|Patti had been in my arms but I just had set her down. Three guys on roller blades came rolling down the walk. I gave them space, but one reached out and knocked me to the ground…
The trauma of a young injured woman; the care and observation took its own toll. The first Doctor a Resident, while he knew what he was doing, but I could have been a side of beef…“ Mom, I think they were angry with me because of Ryta or the street guys. One said, ‘I needed to watch out who I associate with…’”
Ashley Phoenix Riley
Copyright © 2013 Jessica C
All Rights Reserved.
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I started to babysit three days a week and usually took the children to neighborhood parks on nice days. It was my second week in doing so and I felt good that things were going so well. We were on our way home, a block and a half away from the park and another block from their home. Aidan was in the stroller and Patti had been in my arms but I just set her down. Three guys on roller blades came rolling down the walk. I gave them as much space as I could, but one reached out and knocked me to the ground.
They circled back around trying to scare us. First I was accused of being a bad babysitter who should watch the children better. All three had sunglasses and hoods protecting their identity. One touched Patti and I slapped him. They returned two hits to me, Patti screamed and I kicked at the guys. They knocked me down and were roughing me up and leaving the children alone, for which I was thankful. Their grubby hands felt me forcefully; one leaned down and told me, “Watch out who you associate with b*.”
I knew who it was, but I also knew to be quiet. Because of the children, I tried to get up only to be knocked back down and kicked some more. I let a half minute of silence lapse after they left. When I sought to get up, people finally came to help us. Minutes later I could hear a police car coming with its siren.
Patti and Adian were Teacher Kelli Geortelli’s children and I was only a block and half away from where they lived. I felt I couldn’t let anyone take me to the hospital with her children, fearful Kelli would be accused of neglecting her children. Stranger things had happened. An Officer walked me to their home and allowed me to call Ms. Kelli. I cried because I let her down. The Officer said I had done well.
I then called Mom and she spoke to Officer Barnes and requested I be taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital up near 168th Street. I didn’t want an ambulance so he called for a woman officer to ride along. Tracy was a tough officer who gave me support, but not necessarily sympathy, “You should know better than to be walking alone. You’re not immune from the troubles of this city and today you had two children who could have been hurt as much as you.”
Once at the emergency center, we appeared to have a long wait. We were checked in but there were many others there. Tracy recognized a paramedic coming out and got her to check me out. I was soon up on their gurney being rolled back to an emergency room. The Paramedic said, “Honey, don’t worry, you’ll be seen and I will protect you.”
I didn’t understand, “I’ll protect you.” But she knew the trauma of a young woman alone and injured in a hospital; the care and observation could take its own toll. The first Dr. in was a Resident, and while he knew what he was doing, but I could have been a side of beef as far as his bedside manner. “Hey Doc, she’s a young woman her name is Ashley either talk to her or get someone better.” He asked her out of the room, but she wasn’t moving.
The Doc called for her to be taken out but once they knew it was Maria Lopez, things changed. The resident wasn’t reprimanded but he did accept help. Soon I was “young lady and Ashley” it did not change the growing pain nor quick take away the shame I felt.
The new doctor said, “You are bleeding down where you were kicked, but it is just terribly bruised and not ripped or cut. You ribs are black and blue but hopefully just cracked. They do not appear to be broke or threatening your organs. Your face and head are similarly hurt; we should get a dental specialist in here to make sure you are not in danger of losing a tooth or two.”
I told Officer Tracy, “One of my attackers was Johnny; Collin Richards knows who he is.” She was upset that my recognition was only from his voice.
“I’m going to go and process this information. I will visit you again up in your room.” I didn’t want to stay the night in the hospital, but Dr. Mercer said, "It's needed and that I wouldn’t be going home, but she would come up to see me.
“You’re my doctor aren’t you?” I asked.
“I’m not your doctor, one will be appointed to you,” she said.
“Dr. Mercer, I’m comfortable with you, couldn’t you be my doctor,” I plead?
She said, “It’s possible but it needs to be by request from your mom or guardian.”
I said, “I request you and if my Mom needs to request it, it’s done.” Dr. Mercer smiled as did a nurse. I don’t know when Maria or Tracy left, but I was happy to see my Mom.
