Acceptable Behavior

imagesWhen I was 17, my dad had a friend; he was a man who worked with my dad at the mine.  We would occasionally eat dinner at their house and they at ours; often, my aunt and uncle would join us, as my uncle worked with the men as well.  As it turned out, the friend had a teenaged son who was 19 and was attending the well-known mining school; and I was “off” from my on-again-off-again relationship with my ninth grade high-school drop-out drug-addicted boyfriend.

Needless to say, our parents thought we were a perfect match; little did they realize we could not have been more different.  He was a geology nerd with a love of rocks, and I was… well, not.

Still, every time our families got together, I gave in and would go for a ride with him just to appease everyone.  He had some type of muscle car that he thought would impress me; it was a Mustang, Camaro, or a Trans Am, they were all the same to me.  If it wasn’t a classic car, I could not have cared less at the time.  Besides, he always brought a friend; I think he was a little afraid of me.  So, I sat in the middle on the “hump” as we blared Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and cruised the streets of The Biggest Little City in the World.

Apparently, one day he recovered from his shyness; we left the house when the boring grown-ups were having dinner to go for a ride, but we didn’t pick up his friend.  Instead, he drove to a local park and stopped the car in the parking lot.  Almost immediately, he started mauling me; I could not have been less attracted to him and pushed him off.

Suddenly, this mild-mannered Clark Kent with the thick Coke bottle eyeglasses became a fairly strong man; I had underestimated him.  He came at me aggressively as I continued to push him away, digging my nails into his flesh, drawing blood.  He called me a tease, I cried, begged, screamed in his face; he continued his assault until he had my skirt pushed around my waist, his hands pushing at me.

I grabbed his glasses, tearing at his face, scratching him; he still didn’t care; there was little room in the car, and he was bigger than I had thought he was, completely over powering me.  But, I was small, tiny.  I didn’t have a chance.

When he was finished, he drove me back to his parents, walked in as if nothing happened.  Of course, they were drunk by then and nobody noticed a thing.

Weeks later when we were supposed to go back, I refused; I was lectured about what a great catch he was, how he was going to be a mining engineer, what a screw-up I was, the usual.

I never saw him again; his dad died in a mining accident, and his mom took her settlement, went on a cruise to China, and then moved to a condo in Mexico.


Either a few months before or after this time, I truly do not remember; I had a boyfriend who lived a few hours away.  I used to lie to my parents and sneak over to his house to spend the weekend with him.  He was 20, a few years older than my 17 years; and I thought I was in love.

We would have romantic dinners, go to the movies, and spend the weekend playing house.

One weekend, though, was very different; I arrived on Friday night as planned, but instead of doing anything romantic or otherwise, he seemed frantic and out of sorts and asked me to drive him to a park so he could meet a friend.  I did.

We sat in my bright red 1957 Chevy Bel Air, nothing conspicuous or anything, as we waited for his friend to arrive.  As a car pulled into the space next to us, he jumped out and commanded me to wait for him.  I waited in the car, playing with the cassette player, as he got out, jumped in the other car for a while, and then finally got back in my car.

He was in a weird mood, I just couldn’t figure him out; I tried to talk to him, but he was very edgy.  I saw him bend over and snort something up his nose as we were driving down the freeway; I pulled over and started screaming at him to get out of my car immediately.

I recoiled as he slapped me hard across the face; the car continued to run as he slapped and beat me on the side of the freeway as I continued to scream for him to get out and that I never wanted to see him again.

When his rage subsided, I sat back in the seat and looked at him, and he at me, “Come on, baby, you don’t really mean that, do you?” he asked.

In fact, I guess I didn’t; I knew I couldn’t go home because my parents would know I had lied in the first place.  I drove back to his house that night and stayed with him the rest of the weekend; my face and body growing black and blue over the next few days, evidence of what had occurred.

When I left on Sunday, I was worried about my parents questioning what had happened to me; I should not have spent a moment thinking of it.  I broke it off with him, much to my parent’s chagrin; he was such a nice boy, came from a good family, with money, no less, from Lake Tahoe.

Ten years later, I was divorced with two kids and staying with my parents; “Oh, guess who called?” my mother informed me.  It was him; I had forgotten why we had broken up so I decided to go to dinner with him.

As we sat across the table from one another, he was starry-eyed as he looked at me, professing his love, “I would let you work, baby, if you wanted to.  I would take care of you and your kids.  Come on, we could make it work.”

I looked across the table from him and something snapped, I looked at him squarely in the eyes, “Nobody lets me do anything.  And, I remember why we broke up, I’m going home.”  I walked out of the restaurant leaving him with his mouth agape behind me.


I’m not sure if that was acceptable behavior for those boys or not, but it was to me back then.