My story is not original or so appealing compared to the atrocities committed to people every day in this hard and sometimes cruel world. Mine was after a divorce. Losing friends to my ex husband in the divorce. I was sad and lonely. I was hungry for new friends and the beginning of a new life.

I met this girl at a favorite coffee shop where I spent a lot of time. We were friendly and had some nice conversations. One day she asked me if I wanted to meet her out for a drink at the local pub. I was eager to do so — a night out with the beginnings of a possible new friendship.

We met at the local pub. She knew quite a few people whom I guessed were her friends. I remember one in particular, this young man, heavier set, long dark curly hair, and the look of a member of a local grunge band. He seemed pretty nice at the bar. After having a few drinks my friend asked if I wanted to go to this guys house and hang out there. I said, sure why not?

I drove me and my new friend to a neighborhood just a couple blocks from where I grew up. I think at one point in the evening I asked his last name to see if it was a familiar to the area, but for the life of me I can now only recall his face and every detail of his basement. We started hanging out in his parent’s basement (yes he was one of them). It was dark and black lights were on. Heavy grunge Seattle songs playing. Glass skull glowing blue from the eerie black light thrown around the basements darkness.

It was different than anything I’ve seen to before, but the neighborhood and ease of talk with these people put me at ease. Before long, I remember feeling extremely tired. I thought it was strange that I was feeling this way, but my mind wasn’t sure if I was dreaming something or if it was real. I remember lying down on a loveseat. I woke (if you can count this as waking) to this guy pulling at my pants. I couldn’t move. I felt as though I couldn’t talk. As if I tried but not a sound came out. I am still not sure anything is real. Then vividly I remember this as real as the sun. He was angry. He was kind of pissed. Then I realized why. He was angry because he was raping me on that couch and pissed I was not participating!

I was again thinking this is a horrible nightmare, especially when I realized that not 20 feet away was my “new friend” making out on the couch with some young man! Really? This has to be a horrible dream! That’s all I remember of that night.

I woke up in complete darkness and cold shivering dampness that basements can cause. I was confused. Where was I? I sat up. Realizing that I only had a tank top on and nothing else. It hit me then, it was no nightmare. It was real. I scrambled silently in the dark trying to find my jeans and sandals. I saw him. He was sleeping in a chair across the room. I found my purse. I grabbed it and ran silently through the basement looking for the stairs. I got to my car, hands shaking and still feeling extremely hazy in that bleak light of dawn. I drove home.

Numb. Not feeling. Not sad, not scared. Just empty.

I arrived home. I walked through my door, dropped my purse and keys on the floor and undressed as I walked toward the bathroom. I wasn’t thinking of what I was doing. I was just doing this on auto drive. I turned the shower on and climbed in. I washed myself. I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so dirty. Why couldn’t I wash the smell of that basement off of me?

I was exhausted. Still in denial about what happened. I still could not leave that shower. I sat with the water pouring on me until it was ice cold. I knew deep down what happened, but I refused to let myself believe it to be true. But his anger, it kept coming back in my mind’s eye. His face as he was admonishing me for my lack of participation!

I never told. I believed my having drinks with a new friend and agreeing to go to this guys house would put an unfavorable judging on me. That if something happened it was my fault. In a way, yes it is. I needed it to be over. For good. But I realize that driving past that house still triggers me to this day.

I wonder what I would do if I ever came face to face with him. If I would recognize him. Would I feel this nausea I felt for years when his face showed up in my thoughts? Would I feel anything? Would I be angry? Would I just keep on like I have?

I never told anyone for years. I opened up to no one in my personal life about this. I have shared online. It isn’t as scary sharing with strangers who’ve have similar experiences.

I am not alone in this hell because of that one experience. I didn’t let it ruin my life, nor define me. My children are my legacy for that. Their happiness is what drove me through that darkness.

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