This is for my daughter. I am writing this in the computer lab at USC where I am working on my MSW. It seems fitting to be doing this here because it was at a computer in Citrus College where I wrote this same narrative for my parents.
In the summer of 1993 I was 21 years old and living in a duplex in the city of Long Beach, California. The internet was so new that it did not exist in my life. My phone was the clear Lucite wall phone that showed all the inner workings. Cable television was still a novelty to me. I had a black and white television that only got one channel, and somehow only worked when “Leave it to Beaver” was on. My parents and brother were in Colorado and I was taking summer school classes because I had nothing better to do with my time.
I was lonely.
I was bored. I had read everything I could find and painted everything I could think of.
Also, I was unemployed and had $700 in savings which I thought was a fortune. (I still kinda do).
When a friend called and said there was a party at a motel that was otherwise closed for major repairs, I was all in. My friend came and picked me up and we drove together, but I quickly lost track of him in the crown of mostly under aged drunk partiers. I quickly assessed the situation and realized that I was over 21 and there were minors with alcohol. This was not the party for me. I could not find my friend so I headed over to the motel office where another friend/acquaintance was manning the desk and doubling as security guard while the motel was closed. We hung out in the office for a while but I was tired and all of my sociability had drained away. (I still only like being around people for about 15 minutes before I want everyone to disappear.)
I was given a room key and told that if he saw the friend who had given me a ride, he would call my room and make sure I got home safely.
I entered the room, put my flowered denim backpack on the floor between the beds, removed my shorts and bra and was asleep in indies and t-shirt before my head hit the pillow. I awoke a few hours later to discover that I was no longer alone. The security guard was standing at the end of my bed.
My first thought was that I must not have heard the phone ring, or a knock on the door so he was here to wake me up and make sure I connected with my friend.
That is not why he was there.
In a calm and steady voice he told me – he didn’t whisper, yell, or threaten, he just said the words “If you want to leave this room you have to fuck me first.”
I was still mostly asleep and confused, so I did what every girl does when she wakes up – I headed for the restroom.
He met me at the foot of the beds and pounced. He pushed me back on the bed where I was sleeping and my head hit the window airconditioner. He “pounced” ( the most accurate word I could find ) on me and I had the presence of mind to be embarrassed that his sudden body weight caused me to wet myself. As he kept trying to kiss me and reach under my shirt, I was focused on the feeling of warmth spreading up my back and toward my hair. I couldn’t understand what was going on and why anyone could be aroused by a woman lying in a puddle of her own piss.
At some point I passed out. I woke up on my side and mostly trapped under his body. Foul stinky breath snored and snorted in my ear. He awoke as soon as I tried to move. He kissed me on the cheek and told me I was wonderful. As he walked out of the room he tossed me his hat and said that the cleaning girls would be mad when they saw the mess I had made.
I asked about my ride home and he told me that the party had broken up before he came to my room. Apparently he told my friend that he would get me home. – Again, pre-cellphone days. In modern times a few texts would have changed my life. As it was, my room phone was out of service. The phones had been turned off because the motel was closed.
I took a shower, washed my shirt and threw away the ruined underwear. I put my flowered blue and white shorts back on and tossed on my Grand Bethel Girl t-shirt. I slipped my red Keds back on and walked down to the office where I asked to borrow the phone.
He said I didn’t need to. He had already called his mother and explained that we had “Hooked up” and she was on her way to come get me.
After I got home, I did not mention this to anyone. I did not say a word. As in, I literally did not say a word. My phone went unanswered and my voice mail quickly filled before the calls stopped coming. My family was out of state so I could avoid them. The guy I had been dating assumed I ghosted him.
I did not say a word.
I had no words.
I had no context for what had happened.
The week before Grand Bethel – a state wide convention for my social sorority , I decided that my “look-a-like” dress that was made of a bedsheet was really just screaming for someone to have sex in it. This was 2 weeks before the motel incident. I was not a virgin, but I was pretty much a sexual novice. I tell you this because timing is everything.
