3503– Saturday, September 28, 2019 — The Story of Little Red Riding Hood:  AKA: Autumn, Part 2

hoodie in cemetary

The years before high school went by pretty fast for Autumn and her mother.  They were not without problems.  Autumn caught shoplifting.  Autumn suspended from junior high school for truancy.  Autumn caught with 20-year-old boyfriend in bed.  Autumn doing pot and possibly some ecstasy.  Autumn running away from home.  Autumn and her mother constantly fighting.  Autumn understood that she was on a slippery slope and it seemed to all head downhill.

However, she told herself that when she turned 14 and started high school that things would be really different.  She would find a nice guy to love and they would plan a life together after high school.  In addition to her dreams, it came as a happy surprise for Autumn when her mom and dad got back together again.  Her father and brothers moved back in with Autumn and her mom.  Autumn took these events as auspicious signs that things were already starting to look up.

Within the next year, Autumn started 9th grade at the local high school.  Her brothers were in the 11th and 12th grades respectively.  Autumn wasted little time in finding a new boyfriend, but they quickly parted when it seemed that all he wanted was sex and Autumn wanted more than just sex.  Autumn was quite happy to provide some of what the boy wanted but in exchange she expected to be treated as a girlfriend and not just some bimbo.

Autumn found another boyfriend and then another boyfriend.  One boyfriend followed another faster than she could count, and her relationships always followed the same pattern.  A date, sex, more sex, being taken for granted and then breaking up.  Autumn was only 14 but within months of starting high school she had acquired a reputation as an easy girl who would put out on the first date.  The more her reputation as a harlot grew, the worse her relationships with others at the school became.  The boys all gave her funny looks and smirks as she passed them in the hallways, but it was the girls that proved her real problem.

The girls at school would gossip behind her back and she would actually find comments about herself in the bathroom stalls.  Comments like “For a quick fuck, call Autumn at 520-238-6123.”  Groups of girls talking would point to her and laugh and then grow silent and snicker when she walked by.  Autumn felt that she had become a laughing stock in school and that none of the other girls wanted or dared to associate with her.  Her life grew lonelier and more and more bleak.

At home, Autumn noticed her once loving brothers becoming more and more distant.  One day she summoned up her courage and asked them what was wrong.  They told her in no uncertain terms that she was the laughing stock of the school and that all their friends made sexual comments about her.  They wanted noting to do with Autumn and they were both ashamed that she was their sister. “Keep away from us” were their parting comments.

The school year eventually ended.  The hopes for love and happiness that Autumn cherished had evaporated like a puddle of water on a hot summer day in Texas.  Autumn kept to herself most of the summer months before the next school year.  Her mother and father were both to busy working to deal with her problems and assumed it was just teenage angst and that she would grow out of it.  Autumn dreaded the coming of school but tried to convince herself that a great guy must be out there some place if she could only find him.

The new school year started.  Autumn was 15 years old and a sophomore.  Within the first two weeks of school she met a good-looking guy who was a senior and he asked her out on a date.  He seemed really nice.  He took her to dinner and a movie and even bought her flowers.  They went out on a few other dates before he wanted to go to bed with her.  She began to think that she had found true love.

The girls at school still avoided Autumn.  Comments about Autumn would still appear in the girls’ bathrooms.   Many of the boys would make insulting remarks as she walked by.  Autumn did not care though.  She finally felt that she had found the love and acceptance that she had always dreamed of.

Autumn had been going out with her new beau for several weeks when he picked her up one Friday night and took her to his house.  They had had sex there several times when his parents were not home and she did not think anything about it.  However, tonight he seemed somewhat nervous and anxious and not his usual upbeat self.  Probably just some school related problems thought Autumn.  They arrived at his house and he promptly took her into to his bedroom and shut the door.

He had undressed Autumn and they had started to make love when with a loud bang the door to the bedroom opened and one of his friends yelled out “My turn!”  Autumn’s boyfriend jumped out of bed as Autumn asked what was going on?  “Well, I told some of my friends how good you were in bed and I did not think that you would mind screwing them as well.”  As the new boy pushed Autumn back down and took his turn, Autumn said nothing.  She did not scream.  She did not yell rape.  She did not say stop, no, don’t or get off of me.  As one after another of her boyfriend’s buddies took advantage of Autumn, she quietly laid there and said nothing.

