My Rapist’s House
My rapist’s house had an old wood panel exterior.
The wood was stained dark from rain and mildew.
It was almost completely canopied by old slash pines so no grass grew out front.
A rickety old chain-link fence had been haphazardly installed near the road.
The inside was all brick and wallpaper; Very 90s. The house was typical, except most of the lights were off, the shades always drawn. It was built a lot like a trailer would be; elongated with rooms off to either side. The kitchen and living room were squeezed in the middle, with refrigerator awkwardly straddling them on it’s own island, creating a sort of center separator. This combination made the kitchen in the middle of the house especially stark, a tiny square of linoleum swimming in a sea of dirty carpeting.
I’d been there many times before. Even then, ahead of those first moments of terror, I’d gone there willingly. The girl who was never good enough, with a guy who was almost 10 years her senior. An attractive older guy, tatted up, popular, and best of all he seemed really into me. He’d sneak me into a club or I’d skip school & we’d stay in bed together all day.
Even on this horrible day, I thought that he was trying to make me feel special, by having one of his boys come pick me up; He said he was having a party.
I’d walked in passed less than a dozen people in the living room, watching an old wood box TV with no sound, music blaring in the background. It didn’t seem like one of his normal parties, everyone was sullen, disconcerted.
When his friend told me in the car that the man I liked to think of as my boyfriend was “in a mood today” I felt like something was off, but I didn’t realize I was really in trouble until I was standing in the kitchen.
When he took me down to the ground, I dropped a glass of water I’d been holding. When he handcuffed me to the old, yellowed, refrigerator, I cut my knees. The spilled water pool below me was now a shallow red sea, my small body floating above it.
The music was loud, but my screams were louder. The people of the living room watched the silent TV, without pause. Some eventually found their way into the kitchen, but they were not there to rescue me.
I don’t remember how of them many had me, I don’t really even remember how long I was there. I do remember that it was dark when I left. It took me over two hours to walk home, dazed and bleeding. I’m still not sure why no one pulled over to help me, I guess I just looked like a messy girl with skinned knees.
I still live in that same town.
It took me over 10 years to go back to that place. For most people, I suppose, never going back seems the more likely scenario. I was in therapy at the time and had recently been diagnosed with PTSD, with the most extreme symptoms stemming from this event. I hadn’t planned the trip and I’m not really sure what I was looking for but when I turned down that street something very strange happened.
The house wasn’t there.
This was certainly the right road. I’d driven passed it so many times in the years since I’d stumbled away from this horrid place.
I turned around to pass by again.
The slash pines were still standing tall, even part of the old chain-link fence was hanging on.
I parked my car on the side of the road and got out. The smell hadn’t changed, it almost made me sick.
I walked across the street and onto the property. Beyond the first layer of pine the driveway opened up what was developing into a small subdivision.
The situation seems obvious as I type it out now but I think I was just so overwhelmed that I couldn’t comprehend what was actually going on.
A man in a big shiny red Ford pick up pulled along side me and asked if I needed anything, I guess I looked a bit dumbfounded. Ironic that someone immediately pulled over to aide me in this moment, instead of before.
I told him that I was looking for someone who I thought used to live in a house that didn’t seem to be here anymore. He nodded and said that the house was torn down to make room for these houses being built. I didn’t quite go numb, but it’s difficult to describe the feeling you get when such a horrible place from your life is literally wiped off the face of the earth. He said some things about the family that lived there when his company bought the company, but I didn’t really hear him after that point.
I went straight to my therapist afterwards and told her all about it. I was elated, but honestly, there was also a tinge of disappointment. I will never know if seeing that house again, being near it, even being inside it again, would have helped me in my letting go of the situation. I do know that most people in the same situation would tear that house down in a second if given the opportunity. In this case, a random construction company was able to do it for me, never realizing the magnitude of what they were actually doing.
I don’t know where he is today and frankly, I don’t want to know. I didn’t even really know his full name. At least I know the only time I’ll ever have to see my rapists’ house again, is if it’s in my nightmares.
And hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to demolished those as well.