Mom said, “Kelli will be coming once her mom gets to her place to watch the children.” Mom knew I felt ashamed, having let Mrs. Geortelli down. Mrs. Geortelli came just as I was being wheeled up to the eighth floor.
Ms. Geortelli and Mom were holding my hands as I woke up in my room. Mrs. Geortelli thanked me for protecting and getting her children home. “Patti said, you swatted one of them when they touched her. She said you were very brave but there were too many of them and they were bad boys. I can’t tell you how grateful I am!”
“I thought you would be angry with me. Officer Tracy said I shouldn’t go to the park without someone else,” I said.
“Mom I think they were angry with me because of Ryta or the street guys. One of them said, ‘I needed to watch out who I associate with.’” Cathy and Steffi were soon there as well as Julio.
Julio already knew I said one of the guys was Johnny; he asked could one of the others had been Collin or their other friend. I didn’t think so, as I didn’t recognize their voices like I did Johnny’s.
Officer Tracy came back while they were there, but only Julio and Tracy stayed in as they talked to me. Tracy told me to relax and picture Johnny, “He can’t hurt you now, but you know which one he is. Look at him and tell me about his clothes. Can you see his face, neck, his hands?”
“No, he had gloves and sunglasses on, but his neck, his neck I can see a tattoo. There is a ‘ws’ and lightning through it.”
Julio's guessing, “Something like ‘bad news’, he better hope that is not on his neck.” As he walked out Tracy tried to yell at him not to do anything, “You call us,” she said. Mom and Cathy were back in to stay with me; Julio, Kelli, and Steffi had left. Tracy asked, "Is Julio likely to do anything on his own?"
Mom said, “He won’t unless Johnny is dumb enough to try something, but Julio won’t be…”
“Won’t be what?” Tracy asked. “Alone or unarmed…”
Dr. Mercer waited for Tracy to leave and then came in and visited with me and Mom, making sure if it was okay to speak with Cathy present. “We need to take some x-rays to make sure of things, but I think the worst is bad bruising, a cracked rib or two and a dentist should be up soon to check her teeth. She has been through a lot, so emotional trauma might be the worst of it. We want her to stay awake till midnight and encourage you to talk with her. If you can stay the night, it will be okay with us but it is not essential at this point.”
Dr. Mercer wanted to say something but was hesitant. I asked, “There is something else isn’t there?”
“Yes, but it isn’t terrible news, just insult to injury,” she said. “You are a little puffy as well as bruised down there. I expect you are about to have your period and will experience more pain than usual. There may be more bleeding than you are using too.”
One of the hospital dentists came and checked me and said, “One tooth could be a problem, but it is still in place. I advise you don’t seek to take it out. It should be strong and healthy in a day or two.” Thus I'm limited to soft food for supper.
Julio called Mom after 7:00 p.m., “We caught up to Johnny and we convinced him before we took him to the police station to give up his friends, Collin nor the other friend were involved, but I suspect at least one of them was given the opportunity to take part.”
When Mom said that was good news, Julio spoke up, “If they didn’t warn her, it suggests they can’t be trusted.” He indicated as far as he was concerned, “Far as I'm concerned, they are due for a warning.” Mom thanked him.
I was curious, “Mom, Julio’s hired by you isn’t he?”
Mom laughed, “It may seem so, but he’s just a friend. He sees himself returning a favor from a few years ago. He’s more concerned with someone I help trying to hurt me.”
Mom didn’t share, but when she was out of the room Cathy did. Julio had been in a gang, but now is in the army reserves and had been in Iraq. He works in security, but much more than just as a watchman.” Cathy eluded to Mom helping him deal with his temper but wouldn’t elaborate.
When I said, "He doesn’t look like one of Mom’s clients." She laughed and agreed “No he doesn’t.”
“You don’t mean he really is?” Cathy wouldn’t answer me.
A nurse came into bathe me, and Mom wanted to help. The nurse suggested she, the nurse, do the sensitive areas. She wanted to press some of the bruised areas around my lips. There was a little oozing as she suspected from my vagina. I appreciated Mom washing me, it was like a little girl experience I thought I would never have. She brushed my hair and some of the ground and street grit brushed out.