When the assaults had ceased and all of the boys had left for parts unknown, Autumn put on her clothes and said: “Take me home.”  No other words were spoken as her boyfriend drove her home and Autumn got out of his car and went into her house.  It was the worst day of Autumn’s short life and it did not seem like life could get any worse.  Autumn climbed into her bed.  The next two days went by in a sort of haze.  Her cellphone went off dozens if not hundreds of times, but she ignored it.

Monday started another day of hell at school for Autumn.  Walking around it seemed like everyone knew her secret.  The secret being that on Friday, she had been gang-banged by as many as five or six seniors at the high school.  How could everyone know though?  Word could not possibly have spread that fast.  Autumn received more phone calls and text messages but continued to ignore them.  Autumn could not wait for the end of the school day.  It seemed like forever before school the bell signaling the end of the school day sounded.  Autumn walked home alone.

When Autumn arrived home, both her brothers were still out, and her father and mother were most likely at work.  Autumn went up to her room, shut the door and logged onto her computer.  She signed into her Facebook account and nearly passed out at what she saw on her home page.  There in the middle of the page was a picture that had been shared more than 300 times.  It was a picture of Autumn nude in bed with a young man situated somewhere between her splayed legs.  You could only see the boys back, but it was clear from his position that he had inserted something into Autumn.  The expression on Autumn’s face was dull and lifeless but not panicked or frightened.  Autumn now remembered that while some boys were having sex with her, others had been taking pictures on their cell phones.  She realized what must be on the hundreds of text messages that she had been ignoring.

The was the final straw.  Autumn could not, indeed would not take any more.  She got up off the bed and went downstairs to her mom’s bathroom.  She rummaged through the medicine cabinet until she found what she wanted.  At this point, she turned the water on in the bathtub and started to disrobe.  When she was fully undressed, she stepped into the tub and laid down.  She opened the vial containing her mom’s sleeping pills.  She counted only twenty inside.  She was not sure if that was enough to do the job, but she was not going to rely on pills anyway.  The pills would at best make her drowsy and the razor blade would do the rest.  She was determined not to screw this up.  She swallowed all the pills sipping some of the tub water to wash them down.   It took a few minutes, but she began to feel drowsy.  At this point, she took the razor blade and slashed both of her wrists several times.  Autumn then put her hands in the warm water and laid her head back to sleep.

About three hours or so later, her mom and two brothers all arrived home at the same time.  Mom headed into the downstairs bathroom and the two boys went upstairs to their bedrooms.  As her mother entered the bathroom, she immediately noticed a tub full of red water and Autumn laying asleep in the tub.  What, her mom thought is Autumn doing laying in a tub of red water?  Suddenly her mind filled with a single dreadful thought.  She grabbed Autumn by the shoulders and shook her violently, but Autumn would not wake up.  Her mom let out a series of screams which brought both sons running.  The oldest son looked at his mom and the bathtub and bolted for a phone to call 911.  The youngest son grabbed his mom and tried to question her over her screams.  “Mom, Mom, is Autumn dead” he asked.  “No, no, no, it can’t be, it can’t be,” she said.  When 911 came, they told Autumn’s mother and brothers that they were sorry but that there was nothing they could do.  Autumn had been dead for at least two hours.

Funeral preparations started in a few days.  Autumn’s mom and grandmother were discussing arrangements when grandmother suggested that Autumn be buried next to her grandfather in the cemetery.  Something snapped in mom and she grabbed grandmother and violently shook her while yelling “Not near that Son of a Bitch, not near that Son of a Bitch.”  Both women’s eyes locked onto each other’s and both accepted what each had known for a long time.  They had suspected and then known but neither had wanted to admit it.  Looking into each other’s eyes, the truth became clear.  They folded into one big hug and began crying and crying and crying.

A week or so later they held the funeral for Autumn.  The interment was conducted at a cemetery across town from where grandfather was laid to rest.  Autumn’s mother, grandmother, both brothers, father and many other relatives attended.  To the family’s great surprise, hundreds of other people showed up for the burial.  Most of them from Autumn’s high school.  Some showed up out of curiosity, a few out of grief for a lost comrade but many showed up out of guilt and shame.

