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Stephen Hill - Part XIV
Eingestellt am 28. 05. 2018 22:23

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That moment when her father came in was hard. She felt like crying, she felt like running to him and weep onto his shoulder. She wanted to fall apart inside his arms, but she had no idea of how to do that.
“Are you ill?” her father asked hesitantly.
She wanted to say Yes!, she wanted to reply Come and hold me!, but instead she just nodded and said that she was tired. Her father, again unsure of what the best reaction was, slowly left her room and closed the door behind him. Jessica buried her face in a pillow and screamed into it.
She lay there for another hour, after that she picked herself up and stumbled into the bathroom. She took the longest shower she had ever taken, washing and scrubbing her body as if it was covered in permanent ink. She knew that the time she took in the bathroom would add to the confusion her dad felt about the whole situation, but she just couldn’t care about that now. When she turned off the water and dried herself, she saw her naked body in the mirror. She couldn’t help it: she still felt dirty.

The rest of the day was waiting: waiting for the day to end, waiting for her thoughts to disperse and waiting for her father to come in and say: “This needs to stop. We need to be a family again, now more than ever!”. But none of it happened: the afternoon and the evening dragged on and on, her mind would stay fixated on the events in shoichyokoi’s home and her father didn’t come back. And when the day finally turned into night, she was too high-strung to fall asleep. She relived the scene over and over again: the moment she woke up, the realization that shoichiyokoi had sneaked into the room and had put his finger (or his dick?!?) into her and his ghostlike and speedy disappearance. Jessica spent the night working herself up into a frenzy, wondering if he had not only molested, but maybe even raped her. She wondered if he had ejaculated into her and she wondered if there was a chance that she might be pregnant. She thought about buying a pregnancy test the next day, after school maybe, she saw herself at one of these health clinics from Planned Parenthood, wanting to get an abortion but being unable to kill the baby inside of her, and she thought how delighted Mrs. Fronto would be when she found out that Jessica really was pregnant (“See, I knew that girl was in trouble!”). She thought about how her Dad would react to the news of her teenage pregnancy, and that it would be the end of her. She thought about how everyone would blame the family situation and maybe her father or her mother (“Not for nothing, but when a child goes wrong, look first to the family”). She thought about how that baby would ruin her life, how people would refer to the baby as “that’s that rape kid, isn’t it?” and how friends, teachers and even strangers would look the other way or cross the street if she walked along there with the baby carriage. Jessica let her imagination run wild to the point that exhaustion took control of her and she finally did fall asleep at almost 2am.

When she got up at 7am in the morning, she still felt knocked out. But she was too scared of spending the day in bed and so she took a shower, got ready and walked into the kitchen as if it was a normal day. Her dad was already sitting there, reading the newspaper and eyeballing her from behind the arts section.
“You know”, he finally found the courage to say, “if you don’t feel well, you shouldn’t go to school. I mean, you don’t have to if you don’t want to!”
“I’m okay”, Jessica replied, and poured some milk over her bowl of cereals. In silence, they both continued eating their breakfast until finally Jessica got up again and picked up her bag.
“Bye”, she said as she left and her father was so perplexed at this form of communication that he mistook it for something more meaningful.
“You too, honey”, he said, still nonplussed by Jessica’s behavior.
As Jessica sat in the subway, she realized that the shock was finally subsiding and that she was forcing herself to be less dramatic about the whole issue.

Okay, she thought, it’s unlikely that he raped me, he probably just put the tip of his finger inside me, after all, I have a light sleep, I probably woke up pretty fast after he started doing what he was doing. But what now? What now? Is this even sexual harassment, I mean, legally? Would I be within my rights to sue him? Hey, wait a minute, I don’t even know his real name, maybe I can try to find it out, later, this afternoon. Well, boys will be boys, right, maybe he already feels more than ashamed about it, I wonder if he tried to contact me already over the internet, maybe he sent me a private message, saying how sorry he was. Maybe this is all one big misunderstanding, what if he didn’t do anything? Who am I supposed to talk to about what happened? And after all, I did kiss him on the cheek before I went to bed, I called him ‘my life saver’, I wonder how that would play in a courtroom, the guys from the defense would probably argue that I asked for it, because I kissed him on the cheek and because I got undressed. And if I told my dad, maybe he’d say something like “Well, if you behave like a slut, don’t wonder if they treat you like one”. I did stay at his flat, I didn’t turn down his offer. “You did not know the boy”, the lawyers will say, “you did not know the boy, and yet you decided to sleep at his place. Why? Why? And further, when you saw that his parents weren’t there, when you saw that it was just the two of you, why did you decide to stay? Why?

