Driving and Crying by guest @hiyacynthia

*Trigger warning. This post discusses an abusive sexual situation that could disturb some readers.*

Please join me in a big welcome back to Cindy Brown. This post continues Cindy’s story after her last post on Rachel in the OC, Bad Things Come in Threes.

Driving and Crying by Cindy Brownvectorstock_400857

I backed out of the driveway and drove toward the tracks. I made it over the rails, turned the corner, and the tears literally exploded from my body like nothing I had ever experienced. Heavy, thick, full body shaking sobs overtook me. I almost pulled over. I shouldn’t have been behind the wheel.

Instead of a DUI, I suppose I would have been slapped with a DWU; Driving while upset. It is one of two times I can clearly remember driving in a state of terrible emotional trauma. It was understandable, considering the circumstances of the previous fifteen minutes. I couldn’t believe what had just happened.

Driving and crying.

How… how could this happen? Why me? Why? Why, why, WHY?

“What am I going to do?”

The question was fruitless. There was no answer.

I was separated from my first husband, living back with my mother and stepfather. I was 21 years old. My husband and I only had one car at the time, so my grandpa loaned me my grandma’s old car. Man, I missed my grandma. She passed away when I was a teenager.

Driving and crying.

I had been packing things up at the apartment, preparing to end my marriage. I’d found a receipt for a hotel room above the visor in our car when he’d stayed out all night. There were other problems. That was just the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. I was done. There was no getting past that hump. At least, I didn’t think so.

Grandpa had been kind in letting me use the car. He was a nice man. Unless he was dressed up for a special occasion, you could always find him in overalls and straw hat. He loved his garden and took pride in selling his fruits and vegetables by the road. He just left the money jar on the picnic table with a scale to weigh the produce. He trusted that people would pay honestly and they always did.

He called me and asked me to drop by the house when I got a chance. He had something he wanted to talk to me about. Maybe it was about the car? Who knew? I figured he wanted to do something nice for me.

Driving and crying.

I went out to his house in the country and got the usual garden tour. My, it was a pretty day! We sat in lawn chairs out back near the garden. He patted my knee lovingly and fidgeted a bit as he began to talk to me about what was on his mind.

“You know, I’ve been real lonely since your grandma died and I know you could use some extra money right now and well… I’d pay you $20 a night to come out a few nights a week and sleep with me.”

Driving and crying.

  • Shock
  • Fear
  • Betrayal
  • Anger
  • Disappointment
  • Rage
  • Defeat
  • Emptiness

What emotion did I feel? I don’t know. I can’t nail down one single emotion that I felt in that moment. I was not expecting that to come out of his mouth. No siree, not one little bit.

If my jaw could have dropped wide open like it wanted to, I could have swallowed myself whole. I knew exactly what he meant. I was stunned.

What came out of my mouth in response was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever said. I don’t know where it came from. I had to say something, but the words didn’t convey what I felt. My brain wouldn’t work right.

“Well, grandpa, thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t do that to grandma.”

Driving and crying.

Why in the holy hell did I say that? Of all things to say, that was my response? I didn’t even mean any of it in the slightest. WTF!

I guess it was all I could think of at the time to make my exit. I was still too nice to everyone and didn’t ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings, even my grandpa, who evidently wanted to pork me… for twenty bucks. Seriously? Help! Get me out of this lawn chair! What the hell just happened here?

I mustered the strength to lift myself up and start walking to the car. I made small talk and said goodbye. It was the last thing I ever said to him.

Driving and crying.

I sobbed the whole way home. The questions never ceasing, my body and soul in complete shock, I thought the impossible thought.

How am I going to tell my mother? It’s her father, for God’s sake!

I called my sister, still sobbing, and told her there was no way I could tell mom. My sister lived out of state, but I begged her to call her and tell mom for me. I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t figure out how.

At least I was telling someone this time, unlike the rapes I successfully hid.

I avoided my mother until she got the call. It was late at night, but I’ll never forget that we took my grandma’s car to his house, attached a note thanking him for its use, and parked it quietly in the back garage without a word.

My husband had raped me in the near-empty apartment just before grandpa called me out to his house to talk that day. That was my third rape. It wasn’t long before I ended up going back to my estranged husband. I was so broken by the circumstances of life that it seemed like a good option at the time.

Driving and crying.

My grandpa died thirteen years later. I was having dinner with my best friend and her family at a pizza joint when I got the call from my mother. I did not shed one single tear.

I took a day off work for the funeral, but didn’t attend. I’d be damned if I was going to spend my birthday paying my respects to him.

He stole the sanctity of family from me. He stole a father figure and male role model from me. He stole what was left of my self-respect and dignity. He stole my respect for older men. He stole all of the good memories I had of him and of grandma. He betrayed her. He betrayed me. He stole the remaining good thoughts about men from me.

