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

shaking. And I knew then I must befriend them. Befriend them. They directed Carol away by sabre point. They demanded she sit down at one of the camps. They directed me by rifle point to the same spot. They brought out bottles of tequila and a joint rolled up in a newspaper the size of an arm. A party, no less. Jesus Christ. Befriend them. Stay rational. Befriend them. They passed the bottles and the joint around. I knew I couldn’t be stoned. I needed clarity. A process. My wits. I pretended to party, though. I looked in their faces, faintly expressing celebratory gaiety. I tried to make light conversation. Befriend them. Look happy. Befriend them. They won’t kill one of their friends. But John. Where was John? And thank you, oh thank you for my darkness. Surely they wouldn’t harm their own kind. My mind imagined the newspaper headlines: “College Coeds Raped and Slaughtered in Baja.” “Dgath Comes to Coeds.” And I was wondering what was next. What would it feel like? Where was John? What were they saying? Why hadn’t I taken Spanish instead of French? How the hell were we going to get out of this alive? And I was shaking. Shaking. There was never a question in my mind that these guys were going to kill us. I always thought they would ... such a small, effortless movement ... one quick bend of the finger ... one quick thrust. That was clearly the reason for the terror. I hardly even thought about them raping us. Hell, I’d barely considered rape to be a possibility in reality. But then I suddenly knew that they were going to rape us, and my head again changed. Not only did I believe our chances of survival would greatly increase, but ... well ... and this is the part that has always been so hard to own ... this rape was going to be my deflowering. I was a virgin. I was embarrassed about it. And I was facing my goddamn first sexual experience ... by weapon-point. I had been intensely frightened of sexual intercourse ... enough so that the fear had always been able to beat the passion down. It is ironic now, in retrospect. Passion soon after took the lead in my life and has been a problem ever since ... wrenching my life into flaming chaos. But I was a virgin. And being from a small, hot, valley town, where the whole concept of being or not being a virgin was quite significant, well, I was over-anxious about it. I had pretended that I was not a virgin at college ... in the hip Bay Area where I believed every girl had been fully expressing herself sexually since age 14. My virginity was one of the major issues of my life. I was curious. Very curious. And I was relieved that I would be leaving the world of virginity so anonymously. I was glad. And ashamed that I was glad. And over-anxious that I was so overanxious. It was embarrassing, but then I believe my mind was being my friend ... finding small pleasures ... distractions ... under the circumstances. The party was soon over. The boy with the sabre led Carol away to the first rape camp. My convulsing picked up, but still my mind ... my friend ... was terror-free. It was consumed with curiosity, survival plans, headlines ... curiosity. There was total silence. I stared at the remaining captor. He pointed his rifle at me and told me to remove my clothes. For a moment ... an absurd moment ... I was ashamed. I was overweight ... another major issue of my life ... and I didn’t want to bare myself because of it. And then I was further shamed that I could possibly be worrying about such a thing ... what a grotesque display of my superficiality. (Earlier we had offered them sodas from our ice chest. They came back with four Pepsi’s. I declined one. “Can I have Tab? I only drink Tab.” The absurdity.) I took off my clothes, ignoring my body completely. This boy lay on top of me. He couldn’t have been more than 16.1couldn’t really focus, but he didn’t gross me out. I turned my head away. He was almost tender. He kissed my frozen mouth. And the only violence ... straight, objective violence ... was the presence of the rifle ... albeit, a mighty presence. He grabbed my breasts. It didn’t hurt. He was obviously thrilled. And I was grasping for pleasure. I had to. It was mandatory. There had to be another perspective besides the how-soon- till-l-die one. I had to find pleasure here ... intricate ironies ... suck them out ... make it laugh ... anything ... I had to find another perspective. If I didn’t, I knew I’d snap right into something so horrifying ... so far away ... I’d never get back. I tried to come. I tried hard to come. I had to come. I tried. Hard. But I didn’t. And then it was over. There was total silence. I thought for certain Carol was dead. It was too quiet. I imagined her bloodied, punctured body. I couldn’t stand it. My mind was suddenly hit ... slapped ... dulled. Everything became faded ... very faded. Reactions were clearly going to be delayed for a long time now. I had no responses left ... just the shaking. Carol was not dead. Her sabred rapist came over to my camp, and my rifled rapist went to hers. I don’t remember the second encounter. I felt for Carol. I felt for John. I could no longer feel for myself. I wasn’t there anymore. John was not dead. They untied him and brought him back. He was folded ... looking down ... inward, closed, and lifeless. Tied up out of sight, his imagination ' had severely taunted him ... stretching the sounds into frightful monsters. We were bound up again and they drove around for about an hour ... throwing out everything we’d brought ... ripping out upholstery, panelling scavenging the insides of our van ... talking rapidly in Spanish. All I could hear was the word mort ... and I knew this meant death. I was shaking and waiting for our end. We sat in silence. And my mind came back and took another turn. I began to justify their actions. I was confused ... bleeding from the heart ... I needed some help ... a gimmick ... rationalization ... to digest this. I empathized with them. Our captors. I thought: well, after all, their life is impoverished and ugly, and we are the rich Americans with cassette decks and panelled vans. I would probably want to hurt us too. We were the oppressors ... not them. I couldn’t hate them. I wanted to understand. Oh, the pox of the educated ... understand ... then respond. We sat in more silence in the back of the van. Waiting. Convulsing. Hoping. Stunned. Waiting. How was my family going to take this ... my death ... slaughter and defilement? And if I survived, what would I be? Suddenly the van stopped. They untied us. They walked away. Just walked away. Gone. It was over. Over. echanically, the three of us got back in the front of the van. We didn’t know where we were but drove away. In silence. A few minutes later I broke the silence: “Shit.” That was all. We arrived at the American border. We told the guards what had happened. They -didn’t believe us. They would not assist us. They ordered us out of the van and searched it and us for drugs. They put me through a ridiculous, explanatory dance to prove I was not, indeed, a wetback senorita escaping into the promised land. I could easily justify hating them. I hated their power-bloated guts. We drove on. Back to Carol’s mother’s house. John and I dropped woodenly into two overstuffed chairs in the living room. Carol shuffled her mother off to tell her what had happened. There were uncomfortable looks. And more silence. Carol went to bed. John went to bed. I just sat there. Stunned. Frozen. About an hour later, Carol’s mother came into the living room. She looked at me impatiently. “My dear,” she said, “no use crying over spilt milk!” No use crying over spilt milk??? I could easily justify hating her. I suppose I slept some that night. I don’t know. The next morning Carol went off with her mother to a doctor. I wasn’t invited. John and I decided to fly back to school. We had no money and had to call our parents to wire some down. We decided to keep /uunor... i/wue& COOLM ta/c& care ofnze. kneor It. coor CL efferent the story clean. It would be stupidity to tell parents about the rape part. Rape. The word itself packs too mighty a punch. Rape. Scrape. Slice. There is so much violence in the sound of it. Rape. I knew it would tear my mother up. And it would shame my father. And make him angry .. . at me. John called and managed to stay calm. I called and didn’t ... my mental preparation falling prey to the warmth of my mother’s voice. I said, “Hi, Mom. Guess what happened?” and crumbled into quiet hysteria. She didn’t know how to react. Rape. Rape. She told me later that she Clinton St. Quarterly 9