Some nurses stopped in during the evening, not only the ones checking on me. They liked talking to me, Mom and Cathy before she left. One had been back to her apartment and brought a nightgown for me. She laughed when I felt the need to tell her my period might start while I was wearing it. "It is yours if you want it or to throw away."
The evening doctor and a nurse checked my vagina for extra bleeding. It was a combination of pain and elation as they needed to touch and spread my lips. All of us saw the humor, but for me, it was embarrassing as well. Several times my butt rose off the mattress. The doctor asked what I was feeling. “Well dah,” Mom laughed at my response.
Come midnight I thought I was ready to sleep, but I didn’t anticipate the trauma. They put pads around the bed as well as having the sides up, so I wouldn’t get hurt. I knew I woke up twice; Mom said it was because I tried not to go back to sleep.
I and Mom wanted me to go home but Dr. Mercer suggested I stay another night and asked for Dr. Akers to come to me for a visit. That couldn’t be until after 6:00 p.m. the second night but she was more than willing to come.
The surprise of the day was when Ryta came to visit. A reporter from a lesbian community newspaper had already stopped by. I shared I didn’t know if I was a lesbian, but they said, “That is not a requirement for us to care about you. We are really a women’s newspaper, but we do get branded lesbian and we don’t fight it.”
The reporter knew Mom but was confused that we wouldn’t share where I was from. They did honor our right not to say. While I was talking to the reporter the mail came, I and Mom both opened cards until one was nasty. “You should expect what happened as long as you associate with sick friends. Your attackers are normal and you’re the SICK one! Wake up or expect more! Tough love,”
It wasn’t signed nor did it have a return address, but we did call the police and gave it over to them.
I got sick, then angry and it took me most of the day to settle down. It was good to see Ryta while in the hospital. I saw her first in the light of friendship. She went downstairs and brought back some ice cream and kept me company as Mom got away for a break.
Ryta asked how I came to know my Mom and that she took me in. Mistakenly I told her, “I was a street rat into self, into trouble and the system was ready to short sell me until she stepped in.”
Ryta interrupted and laughed, “You got to be joking I don’t see any sign of you as a guy who got himself in trouble. What did a good girl like you do that deserved someone’s wrath like that?”
I too laughed; I didn’t need to defend my statement because she didn’t believe it. “I don’t think Mom really wanted a daughter at that time or my age, but she felt it was needed. I think I am very fortunate to be her daughter.
“What I like is,” said Ryta, “you two could be sisters, somehow related by blood.”
I said, “I already like you, you don’t need to butter me up. But if you mean it I am really flattered,” though I didn’t see the resemblance.
The nurse came in and Ryta asked, "Do you think she looks like my mother?
“The woman who was in here, I thought they were sisters.” The nurse said and then looked at me for confirmation.
“She adopted me, but I am too old to be her daughter.”
“Why didn’t she just become your guardian, sisters can do that,” she said.
“But we weren’t related and…”
“You know you look like you are from the same family.” I was tickled to hear they both thought so. When Mom came back she agreed. She said, "We need a mother and daughter picture to be taken." I was feeling good until Dr. Akers came as well as a nurse to check and clean me.
Dr. Akers is generally good, but I knew she wanted me to talk about my attack and I didn’t feel up to it. She read my mind, “If we wait until you want to talk, the bad nights will continue. You will become like a balloon ready to explode.”
I knew she was right, but I still didn’t want to talk. Why can’t a doctor just start instead of telling me to start wherever I want. “I don’t want to so there!” We both pause and laugh. “I am babysitting and I took the children to the neighborhood park but three boys waited until we left. They attacked and beat me up. They said, ‘I was with people I shouldn’t be.’ Then one of them touched one of my children, I slapped the guy and they beat me up, end of story.”
“Was it that simple and quick?” Dr. Akers asked.
I began to cry, “You know it wasn’t, why do I need to relive the whole thing?” I knew part of the answer. “Can you guarantee me restful sleep if I do? ...I don’t think so.”
She was amused at my antics but knew they came from a hurting girl and she contained herself. “What would you like to do to those boys, Ashley?”
