How Did I Get Here

“Chanel, someone is here for you!” I hear my sister yell from the other room.

“Uh, here I go again,” I mutter. I put on a little more mascara to try and complete the smoky eye look and slip my toes into my favorite Minolo heels. “Not sure if this guy is worth you ladies, but boy I love wearing you.” The only ladies in the room besides me are and my 5-inch, soft pink, rhinestone-studded heels, one of my favorite pairs. I often talk to my shoes, kind of how people talk to their plants. It lets them know I love them.

I am more excited about wearing these shoes than this date I’m about to go on. The soft leather feels so good on my feet. I stand in my full-length mirror and give myself a once over. “Don’t hurt ‘em, Chanel,” I whisper as I softly smooth my manicured hands over my hips. The pointed toe heels set the form fitting pencil skirt off just right. I head into the foyer and there he stands, better than six feet tall though a little chunky for my taste. Oh well, he’s here now, and he’s even got flowers in his hand. I would have to be a total bitch to say what I’m thinking. I really want to say, “I’m tired, and really don’t feel like going out. I truly regret accepting your invitation in the first place. Have a nice life!” Boy, that would be awesome! He smiles and hands me the flowers.

“For you young lady.” I take the flowers.

“These are beautiful, thank you.” I did it! I said the right thing. Okay, Chanel, you can pull this off; it was nice of him to bring flowers after all, no one does that anymore. Maybe this will be a cool night. I take his arm, “So where are we going?”

I do this to myself constantly. I feel like if a guy has the courage to ask me out, then I should oblige. After all, it takes a lot of nerve to ask someone out. Maybe they think I’m special, and I don’t want to come off as mean or stuck up. I say yes to them, even if I am not interested.

I am not so sure why I don’t just chill and keep to myself. If I did I certainly would save myself a ton of grief. I guess maybe I love men, and I love attention. Men love to give me attention. So, I play the game.

So far, the date is uneventful. We saw Starship Troopers—his pick, and not my type of movie. He said absolutely nothing to me on the forty-five-minute drive to the theater. I take that back—he mentioned something about his “alligator shoes costing over $2000,” which was, “just slightly more than the rims on his car.” There were tons of theaters closer to where I lived, but he insisted on this new IMAX theater in L.A. that had stadium seating and better sound. Whatever. Now I guess we must go to dinner. I want to end this; I should have had my girlfriend Barb do a rescue call.

“What do you want to eat?” He asks. Good, this is my opportunity to bail.

“You know, I’m not really hungry; can we skip dinner?” I respond with hope. Well, apparently I did not word that correctly because he is now smiling from ear to ear. He looks gross when he smiles. Kind of like Tic-Toc the alligator from Peter Pan, you know, the one with like a thousand jagged teeth? YUCK. I wonder if he slaughtered Tic-Toc to make those ugly ass shoes he’s so proud of.

“Okay, what do you want to do instead? I don’t live far from here….” Wow, he has got the wrong idea big time.

“Oh, I was thinking you could take me home; I am a bit tired.” I responded to him in such a way that hoped he would get the picture. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just say “I’m ready to go home.”

“Home? Already? Look, I live like five minutes from here, so let’s go to my place and chill for a bit. I need to relax before I go on that long drive again. Then I will take you home,” he insists. I give in.

“Okay, I guess we can go chill for a few minutes.”

His apartment is dark and plain. Only one lamp stands in the far corner of the living room beside a loveseat. He hits the switch, turns on the light, creating a dim yellow hue across the room.

“Have a seat. I’ll pour us some drinks.” Although I tell him no thank you, here he is with two mismatched glasses anyway. I set mine on the table. He grabs the remote and turns to ESPN.

“So this is the night?” I wonder, “Does he think I’m turned on by this? I’ve gotta get out of here.” He scoots closer. I scoot further away. I sit, frustrated and ready to leave. I feel my underarms grow hot, about to start sweating. Good, maybe I’ll start to stink and he will back off. “Why am I here, alone, in a shitty apartment, with some creep?” I ponder. “What is stopping me from leaving?”

I catch myself thinking, “At least this is his own apartment” as I reflect on the last guy I dated, who seemed to think it was cool to live with his momma because it saved him money on rent. He moves closer, and I scoot even closer to the edge of the couch. If the couch had no arm, I’d probably scoot right down to the floor. Doesn’t he get it? I don’t want him touching me. Then again, why should he? I agreed to come back here. I knew what he meant by “hang out”, but apparently he did not realize or care that I really meant hang out. Great, he’s getting up. Maybe he will back off and we can watch this oh-so-interesting basketball game after all. Here he is with two more drinks. Oh, didn’t I mention? He drank the one I put down on the table as well as the one he made for himself. He comes close to my face holding out the glass.