When Jessica reached her station, she got off and walked on to campus. Now more than ever did she notice that she didn’t have any real friends at Ayn Rand. There was no one waiting for her, nobody to ask how her weekend was, how the convention in Philly was, how it turned out with that Internet friend. There was no one. People left and right from her were laughing and chatting away with their friends, be it in person or over the cell phone. They talked about their weekends, which they had either spent together or with other friends outside from this school. They talked about their weekends with their fathers and mothers, with their sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles, they took these big and happy families for granted. Sure, they complained a little about this or that relative, they rolled their eyes at this or that joke, but the overall message always was the same: My life is great. And in light of these conversations it only became clearer to Jessica: her life was not great. She was a mess. Her father was a mess. And she had no idea of how to fix it.

The day at school passed her by. She silently sat through all of her classes, talked to no one, didn’t raise her hand once and couldn’t care less about her Manga drawings. Everything about those drawings would have reminded her of what had happened, and now even the tiniest Manga reference had the power to set her off, to make her think about what had happened. On her way home she got more and more angry, and the lust for revenge got bigger and bigger. Her first idea was to post an open letter into the chat room, telling all the other members what a disgusting person shoichiyokoi actually was. But then she figured how easy it would be for shoichiyokoi to change his alias, his avatar, and to continue doing what he was doing, which was to sexually prey on innocent girls like herself. No, no, an open letter was not a good idea.
When she got home, she came up with another plan. She wanted to identify him by his real name. She had his cell phone number, but the profile picture of his messenger service was not his face, but that of a Manga Character. His profile on the chat room also didn’t reveal any useful information about his identity. All the information that she had on him was his avatar: shoichiyokoi. She tried to google that name, and the search engine asked her if she meant Shoichi Yokoi, a real person who had been a Sergeant in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Jessica typed the name into the search engine again, but this time, she put it in brackets. Most of the results that she got were referring her to the chat room from which she knew him, but there was also another page about Manga drawings, which had a user called shoichiyokoi. When she went on that page and found the account of shoichiyokoi, she recognized his face immediately. And this time, his civilian name was mentioned, too: Hansuke. His family name was not given in full, but the first letter was a G. Jessica googled ‘Japanese family names’ next and found out that the most common Japanese family names were Go, Goda, Goto and Goya. She tried all four of these family names in combination with shoichiyokoi’s first name: Hansuke Go, Hansuke Goda, Hansuke Goto and Hansuke Goya. After each search she checked the pictures Google was offering, and it was the name of Hansuke Goto that produced the desired result. It was a picture of shoichiyokoi inside an amateur radio station. He was wearing headphones and talking into a huge microphone, the walls were covered with egg cartons. The caption read: Hansuke Goto goes on air for the broadcasting of his radio program. When Jessica clicked on to the page where the picture was at, she discovered that shoichiyokoi was hosting a radio program at his High School in Philadelphia, the Martin Luther King High School in Fairmount, Philadelphia. Gotcha, Jessica thought, and a feeling of triumph took hold of her. She had identified his real name and the school he was going to, it was only a matter of time until she’d find out his real address. But she wasn’t quite sure what to do with this information. Report him to the police?

Although she hadn’t admitted it to herself yet, it was clear to her that she wouldn’t go to the police. She was afraid of all that it involved: giving testimony, involving the parents, maybe being shown on the news or in the papers, meeting shoichiyokoi again, standing in a courtroom, reliving the past. She didn’t want to do that. But she wanted to send shoichiyokoi a message, she didn’t want to confine herself to the role of the victim, she wanted to fight back, lash out, make him think about what he did so that hopefully he would never do anything like that to anybody else ever again.
She went online again to look for a company that would produce stickers for a reasonable price, a company that also offered the possibility to design stickers. She found one with a creator studio, and she started designing. She found a cartoon of a human claw that looked quite scary. She put this image at the top of her sticker and wrote the following text to go along with it: Hansuke Goto is a rapist! Watch out! She chose a black frame for the sticker and then she checked how much she would have to pay for a hundred of them. It would have meant using up all her savings but for the moment she thought it was worth it. She imagined herself going to Hansuke’s High School in Philly and plaster the whole area with those stickers. But what if someone catches me doing it? Wasn’t that defamation? Cold he sue her for doing that? Would she end up in prison?

All these thoughts made her shy away from that plan, too. She finally felt that she didn’t really have a choice. Coming forward and really report a rape to the police wouldn’t work. She had no witnesses, she only had her testimony, her word against his, and there was no biological proof that he did something to here. Even if she went to the hospital now and had a doctor use a rape kit on her, they wouldn’t find anything. And what would the people at school think of her? She’d be considered a slut, people would talk even less to her than they were already doing now. And her father? He’d be dragged into this, people at his university would find out, too, and then they would say that his daughter was a slut and that he had probably been reading too much French fiction to her. No, no, the best thing was to let the whole thing slide, get it over with. Forget that it even happened and go on with her life. After all, the only thing that mattered now was her family! What family? She had become so estranged form her father, they were living completely separate lives to the point that the word family seemed totally inappropriate. She didn’t know her mother and even if she found her, it was probably not the best way to start a conversation: Hi, Mom, I know we’ve never met, but I’d like to tell you the story of how a guy put his finger inside of me while I was asleep. Well, but if family was the only thing that could heal her, then she had to start talking to her father more. They would have to have a relationship again.

