“When we got back to Wal-Mart, I just wanted him to get the fuck out of my car. He sat in the passenger seat and asked me not to tell anyone. He finally got out. I wanted to teleport to another continent, but all I could do was back out of my parking spot and start driving.”
I worked at Wal-Mart as a cashier. One of my coworkers whom I had seen and talked to several times asked me to go get coffee after our shift. I was always up for some good conversation and agreed.
Thankfully (sort of), he asked me to drive. We got in my car and started to exit the Wal-Mart parking lot. I asked him where he would like to go. He said, “It’s a surprise. I will give you directions.” He started telling me where to turn and which way. I remember not being comfortable with this and I had a feeling something wasn’t right. I said, “You know what? Why don’t we just go to Country Kitchen?” I started driving in that direction.
I honestly cannot remember if I drove all the way to Country Kitchen or not. I just remember my heart starting to race and my breathing starting to get shallow. We were on our way back to Wal-Mart. Again, I can’t remember if he asked to go back or I just starting driving back. I can only remember my adrenaline pumping.
On the way back to Wal-Mart, he started to lean over to me. He was talking to me, but I can’t remember what he said. All I can remember was what he did. He began rubbing my neck and shoulders. I froze. I knew I was in a car on a backroad and I knew he could overpower me. His hand went from my neck, down under my shirt toward my chest. I pushed his hand away and said no. He put his hand on my thigh and began rubbing it. He started to slide it up under my skirt. I pushed his hand away and said no. I cannot remember how many times he repeated his actions. I only remember how he made me feel. Scared. Humiliated. Violated.
When we got back to Wal-Mart, I just wanted him to get the fuck out of my car. He sat in the passenger seat and asked me not to tell anyone. He finally got out. I wanted to teleport to another continent, but all I could do was back out of my parking spot and start driving. I began to cry. Sob. To the point where it was hard to breathe and I felt like I was going to vomit.
I called my friend and asked if I could come over. He could hear me crying and said yes. My drive to his house was a blur. I just remember pulling in his driveway and seeing him walk out of the house toward me. I got out of my car and walked toward him. He wrapped his arms around me in a hug and I just sobbed. Through my tears I told him what happened. He just held onto me and let me cry. I don’t remember anything he said. I just remember how he made me feel. Safe. Heard. Cared for.
I don’t think he ever understood the magnitude of what he did that night. I flashed back to laying on the trampoline with him in his backyard looking up at the sky and talking. To him making me laugh so hard my stomach hurt. His friendship, his hug kept me grounded. His embrace let me know that I would be okay when just minutes before my world was falling apart.
I went to the management at Wal-Mart and told them what happened. They said they couldn’t take any action against him because it happened off their premises. They provided me an escort to walk me to my car at night and told me to let them know if anything else happened. I thought about going to the police, but I knew it would be my word against his. I knew I allowed him to get in my car. I knew I didn’t try to kick him out. I knew he didn’t actually get to touch my breasts or vagina. I knew there was nothing that could be done, even if he attempted to violate me without my consent.
While knowing nothing could be done, I still had to see him in the store. Vomit would rise in my throat and my heart would start to race. He didn’t approach me though. One day I saw him with a woman and a child. His WIFE. I didn’t know he was married. I wanted to run up to her and tell her what happened, but my feet felt cemented in place.
A few months later I heard murmurings that he had done this to another coworker. I looked at her and knew what she was thinking and feeling. I wanted to hug her, but wanted to respect her privacy. A few years later, he did this to a minor and was finally charged. Three, if not more, women’s lives were forever changed by his actions.
It was just supposed to be coffee.
Photo: Flickr – Joi Ito