“This is cognac, try it.” My better judgement is telling me I want no part of that drink. I’ve had enough of this, I’m out. Just as I am about to say “fuck it” and bail, a saving grace. My beautiful friend Barb calls. Answering immediately, I pretend to be alarmed, and Barb knows exactly what I’m doing.

“Oh no, okay, I’ll be there in about an hour!” I turn to him. “Look, Steven—” He interrupts me.

“—Call me Delicious Baby,” he croons while attempting to wrap his snake-like arms around my waist.

“No—look—for real, I’ve got to bounce; my friend needs me.”

He continues with his tired-ass game: “Not as much as me.” This is pissing me off! How does he know that she isn’t in an emergency? Who is he to decide that he was more important?

“Are you gonna take me home or what?” I snap. But he only tries to stick the stupid roofie drink back in my hand. “I’ll take that as a no.” I started for the door.

I don’t know how the hell I’m getting home; I’m not even sure where I am. Oh well, nobody is gonna hold me captive. I feel his hands grab my waist, this time more aggressively. “You’re not leaving until I’m ready for you to leave, bitch.” Oh my God, he’s out of his mind!

“You are drunk, LET ME GO!” I shouted, twisting my hands to get free. But he’s refusing to let me go. I dig my nails into his arms while trying to break loose. He loosens his grip only to turn me around. I swing and kick as he pushes me to the floor. He’s holding me down; I can’t get up. His weight is smothering, like a thousand pounds pressed on top of me. What is happening, am I screaming loud enough? Am I screaming at all? All I hear is a loud humming and ringing in my ears. I think he hit me. Did he hit me? My clothes are off, how did my clothes get off? Where are they? He stinks, his sweat is all over me and it smells like that wino who begs in front of the liquor store. I allow my mind to wander, to picture the store where that wino stands. Then I see my car pulling up to my home. I want to picture anything but him. The sharp stubble from his beard grinds against my face like a scouring pad, snapping me out of my daydream. He’s grunting and humming. He’s dripping sweat. I beg, but it’s a whisper; I’m crying, I can’t stop crying. He doesn’t care. He is a monster. I want him dead; just die so I can leave, have a heart attack and die. It feels like there is a creature on top of me, like a serpent has entered me. Please be over, please be over please be over.

Where am I? Where is he? Was I out? Thank God, he’s dumb enough to have left me alone. I hear him in the bathroom just across the hall, the shower is running, this is my chance.

I grab my shirt and slip it over my head and pull my skirt down. The fear is propelling me; I know I only have a few minutes at most. I creep down the hall a few steps and toward the front door, turn the bolt and softly shut the door behind me so no snap of the lock will alert him of my escape.

No time to grab my stuff; I gotta get outta here. It’s cold and the wind is blowing. I don’t care, I’m running. Running like Forrest Gump. Good thing he lives on the first floor and I don’t have to battle any stairs. I lope down the street in the direction I believed we came.

I realized suddenly I’m still wearing my heels. “Why the hell do I still have these on!” I wonder. I kick them off and pick up more speed, the wind blowing my frazzled hair, cold whisking by my tear stained cheeks, drying off the sweat he poured all over me. All I am thinking is how fast my feet can hit the pavement. Where am I running to? Who am I running to? All I know for sure is that I must get the hell away from him.

I see a police cruiser just up ahead. I run straight to the car, thankful the officer is inside. I beat on the hood, screaming, not knowing I’m screaming. I don’t know what I’m saying. I cannot stop crying. My heart is about to explode.

“Slow down, ma’am.” I hear a calming voice. “Slow down I can’t understand you.” Feeling my breath finally slow, I breathe in and out again.

“Please help.” I fix my mouth to speak coherently. He’s asks me what is going on and I explain. He puts me into the cruiser and we begin to drive off. I assume I am headed to a police station. I hunch down in the seat, am I finally safe?

We are here, I walk in, the neon lights burn my eyes. I know I look like a hot mess. The thought crosses my mind, but who cares. The officer who brought me here is very reassuring. I feel safe. He seems nice, and trustworthy. I won’t speak to anyone but him. I sit in a room with two metal chairs and a white table. Officer Shannon brings me a blanket and coffee. I wrap myself in the blanket. He sits across from me with a pad and pen. Just as he is about to start talking, another officer knocks and walks in.

“We found these shoes on the street ma’am; are they yours?” In his hand were the beautiful pink Minolos.

“Yes, but I don’t want them.”

As he walks out with the shoes dangling from his grip, Officer Shannon begins his questioning: “How did you get there?”

I’m still watching the Minolos, those once-fine ladies, as they disappear past the checkered safety glass. How did I get here?