something about something similar when they lived in the house.

Dawn was absolutely convinced we were being visited by a friend of hers who had recently passed, but I wasn’t so sure about that. The one thing I WAS certain of, however, was that I didn’t know if I could handle many more “paranormal” experiences.

The December morning experience was the last straw. For both of us.

I had run out to class early that morning (late, as usual) and returned afterward to take a shower and wash my hair. After I had cleaned up, I found Dawn in the kitchen, making toast. So I joined her.

When we had finished our toast, we were walking out of the kitchen to go about our respective days when we were met with the black cable literally floating in mid-air in the center of our living room.

I could feel an ‘electricity’ in the room. My hair stood practically on end.

My thought within that moment was “Shit. So this ‘thing’ can move physical objects. That can’t be good.”

Before we knew it, winter break was upon us as were multiple changes. Dawn had told me she was pregnant and that she was going to be dropping out of school (the reality, I found later, was that she had flunked out and her parents would no longer allow her to waste money on courses she was failing).

We both moved out.

I moved on.

She moved on.

I never went back to that house, and I obviously don’t plan to.

As for ‘experiences,’ I have decided all of these years later that I don’t necessarily know if I believe in them anymore. I don’t know if I grew out of it or if I unconsciously closed a door in my brain.

Maybe my depression and post-traumatic stress disorder ate up that part of my brain.

I haven’t had any recent events to make me believe otherwise.

Maybe? Baby? NO.

I don’t like infants.

I don’t know why I don’t like infants, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that maybe that’s part of the reason I’m not clamoring to have a litter of children like every other woman on this already grossly over-populated planet.
Whatever it is inside of everyone’s brain that wants, needs to reproduce? Yeah, so…when I think of having my own offspring? That ‘thing’ in my brain/part of my brain shrinks in absolute horror.
Children?
ME?
Um. No.
Not only no, but no fucking thank you.
Mention having a child to me and if you’re quiet enough after the suggestion (and if I don’t knock you out cold) you can probably hear my reproductive organs separating themselves from my body and running away. Screaming.
To the nay-sayers who insist that I will change my mind– I won’t. And ya know what? I’m not going to say “I’m sorry” about it, either. Because my body belongs to me and I decide what I do with it. Everyone who wants to push their own baby-agenda on to me had better step aside, as I am unfaltering in my choice. I don’t have to have children to matter in this world, and what’s more is I don’t have to explain to anyone WHY I don’t want to have children.
It’s nobody’s business but my own.
(I don’t go about asking people “So, why did you decide to have children?”, why do people think it’s okay to ask me why I didn’t/don’t?)
Sure, I may have had a moment of uncertainty in my early 20’s when mostly all of my Kansas friends were settling down and getting married, but I wasn’t uncertain enough to do anything stupid like get myself knocked up. Having a baby because everyone else is doing it is a bad choice. Just like fucking some guy in order to have a baby because everyone else is doing it is an even WORSE choice.
And let me tell you, it has nothing to do with “well, maybe you’re just not with the right person.” Simply put, that is bullshit.
That ‘theory’ in general, is bullshit.
I love my un-husband madly; in fact, he is the only counterpart I have ever had with whom I would ever even consider having children. He and I both have a good sense of self, and no doubt would make fantastic parents (and, by-the-way–our hypothetical children would be whip smart AND beautiful, and would put everyone else’s dumbassed ugly children to shame–you’re welcome we aren’t going to make beautiful people for the sole purpose of shaming the rest of the populous!), but neither of us wants to have children.
Additionally, think of all of the people who have children with their significant other (“the right person”) only to have the relationship with that person (again, “the right person”) explode into nothing and cease to exist save for “the good of the kids.”
Being with the right person. My ass.
During my recent descent from the pedestal of antidepressants, my therapist asked me if I went off of my medication because I unconsciously wanted to get pregnant and didn’t want my medication to negatively affect the baby (or as I like to say, ‘the parasitic life form’). I was then informed that “Plenty of women get pregnant and the antidepressant you take is one you could take through pregnancy.”
Well, great.
That’s juuuust fucking great…for women who take antidepressants and actually want to have children.
(Way to make me feel as awesome as I did the last time I saw an OB/GYN for a pap smear. She said to me “And you’re planning to have children soon?” To which I quickly replied in horror “Um. WHAT? NO!!!” And this female OB doctor recoiled from me as if I had insulted her mother and immediately treated me as if I were dog shit on the bottom of her shoe. Needless to say, I never saw that doctor again. I hope she burns in fifty hells for making me feel shame, no matter how brief, that I choose not to breed.)
If you are reading this, and you know me personally, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am STILL pissed about my therapist’s short-sighted assumption, and this ignorant statement was made to me about 3 weeks ago…as I was still clawing my way up from the black bottom of the depression barrel.
(As an aside–when someone is so depressed it is painful for them to even breathe, you might want to think three or four times about what you say to them and how you word it. I’ve heard some incredibly stupid shit from people recently and I will not soon forget it. Y’all can kiss my now-medicated ass.)
 