I pause and thought; I hoped Julio had already roughed up each one, but I didn’t know for sure. “They should dress them up as girls or guys in makeup and put them in prison.”
“Do you want them dead or just wishing they were dead?” she said. I had seen a guy beaten up on the street and left to die. I got sick and didn’t get to the bathroom in time.
“I guess I just want it done, I don’t want to know about it.” Dr. Akers paused, “So I don’t want it done, I am just angry, hurt and afraid!”
“What are you afraid of?” she asks.
Stupid questions I thought, “I can end up dead or hurt again. I don’t want someone else deciding who I can see or not, but I am afraid. Mom won’t let me carry a gun.”
“Did you ask her?”
“No, I didn’t ask her, I don’t want a gun! I don’t want to kill anyone, but right now I would hurt them if I could. I think I will feel like that for a long time and I shouldn’t have too!”
“I was on the streets and I didn’t feel like I do now. Now I am supposed to be a normal girl, is this how a girl should feel? I don’t think so, so why me?” I asked.
“There are no good answers to a question like that,” Doc said. “What good can you say about what happened?”
“Patti and Aidan weren’t hurt, Mom didn’t see me right away and they caught the bastards.” Dr. Akers was surprised I answered so fast.
“What if you have to testify against them in court?” she asked. I wanted the questions to stop, but I realized they wouldn’t until after a trial.
“I won’t cry for them, but I would if it helped me.” “I won’t be to blame for them going to jail; I’m more afraid nothing will happen. It may not stop someone else, but I hope it does.” I was crying enough by now that Dr. Akers stopped and then decided we had enough for today.
Mom, Ryta and two nurses came in, but none of them told me not to cry. I asked Ryta onto the bed and I gave her a big hug and held her there. I wasn’t ready to be her girlfriend, but I was close.
Joani and Maria came in before supper; I wanted to say some things that I didn’t. I knew it was not right to unload on them. I wanted their friendship though I didn’t trust it just now.
I was glad when they and others left and just Mom and I could talk or be quiet. I asked if it was alright if we put on the “no visitors” sign. Someone came and started to knock before they saw the sign.
Mom looked and told me one was Cassie, I asked Mom to ask her to come in. Neither Cassie nor I knew what to say at first. When we started to speak we started at the same time, though I was not certain what I was saying.
“Cassie, I was upset because you were afraid of coming out, I guess I understand better now. I’m sorry; I didn’t know that it can be so frightening.” Cassie started to cry and Mom gave her a hug. Cassie’s mom came into the room. She hugged her daughter, but it wasn’t the closeness I experience.
Cathy came into the room and gave Mom a hug and I think it made Cassie’s mom feel just a bit worse. It was ironic the one woman who knew she was straight felt uncomfortable. But she hugged Mom and me saying she was thankful I was okay. “It could have been my daughter, and I would have been in denial. I love her, but I haven’t been comfortable about it.”
It was good they came and we visited but I was glad that visiting time was over. Cathy was excusing herself, but I stopped her and asked her to take my Mom home. Mom looked like I just hurt her, but I knew she was tired.
“Mom, I need to try to sleep alone. I’m sure the nurses will check on me.”
It wasn’t twenty minutes and Nurse Susan came in, “I will be staying with you once my shift ends at 11:00 p.m. if that is okay.”
I had fallen asleep around 10:30 but by 11:00 woke up with my first bad dream. Susan was holding my hand, reminding me I was safe. I would have fallen back to sleep but my period had kicked in and I had to pee.
Mom didn’t say anything yesterday when Dr. Mercy thought I was beginning my period, but it just hit me. I wasn’t supposed to have any periods. If this was real or not, it was a lousy time to happen. I hadn’t known of water gains, bloating or menstrual cramps until tonight, I guess there are two sides to every coin. I was fortunate to have Susan with me.
Mom had called Susan at midnight, and they were amused at my expense. Susan told me, “Your mother says the period is not a complete surprise, but your doctor was not expecting your female organs to function but had told your mother there was the possibility. She will talk to you about that tomorrow.”
Susan talked to me, “Are you excited about the possibility of having children or was that something you didn’t want to think it would happen?” I was very tired, but I am now wound up with thoughts and possibilities.