When I think of the years it took for me to repair my broken heart, I am sad. It didn’t matter that he didn’t actually physically molest me. The molestation of my mind was a consummated act that couldn’t be undone without a great deal of going through hell.

I’ve reconciled all of my hatred, feelings of self-blame (did I dress too skimpy around him and tempt him?), and learned to love men again. I now have a wonderful husband and a sound soul and I’ve learned, more importantly, to love myself again.

I have forgiven. But I will never forget…

Driving and Crying

Cindy BrownAbout the Author:
I’m a freelance humor writer and I run a humor blog at EverydayUnderwear.com. Beautiful sights, great writing, and things that make me laugh are my main interests on Pinterest. Tweet @hiyacynthia.
Blog  Twitter  Facebook  Pinterest

Comments

  1. That is so sad. There’s no way to be prepared for something that unexpected. I think you handled it very well, and I’m glad your mother went with you to return the car. This post is very well written.

    Love,
    Janie

  2. Hi Cindy,
    As always, a wonderfully written post. You’re incredibly brave to share this very moving and personal chapter of your life. I’m sorry you had to encounter such unacceptable behavior from an important person you felt you could trust. I am happy to read that you have learned to love again, both yourself and others. I’ve always said the best revenge is to live well and you my friend are a shining example. xx
    Steph

    • Thanks, Steph! It is just a small portion of what I’ve been through. I have learned to make good use of my bad experiences. Talking about them helps close a chapter and open them for others afraid to speak about what happened to them. This is the first time I’ve talked about this publicly. It’s hard, but necessary. Eventually, I will be writing a memoir, so I have to have no fear in my writing. Rachel’s blog has given me the perfect avenue for this. Thanks for you comment and for saying I’m a shining example. That is a nice compliment :)

    • I’m happy to give my blog to such wonderful people and writers. I can’t wait til you both have books out.

      *taps foot*

  3. Hi Cindy,
    I am so pleased that you have reconciled your hatred and feelings of self-blame. You are very courageous to move past the hatred, but the self-blame should never have been. How sad (I wish I could think of a stronger word) it is that those whose duty of care it is to protect us, particularly when most vulnerable, betray the position of trust which should have been a stronghold of refuge. Such betrayal sometimes makes it seems as if all the shores around the stormy seas of life are edged by perilous rocks. I am so glad you found a peaceful harbour in which you have garnered the strength to share you story and show others there is hope. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Cindy,
    I am so proud of you! I’m proud to share with the world that you have been a dear friend of mine. That your strength and your life experiences have gotten me through several less than pleasant times. And that you are an AMAZING STRONG BEAUTIFUL WOMAN.
    On another note, I can totally hear you saying those words to him with strength and solidity.
    I love you Cindy. You are a blessing to so many people

    • Thank you so much for these words, Ginny! I treasure the friendship we’ve had. Perhaps someday I can write a book about you and I and our combined experiences. We have both been through a lot and shared a lot. I love you and miss you very much!

  5. Dear Cindy, thank you for sharing a part of your heart and soul, and for sharing it so eloquently. I think the thing that interested me the most about your story was your response to your grandfather’s request. I know that in retrospect, you wish you would have said so many more things to him, but I actually disagree. I think what you said was perfect for many reasons.
    I suspect in your shock, anger, and innocence, you may have also sensed danger. Had you said something more threatening – such as telling him outright what a pig he was, he may have become physically abusive. Instead, your response helped to diffuse the situation, and allowed you to get out of there unharmed (at least physically) and with some semblance of dignity. By telling him that you didn’t want to betray your grandmother, you probably told him off more than you can ever imagine – he was probably shocked by your response, he probably didn’t expect it, and I’ll bet it caused him to stop and think about his actions. Cindy – even though you didn’t realize it at the time, I think you subconsciously assessed the situation, said the smartest thing that came to your mind in light of the circumstances…then walked away…forever. At 21, you were much stronger than you even realized! Hugs Hugs Hugs!!!

    • Lisa, thank you for pointing out that I did say something intelligent. I have always seen my response as something negative and thought that it didn’t convey my disgust, but rather made an escape for me in the wrong way. Maybe it was appropriate. I guess when I think about it, I “read” it in my head as though he may have been thinking I was saying I can’t do that to grandma, but if she weren’t a factor…

      Your comment actually gives me pause to think about how much I really blamed myself for all of my actions and part in what happened. I used to have a terrible problem with finding a way to self-blame for everything that happened to me, when in reality, some of it was not at all related to me and my actions, but were just horrible things that happened to me.

      I guess I learned later in therapy that self-blame gave me control of the situation. That control was hard to let go. It seems strange that I would want to bind myself to negative things with self-loathing, but grief wasn’t easy to deal with and it made sense at the time to cuddle it like a favorite blankie. It was difficult to get rid of my security blankets. I learned to take blame where I needed to, let go of what I wasn’t to blame for, and change my future circumstances.

