I can’t really tell you what happened with 100% certainty. When I was thirteen. Or fourteen. Geez, I can’t even remember my exact age. I know it was the middle of the year, whatever year it was.
It started very innocently, though my parents probably wished they’d never taken us ice-skating that day. Yeah, I was still young enough that an outing with the parents wasn’t completely embarrassing… yet.
What happened was: I met a boy, N. Or rather, he skated over to talk to me.
In my experience of life to date, that just didn’t happen. At all. Ever. No one came up to me. No one asked me out. Instead, they were all interested in my best friend M, a talented blonde gymnast.
I had the killer combination of a crappy self-image and a highly romantic and idealistic nature. Innocent, too. I’d only ever been kissed once.
This boy, he was from England. Out in Australia staying with his Aunt and Uncle. He was seventeen, tall, blonde, and had the fuzzy makings of a moustache.
Unlike any of the boys I’d grown up with, he thought I was pretty. He asked me for my phone number. I wasn’t so much attracted to him I think, as I was amazed that he liked me. That someone liked me…
I don’t know how we got from that point, to actually going out. There must’ve been several phone calls back and forth. He must’ve come over to meet my parents. I even have vague recollections of my dad driving us somewhere and ‘conveniently’ going inside so we could kiss in private.
Perhaps my parents thought it was all just harmless… I mean, sure, he was too old for me. At that age, three or four years is a huge difference. But he was here on holiday only. Maybe they thought it’d be nice for me to have a boyfriend.
I recall going bowling one night – N’s friend drove us. I remember hanging out with N in town after school, and his (against the rules) visits to my high school.
Most of all, I remember N trying to get me to sleep with him. Asking me over and over.
I’d read so many books by that age, but many of them were the fairy tale variety. And I knew that you had to be in love before you did anything like that.
I must’ve communicated somehow, this idea of needing to be in love, to N.
And he, being seventeen, must’ve seen that as a golden opportunity. In retrospect it’s so transparent, what happened next.
That is – he put a solid effort into convincing me he was falling in love with me. He’d say things like: No, I’m not in love with you yet, but I think I could be falling for you… That slowly changed until he said: oh yes, now I am in love with you…
I was elated.
A school yard
My parents allowed me to go to the wedding of one of N’s relatives. A very 80’s wedding. A disco DJ, a smoke machine, everyone wearing gaudy outfits. And I’m pretty sure at that point, I had a perm (my one and only).
And at the reception in some dinky school hall, N fed me drinks. Quite a few. Before long I was drunk.
He took me for a walk. Into the school yard, out onto the grass. Told me he was in love with me, and once again asked me to have sex with him.
When ‘no’ turns into ‘yes’, you know you’ve had too much to drink, eh? Wish I knew that at the time…
He took off his jacket and spread it out for me to lie down on. I don’t remember much of the actual act. Except it hurt a bit. And I was no longer a virgin. It wasn’t fun or enjoyable. But N was happy.
And I thought he loved me, which counted for oh-so-much.
I was in trouble when I got home that night and my parents smelled alcohol on my breath. Perhaps they started to realise this wasn’t a good situation for their very young daughter to be in. They didn’t know my secret.
But I was grounded.
That didn’t stop N and me seeing each other though. He had his stay in Australia extended by another month. And we spent much of that time trying to see each other.
As pathetic as it sounds, I was grateful that someone loved me (or so I thought).
I idolised him, thought he was amazing. For loving me. Y’see, by this age, my self-esteem was already in tatters.
We had sex a few more times – its hard to get alone time as a kid. I’d sneak off from school at lunch time to my place, just around the corner. And we had sex on my little single bed, in the room I shared with my sister. Can’t say I enjoyed it, but it was what N wanted so I did it.
This is what you do when you love someone, I thought…
He’d talk to me about ‘positions’ and ‘blow jobs’ – I thought it all sounded kinda gross. All I could handle at that age was feeling loved and the missionary position.
Can’t remember why exactly, but I did something to piss off my parents. So much so, they said you’re not allowed to go to the airport and see N off when he leaves.
Which was a silly thing to say to a young girl about the boyfriend she idolised.
So I ran away.
Packed a bag and in the middle of the night, left a note on my bed and snuck out through the back door. Walked past the late night pizza shop and through parts of town I shudder when thinking about now… probably a good hour or more to his aunt and uncle’s place. Didn’t want to wake anyone up, so I slept on the outdoor seat on the back porch. Til N’s uncle came out and found me and my large duffle bag and brought me inside.
I’d created a problem for N and his family. N was asked if we’d slept together. Their first thought was that my parents would charge N with statutory rape and they hurriedly made plans to protect him, and initially, to hide me.
Of course, I had no idea why things had become so serious.
The first time the police came by, they hid me in the next door neighbour’s house. My future was being discussed – perhaps she can work as a baby sitter for the neighbour’s kids – I didn’t really like the sound of that, but had no idea what else I could do.
I’d left home. As far as I knew, it was for good.