Disclaimer: This post contains explicit content, that involves sexual abuse.
1989. Madonna took over the air waves with her controversial hit “Just Like a Prayer.” Young pre-teen girls found themselves wishing they could be Debbie Gibson. Aerosmith’s notorious “Love in an Elevator” was every young boys fantasy, and the ever popular, Skid Row, my first of many “Hair Band” groups that I would come to both love and worship,came out with their number one single “18 and Life.” That summer, you could not go anywhere without hearing the infamous line of..
“Eighteen and life you got it
Eighteen and life you know
Your crime is time and it’s
Eighteen and life to go.”
I have mentioned before that I never had any friends at school. Church, however was a different story. I actually had a few friends. Friends, that for whatever reason actually liked me. I enjoyed going to church. I was a different person at church than I was at school, and I was able to separate the two. If my church friends knew how I really was in school, they most likely would have not wanted to be my friend. This was my logic anyway, the logic of an insecure 14-year-old girl.
Melissa and Michelle were two sisters who also went to my church. In a short period of time we became friends. After church on Sundays we would hang out together, until it was time for evening service. Also, by “hanging out” I mean walking the streets of the trailer park in which they lived, hitting up the local 7-11 for nachos and hot dogs. Their parents were pretty strict, and because of that, they were never allowed to hang out at my house. It probably took me a good three months to convince my parents to let me hang out with the sisters in the trailer park. Eventually my parents gave in. I was a good kid, never got into any serious trouble, and just enjoyed having someone to actually hang out with.
Summer of 1989.
I was now allowed to hang out with the sisters on a more frequent basis (meaning not just on Sundays!) I would get dropped off by my parents, and hours later, picked up. One of the rules was I had to make sure I called to “check in.” Something I was always pretty good at. Slowly, I started to meet the friends of Melissa and Michelle. Since everyone lived in the same trailer park, there was a large group, and somehow, I fit in nicely. It was now at the point where I did not necessarily need Melissa or Michele to be there to hang out. If they were busy, or grounded, I would just hang out with someone else….my new friends.
Carly and I hit it off pretty fast. It was just Carly and her mom. On occasion I would spend the night over at Carly’s place and her mother would make us the best scrambled eggs for breakfast. Seriously, to this day, I still try to recreate those blasted eggs and I just cannot do it. I always felt very welcomed at their house, and because Carly’s mom had a thick NY accent, it made me feel at ease.
One day Carly and I were just hanging out at her place. A few of the local kids would come and go, but for the most part it was just Carly and I sitting at her kitchen table listening to music and gossiping about the latest drama that took over the trailer park.
Carly had a huge crush on Luke. She was just waiting for him to ask her out. I kind of thought Ryan was cute, but I knew there was no way my parents would allow me to date. Plus, he was too popular, a guy like him would never like a girl like me.
As Carly and I were sitting there at her kitchen table, trying to come up with ways for Carly to get Luke to ask her out, there was a quick knock on the screen door. Without waiting for a “come in” reply, Luke, Ryan, Jesse, Zach, and Matt came in. Pretty typical. “The Guys” were just cruising the neighbourhood on their bikes, wanting to see what we were up to. Zach was the older brother of Matt. He drove and damn was he popular. He was always with a drop dead gorgeous girl, always coming and going, and pretty much was the leader of the pack. If “The Guys” were up to no good, Zach would put them in their place real quick. I assume because he was the oldest….the “man of the house.” it was just Zach, his brother Matt, and their mom…. but I could be wrong.
There we all were, just hanging out in Carly’s kitchen. Zach had to leave for a bit and told “The Guys” he would catch-them-later. Luke asked Carly if they could talk privately in the bedroom. I mean even I knew that was not the best of ideas, but off Carly and Luke went to the bedroom, which left me there with Ryan, Jesse and Matt. Not a big deal. I mean there was an awkward silence for a second or two, but that was it. Ten minutes passed. In that time Ryan did a horrible lyp sync version to, you guessed it, Skid Row’s “18 and Life.” Then, evverything changed.
From the bedroom we heard Luke. “Hey, Come here.”
Ryan, Jesse, Matt and I all looked at each other wondering who it was Luke was talking to. Well it sure as hell wasn’t me.
The three guys went back to the bedroom and I remained at the table, trying to find a better station on Carly’s table top radio.
I hear screaming.
I hear laughing.
“Bro, what are you doing?”
I hear wrestling type of movements.
Something or someone fell.
I get up from the table and slowly walk toward the bedroom.
“What’s going on?” I ask.
Matt comes out, stopping me from going in.
“Don’t go in there.”
“What is happening?”
I was able to get a quick glimpse into the room. Carly is laying on the bed, spread eagle. Luke is between her legs.
They were not having sex.
He was kneeling between her legs.
Now it was Ryan.
Same thing. Between her legs.
I asked Matt what was happening.
“Don’t worry, she is enjoying it.”
Luke comes out, looks at me.
“Do you want a turn?”
“Nah dude, not her.” Matt says as he lights up a cigarrette.
“Fuck you.” And I just knew, I knew in my mind that despite what was happening 10 feet in front of me, I knew I would get in trouble for saying “Fuck you.” Not from The Guys, but from my parents. We were not allowed to curse.
Jesse. Damn not Jesse too.
Jesse was between Carly’s legs.
He was inserting something.
Ryan and Matt were with me in the hallway.
They were smelling their fingers….then smelling each others fingers.
Holy shit this is not good.
They were laughing.
They were bragging on how easy it was.
The front door opens.
“Where’s everyone at?”
Zach. He is back.
As soon as “The Guys” heard his voice, they left. Jesse got up from in between Carly’s legs. Matt left my side, quickly followed by Ryan.
“We were just leaving, meet us at Pops.”
I am standing there frozen.
Carly is still on the bed….also frozen.
Zach comes over to me.
“Is everything okay?”
He looks over my shoulder, he sees Carly on the bed. Zach sees Carly slowly getting herself up from the bed. He looks at me. I look at him. He knows, I know he knows just by the look of fear in my eyes he knows.
“Can you take care of this?”
I had no idea what he was talking about, but I assumed it was Carly.
“I’ll be back.”
Carly came out of the bedroom, adjusting her clothes.
I had no idea what to say. Her hands covered her face. Was she crying? She hugged me. I hugged her. No words needed to be said. We knew. I sent her to the bathroom to clean up.
I went into her bedroom. The bed was a mess. There was a baton laying on the bed. A pack of unopened condoms.
I knock on the bathroom door.”Carly?”
Carly comes up out with a tear stained face. “I do not know what to do?”
“Okay, we need to talk.”
Shortly there after Carly’s mom came home. Carly did a quick clean up making it look as nothing ever happened. She took the dishes of the kitchen table and threw her comforter on her bed. “Hey Mom!”
My parents picked me up not too long after and as far as I know this incident was never talked about again.
I should have told someone.
It was soon after that I stopped going to the trailer park. I was changed. Carly was changed. Things would never be the same.
Only recently have I thought about Carly. Did I have a part in this? I know I should have told someone. I should have told my parents because I know they would have been able to do something. But, I didn’t it.
Carly and I bottled it up and placed it in the very deepest and darkest places of out heart that we could find…..and life went on.
Except, did it?
I do not know what happened to Carly. I do not know if she got married and had some kids, or one of the other worse case scenarios.
My wish, I want nothing but the best for Carly. I am sorry I was not more of a voice. I should have been your voice when you did not have one. We should have told.
We should have told.
These words will haunt me until the day I die.