So I haven’t posted about this because I’ve been caught up with my cat, the death of a fellow opera singer, my nephew (who’s reached the age where farts are just the most spectacularly funny things, ever), and the usual crap, but a little over a week ago, I found out where my rapist works, quite by accident.
My friend Megan and I have this thing where we’ll go to El Mezcal on Perkins and eat nachos and blab about our lives to each other every so often. We don’t see each other that much, so it’s nice to have that kind of routine when we do see each other.
Anyway, on the 15th, I received a text from Megan asking if I was busy, and being me, I wasn’t. However, I’d just received news of Dammit being ill, so I’d taken a Valium to calm myself down, and was thus not comfortable driving. No problem – Megan picked me up, and away we went.
We reached Perkins from Walnut Grove, and instead of getting in the left-hand lane, Megan said, “Hey, do you just want to go to [redacted], instead?”
Well, why not? Cheese dip is cheese dip, and at that point, I was feeling the need for a daiquiri, damn it.
We arrive, are seated, our drink orders are taken, and away we go with the cheese dip, the drinking, and the chatting.
I had basically finished my daiquiri and was listening to Megan’s latest tale (she really needs to write a book, you guys…her life is hilariously screwed up at times), when I heard my name.
I looked up, my emotions dulled a little by Valium and alcohol, and my brain began to freak out before my eyes had even fully focused on the face looking down at me. If my brain could talk at that moment, it would have been screaming, “NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!”
Then my ears, eyes, and brain all synced, and I looked up to see my rapist, in a uniform from the restaurant, carrying an empty bar-glass crate…staring at me. He’d said, “Uh, is your name Bonnie?”
I tried to adjust my deer-in-headlights look to more of a contemptuous, confused boredom (as in, “whoever you are, you’re interrupting us, go away”), and replied, “Yeah?”
After a second, wherein I assume he wanted me to ask him how he was or have some sort of conversation with him (because you guys, he seriously doesn’t think he did anything wrong), he looked at me for a minute, then did this weird little half-wave while saying, “Yeah, [name], hi.” Then he walked away.
I looked at Megan, who looked a little freaked, and I said, “Yeah, so guess who that was?”
Her response, “I was hoping you knew more than one guy with that name.”
He passed our table again, this time on the way back to his workstation….the bar. Where he’d mixed my drink. And had had a direct line of sight to me the entire time we’d been there. I thought I’d been imagining things when I saw the bartender looking at our table a lot out of the corner of my eye, but nope – he continued to do so for the rest of the time we were there. Megan offered to switch seats, but I didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that him being there bothered me.
Here’s the line of thinking for that: I switch seats, he knows his presence affected me. We leave without finishing our drinks or food, he knows his presence affected me. Any kind of acknowledgement that he would pick up, he would take to heart as a reason to try to engage me. This is the exact opposite of what I want. And so I ignored him.
We finished up and left.
After a short bout of panicking in the car, I was okay.
Megan took me home, we hung out for a bit, and she left.
We have a new rule: If Megan ever suggests a last-minute change to our plans, the answer is always “NO.”
On the other hand, I know what restaurant I will never again be going to, so there’s a plus?
Now, before anyone comments about my “Cooper Color Code” being White, I don’t need to hear it. I was closer to Yellow – I DID notice the bartender staring at me, but because I haven’t heard from that guy in a while, it’s not like I spend all of my time in Orange, looking for him around every corner. That’s no way to live life.
I went from Yellow (we’ll call it “light yellow”) to Red pretty quickly, but seeing as how I only had a small knife on me (I was impaired – no carry while impaired, k?), and we were in the middle of a restaurant, that Condition Red was just a reason for my blood pressure to go up needlessly.
Nothing happened, we weren’t even in my car, so he can’t identify my vehicle, and the info he knows about me is the same as he knew before we entered that restaurant: my name, that I still live in the Memphis area, and whatever physical features he recognized.
The reason I’m not naming the restaurant is because I know too many vigilante-types who’d go out of their way to go give him a hard time, and frankly, I’d just as soon never visit that restaurant again, and continue to live my life as if that person doesn’t exist.
Anyway, I have some small satisfaction in knowing how I’d react if I ever saw him in public. Clearly, it’s been long enough that my emotions no longer override my brain. That is a Good Thing.
It’s a damned shame, though – [redacted]’s cheese dip is freakin’ awesome.