When the sun was setting over the city, Jessica booted her laptop again. She set out to find chat rooms for rape victims. One was called Pandora’s box and it had a list of steps to take after a rape. Get to a safe place! was rule number one. She had already messed that one up, since she had just run out on the street and back to the central station. Get help! was advice number two. It was too late for that one, too. She should have gone straight to the police, she knew that now. Do not shower, wash your hands, change your clothes, brush your teeth, etc.! Now it seemed to Jessica as if she had made a conscious effort to make every possible mistake that you could make after a sexual assault. Get counseling! was the last and only advice for which it wasn’t too late.
Jessica signed up to that website in order to get into one of the chat rooms so that she could tell her story and talk to women who had experienced something similar. But as soon as she had entered that website, she started to feel ashamed of the pettiness of her story. There were girls who told how they had been and still were being assaulted by a close family member ever since they were twelve years old, there were girls who described in detail how they had been raped at gunpoint or drugged and then raped somewhere in an alley. All these stories made Jessica feel that she couldn’t compete, that she couldn’t bother those real victims with her little story. Boys be boys, that was all it was in comparison. She felt inclined to overdramatize the incident by calling it a possible rape, she was so keen on connecting to these girls and women, that she felt like she had to add a little to her story. But then she realized how ludicrous it was to think like that. So I haven’t been assaulted hard enough to become a member of this group, I couldn’t even get this right. She chuckled involuntarily and had to say it again to ascertain that she got the joke: I wasn’t raped enough to be a rape victim, haha.

She felt the bitterness of that joke and the giggly laughter soon turned into despair. All of a sudden she felt empty and lonely, but what made it even worse was the fact that she realized that she had been empty and lonely all along, but in denial about it. She looked at her life from the perspective of a total stranger and started thinking his thoughts. Poor little girl, the stranger thought, her mother bailed out long ago and her father couldn’t care less about her. All that she has in her crappy apartment are these Manga drawings she is so ridiculously proud of. What a pointless, wasted life she was living.
The negative thoughts simply didn’t stop but set in motion a vicious cycle that had an impact on her physical well-being. The negative thoughts got scarier and scarier by the minute and triggered a flight instinct. She got up from her chair and walked around in her room. Her hands touched and grabbed everything near her like the hands of an infant. She was getting more and more restless and she felt like an animal trapped in a cage. She was walking around in circles in her room like the panther in this German poem and she felt like she had to do something. She opened her wardrobe and ransacked all the compartments until she found what she was looking for: her old running shoes. She got them out and put them on her bed. Next, she was looking for her running pants and a comfortable T-shirt. She got dressed and looked at herself in the mirror. She had never thought of herself as a sporty person, but now she felt like running, and that was that.

She left her room, ran out the door of their apartment, raced down the five flights of stairs and exploded through the door and into the street. She ran off without any particular destination, all she wanted was to feel her heart beating and pumping. After half a mile she felt stitches in the side and her breathing became a lot heavier. But she welcomed this pain because it allowed her to focus on her physical rather than mental state. She forced herself to ignore the pain and when she had run for almost a mile the pain subsided and she felt that she head overcome this initial setback. Her breathing adjusted to her running pace and she settled for a speed that was neither too excessive nor too slow. She kept running and the oxygen filled her body and her brain like heroin. She felt her body like she hadn’t felt it for a long time and she felt that she could run on forever. She enjoyed the world passing her by, she enjoyed the exhaustion, the pain and the veil of oblivion that came over her. She was running and only thought about that: running.
When she came home she took a long shower, put on something comfy and went to lock herself inside her room. She was still feeling the consequences of her physical exercise and it felt good. The water she was drinking felt healthier, the air she was breathing felt fresher and the exhaustion made her calm down. She thought about a song that would fit her mellow mood and remembered just the one. She went on iTunes and typed the name of that song into the search engine. She put on her headphones, hit the play button, leaned back in her chair and listened:

I don't know just where I'm going
But I'm gonna try for the kingdom, if I can
'Cause it makes me feel like I'm a man
When I put a spike into my vein
And I tell you things aren't quite the same

When I'm rushing on my run
And I feel just like Jesus' son
And I guess that I just don't know
And I guess that I just don't know

I have made big decision
I'm gonna try to nullify my life
'Cause when the blood begins to flow
When it shoots up the dropper's neck
When I'm closing in on death

You can't help me now, you guys
And all you sweet girls with all your sweet talk
You can all go take a walk
And I guess I just don't know
And I guess that I just don't know

Heroin, The Velvet Underground

I wonder what heroin really feels like, Jessica thought when the song ended.

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