Sunday, September 15, 2013

He touched us. Why didn't I tell?

This is something that was omitted  when I was writing Little Misty. I'm not sure why. Either I just didn't think about it when I was writing, or I decided to leave it out. I don't remember either way. But, for whatever reason, I was thinking about it last night and realized I hadn't written about it.  

When I was about eleven years old I was taking gymnastics at a dance studio on the west side of Evansville.

It was located in a small strip mall-type set up and for a while the store that was next to the studio was vacant and the they were able to use the empty space for some of the classes.

It must have been either late fall, or winter because I remember when we walked from the studio down to the empty space we wore jackets.

This particular class, I remember watching the male instructor that was teaching our class lock the door behind him, which I'd never noticed him doing before.

At some point during class the instructor told us to all lay down on the mat on our stomaches and to flex our buttocks. He said he wanted to do this because we weren't flexing right and added he was going to make sure we were, by touching us.

Every other girl in my class quickly laid down in a row like they were told and I was left standing there, alone and dumbfounded. I didn't understand why no one was questioning this. I looked at the door, as my first instinct was to just run out and go back to the studio where my Mom was waiting. But, I remembered I had watched him lock the door. 

The instructor started at the far end of the row of girls, touching their rears, and slowly moving on down the line. I remained standing there alone, looking at the front of the empty store that we were in. The whole front was glass, but the glass had always been completely covered with paper since we'd started having class over there. I realized we were completely cut off.

My friend from school, who was also in the class, said something to me to coax me to do what I was supposed to do and lay down with the rest of them. She asked why I was just standing there.

I opened my mouth to say something, and just closed my mouth again. In my head, I must have been the one that was wrong. Because everyone else was complacent without question. 

So, I took my place on the mat.

I still think about this periodically. Angry at myself that I never said anything to anyone about it. And still wonder why I was the only one that remained standing. Maybe it was because I was always a little non-trusting of men, in general, because of the void of a father figure in my household? 

I don't know. But, makes me sick to my stomach now.  I know there are so many children who endure so much more then something like that, and feel they are not able to tell someone. And that makes me so sad.

So, there ya go. I don't think I've ever told anyone about that.