I was 18 years old, in my freshman year at college and my first semester was successfully behind me. I went to a small private college a couple of states away from home so this Christmas break was my first visit back. I was looking forward to seeing my family and hanging out with my friends. I thought i was so much more mature now that I had been on my onw at college for four months.
One of the first things I did when I got home was to call up my friends and put the word out that I was back. Some of my old crew from college had also left home for school and some had remained in Kansas City, working or going to the local community college. After a few phone calls, we decided to meet that next night for drinks and dancing at a new dinner club that was new to some of us. Michelle, one of my best friends from high school, wanted to show off her brand new car so she offered to pick me up and drive. It was just as well, I didn’t own a car and didn’t have a drivers license.
The next night, Michelle picked me up around 9 PM. We were dressed to be cute but respectful of the below freezing temperatures and the snow and ice on the ground. The club was located in midtown, a neighborhood with an artsy mix of shops, restaurants and apartments. Midtown was surrounded by middle and upper middle class neighborhoods but wasn’t surburban at all.
Michelle and I were excited, chatting, laughing, catching up on news. We arrived at the club and found the parking lot full. That didn’t bother us, it just meant that the club was jumping and we were in for a good time!
We soon found a parking place on the street beside the club. Still talking and laughing, we go out of the and Michelle dropped her purse. Change, makeup, her wallet and all the other stuff we keep in purses dumped into the snow and slid under the car.
Of course, I went around to help Michelle gather up her things. A man walked by but I hardly glanced at him.
“Hey! Are you looking for a date?” he called to us.
“No!” Michelle answered. I didn’t respond as I was busy plucking Michelle’s lipstick out of the snow on the curb.
Suddenly, the man turned around and was next to Michelle in just a couple of steps.
“Don’t look at me,” the man commanded. “I said don’t look at me! I’ve got a gun.”
We were in shock, surprised and scared. I don’t really remember what we said. I just remember seeing him grab Michelle by the arm and force her into the open car door. He pointed the gun at me and told me to get in the back seat. He jumped into the driver’s seat, pushing Michelle to climb over the gear console to the passenger side.
The robber waved the gun and growled orders at us in a threatening voice. He demanded money from our purses and our jewelry. After a few minutes, he told me to lay down in the back seat and put my coat over my head. I was scared. I just knew he was going to shoot me. I remember saying my prayers and asking God to forgive me for my sins. I prayed that my mother wouldn’t be so very sad and that she would be okay.
The gunman drove us around in the car, talking to Michelle who was clearly terrified. I don’t know if she knew where we were and I had given up counting turns and trying to figure out where he was taking us. At one time he stopped, got out of the car and walked around to the trunk. I tried to convince Michelle to open the door so we could run (the car was a 2-door) but she was so afraid that she couldn’t move. I tried to push the seat forward with her in it, then the gunman came back.
He got in the car again and started driving but this time, he had plans. We drove for what seemed like hours. The whole time, I kept thinking that I would soon be dead. I swore if I got the chance to escape again, I would take it, with or without Michelle.
After a few turn, our kidnapper stopped the car and began talking to Michelle about whether or not she had a boyfriend. He kept on that topic until he just came out and said that he wanted to have sex with her before he let us go. Michelle bargained with him, trying to get him to say with certainty that he would let us go if she allowed him to rape her. He said yes. So she did it.
He did finally let us go. He stopped the car not far from where he kidnapped us. He tried to lock us in the trunk of the car but luckily didn’t realize he didn’t have a trunk key. He told us to stay in the car for 15 minutes after he got out but I climbed over the seat and got out as soon as I heard him running away. We ran from door to door in this upscale neighborhood trying to get someone to call the police or let us use the phone. After trying at 3 houses, a gay couple finally let us in to call the police.
Michelle didn’t want to tell that she had been raped. We did though, after the police told her that she wouldn’t be identified. The next day, there was a small item in the paper that didn’t name her but talked about a girl who lived on her block who was kidnapped and raped. Michelle called me, furious, hurt and feeling betrayed. That was the last time I talked to her. After that, she never answered or returned my calls. Once, when I called her, her mother answered and asked if I was the girl Michelle was with that night. I said yes.
“Okay. I’ll tell her you called,” she said.
I hardly ever talk about that night. If I do have to talk about it, I just kind of skim over parts of it as I have done here. But when I think of things I have lost, I think about that night. The night I lost my youth, my innocence and most of all the night I lost my friend.