I don’t think he had intended to murder me. I imagine he was just expecting to rape me, and didn’t realize he was preying on someone with a fighting history.
His name was Jose….and his birthday was 8-8….(today)….and the only reason I knew these things is that before he turned on me, we were simply sharing a summer sidewalk with one another. I imagine he had been walking home from the Mexican bar on the corner of 112th in Silver Lake…and I had been on my way to the park.
“Today’s my birthday!” I told him. Honestly I had been relieved to have company on the sidewalk….
“I just had a birthday, my birthday is 8-8” He seemed happy to share in my excitement.
“What?! 8-8 is my Social Security number…..88 🙂 Must have been meant to be!” I laughed.
I didn’t know I had cause to fear…but up until this happened, strangers didn’t scare me, it was the people I loved I had always had to protect myself from, and I was fearless….after working nights on an ambulance in the alleyways and ill lit parking lots of Seattle, nothing of the night scared me. And I had JUST LEARNED (though it’s on most every globe, you think I would have learned this word in grade school…) the term analemma…. “Have you heard the word analemma?” I asked him?
“It’s 8-8 in action, friend, you should learn it!”
We shared casual conversation as we strolled along 112th, half a mile from my home….And everything was fine until it was time to part ways…That’s when he turned. He turned so fast that I wasn’t even able to make sense to it. When I said goodbye, he told me, “No….you don’t get to go.” And then he pulled his dick out of his pants and told me “You’re special” and “This will be over soon.” Before he charged me.
I didn’t see the take-down coming until I was mid air….when the back of my head slammed against the sidewalk I was dazed…concussed. The next thing I know he was on top of me, and I was trying to punch from the bottom, and get to my feet….My left hand was holding up my sweat pants, because he was trying to pull them off….but my right hand was reigning punches.
I bucked, I kicked, I shrimped, I did every move I had ever been trained to do to get back to my feet, but he outweighed me by probably sixty pounds, and he knew how to use his weight, and I remember this feeling of dread overtake me when I realized….I wasn’t winning this fight, and I was acutely aware, this fight was for my life.
I started to scream. HELP HELP HELP STOP STOP HELP HELP!
I felt my stomach drop when I realized my shouts for help got drowned out by the chaos of the freeway nearby….I was alone with a predator. Nobody could hear me. Nobody was going to come help me. Then he covered my screams with his hand….and he pinched my nose, and put his torso over my face…and killed me.
It didn’t happen quickly…..I remember, when he first began to suffocate me…. it was almost as I had escaped with my scream, like something inside me fled my body….because while it was happening, I saw myself….from outside myself….and I knew I was dying. I was looking desperately to the left, I had tears in my eyes, and I knew that…it was ending. My body was going to be found. I knew that I was dead. I felt my scream get shoved back down inside my body and it felt like a knife in my gut cutting and trying to find a way out….but there was no out anymore…
And then death. Maybe 10 minutes, maybe an hour….I don’t know how long I was dead for. But it felt like death. And it felt infinite.
After blackness….prolonged blackness….I woke up.
I didn’t know where I was…or why I was…I blinked. Blink. Blinked…and I saw the stars. And then I remembered…That’s why I had gone out that night…it was my 39th Birthday. August 13….and I wanted to go to the park and sit on the swings I used to push my son on and look at the stars and the August meteor showers as I used to do when I was a little girl…I wanted a line in the sand that separated yesterday from today… A new beginning.
When I had set out that night, I set out with a backpack with nothing in it other than a notepad and a pen. I was going to journal. I was going to write my stepson a letter…the stepson I don’t get to see anymore…but just a letter for the day should it ever come, so that he would and will always know how special he is to me. (Was never quite OK when stepmomhood was pulled out like a carpet from under my feet….being ‘the other mom’ was the most important and most fulfilling role I ever played and to say there hasn’t been a search for purpose since that was removed would be a LIE. I was a good mom. 🙂
It was as if my senses were returning to me in little bursts. First…sight. The stars. Second….I heard crying….I rolled over onto my side and there he was, just his sillouette…he was hunched over feet from my side and his presence and tears only added to my confusion.
When he saw me stir…he stood, tears and sobs still flowing, and he came to my side…he knelt next to me….and he handed my my clothes. It wasn’t until I had the wad of sweat pants and underwear in my hands and started to fumble to put them on that I realized I was naked from the waist down. I rushed to slip them back while he was trying to help me up. He was speaking, in his broken accent….”I’m sorry, I’m sorry….it wasn’t supposed to happen like that.” He said through tears.
All I could hear was a montage of apologies stuttering out of him as he helped me stand to my feet…and this is when I remembered. I had died. I had died fighting for my life. And this was the man that had killed me….and I remembered….everything. I remembered the last moments. I remembered knowing I was dying and I remembered that before the world slipped away, I had been punching, and kicking, and screaming.
I pushed him. “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME.” I shouted. “GET THE FUCK AWAY GET AWAY GO GO GET AWAY FROM ME!” I screamed at him. I was acutely aware, it was my life I was fighting for. I didn’t expect to make it home. I already felt dead. But he didn’t charge me this time….he cowered his head, in hindsight probably relieved he didn’t have a body to dispose of, and turned and walked away, sobbing….
Today is HIS birthday.
But 88 in my number…..today is my day not his. And I didn’t die.
I like to tell myself I won that fight. Not only did I live….but he was the asshole to walk away in tears, the only way he’s able to get laid is to rape a dead girl….he gets to live with that.
I cried….later. But in the moment, I mustered myself together in shock and walked miles to the hospital on my on my own…
Analemma. 88 ….my number ….not his.
I win…. and someday he will find his karma.
This year on my birthday it will be one years since the attack (five days till the big FOUR OH), I am not gonna give him any thought. I’m going to celebrate LIFE, and that I’m still here. And I’m glad to still be alive….if his intention was to take that from me, he failed.