Keep in mind that just because I don’t want to have children does not mean I hate them. I quite like kids, actually (they’re delicious with mustard–just kidding! GAWD!). I feel children are important members of society–they are the only ones who are free to wonder and play, free to create without inhibition (go to grad school for studio arts and you will totally understand the “without inhibition” part), free to be silly and innocent.
Oftentimes, I shudder at the thought of what it would be like to raise a child in this world–a world with so much war, hate and destruction. A world that, in ten years, will not be the same as we know it today. So much for childlike wonder and innocence.
Additionally, I shudder because I see a lot of people having children and yet so few of them actually parent their offspring. These are the people who truly wreck the idyllic view of the white house, picket fence and 2.5 children. The non-parental parents. The parents whose children are rude and entitled. The parents whose children don’t respect their elders, whose children think the world owes them something and expect to sit on their ass while getting paid an hourly wage. The parents who provide every little thing their children ask for and ask nothing in return.
Way to reward negative behavior, idiots.
Hey, non-parenting parents–let me tell you something: You are a bunch of worthless, lazy assholes and you are turning your children into the same.
Which, I guess…whatever. I realize it takes all kinds but you’re seriously fucking up.
Not only do you owe your children an apology for not holding up on your end of the parenting deal, you owe the people who have to deal with your children on a daily basis an apology. Teachers, bus drivers, your church members, your family, friends, total strangers, etc. The list goes on and on.
Your children are hard to deal with, and I would venture to guess that I am not the only person out there who daydreams of going back in time to sterilize you prior to your selfish baby-making.
Or at the very least, I’m not the only one who dreams of backhanding your asshole child in public for being a rude twat.

Il Postino mi Amore

From the very moment I saw him I knew I was made for him, and he for me.

That sounds overly dramatic, I know, but it’s the damned truth.

I don’t recall the day of the week, but I know it was some time early in the year as I was wearing my favorite navy coat adorned with a brooch I had made using a toy rubber octopus. I had recently started working at what is still my place of employment.
It was over my “lunch hour” (Which is never really an hour and is most usually a “working lunch,” meaning I never eat a hot meal in a leisurely manner because I have to answer the phone and tend to clients during my lunch. Unless I can slip out. Which I had managed to do on this particular day.) and up until that moment, I was in a piss-poor mood. I had hurried from work to the bank and then on to the post office to mail a package to a friend…or maybe it was a package going to a customer of my fledgling art jewelry business (shameless plug: http://www.esteinert.etsy.com).
Anyway.
As I entered the post office I was met with something I had not ever experienced.
A strange, new feeling of certainty.
A new longing.
I looked toward the area where the postal clerks were working and I saw the most handsome devil I had (and have) ever laid eyes upon. Dark, nearly jet black hair styled into a pompadour, he had so many tattoos on his arms–I couldn’t help but stare. I wanted to trace every line, to know every story behind every image on his flesh.
I felt starry-eyed and stupid as I stared at him, and quickly averted my eyes before he caught my stare.
I shuffled through the line, nervously hoping I would be lucky enough to be called upon by this fellow. The suspense nearly suffocated me.
“Next in line.”
Shit.
Of COURSE the next available clerk when I arrived at the front of the line was a guy I liked to refer to as “Bugs Bunny” (due to his large central incisors that would glare out from under his grey mustache). “Bugs” liked to talk a lot about nothing in particular, and generally speaking, once he began blabbing to his captive audience it was impossible to get him to shut up. Now, I’m from the midwest and at that time I was still somewhat polite to strangers, so on this particular day I let this guy prattle on about…whatever…while I (probably not so) surreptitiously stole glances of the handsome postman working to my left.
Where had this guy been all of my life?
I’m not someone to believe in love at first sight, but if you could only have known the pang I felt leaving the post office that day, you’d be a believer, too.
….
Ah, but let me give you a bit of my background.
At the time I was in an unhappy relationship (that I was trying so hard to make work for some stupid and unknown reason) with a man whom I mistakenly thought I had loved years earlier, but certain life events that occurred over the course of our relationship had proven to me that he did not necessarily love me.
For example, he moved two states away from me two weeks after we buried my mother. For his ‘career.’ (He later admitted he was unable to handle the way I was dealing with my mother’s death. I later realized it wasn’t just the way I dealt with my mother’s illness and passing…he was unable to ‘deal’ with me on any level at all.) 
Two years after that, I moved from Texas to Rhode Island to be with this same man (who absolutely refused to let me bring my dog with us–Laddie ended up living with my father in Kansas) and realized, upon my arrival, that I had made a horrible mistake. I fled to New York city to live with friends after he strangled me (yes, you read that part correctly–another tale for another time) and unfortunately, as abusers do, he wormed his way back in to my life.
Which is how I came to be in Boston.
….
Glimpsing the handsome postman had stirred something within me.
Something I didn’t know I could feel.
I had never known desire or longing before.
What was even harder for me to wrap my brain around was the fact that I didn’t even know this guy from Adam–fuck, for all I knew he could have been a serial killer in his spare time.
But I didn’t care (and truly, I didn’t think he was a serial killer).
I felt certain we had a connection.
Further visits to the post office only reconfirmed my unwavering belief. Although, further visits to the post office made me feel like a seriously love-struck teenager. The fact that I grinned like an idiot and blushed until I was beet-red any time I saw the handsome postman should have been a dead giveaway. If he had noticed, I had no idea. I assumed he probably had and that thought also made me sweat profusely whenever I saw him.
I learned he grew up in Dorchester; where I was living at the time. (I had the same zip code as his folks!)
I learned he was from a large family.
I learned he was Italian.
I did not, however, learn his name.Not for a long time. I never had the balls to ask him.
So, for the longest time I referred to him as ‘Il Postino’ to my friends and co-workers; all of whom I told regularly: even though ‘Il Postino’ may not be aware of it yet, I was going to marry him.
This I would say jokingly (but with sincere intent)…I was in a relationship and I didn’t know what his ‘relationship status’ was at the time, but, in my own self-deprecating way, I wondered if I would ever get my chance.
With him.
With what I had worked up in my mind’s eye to be our mutual happiness.
Ah, Il Postino.