A couple of weeks ago I attempted to strike a lighthearted note by giving advice on being “that kid.” There are obviously many dangers of drinking There was one night when I was the poster-child of the dangers of drinking too much. I received a lot of compliments on the posting and a couple of complaints. I also received an e-mail from one of my good friends asking me to recount her own story. For obvious reasons she asks for anonymity. I tried to keep my editorial hand as light as possible to let her voice and story shine through as clear as possible, but with her permission I edited for consistency and clarity:
Close to winter break I made plans with a good friend of mine to go into the city [Manhattan] to meet for some drinks with a couple other friends who had graduated the year before. It was freezing that night, literally. The coat I was wearing was too light for the cold and did nothing to stop the wind from penetrating. I got to my friend’s apartment a little after 9. We ordered dinner and I clearly remember not wanting to eat too much because I hate the heavy feeling of alcohol and food. We got the call to meet our friends at a bar in the west village. The bar was one of those little dive bars that you don’t really find too often in New York, peanut shells on the floor, a pool table in the back, and plenty of creepy men to keep us on our guard. We left the bar relatively late, the whiskey shots that some guy had bought for us kept me warm as we made our way to the Christopher Street subway station to go back home.
Without thinking I decided I would ride the train with my friend back to her apartment so that she wouldn’t be alone on the subway at night. We got to her stop, said goodnight, and I realized just how drunk I was and how I had never taken this particular train before. I saw that the train stopped at a station I was familiar with and decided I would just transfer, but there was major construction on the subway that weekend and the train passed it. I could feel myself getting drunker, but I couldn’t quite comprehend the gravity of my situation. The train made it’s way deeper into the Bronx, station stops I had only heard about on the news passing by me.
I decided to get off and ask for directions, not remembering that I didn’t have enough money on me for another subway pass. It didn’t matter because the station attendant told me that it would take at least three buses to get to where I was going and I didn’t have the money, so I decided to walk. The wind had picked up since I left the bar and the warm feeling from the whiskey had long since vanished but the drunk stayed. My hands hurt from the cold, even buried deep in my pockets, and all I wanted was to be in my too small room. The fireman I passed told me I was hiding in the right direction; so did the policemen on patrol that night. Why I didn’t ask them to take me home is something I still don’t know the answer to. Further along the road, barely able to stand and so cold that I hurt, I found a group of people standing around a car. I asked for directions once more. One of them, a man probably in his 30s told me he knew where I was headed and offered to take me there. I accepted.
The car was warm and I was thankful I found someone to take me home, so I fell asleep. I woke up when the man prodded me. Through the sleep in my eyes I looked around. The clock on his dashboard said 5:26 in that burnt orange color that I hate. There was nothing outside I recognized and we were in the driveway of a house that wasn’t mine. He answered me without me asking, “I just have to pick something up.” I got down with him because he said it would take a while. The house was one of those generic pre-fab houses: ugly brick exterior, dirty tile floors, walls blank except for a big screen television straight out of the nineties. There was a cot on the floor below a window where he said I should rest. I got in and he crawled in after me. I recognized what was happening, but I didn’t know what to do. I pretended to be asleep; he moved in closer. I turned over away from him; he started kissing the nape of my neck. I need to stop this. His hands were around my pants. I gathered my strength.
“Stop.” I could barely keep my eyes open. I wanted to stop pretending to be asleep and just pass out for real. He did offer to drive me home. “Stop.”
I woke up, and he offered to take me home. The clock on the dashboard of his car read 6:47 when he dropped me off.
I went to the clinic a couple of times after that. I’m fine, thankfully, and really I’m not as angry about it as I thought I would be. I’m not even really sad. It’s hard to put a name to the emotion that that memory conjures up. I think the closest would be stunned; stunned that it could happen to me; that it could be so quiet. I never reported it because I don’t know where I was, what his name was, or even the kind of car he drove. Only my very good friends know. I don’t want that to happen again, so remember: yes, it can happen to you. Don’t be that kid when you’re alone. It only takes one bad night to learn these lessons, let my bad night be yours.
Photo courtesy of evoo73 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)