“I need someone to take-over my paper route while I’m away at summer camp,” said Saxon, his urgency rather obvious.
This had been going on for weeks. Everyone at the dinner table, grew silent and looked at their plates. Like they had done every time he had made this request.
She didn’t. She never did. She always listened to him.
She looked at the boys, “Well…? No one? Really?” she asked.
“Huh… I’ll do it, Saxon.”
“Of course I will. You can’t go if I don’t, right?”
The worker at the group home that night let into the boys.
“You’re letting Smiley do it?! Nice. You’re Saxon’s friends?”
“It’s okay, Dougie… I want to.”
She did. She loved Saxon. He reminded her of a tall Alfalfa from Little Rascals. Cow-licked hair sporting horn-rimmed glasses askew with one arm taped on. He was as beautiful as he was gentle and kind.
He had a mental handicap. What it was she wasn’t sure. But he seemed far superior to many she’d met. Far. He was smart and, boy, was he funny!
He was also an orphan. No one had adopted him. That’s how he’d come to be there. No one was sending him to camp, neither. He’d paid for it with the money he’d earned on his paper route. No one had ever given Saxon anything in life. Yet he wasn’t bitter. He was beautiful, sweet.
The sweetest thing.
• • •
She’d spent three months prior as a transient. Sofa-surfing at party houses. She’d lived in the group home before. But they kept sending her “home” because she wasn’t any trouble. She’d live there 3 months. They’d send her home. Things would go sideways and she’d be back. She wasn’t really the cause of the problems at home, although she was blamed. She was just a kid, after all. At the time she really believed it was all her fault.
She’d knocked on the group home door late one night. Told them she had nowhere to go, was hungry, could she please stay the night? They took her in and made official arrangements in the morning for her to stay.
You can see how the group home and Saxon’s Love and kindness were of great worth to the girl.
• • •
She committed to delivering the papers for two weeks. She kept encountering this boy, Randy. He was cute. REALLY cute. He started showing up everyday on his bicycle to talk with her while she delivered the papers. He was sweet on her, hey?
Although she much preferred men to boys, she had a lot of experience and genuinely believed it to be a kindness to help the boys figure out some of the more delicate mysteries of physical Love. She really did. It’s what friends do. Even though she wasn’t in Love with them she DID Love them. She Loves everyone. She didn’t have much except a generous spirit and this is what she felt she could give. It made her happy. She had no real Love of her own. So she made it. Made Love.
He invited her to a party. A “when the cats are away the mice will play party”. The boy hosting the party was nice. She liked him a lot. Always friendly with a ready smile. She’d go. Even if they were only boys…
• • •
Randy took her up to the boy’s room. She could tell he was nervous and thought it sweet, endearing even. She thought she’d give him her special thing. She thought she was being kind, generous.
She let him take off her shirt… his cheeks flushed…
“I’ll be right back,” he said abruptly.
“Where are you going?”
“To the bathroom. I’ll be right back.”
But she got a sinking feeling as he left the room.
She waited. Waited. She decided she should leave. Where’s her shirt?
He’d taken her shirt…?!
The sinking feeling got worse. She sat on the edge of the bed in disbelief, her head in her hands. Wha…?
Then… the door opened.
She looked up. She was expecting Randy.
It was two black guys.
She was sitting there topless and two black guys walked in. They moved for her. She said “no thank you”. They said if she didn’t they’d hurt her, make her.
*Shit. Really? Fuck, man.*
So… she closed her eyes and she did. She acquiesced. Did her best.
She sucked-up into her mind. Imagined it was the boy she Loved. Not Randy. Another, older boy. Rabbit. She Loved him. She just did. She had demonstrated that Love for him once, as well, in a BIG meaningful way, the BIGGEST way she knew how.
It went on and on. She did her very best. Her very, VERY best. She could feel them trading off. On and on it went. On. And. On. She had lost all sense of Time.
Then he whispered in her ear, “Open your eyes.”
“Open your eyes.”
“Please. I won’t hurt you. Look at me. Please? Please look at me?”
She opened her eyes.
No… No. No.
It was Rabbit.
This is when she gasped. All the air left her body as she recoiled and slid out from under him on her back and right up the wall like a spider. Defying gravity she clung there with her back against the wall. Shaking.
And in that moment, suspended in Time, she heard her own heart break.
And then she saw.
She saw all of them. ALL of them. Was it nine? Or eleven?
“I’m done! Done! You said you’d give me my clothes back if I did you. So? I held up my end…? My clothes…? Now… Now!”
They taunted her.
“You’re a slut! We HATE sluts!”
“Hey. You said you’d hurt me if I didn’t. So I did. Wasn’t it good enough? Wasn’t I a good girl? If I’m so awful — if you hate me SO much — why did you make me fuck you? You liked it. I know you did. If I’m SO awful… why? Huh?”
“Give me my clothes.”
“Give. Me. My. Clothes. Now… Please.”
She sat down. Naked on the floor in the middle of the room. Obstinate. They’d stopped taunting her. She’d shut that down. What could they say? She was right.
“Okay… So…? I’ll count to three and if I don’t see my clothes I’m going to start screaming… Well…? Okay… 1… 2… 3…”
And she started screaming. SCREAMING! Most were paralysed. A few were laughing derisively. Two of the boys were in tears. They realised the enormity of the offence they had inflicted upon her, how special she was.
Then the host walked in on the scene going on in his very own bedroom.
He looked stricken, like he was going to throw-up.
“What’s going on?! What?! Is?! Going?! On?!”
She told him. He was a nice boy. He believed her.
“Give her her fucking clothes back! Right now!”
They sheepishly offered the Hero her clothes. He snatched them, ripped them from their hands, turned to her and said, “I’m sorry, Smiley. Here’s your clothes.”
As they watched in silence as she stood naked in the middle of that room and dressed for them, defiantly. Her host, her hero standing guard at her side, staring the boys down. Daring them to speak, to interfere… to anything.
And… she left.
Walked out into the night.
She never saw her hero again. She never returned. He’s still her hero. She Loves him like a brother to this day.
To. This. Day.
• • •
Why would Rabbit do that to her? Why? She SO Loved him. She did.
She thinks he told his friends what she’d done for him. That they didn’t believe him? Were jealous even? They’d convinced him that she was trash, a slut and should, would or be forced to fuck them all?
She doesn’t know why?
She’ll never know.
Sometimes it still keeps her up at night all these years later…?
• • •
She was fifteen.
She never told anyone.
She could barely walk for two whole days afterward.
She didn’t deserve to be treated like that.
No one does.
Especially when she was so generous with her Love, when it was all she had to give and she gave it so freely to a world full of people without Love. People. People just like her.
She was just a kid. That was her solution. Her answer. Her contribution.
Someone should have been looking out for her. They weren’t. No one ever was.