By Sandi Graddy
The day that I really started to worry was the day I couldn’t get the top button of my jeans to stay closed.
"Yuck," my brother would whisper in my ear as he walked by – he’d caught me vomiting one morning and now he loved teasing me about it. I could only imagine what he would say if he knew that morning was only the first of many. It just didn’t make any sense…
Maybe if I’d been the promiscuous type, this could be possible. But, I didn’t do things like that. Yet, a foggy memory came flooding back and I thought it was going to make me sick all over again.
Maybe the night I disobeyed my parents was a bigger deal than I thought. That night, when I got to my friend Emily’s house to spend the night, we hadn’t planned to go to the party. We knew about it, of course; everyone did. But we usually didn’t hang out with the people who were going to be there.
But when Emily’s cousin called and told us it would be fun, and that everyone would be there, Emily looked at me, and I looked at her. In my head, I could hear that still small voice saying, "Don’t go – this is a bad idea." But, when Emily asked, "Want to go?" I just gave in. Sure, why not?
Nearly everyone from school was at the party – music and people laughing pounded throughout the house. Pungent smoke and stinky booze stung my nostrils. Emily quickly disappeared, and a guy I knew vaguely from school stopped close to me, his arm touching mine familiarly, which made me uncomfortable.
"You don’t have anything to drink," he slurred, looking glassy-eyed.
Surprised and a bit uneasy, I stared right back. Why was he talking to me? I wondered. "I, uh, don’t drink," I mumbled, wishing he would go away. I could feel his hot beer-soaked breath on my face. I watched as he poured some Coke into a green plastic cup from a bottle on the counter.
"This is safe enough", he said, smiling.
"Thanks," I said, taking the cup. I tried to sniff the contents. It seemed okay, so I drank some as he watched. Then, because I was thirsty, I finished it off.
In just a few minutes, the room seemed to be backing up with the noise and light receding. After that, things got stranger still and the next thing I remember…
It was a dark, quiet room. The bedclothes felt and smelled peculiar. My head pounded so hard I thought it might split in two. I grasped the sheet covering my partially naked body. In one ugly instant, I saw my clothes on the floor and dark-red stained sheets as I swung my legs over the side of the bed. Deep down, I knew that something very precious had been taken from me. I just had no idea at the time the impact that loss would have on my life.
I had been sure I was drinking just Coke, yet my head continued to pound as I pulled my jeans back onto my bruised legs. I tried to choke back my sobbing.
I knew in my heart that I must have had sex; only I couldn’t remember doing it. God, I breathed, please forgive me. I don’t want anyone to ever know.
I looked around at the remains from the party. Cups, cigarette butts, and overflowing ashtrays lay everywhere, and passed out people were strewn over everything. I had to find Emily.
It never occurred to me to call the police. I didn’t know what date rape was. I didn’t know the guy, or what had happened, really. All I knew was that I was somewhere I shouldn’t have been and I didn’t want to admit it.
I found Emily and tossed her my car keys as we headed for the door. I still wasn’t right, and my head was pounding. As we drove home, I told Emily about the Coke and waking up in the bed. The rest was too awful.
Later, I took a brief nap and woke wishing I had listened to the warning inside myself. My parents were going to be so disappointed in me.
A few months had passed, It was clear that there was a baby growing inside of me. I finally gave up running from God, and knelt down to pray. A feeling of peace overcame me and the conviction that I had to tell my parents, and ask their forgiveness and help. Somehow I knew that I wouldn’t be alone – that same night I approached my parents.
"Mom, Dad, I have something to tell you – I hope you will be able to forgive me."
I knew they would be deeply hurt, but I could see no other choice. I took a deep breath and told them everything. My mom had gone pale, and silent tears ran down her face. My dad looked angry, but sat motionless. I was thinking about how I’d planned to save myself for marriage, for the one that God had chosen just for me.
After what seemed like forever, I burst into tears, both from the relief of having finally told them, and from the pain of seeing their shocked reactions. But, in just a few seconds, their loving arms wrapped around me, and I could tell my parents were crying too. We sat that way for a long time, the three of us, and again I felt peace. They still would love me and would help me find the right solution.
Life went on. Both of my parents were angry – Dad was the angriest, but it turns out, not at me; at the guy. He told me that the boy who raped me had put drugs into my coke. He assumed that was why I couldn’t remember anything. It would be difficult to prove, but the pregnancy would help. They were upset but I had their love and forgiveness.
It’s been several months now. The police have been contacted, statements have been made, and charges have been formally pressed on the senior basketball player who was found with a few pills still in his possession.
We’re waiting for a nice young couple who will be coming to pick up their new beautiful, healthy, baby girl. She’s my baby, but will be to them their miracle child. For me, she’ll be a memory never forgotten and a hard lesson learned.
Sandra Gaddy currently works as a middle school reading and writing teacher. She works with teenagers on a daily basis. Ms. Gaddy hopes to one day be able to make a living writing stories that help adolescents understand what it is like to walk with Christ daily. You can write to Sandra through the Letters page of this magazine.
Send this Page To a friend!