I knew I was not a “one night stand” kind of girl, so when the security guard called and told me that he loved me and that we were now dating, I went with it. I felt so guilty about the sex that I thought I could only annul the guilt if I told myself it was part of a relationship. And, like with everything, I threw myself into it and tried to make it work. I couldn’t put my finger on why I hated this man so much. I hated him, I hated his family, and I still hate the city of Norwalk. I was so happy to stop working this year at a place that kept sending me to Norwalk for trainings!
My parents came home from Colorado. I moved back home and dropped out of college. I had never returned to my summer classes after the motel and I no longer cared. Other things about me had changed too. I was angry and defensive, and I couldn’t stand to be touched. Before this I had been a hugger and anyone could lean on me on a couch or car ride. I could not be alone in a car or a room with my brother or Dad or any of my guy friends. . . and pretty much, most of my friends were guys.
That next January I was in a theater, not being leaned on my my friends, when I felt crazy butterflies in my stomach. The next day was the Northridge earthquake and I took a pregnancy test – thinking “I’m already shook up, why not”. I was pregnant.
In the months I skipped over I had also skipped my period and sometimes spotted but the doctor told me it was probably stress, or the flu. I chose not to press the matter.
So, here I was pregnant and the guy I had been dating was pretty deep into a relationship with his soon to be first wife. I told the security guard and he started planning our wedding. I wanted to die. I told him I was thinking about adoption and he said he would block it and raise our “love child” himself.
I had one option. At the age of 22, with no college degree and a minimum wage job at Mervyn’s, I became a mother. I tried involving security guy, I had still ever told anyone what happened to bring him into my life but I thought I could do this. A baby needed 2 parents but nobody needed to be raised by him alone. Pretty swiftly I discovered that I still really hated him, did not trust him, and he was making choices about my daughter that I was unhappy with. He returned her once with so much cold medicine in her that she slept for 18 hours. He said he didn’t need to read the instructions, but could give her as much as he decided she needed. Before I was 23 I had shut him out as much as I could. My mother would still invite him to see the baby at her house while I worked. I discovered this sometime after I returned to Citrus College and that is why I wrote this out the first time. . . I needed her to understand why I wanted him away from us since she did not respect my words at face value.
I was not the awesome mother I wanted to be. I was the best mom I could be. I tried so hard. She was the center of my world and I worried over her like a loose tooth. I was on the PTA, and a Girl Scout leader, she had the master bedroom, and I tried to be everything she needed but I also felt like I was being forced and punished. My mother second guessed and criticized everything and constantly told me that she should have been raising her because I was too terrible a person to be a mother. Maybe I am . I loved her from the moment I learned about her and I still think I made the best choice for her.
He wanted to get back together. He broke into my apartment. He wrote me letters. In one letter he said “I think I can understand why you hate me. I think I understand that you might think what I did to you was a rape”.
18 months later and for the first time I had a word for it.
I hated it.
I researched it. I thought about it all the time. I threw up a lot. I ate even more. I gained 100 pounds. I discovered that it takes years for a rape trial and the conviction rate is dismal.
I was still poor. I went on public assistance to provide for my daughter while I worked 2 jobs and went to 2 schools to complete my degree. Public assistance does this thing where they do Paternity testing on the absent parent. The first results said she wasn’t my daughter. We had to do it again and he claimed her before I could see the second set of results. The government would not release the results to me and said they had what they wanted and I had no rights to them. But I still had hopes that she wasn’t his biological child.
The Other Guy I had been dating got married and had two daughters. The youngest daughter looks like a twin to mine. 18 years after we broke up, we got back together and had a daughter of our own. Darla and Jackie look like twins separated by time.
The Other Guy has done the math and doesn’t care. He said he was happy that he did not have to pay for her. So clearly, and for so many reasons that are and are not related to how I changed after the motel, the Other Guy is out of my life again and we are all the better for his absence.
Some part of me still has hope, though, that he is the biological father and that my daughter was not made in a puddle in a rank motel.
And now you know why I Give 2 Answers to “Who’s the Daddy”