Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 8 No. 2 | Summer 1986 (Seattle) /// Issue 16 of 24 /// Master# 64 of 73

y t has been 11 years exact- ly ... one decade plus one ... since I lost my virginity through rape within the first few hours of a spring vacation in Baja, California. It has been two years since a relationship that was straining to last forever, exploded after four years and died. He said it was because I actually hated him all along. Because I hated men. Because of Baja. I said, “Eek.” One year ago I became infatuated with a member of the highly disciplined literary intelligentsia. He was utterly convinced that the only way to keep wild, let alone terrorized, psyches intact was through cathartic writing. “Write about Baja!” he implored. “Only then shall you be released!” I thought: Why is he talking to me? Did I have a terrorized psyche? Nine months ago I began writing about my night in Baja. Perhaps the 10- year-old terror ... the terror that had controlled my life for four hours more completely by far than anyone or anything ever has . . . the terror that was instantaneously stuffed into an IGNORE FOR NOW file in the e fficie n t blocking system of my brain ... perhaps that terror was actually powering the movement of the keys. Perhaps that terror had organically matured and already been quietly released. Or perhaps that terror still sits within ... rotted and runny. All I really know is that terror was ... and I felt it. So ... atrocities may simply be too large for the human imagination to grasp, but having lived one, I’ve got to try. So here I grasp.... 'y t was spring break from college, 1971. Carol, John, and I were going off this year ... south of the border ... down Mexico Way. I’d known Carol since the first week of school, two and a half years before, and we’d both known John for a year and a half. Carol was a pale, soft- “yttrooitieA ore wr/y^yy too /ar^o for fA& /uonao ima^oiatioo. to jyrasf-. a roio/t, feofde i/uyA,, or- eaxuso t/iem (oit/i neo- OOOAyyuyyy/e& ...” spoken, and extremely active friend whom I had lured through my darkness and sparks. She was yellow ... sun-yellow ... and she shone. But Carol was somehow pitless, like the part of California from which she hailed . .. the southern section ... no clouds and no shading. John was little, warm, and wonderful. John was one of the empathetic souls whose hearts live as strongly for bunson burners, car-sick pills.... friends as for self. Perhaps more so, which may have been the cause of his loneliness. His heart overwhelmed you. His warmth intimidated you. And his stomach was always churning as he walked the thin edge just this side of despair. Then there was me. Nineteen years old, smalltown, and starving ... for something bigger, smarter, and not so damn flat. I had tasted my first bit of sophistication at a great western university, and it had moved me ... right into chaotic confusion. The first person I met as a college student was a depressive. She coped with the perplexing independence of life away from home by wallowing. And even though I don’t think I even knew what depression was ... smalltowns rarely acknowledge psychology ... I copied her. And my confusion, hencefortl}, had a name. Comely coedness hadn’t fit. Radical politicality hadn’t fit. But gloom. Gloom was easy. We hated ... and we made fun. It fit well. So, the three of us were off ... the shy ones ... going south of the border in our borrowed van with our borrowed tape deck, King Crimson tapes, ice chest filled with sugared and sugar-free sodas, marijuana well hidden, We left late in the afternoon from Carol’s mother’s house in San Diego. We crossed the border with no trouble and drove about 60,miles into Baja before deciding to stop for the night on a small beach. Darkness was approaching. We pulled in, turned on the cassette deck, laid out our sleeping bags, smoked a joint, started a small fire, and relaxed, watching the waves fluoresce, turning shades of red as the hot sun set. The pitiful ramshackle poverty we had passed was but a fleeting wound. It was ugly, but we were strictly on vacation. Our political dedication was flimsy. Suddenly something made me turn around.. -.away from the stunning beauty of the waves sparkling within this Mexican sunset. There was a movement in the brush behind us. I saw two male figures wearing full-face black masks, walking over the small hills. They were screaming, “Viva Zapata!” I saw a longbarreled rifle and a golden-and- ruby-jewelled sabre. They pointed their weapons at us lying prostrate and screamed, “Don’t move!” Bam! There was a major movement in my mind. Everything changed. Instantaneous terror. I was jacked right into high speed. Stay rational. Stay rational. But those weapons. The terror. My body immediately began convulsing ... subtly .... incessantly. My bddy grabbed the terror and housed it, leaving my mind comparatively free to devise plans ... for my survival. And my mind searched efficiently like a supercharged, finely tuned motor. And this search pulled my life more tightly by far than anyone or anything ever has ... for four hours. The two teenage bandidos bound, gagged, and blindfolded the three of us and shoved us into the back of the van. Thev drove off, stopping 20 minutes later, at a house. One went in, then came out. We drove on. We soon stopped again. Somewhere. A dark stretch of beach. They took off our gags and blindfolds. One hustled John away. The other got out our sleeping bags and set up two camps. John was gone. I heard Spanish chatter. I heard John angry and pleading. Stop it. Stop it, you motherfuckers. Just stop it. John. John. I was with John. I knew they were taking him off to his death. I thought I heard gunshots. I thought they got John. I couldn’t believe it. My mind switched into a higher gear, and my body switched into a more convulsive Clinton St. Quarterly ■ " , I ——— — ,1 ,. Drawing by Mary Robben