“I didn’t think it could happen. I would like to have a child or two, but I might be a lesbian?” I watched for Susan’s reaction and was pleased that she smiled and did not make a face or any expression of judgment.
“I probably shouldn’t say anything, but silence in this area is often hard on girls. More girls and women consider the possibility of being in love with other women some time in their life than not.” I felt her statement begged the question if she had been, so I asked.
“I don’t feel obligated to tell you, but yes, I have and am considering the likelihood that I am attracted to other women. More often I enjoy the companionship of other women over being with a man. I too was attacked once by men.”
When I drifted off to sleep, I had disturbing dreams. But when I got restless seemingly Susan squeezed my hand that gave me a comfortable feeling about being with women.
I was awakened in the middle of the night by a nurse, with me clinging to Susan’s hand holding it up to my breasts. My pad needed to be changed and my crying came from pain had risen again.
Susan told me in the morning that there was a support group for young women that met at the hospital. She wanted to know if I went to a group meeting might it be upsetting if she too attended that group. I thought it would be a help and not a deterrent.
I would leave the hospital and go home today at noon, but Officer Tracy hoped to see me first. She came at 10:30; Mom was already there, as the pressing of charges and willingness to testify were being asked.
They were upfront about how hard it could be for a woman to go through the ordeal of a trial, but I had already decided to do so. Tracy said that the defendant was pressing for a trial, expecting the trauma to add to my uncertainty as a witness. Both sides were willing to waive depositions and so the trial was set for six weeks after the event.
Going home was more traumatic than I would have thought. Several of those who greeted me, whispered, “I hope you learned your lesson.” By the time I turned each person had turned their back to me and walked away. Mom saw my startled look and asked happened.
Mom said, “It hurts deep down when those you think are your friends are the ones who hurt you. It is hard for them to accept that their friends, the guys in the neighborhood, were the instigators. Many also tend to see women as more expendable and less important than men. That is even true of many we would call sisters.”
I had a restless night’s sleep and was glad to see the morning’s light. I quickly got dressed and was down to see Mom and Steffi for breakfast.
A Miss Constance McGregor from City Attorney’s Office called at 9:00 and would be here come 10:30 a.m. I took a shower to normalize my day. I put on a nice but plain pencil skirt, and blouse and did my hair into a simple ponytail. Doing the last of my makeup Mom came in and gave me a hug, ever so gently as my ribs were still sore.
Most of my bruising and injuries had disappeared or covered easily enough with makeup and clothing. “Mom before that woman comes; I have a different question I need to ask?” We went to our living area and sat down to talk. “Mom, how is it possible for me to have a period?”
Mom explained, “Back when you had your operation and the surgeon was surgically forming your vagina, she saw you have a uterus maturing and delicately joined the two together. She did not expect it to function, so we decided not to say anything unless it did.”
“The only explanation, she had is that your body had both organs and neither developed when normal at 12 because of poor nutrition. When hormones and a blocker were introduced to your system that was when your body decided you were female.”
Constance McGregor from the City Attorney’s Office was at the door when I answered it. I introduced myself and welcomed her in and up the stairs for our visit. Constance spoke first, “Well young woman, I am glad to meet you. I have spoken to Officer Tracy and she speaks very highly of you. Personally, I feel bad to put another woman through a trial like this. But I am very proud of you and will seek to be there for you throughout this case.”
“If what Tracy and others say is true, this man has met his match and would do better if he doesn’t let it go to trial. Ms. Bridgette Riley, I also appreciate the support you give to Ashley. When we visit privately I hope you would be comfortable in calling me Connie and Ms. McGregor in public.” Constance, Connie, took us through the information and understanding of the case from what she knew. We were pleased as she seemed to know our case and her stuff as a lawyer. The other two guys were not indicted yet, because Johnny wouldn’t give their names as he agreed to with Julio.
“Ashley, what would you like to see as the end result of this case,” Connie asked me?
“Well if I had my druthers John would be castrated, the two others would beat him as they did me and then all of them put into jail. And somehow I would lose my bitter feelings and I could sleep in peace from now on.”
