I was just 12 years old and excited that in three days I would be turning 13. I would finally be a teenager, and it was summertime. No school or studies to worry about, just fun. I was in a different town, spending the weekend with my best friend. We had become separated that school year when her parents divorced and she was whisked away to live with her father. When weekends approached, I would beg and plead with my mother to let me spend the weekend at my friends. I usually didn’t get my way with these requests, but using my upcoming birthday as part of my argument worked this time.
Though my mother didn’t know, my friend and I were mostly unsupervised and free to make all sorts of bad decisions together. We would walk to the corner store and buy cigarettes from a clerk with no morals, stay up all night, and usually find some sort of alcohol to drink. There was a boy who lived on the street behind her that I had a crush on. I knew nothing about him, except that I thought he was “cute” and that he was at least 3 to 4 years older than me.
I was too young and awkward for dating, but I still always tried to find out where he was. My friend and I would walk to the park where I would watch him shoot basketball, or to a small patch of woods where she and I would sit on a log together while he and a group of his friends would ride their bikes along the trails. Sometimes I would never find him, but either way no words were ever spoken between us. What was a 12-year-old girl to say? I had no idea if he even knew I was basically tracking him down, and thinking back- I am not sure my best friend knew either.
That weekend I ended up across the street with my friend. She had lived in that neighborhood most of the school year and was obviously comfortable visiting this home. No adults were present, just her, I and the boy who lived there. He was a couple of years older, but she knew him from school. We sat in the kitchen talking over a blaring radio while sipping on big gulps of cola from the corner store. At some point, I went into the living room to gather something from my purse. There I heard music that was even louder than what we were listening to in the kitchen. The music was coming from the second floor and it wasn’t concerning. I merely assumed another family member was busy living their life on a different floor of the house and turned back to return to the kitchen. It was at this point that everything changed.
The boy I was obsessed with was looking directly at me as he was making his way down the staircase. Along with the Ozzy Osbourne track he was so loudly playing, he pointed directly at me and in perfect sync with the lyrics of the song, mouthed “I am Iron Man”.
He was there and my heart and tummy certainly fluttered! I was three rooms away from my friend and standing there dumb founded. He said my name and I was astonished that he knew it, let alone that I existed. He approached me and told me that he was moving in there with his friend and there were two different rooms he could pick from. He wanted my opinion on which room to choose and would I come upstairs to check them out.
At a naïve 12 years of age, not one inkling of danger or ill thoughts entered my head. I blindly and eagerly followed him upstairs to give my advice on the “important decision” he needed to make. At the top of the steps a long hall way with doors lining each side presented itself. I was a bit impressed and envious of him being in the position of being able to pick a room to live with his friend.
He opened the second door on the left and stated that it was the room he was thinking of choosing because it was bigger and had more windows. I was starting to say something or ask a question when he shut the door and quickly slid a hook down that locked the door from the inside. It was at this point that I realized the utter stupidity of my innocence and trust in humans.
But there was no time for realizations as I was already thrown on the bed, pinned and half undressed. My fighting and yelling was drowned out by the music, but the pain I felt was louder and more intense than any Ozzy song.
No matter what I tried, I could not free my hands as “the cute boy” proceeded to rape me. Though it felt like forever, the same song was still playing when I was finally free to flee. Now that I am in my forties, the song still makes me sick; particularly the introduction where Ozzy declares, “I am Iron Man”.
However, I have turned into something stronger and more resilient that enables me to declare firmly that “I AM IRON WOMAN”.
This post was prompted via the word “flee”: Flee