“I was molested.”
It was a Thursday evening; but when your friend had had a fight with his secret boyfriend, you now had an excuse to declare it a long weekend.
First, ask your seatmates to cover for you in classes you can’t fuck, and just fuck the rest. But because you’re a roguish student and a good seatmate, they probably got your back in everything until graduation.
Second, drop by your apartment to change because someone from school might see you buying booze with your nun-like uniform: white, long sleeve blouse and black, below the knee skirt. You’re not a good student, but you’re not stupid either—you can’t fuck up college, especially when it’s already your last year.
Third, let him chose the drink. It’s his night. Buy from small liquor stores to support small businesses. Buy cheaper ones because the goal is to gulp and get drunk; not to sip, smell and whirl it in your father’s fancy tumbler that you stole four years ago because you wanted to punish him for making you go to a sectarian business school in a town you’ve never been. And make sure to buy enough to last you ‘til 5 AM because in a place like this, everyone’s asleep after ten o’clock.
Fourth, drink your sorrows away!
“Molested?!” I stood up abruptly and towered in front of him, brows furrowed and mouth agape. The neck of my bottle warm in my right hand.
We were drinking cheap cut brandy straight from the bottle while sprawled on the wooden floor in the upstairs living room of his house. It was an old Spanish colonial house that had been owned by his family for generations. The huge house was practically empty except for the antique jars and vases of different sizes placed in every corner: foyer, receiving area, dining, even on pillars of staircases. He shared the house with a housekeeper and his two cousins: one who also went to our school, and the older one worked as I-didn’t-know-what somewhere in this town. While the rest of his family were back in the city with a lot of irons in the fire managing their steel factory. Pun intended.
“Shh... I think my cousin’s still up working,” he whispered as he twisted his body to look if there was someone else around; his almost empty bottle toppled but was still safely nestled in his crossed legs.
When we started playing twenty-one questions, it was fun. We laughed and giggled at our stupid questions and silly answers until I asked the question, “How did you become bisexual?” as a joke.
“What do you mean molested?!” I scream-whispered.
He only sighed, propped his elbows on his bent knees and buried his face in his palms.
My head spun, maybe from the sudden movement. So I sat back down beside him, legs stretched, still holding the bottle. I heard him breathe deeply, and then myself.
“Who did it?”
“My uncle...” he said quietly, face still buried in his hands.
“What?” I gasped.
“...and my cousin,”
...and a family friend.” His voice quivered. He sniffed and moved his left hand to wipe away his tears that I didn’t see, but knew was there.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Yes, it happens a lot in this country especially to those poor children living in the slums, but to him? He’s from a rich, respected family for Christ's sake!
“How? When? Your parents, do they know?... Why not?!”
He only kept crying and sniffing and shaking his head while I rapidly blurted out those questions.
"Why didn't you tell them?" I pressed on.
"I don't want to be the cause of some sort of dispute in the family."
He didn't answer.
“Wait, which cousin?”
He jerked his head to the left where there was a hallway lined with bedroom doors, but there was only one occupied room in that part of the house, “Friendly?!”
We had been friends since freshman year, and I had been in this house countless of times for the past four years. The people of this house knew me. I’d even assigned nicknames for them, but only used it when talking to my friend. The housekeeper was Mrs. Lovely because she was sweet and kind, one cousin was Friendly because he was warm and welcoming, and the other was Shabby not that he was untidy but because he was either shy or snobby.
He only nodded.
“Is he still doing it?”
“No, it only happened when I was a kid. When I still wasn’t strong enough to fight them off.”
“What about Shabby? Did he also...?”
“No, we’re the same age. It was only my uncle and—“
“Friendly. Because they’re much older and stronger.”
He sobbed, bent his back much lower to hug his knees and bury his face.
“Animals!” I muttered.
When you see those innocent girls on the news with their young faces blurred—victims—some are dead, others alive (but are they really?); or the high rate of reported child abuse and trafficking from a research article you were reading for Psychology class, you clenched your teeth while clicking on that down button harder and harder as you read more and more about these bastards! But there was nothing you could do.
A door creaked open then closed. My friend stopped crying, but he was still hiding his face, sniffing. His cousin padded down the hallway. I looked up when he passed by us, and he met my gaze.
“Love life?” he chuckled, pointing at my crying friend. I nodded once.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“Kitchen,” he never stopped walking, “midnight snack.”
Animal! I thought.
Once he descended the stairs, I stood up. “I need to pee,” I told my friend and walked calmly towards the stairs; bottle of brandy still in hand.
When I reached the wooden rail near the staircase, I placed both of my forearms on top of it and let the half full bottle of cheap brandy dangle from my fingers. I turned to my right and stared at the antique vase placed heavily on top of the pillar.
No, too hard.
On impulse, I changed my hold of the bottle. I now held it horizontally with the neck in my left hand and bottom in my right. The amber liquor inside took another shape. I leveled the bottle, breathed, and waited.
And then, it all happened so quickly: a shatter, Friendly bawled in pain, my friend’s footsteps, then I ran downstairs.
When I got to Friendly, there were shards of glass on the floor and he was clutching his head still screaming in pain.
“What happened!” my friend exclaimed behind me.
“I dropped the bottle and it hit him!” I replied rather honestly.
Mrs. Lovely emerged from a dark corridor, confused. When she saw Friendly, she went straight to him and led him to the couch in the middle of the room before hurrying for the first aid cabinet.
Once Friendly was seated, in pain, and still clutching his head, a beautiful red blood dripped and stained his sordid face.
I sat beside him on the couch, “Oh my god! I’m so drunk. I didn’t mean to...” And then I gently put a hand on his shoulder and said, “I’m so sorry!”