Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bad Boys in the Dark

Once upon a time, I was young and naive. I had only lived on the family farm, I sucked at making friends, and I never knew what to do with myself. Now I am almost old, and that first detail is untrue. One day, the time came to go to college and move away and live amongst completely new people (except one, and she was crazy). The first thing I did at college was carry all my stuff into the dorm room that I would share with the crazy one. The second was to meet the bus for a Freshman Pre-Orientation Rock Climbing trip. After a long weekend of camping and rock climbing, I came back to campus feeling emboldened and mighty.

I felt so bold that I talked to a stranger when I got home. He was from India and went by Nik, and was impressed by my adventures in Red River Gorge. We chatted awhile and he offered to give me a campus tour and show me his climbing equipment. What happened next should have taught me never to talk to strangers.

He held my hand when we crossed the street, which didn't seem as weird as it should have. See, I did not have skills to cross the street safely every time. Even three years later people would occasionally grab me to yank me out of the way of a bus. The last part of the tour involved playing in Showalter fountain. This was before the Bobby Knight riot and the fish statue population was higher. Nik and I made plans to come back at the end of the year and collect spare change from the fountain. The tour was over, but he still had to show me his rock climbing gear.

When we got to his dorm, I was sopping wet and dripping water everywhere. I thought he was so nice to let me borrow his workout clothes so I could be dry. He suggested we watch Bad Boys, as his room was pimped out for the ultimate viewing experience. It was really late and I was absolutely exhausted, but I agreed. He got the TV and DVD and stereo hooked up, and turned on the black light. He started bragging about his ballroom dancing skills, as he had taken a beginner's class last semester. He was so glad he had learned, and he was sure he could teach me some steps. In normal situations, I was a social imbecile. In the eerie light, I started picking up on his signals. We danced, and every nerve in my body sang, keeping me as far away from his body as possible. He smiled, and his teeth and eyes had an unholy glow against his dark skin. He tilted his face and grinned, and all the hairs on my neck stood up. I thought No one knows I'm here, and I wish I was wearing my own clothes, and I have no idea how to get out of here, and He could rape me. I was so tired, and so freaked, and so scared of being rude. I was so afraid that I wouldn't make friends at college that even in a bad situation I didn't want to offend someone.

His bed was lofted, and I sat and the edge. If I fell asleep and tipped forward, I would fall to the floor and hurt myself. If I tipped back, I would be at Nik's mercy. The movie played, but I couldn't concentrate. All my focus was on staying conscious. I remember it was a talkie, so people said lines, and there might have been some explosions and a blonde female. The movie must have ended at dawn, because I remember walking home in weak sunlight, wearing a stranger's clothes and holding mine at arm's length. A week later I would begin taekwondo class, and I would wish I had known then what I know now.

1 comment:

rockygrace said...

Talk about a narrow escape - it gave me the shivers to read that.