I paused and collected my thoughts, “Realistically I am happy something is being done, I hope after it is all over I can be comfortable with myself. The outcome of a trial doesn’t seem to be in my hands. One way or another I hope justice catches up to them and someone else is helped by what we do. It is not enough that just one less woman experiences something like this.”
I say, “I am told they will try to make me a victim a second time; I intend not to give them any such satisfaction. I want him to be the one who is f* this time!” Connie smiled, seemingly pleased with my thoughts and strength.
“You haven’t been with Bridgette all that long so where did you gain the strength and ability I see in you?”
“I haven’t been here long, but Bridgette has helped me to go from being a surviving ‘street rat’ to embrace being a young woman with a whole life before her. I am not only loved her, but I have also come to love myself and I won’t let that be taken from me.”
“I hope you can get Johnny to acknowledge he has beaten others and he doesn’t intend to change his spots. The jury or the judge shouldn’t want to see him and the others on a street when they are alone.”
Mom and Connie said, “Very well put young lady.” Connie went on to say, “I think we can probably achieve that with this case.” Mom was a good host and we all had lunch together at the house. During which I asked about possibly being a lesbian and it was held against my decision of who was a friend.
“I can’t say it wouldn’t. I do believe if you have friends there to give you support and even show some affection, you will do well.” She went on, “If the other side tries to make it an issue, I expect we can make them regret doing so.”
I would be glad when the trial was done. Tomorrow and the rest of the week, I would get to watch Patti and Adian at our place. Mom or Steffi would be with me when I took them outside. Yards in NYC are usually the size of a postage stamp so going to a park was pretty much required.
I did have one pair of designer jeans I could comfortably wear and a lightweight blouse with long sleeves both worn to cover the fading bruises. Adian came bouncing up the steps at 8:00 a.m. and when he bounced up on me I knew the pain of the beating had subsided but not disappeared. My arms were also sore but not too sore to stop from hugging them both.
We played board games on the floor, I read stories and we all colored pictures. I had made tuna salad sandwiches for lunch along with apple slices. Today the children were easy to please. We used Patti’s dolls and Aidan's stuffed animals to play in the afternoon. I was delighted when Aidan said, “My stuffed doggie is a puppy so I need to bottle feed it like Patti is doing with her baby doll. I won’t get in trouble will I?”
“Why do you think I might get angry, Aidan,” I felt the need to ask?
“We had a babysitter, she said I shouldn’t do girl things,” he said with a bit of worry. I continue to be surprised that even girls and women say insensitive things.
I was soon up and about things as normal and felt a bit more at ease when I saw Jess or other street guys watching me when I took children to a park. I usually waited till after I watched the children visit with Jess or other street people. The day I didn’t babysit I usually went to a park to eat lunch. Jess and I felt it was a bit like dating.
The August date for working on schools was a big success as well over a hundred schools in the city, metropolitan area of New Jersey and Connecticut area had people helping in their schools. I helped in a school in Brooklyn and we had enough people to work on 10 classrooms and some students cleaned or painted the halls.
The Reporter Jack Cafferty covered the event once again. While he visited with us his report focused on two other schools that were worked on. The following day he did a report on two schools who said they were taking care of their own schools. Mr. Cafferty showed little was done in one school and nothing was done in another, despite 8-12 volunteers being known of for either school.
A third of the schools had union volunteers working along with other union staff who were being paid. Except for Mr. Cafferty’s reports, I was told all other reports were about Unions being the problem. Many union workers could document 20-100 hours per year done as volunteers, mostly in the areas of their skills with their unions buying material.
Because I was still healing at that time, I didn’t do much work but did serve sandwiches and drinks.
Just before School started the Trial started, Patti was a witness via a camera. Both Constance as the prosecuting attorney and I were upset when the questioning went a bit overboard. Fortunately, Patti did well and didn’t know the offense she might have felt.
Johnny’s attorney, however, did not spare me any quarter. He tried to show between Collin, Jess, and Ryta that I was a promiscuous teenage girl. He and Constance did prove I was a healthy girl. Connie in redirect was able to portray their case as a fishing expedition that came up with nothing.
