There has been much going on that I can't write about. Either it's guy stuff and I don't want to expose individuals and their quirks without their even knowing it -- that feels weird -- or it's work stuff and I really can't write about work stuff here. So, this is my attempt to talk about the situations I've been in or been around or been affected by of late, an attempt at creating the emotions I've been feeling. There have been a lot of them of late -- emotions. Which is good. But as an old colleague of mine used to say, "All the feels." All the feels of work and life and hope and disappointment. All the feels of not feeling safe and protected, or feeling disappointed or joyful. Those things have been going on in many facets of my life, as they always do; only at the moment, it feels like the burner has been turned up to high.
"Another Ordinary Tuesday"
"So, on Friday night, after the date, I turned right instead of left out of the parking lot. I mean, my apartment was left, but I didn't want him following me. So, I went the wrong way out of the lot."
"How long did it take you to get home?" Jenny asked. "You can't just turn around there. There's a median in the way."
"Oh, about 20 minutes longer, and he wasn't behind me at all. I don't know where he was, but it wasn't behind me. Maybe he found some other girl to wrap his octopus arms around and never let go."
Jenny asked, "How many times did you try to end the night?"
"About seven, but he kept saying, 'one more kiss,' and never actually stopped shoving his tongue in my mouth." Katelyn paused thinking, then said, "Remember that guy I really liked back in January? The really hot one?"
Jenny thought for a second, looking up to the right, then said, "You mean the one who was emotionally unavailable and kept trying to get you to hear what he needed, without hearing what you needed?"
"Yeah, the one I really liked," Katelyn said.
Jenny rolled her eyes, but Katelyn kept talking pretending not to see Jenny's commentary.
"So on Friday night, when he said, 'one more kiss,' and a grabbed my ass, I thought about the last time I saw January Man. January Man was all set to pull away and leave and I was all, 'one more kiss,' and he didn't want to. As that guy on Friday night shoved his tongue in my mouth and it was all wet eelly slime, I thought, 'Oh my gosh, did my kiss feel like this to January Man? Did I put January Man in this totally awkward horrible position he couldn't get out of?'"
Jenny laughed. "No way anyone could feel that way about you. You are beautiful and spunky. You are amazing. Besides, if you did make him feel awkward, who cares? I mean really. That guy. All he had were rules and things you could and couldn't do. If he felt awkward by you having a thought and desire in your brain and body, I say, good. All he did was make you feel awkward trying to jump through his damn expectations all the time."
Katelyn pouted for a second and then said, "I know. I would just hate to think of my kiss as eelly slime. Or have some guy upset that my smell had rubbed off on him. Friday night? He lingered all over me. I smelled him as I was driving home. Ugh. I even smelled his cologne after I put on my pajamas. I thought about showering, but I was just too tired and miserable."
"Who is ever too miserable for a shower?" Jenny asked as the phone on her cubicle desk started to ring. Jenny picked it up and put it to her ear. "Bailey, Biddles, Bangesly and Buffertt," she said in a one-breath jingle. Her eyes widened. She pointed to phone and mouthed, "Suzette."
Katelyn stood still and tried to hear the voice on the other end of the phone, but all that she could hear was Biddles in his office barking laughs maniacally into his speaker phone. Suzette had been out of the office, unexplained, yesterday. She and her fiance were away for the weekend, at least that was the plan. But Jenny had gotten a text that said Suzette's fiance hadn't shown up at the restaurant they were supposed to meet and leave from. That was the last Jenny or Katelyn had heard from her.
Jenny said, "Wait. What did you just say?"
She paused, listening and then said, "You got a rape kit done, right? Tell me you didn't go home and shower. Girls always go home and shower. Tell me you didn't shower."
Katelyn stiffened. "What?"
Jenny shook her head at Katelyn, though her eyes were huge with fear and surprise.
Katelyn grabbed a pencil off Jenny's desk and started to smack it into the side wall of Jenny's cubicle, where it made a muted, "thud" every time it hit. Katelyn also started to shift her weight from her right foot to her left, as she, impatient, waited for Jenny to get off the phone and tell her about Suzette.