      Thank God, I found freedom in that process.

      Hugs to you, too, Lisa! Thank you for your insight. It’s really helpful.

      • Hi Cindy- I don’t think he thought your meaning was: “if grandma wasn’t a factor…..” Do you know why? Because you got up and left. AND YOU NEVER CAME BACK! I think he knew damn well that although you didn’t say everything that was on your mind, you were thinking it and that what you actually said was, “I can’t do that to grandma you &%$#@ pig”

        Also, don’t discount the power of body language. I am sure your body said more than your words. Think about how you responded with your body. You did NOT move forward and hug or comfort him, but rather, I am sure you must have recoiled, moved away from him, walked away AND NEVER CAME BACK. Cindy – that man knew damn well that he crossed the line – and your words and actions during the encounter and for the rest of his life told him loud and clear how horribly wrong he was! You are a wonderful and beautiful person!!! Thanks again for sharing!!
        Lisa

        • Why, Lisa, I’ve never heard you curse like that, LOL! I never wanted to speak to him again. I was so shocked. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t try to reconcile, which was an option I had kicked around in my head at one time. Yuck. Just yuck!

  6. Cindy you beautiful, sincere and thoughtful woman. I’m so proud of you for putting your story out there. Women need the concrete examples of survivors and thrivers. I know far too many women still hiding and suffering in shame. Many of these woman are more afraid of the judgement of others, than they are of their rapist. Self-blame and the degradation of self-esteem are nearly indestructible forces that erode a woman’s self-worth. It takes courage to muster against the social mores still at work against women. Sharing your story and the example you set, serves all women. Women need to hear that there is life, hope and happiness in their future. A future you offer by telling your story. Lead by example is pretty powerful stuff. I’m so grateful to you–for the sake of all our daughters, thank you.

    • Lynne, this is such a small part of my life story. There is so much tragedy that I worry sometimes that people won’t believe me. My memoir will be full of examples of how to be strong and recover from life’s stumbling blocks. I’ve had so many – so many different areas, too. It’s crazy. But I have grown and matured so much because of it that it was worth it! Thanks again for your words. They mean a lot to me.

  7. I have no words. Wrapping my arms around you.

    I will never understand some things. (((BIG HUGS)))

    • All hugs accepted! Thank you. I could not understand either. He probably had a bad example down the line somewhere himself. Awful situation! But I made it through life unscathed and that’s the important part. His punishment was losing a granddaughter.

  8. Very well written Cindy. I reacted with you and your emotions. I would have enjoyed brain testing our ideas together on other answers to your “Grandpa”. You know, even with all of our created ideas on how to respond, yours was the best, yours was personal, it met the emotions of the moment. I have a feeling you pierced any defenses he may have been wearing. If he wasn’t a dirty old man in his mind before, he knew he was after your reference to his wife, your Grandma. I had to read your story after the beautiful comments you made on my story in “An Evening to Remember” in my web site “This Old Man Says.Com”. I will gladly be your Grandpa, I just turned 80 the 16th of this October. I have 5 grandchildren made up of 2 young men and 3 beautiful ladies. They all love the arts in acting and singing. I have 3 adopted God Children and now I have an adopted literary child, “Cindy”, who loves to make people laugh, writes from the heart, expresses with emotion. I spent 3 days with Bob Hope. A story that I will write about in the future. I learned from that experience that comedy is an “emotional high” that expresses a feeling that is truly acquired over experience and time. You just proved why you are good at it in your telling this very emotional experience. May the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine softly on your face, may God hold you in the palm of His Hands, and may you continue to write for the pleasure of others.

    • Tom, I now need to write a post called, “Sitting on the Couch and Crying” because I am bawling right now after reading your comment. How proud it makes me to accept the offer to be your adopted literary child. To have a virtual “Grandpa” like you is an honor I humbly and gratefully accept. I respect you and your writings so much. Your words to me here mean more than I can tell you. I have always felt cheated out of a proper Grandpa. I never knew my father’s dad and my own dad died when I was 25. I have a wonderful step-father who is 83 and starting to have health problems. I already grieve time I will lose with him when he passes. One thing I have learned from the experience I wrote about here is to never take a good role model for granted. I’m thankful to have one in you! Tom Ryan, you’re my hero! You have very lucky children and grandchildren :)

  9. It’s contagious, the tears have reached Texas. My heart aches for your story, and it rejoices for the responses you’ve gotten … along with your new Grandpa!
    Hugs!

  10. Cindy every time I learn something new about you I’m that much more inspired by you and amazed by your eternal love for life and your conscious choice to live your life choosing every day to find rays of sunshine instead of hiding behind clouds.

Speak Your Mind

*