Once questioned by the Defense attorney, I was asked about Bridgette's lifestyle as a single woman, raising a teenage girl with predominantly women friends or roommates, whom he insinuated possibly stayed together at night. I lost my cool for a moment and he snickered, “What a troubled young teenage girl needs, what could be worse than her being raised by a woman of questionable lifestyle? It shouldn’t be surprised, the kind of woman she was becoming.”
I thought I was talking to myself but the microphone on the witness stand caught me, “It could have been worse, I could have been raised by a lawyer and a shark, or worse two lawyers.” When the courtroom broke out in laughter, the attorney objected at my statement.
Before the judge ruled she asked the attorney, “Are you wanting just her overt statement stricken from the record or both?” Constance had already risen and the attorney knew she would be objecting to his statement. He had stumbled again from what he thought would appear as higher ground.
By the end of that day in court, the defense was looking for a plea agreement for a lesser sentence. He got the shorter sentence as he thought would be good, five years not the likelihood of fifteen. But Johnny needed to give the names and testify against the other two attackers. What Constance knew as likely, the defense did not; Judge Conner did not like plea agreements. She approved the five-year sentence but without parole; something the Defense objected to. But it was well within the realm of the judge’s discretion. “Further objection and I will put it at seven years without parole; (pause) hearing none done and done.” Were her final words before dismissing the jury.
Saturday before school started, Joani Richards had arranged a double date for her and me. My date was Marcus Horner. I agreed to go because Joani would not have been able to go out otherwise. I didn’t expect I was going to like Marcus as I did. He was only 5’ 11” and average at first appearance, but he was affectionate without pushing into my space. He didn’t try to kiss me until we were saying goodnight and I said he could. He asked me out for the following weekend to a dance at his school. And without a second thought, I found myself saying yes and exchanging phone numbers.
When I went into our house, Mom asked, “What went wrong?”
I could only respond, “I like him and agreed to another date.”
Mom asked, “So wha
t is wrong about that?”
“I’m just coming to accept I am a lesbian that is what’s wrong. Lesbians don’t go out with guys because they feel something for them.”
Mom and Steffi both giggled like they were teenagers laughing at their friend. Steffi, “You know your body is alive and strung tight enough right now that by a boy or girl you could easily be turned on. If you accept a date with one of the horses at Central Park or Times Square then you should be worried.”
Mom gave me a hug, “Honey, your defenses were down, you’re attracted to him and he was nice and affectionate to you. What isn’t there to like? I can only think it is an answer to prayer that you don’t get caught up in any one relationship. Remember you are only fourteen.”
Mom visited with me as I got ready for bed and I visited with Mom as she got ready for bed. I found myself again being envious with how beautiful she was and the maturity of her body. “Mom, do you think I will ever be beautiful like you? I don’t expect to be as beautiful, but I would like to be pretty.”
Mom got defensive, “I probably shouldn’t be changing in front of you for one thing. Secondly, I am upset you don’t understand you are already pretty, but appearance should not be as important as it is. You should be loving yourself as you are.”
“I know what are you telling me, but didn’t you when you grew up and even now have the want to be as attractive as you can,” Ashley?
She laughed and gave me a big hug and a smooch on the cheek. “You are right; I was probably 20 years old going into my junior year at college before I realize what I am asking of you.”
I got angry as I almost believed her, “You’re making fun of my being a naíve girl.” She agreed and commenced in tickling me until I couldn’t stop laughing and wet in my nightgown.
Mom calmly had me disrobe and look into her long mirror. “Honey look at the beautiful person you are.” Mom was behind me, holding me in her arms, “Your vagina and hair there as well as your breasts already show a good looking woman. I am very proud of whom you are becoming and the mirror only shows the surface of your beauty.”
My eyes teared as I turned around and hugged her. I would have gone straight to bed, “Young woman unless you want a bad infection, I encourage you to learn to keep your body clean.”
The next day Ryta, Cassie, Joanie and I went shopping for last minute school stuff on Sunday. Other than school supplies, we did little more than window shopping and trying on clothes. I did buy two bra and panty sets as both my hips and chest were growing. I was embarrassed because I was smaller than them. I wasn’t going to let them see me, but they forced their way to sneak a peek. I was happy because they liked the way I looked and I had picked my bra accordingly…
To Be Continued...
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