Not soon enough, Jenny hung up the phone and slumped into her chair.
"You know that back entrance to Sports' we always use?"
"The one we joke is an alley, but it's not because the kitchen door and the parking lot are right there?"
"Right." Jenny stopped talking and put her hand over her mouth.
Katelyn waited before speaking, but then said, "You are killing me. You have to tell me."
"Suzette's fiance, Jon, texted and told her he was running late and just meet him at his apartment. He would take the train home instead and they would leave whenever he got to his apartment or the next morning if it was too late." Jenny continued, "So, Suzette went out the back door of Sports and that's when some guy grabbed her, pulled her deeper into the back of the building, you know, where the door to the kitchen is sometimes open?"
"And he tried to rape her. She ripped out of her jacket, ran for her life. Screamed once she got out of his arms. Apparently the guy had her a tight hold that restricted her breathing."
Katelyn and Jenny were quiet together for a moment.
"Was she okay?" Katelyn asked.
"She wasn't raped. Once she started to yell and run, the guy took off. She did go to the hospital; Jon made her. The police took a statement from her and all, but...." Jenny trailed off.
"Is she okay?" Katelyn repeated.
"Suz is strong," Jenny said. "She's taking a day or two. She said she's looking for a counselor, again Jon is insisting."
"I like that Jon," Katelyn said. "Where do we find Jons?"
"We aren't Suz. We don't just attract fantastic men," Jenny said
"Well, that guy who attacked her on Friday isn't so fantastic. But, I get what you're saying. I attract the weirdos." Katelyn said. Then she paused before adding, "You know, that could have been either one of us too? It could have been any of us. We all walk out the back door of Sports into that dark area without even a thought at all. We all do it. Does Sports know?"
Jenny said, "Sports says they are going to look into putting lights and video camera back there."
"Let me guess, Jon called them."
"Jon went over there," Jenny replied. "They were so upset. They said they would get on it and take care of it right away."
Katelyn said, "I'm not going there until they do."
"There's the gathering on Thursday night, where that Jonesy, I'm trying to set you up with. He's going to be there and you don't want to blow this chance," Jenny said.
"Can't we change the venue?" Katelyn asked.
"I'll look into it," Jenny said.
"I'm going to call Suzette later. See if she needs anything."
Katelyn turned but Jenny stopped her by saying, "I feel like all of this is fake. That it's not real and that this didn't really happen."
Katelyn said, "I feel numb, but I think I'm going to go to my cubicle and have a good cry. Then, I'm going to get angry. Have Biddles and Bangesly stay out of my way today. I'm in no mood for their power trips and self-inflated importance."
Jenny raised her eyebrows.
"I'm assuming that self-inflated importance and power tripping is what makes a guy attack a girl. Or that guy from Friday night, I really thought I might not be able to get away from him. He was so controlling. I know I'm here at work and it's safe, but is it? Are we ever really safe?" Katelyn asked.
Jenny said, "I would like to think so."
Katelyn looked down at her little skirt and flats. Her dress shirt open to right above her chest and the way the fabric pulled closed over her boobs. "Am I vulnerable right here where I stand because I have these?" she pointed to her chest. "Or because I carry around a vagina?"
Jenny said, "More than half of the population carries around a vagina."
Katelyn responded, "Less than half of half of the population who carries around a penis thinks they can force it wherever they want. Most guys don't think or try to or even respect people who force their way into girls. But, yet, there are guys who do it, which gives all guys a bad rap and makes me think twice about going on another blind date."
"Right, the likelihood that your on-line date is going to rape you is low. And Suzette's attacker wasn't someone she was meeting. She just bumped into him."
Katelyn shook her head, "Don't hide behind that Jen. Most rapes come from people you know. Suzette's attack was an anomaly."
Jenny breathed in deep. "So is nowhere safe?"
"That's what I'm saying," Katelyn said as she continued her walk back her own cubicle on the other end of the pool.