Round 17 1/2
It’s funny what music can do. This morning I was listening to “Open” by The Cure. “This used to be my song…” I said. I was lost in the words of the song, in memories. Suddenly, shocking myself even more than my husband, who was sitting next to me, I threw a nearby object against the wall, in rage.
I’m a “thrower”. When I lose my temper, I throw things. As evidenced by the state of my bedroom walls. But why did this song make me slip so rapidly, with no warning, into pure rage? The simplest answer is that the feelings described in the song are too real for me. And suddenly, I was talking to M, telling him a remarkable story that I’ve kept mostly to myself over the years. Largely because, it is so utterly remarkable I have feared not being believed.
But… I have already exposed myself to that kind of doubt by writing this book. In for a penny, in for a pound.
While I lived with “Troy” (names all changed as in The Lemay Leveller) we spent most of our time together, but sometimes went different ways for several hours at a time with our separate friends.
On one such occasion, I was out with some friends from Oakville, an area of South County, STL, not too far from Lemay. Derek and Laura, both several years my senior, and I, were on our way to Laura’s dealer’s house. I didn’t know them, but I was unconcerned, being used to drugs and their transactions.
When we reached the house, in an area that I was unfamiliar with, we knocked and went inside. The house’s owner, the dealer, was there with three other men, all of them in their 20's. I was 15.
I stood idly by as the bartering went on. Then Laura and Derek came to talk to me. Laura squeezed my arm and told me not to worry. But they were leaving me as collateral while the two of them went to get some money from a friend. Swallowing, I nodded, and resolved to be as brave and confident as Troy would have been in that situation. And importantly to note: To be treated with the same respect that Troy naturally commanded.
I walked over to a table and chairs in the living room, and sat down. Laura and Derek left.
I didn’t know the four men I was with, but I tried, unsuccessfully, to make conversation. They were staring at me as if I were an exhibit in a zoo, I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. They were whispering to each other about me, in front of me.
Then the dealer came over and sat down next to me. Slowly, he drew a gun up and over the edge of the table, until it was pointing at me. “So are we going to have sex?” He asked. I was stunned for a moment, stunned at the sudden aggressive turn of events. And then, quicker than a blink of my eye, it changed, and I was not in a rage, I was rage. In that second I picked up a bowl on the table and hurled it in fury at the wall opposite me. And then he was the one in shock, and in that moment of confusion, I brought my fist down on his wrist and took the gun, pointing it at him directly. It all happened so fast. The room was utterly silent, all the whispers about me suddenly coming to a rapid stop.
I stood up but never took my eyes off the dealers face, my arms out, pointing the gun at him. I told him to get up and go join the others on the sofa. He did. Then I stood in the middle of the room, holding a gun on four men I didn’t know. There was a moment when I wondered if I would be able to get through this, but I pushed that thought out of my head, out of necessity. I concentrated on holding my arms without showing that they were wanting to shake from the weight of the gun, and the weight of the moment.
I sat with my back against a wall opposite them on their sofa, gun between us. I didn’t respond when they spoke to me. Thankfully, within several minutes of me watching them, Laura and Derek came through the front door, mouths dropping to the floor when they walked in on this bizarre scene. I saw the men on the sofa visibly exhale when Laura and Derek walked into the house. Laura started shouting at the dealer as I explained why I was holding a gun on them, Derek urged me to move but for a moment I didn’t want to relinquish the gun. However I did, setting it down on the table I had originally been sitting next to. I walked out of the house with Derek, leaving Laura and the dealer shouting behind me. I burst into delirious laughter, shocked and almost giddy from what had just happened. Derek laughed too and called me a crazy bitch… I just laughed and sighed and thanked God and myself that I had not been raped.
That night, I returned to Troy, and with much hesitation, I told him of the day’s events. He was shocked, and furious, and wanted to kill them. I couldn’t remember where exactly I had been, so I couldn’t give him any identifying information. I don’t think I would have been eager to, even if I could. It was a danger that had passed, and I didn’t want him to put himself in any more danger than he usually did. Initially he was just furious that this had happened to me, but later, when he had calmed down, he told me that he was proud of me for reacting as I did. I was glad he was proud of me. It was what I always wanted. A childhood full of studying my military roots and months spent learning by watching Troy had served me well. I could take care of myself.
The moral of the story being, that it’s not always bad to be a Thrower.