The Bad – Part II

This one comes with a trigger warning. I talk about sexual molestation. Funny thing about that (strange funny, not haha funny) is that it took me decades to acknowledge it that way. So, hat tip to my amazing therapist for getting me there.

One more things before I start, I think I am going to skip to the last page of the book so you know this Story of Me does end in a happy-ish sort of way. Mom and I are in each other’s lives now. We’re mostly okay. More okay than I ever expected us to be. Okay enough that I can say I love her in a fashion and I think she loves me in her own way. For this lifetime, that is enough.

I don’t remember the first time I felt the hand on my ass wandering down the outside of my pants, down the crack of my ass. I don’t remember the first time I heard, let me see it… tug on the front of my pants… I can, I made it… I just remember it happened enough times in front of enough people that I hoped someone would say something. I was more embarrassed than anything. And sometimes people would tell her to stop it. Whether she would listen or not depended on how much she’d had to drink.

Apparently, she needed to make sure I was growing into a real man. A real man, I would come to learn, was a man with a large cock.

It was humiliating and enraging. And so fucking confusing.

I was way too smart and far too old to not understand on some level what was happening and I knew it was wrong. I was far too young and scared to have the courage to stop it. Every time she would say, I can I wanted to grab her the way she was grabbing me just to prove the point it was fucking wrong, but I was too much of a pussy to do anything more than stand there a child. The worst part of it all – the fucking humiliating part – was that sometimes I would find myself being aroused. That will fuck with your head for decades. A child doesn’t understand biology or physiology. To a kid – to this kid – there must be something wrong with me, something that enjoys this. That, my friends, is a mindfuck that took tons of therapy to unfuck.

The in-between times of not seeing her, of waiting for her to pick me up on a Friday night and having her no show; not wanting to come back inside because she’s gonna be here! is the sort of thing that breaks a kid. The noise inside an unwanted child’s head is a special kind of torture.

Mom’s love their kids more than anything in this world. Obviously, yours doesn’t. What’s that tell you? I’m trash. I must be.

On one of those nights I had spent way too long waiting for her to never show up I had a nightmare. I called for her and my dad came to my room. I was screaming for my mom. When he got close enough I hit him and told him I didn’t want him, I wanted her.

I know, mijo, I’m sorry. He scooped me into his arms. I hit him again and again and again, I want my mom. I think I even screamed that I don’t love him, I love her. He never let me go. He just held on as I wailed and hit him with my curled up fists until I was so exhausted I fell asleep on him.

Years later my dad visited me in Ohio and we talked about that night. He was surprised I remembered. I tried to apologize but he cut me off. Mijo, you were so little and you were scared and hurt. You were so, so angry and you had every right to be angry. You’re not the one who needs to apologize.

There would be months, sometimes years when I wouldn’t see her. Then something really… strange is not the word, but I don’t know what other word to use. I was weeks away from turning ten when I got caught playing a game I invented. I would pretend to be someone and write letters to someone else and I would write the responses pretending to be the recipient of the original correspondence.

This time I was Ronald Reagan writing to Adolf Hitler to tell him to quit with all the war nonsense. I didn’t quite realize I should have been writing as FDR, I was nine for fuck’s sake. Anyway, I wrote back-and-forth between the two and it got really fucking dark. Like, I will bomb and burn you into hell kind of dark. My dad saw the letters and freaked the fuck out. I suspect he wondered if he didn’t have a future serial killer on his hands.

So he called the family shrink – my Uncle Charlie – and set up an emergency family meeting.

It was my dad, my Uncle Charlie, my grandma, and me all at my Uncle Charlie’s West Hollywood apartment. A place that smelled like home and was the safest place in my world. I don’t remember most of the conversation, but I know that at some point my mom was called in and the absences – almost two years straight at this point – and all the touching were laid on the table and discussed openly. I don’t remember if it was uncomfortable, but I suspect my dad and Uncle Charlie did everything they could to mitigate my unease.

What I do remember is that I got my mom back and the next week she was hosting my tenth birthday party with her new husband. Someone took what would become my favorite photo of my mother at that birthday party. I still have it. In it, she is flipping her head so that her gorgeous head of black hair is flying and almost obscuring her face. You can see that it’s her and even recognize her sort of, but she isn’t really visible enough to say for certain. She can be anyone I want her to be in that photo. For that brief moment she was my beautiful mother.

I want to tell you, dear reader, that my tenth birthday party was the beginning of a wonderful relationship with my mom and that everything that came before was left in the memories of time while we built an amazing relationship. But that would make me a big fat liar and you deserve more than that from me.

There were amazing moments. A trip to Yosemite, drive-in movie trips, and… well, a lot of alone time while they did whatever it is two young horny people do in the next room. For two or maybe three brief weeks I even lived with my mother whilst I was in middle school. My second of three middle schools somewhere in Alhambra while my dad got on his feet and found us a new place to live after his divorce from my stepmom.

It was strange to see mom sober. In some ways she was worse than when she was drunk. Drunk she was handsy. Sober she was just mean. Drunk or sober, I was ready to live on the streets after a few days. Then one day my dad was sitting at the bus stop across the street along my path from school right there on Valley Blvd. I was walking home with a buxom 8th grader that I was pretty sure was going to be the mother of my children one day when I saw him. I don’t think I even bothered saying goodbye to the future Mrs. Li’l Rudy, I just took off across the several lanes of traffic. There were screaming horns, screeching tires, metal-on-metal crashing probably, but I couldn’t hear any of it because he was there. He came back for me like he said he would.

Let’s go get your stuff and go home.

We have a place?

We do. We can’t move in til next week, but we can stay with grandma until then.

A week later I was in what would be my last middle school. I honestly do not remember the next time I saw mom. But I also don’t remember missing her.

Post script

I want to say a few things about what it did to me growing up to be touched that way, to be told explicitly that the value of a man is the size of his cock.

I became hyper sexual. No surprise, I’m sure. I lost my virginity way too young and slept with enough people that I ended up feeling very much like a piece of meat. I quite literally grossed myself out. I am not writing that for sympathy; I am writing it for the man or boy reading this going through it. It took me years of therapy and sobriety to finally get to a place where I realized that I am not defined by anyone else’s definition of a man. I determine my value, not someone who couldn’t keep their hands off of me when I was a boy. I am worth so much more than the shit that happened to me; the shit that happened to me is not who I am, it’s just shit that happened to me, you feel me? And if you are reading this and this happened to you I want you to know that you are so much more than what that fucking voice in your head says.

©2024 Rudy Martinez