Autumn’s mother had insisted on writing the script for the gravestone marker in a somewhat unusual manner.  No last name for Autumn and no date of birth.  Only the month that Autumn was born in.  The marker read:

AutumnAutumn gravemarker

October

15 years Old

A Troubled Soul

May she rest in peace now

 

One week after she was buried, her mother went to visit Autumn’s grave-site by herself.  She brought Autumn’s favorite little red hoodie with her.  She stood looking at Autumn’s grave for several minutes, but she could no longer shed any tears.  It was like there was no moisture left in her entire body.  As she draped Autumn’s little red hoodie over the gravestone, she whispered two words before turning to leave: “I’m sorry.”

 

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jane Fritz
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 19:19:18

    When she was 14 she would find a boy to love and they’d plan their life together after high school?! 😲😧

    Reply

    • Dr. John Persico Jr.
      Sep 28, 2019 @ 20:10:18

      I think some teenagers can be very unrealistic. Having had five of them as children or stepchildren and teaching high school for some years, I find teenagers to be a mix of realism and idealism. Probably just like many adults.

      Reply

    • Dr. John Persico Jr.
      Sep 29, 2019 @ 07:11:47

      Jane, this story while fictional is loosely based on my sister Sheri who died about twenty years ago. She was one year younger than I am. She had been sexually abused by my father from the age of 7 until she ran away from home at the age of 13. She was returned to our home and my father promised to a priest to stop. He soon continued and Sheri ran away again when she was 16, never to return. She lived a very unhappy and miserable life and smoked herself to death at the age of 54. She went to jail for some financial crimes and they let her out before her sentence was completed due to her terminal cancer. She died of cancer as did my father when he was 60. Sheri never married and did have a reputation in high school as a slut. I was the older brother who did not want to have anything to do with her because of my embarrassment and jokes from my friends. Sheri never married or had any children. We reconciled before she died but I never forgot the misery that she had experienced as a child. I did not learn the story of my father’s involvement until I left home and joined the service at the age of 18 during the Vietnam war. Probably more than you wanted to know. John

      Reply

      • Jane Fritz
        Sep 29, 2019 @ 09:05:14

        Oh, John, how very, very sad. And these heartbreaking stories are played out everywhere, under the blind eyes of those of us who have been fortunate enough to have been loved, nurtured, and treated with kindness. Mankind is indeed a work in progress. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Dr. John Persico Jr.
      Sep 30, 2019 @ 08:04:39

      Jane, my sister just read my blog and she added some comments to it which you might find interesting. Jennygirl is my younger sister by about five years. We were not close when we were growing up but have become very close now. She lives out east. She mentioned in her posts about our sister Sheri trying to commit suicide which I did not know about nor did I know of the ridicule that Jeanine received in grade school. One thing I have learned about dysfunctional families is that there becomes a sort of “Every man for themselves” family dynamic that further isolates the victims and makes them feel helpless and unloved. John

      Reply

      • Jane Fritz
        Sep 30, 2019 @ 08:59:27

        Oh my, John. As someone who was fortunate enough to grow up in a supportive, loving environment, I shudder to think how arbitrary all of our experiences are and the profound effects – both good and bad – these experiences can have on us and those around us throughout our lives.

  2. Dr. John Persico Jr.
    Sep 29, 2019 @ 10:20:23

    Jane, what you say about blind eyes is very true. I find so many things as I get older that I was blind to when I was young. One of the reasons, I speak out more now. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Reply

  3. jennygirl1278
    Sep 30, 2019 @ 05:31:22

    As I read Part II I thought of what I have read on victims of child sex abuse. One of the results is the fact that many of them turn to promiscuity. This story reminds me of someone very close to me who suffered the same abuse, was ridiculed in high school and attempted suicide. It is the sad outcome of many victims.

    Reply

  4. jennygirl1278
    Sep 30, 2019 @ 06:08:57

    I read your comment to Jane after I wrote my comment. I recognized the similarities immediately and thought you were writing about Sheri. Her life was a sad one and I can only think of how different it would have been had she not been so abused. So many parts of your story actually happened. I did not go to the same high school Sheri went to because I was ridiculed in elementary school by a group of mean girls who had an intense dislike for Sheri. One day they pushed me to the ground, spit on me and called me the slut’s sister. I was in the fourth grade. I realize now that you had to contend with your own bull shit and I am sorry that you had to go through that as well. In my opinion, your resentment toward her was warranted as you had no idea of what was going on at home, and being so young ourselves would it have made a difference in our feelings toward Sheri?

    Reply

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