I am going to be open, no matter how many tears I shed.  This is still very painful for me.  The whole story begins in December 2003 when I was transferred to New Orleans.  I met a man named Nate*.  I was 19 years old and Nate’s roommate was my sponsor.  I showed up right before Holiday Routine started (time off for Christmas) and my sponsor went home on leave.  Nate took me under his wing and became my mentor.  He was in my duty section so whenever he had the overnight, he would teach me things.  The different tools, the parts of the engine, general aircraft stuff, etc.

We had duty Christmas Eve and since I had no plans and didn’t really have any friends yet, Nate gave me directions to his house and his number and said that I was welcome to join him if I got bored.

I spent Christmas morning on the phone with my family opening presents on the phone and then went to bed and cried myself to sleep because it was the first time I was really far away from my family and I missed them.  Must have been because I was working the year before that I didn’t really have time to miss them.  Anyway, I ended up sleeping until early evening.  I decided to take Nate up on his offer and gave him a call.  I got myself dressed and went over to his house.

He was so nice to me.  We just hung out and talked for hours.  Next thing I know, he’s offering me a back massage.  After a few awkward minutes, I felt him kiss my neck.  We ended up making out for awhile and then I finally decided it was time to go home.  Our secret relationship started then.  Because he was my mentor and the person I worked with constantly, it was a HUGE no-no that we were dating.  Well, dating isn’t the right word since we couldn’t really go out on dates.  We were seeing each other.

Over the next several months, it got more and more serious.  I was spending a lot of time at his house and even spending the night on weekends.  Both of his roommates worked with us and knew we were seeing each other and didn’t say anything to anyone.  Eventually we decided that we were together and he was my boyfriend and I was his girlfriend.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet but he is 12 years older than me.

I ended up spending all my free time at his house.  I barely saw the few friends that I did have.  Instead of encouraging me to spend time with them when he had to work and I didn’t, he made me feel horrible about not being home when he called (cell service sucked where I lived).

6 months have gone by and it was almost his birthday.  He was going out with some friends to this club and was going to be out until after the sun came up.  I was a little disappointed that he didn’t want to see me on his birthday but I wanted him to have fun.  I asked him if he needed a ride and he said that he’d take a cab so he wouldn’t have to wake me.  On the night of his birthday, I was at home alone and a few of the guys from work asked if I wanted to go to Bourbon Street with them.  Since I had nothing to do and no reason to wait around by the phone, I said sure.  I figured I would be home in a few hours and that way if Nate did need a ride then I could get him.

I left my cell in my car because the jeans I wore didn’t have any pockets.  When I started to head home around 3 or 4 am, I had several missed calls and some messages…all from Nate.  The first couple of messages were along the lines of “You must be sleeping.  You’re so cute when you’re sleeping.” to “Where the f**k are you?  Why aren’t you answering your phone?”

I called him back and he ignored my calls.  I left him a message telling him that I was on my way home and that I figured he would have been out for a few more hours and that I could come over if he wanted.  He finally called me when I was halfway to his house and he was angry.  He told me to go home.  I think I had just about pulled into my parking spot when he called me back and said that I could come over if I wanted.  Since I was so completely blinded by the rose colored glasses I was wearing I drove to his house…30 minutes away.

We had a huge argument when I got there but he ended up cooling off and we ended up having birthday/make up sex.  The next 6 weeks were crazy.  Work had me super stressed out, I was constantly doing things and just so hectic that I hadn’t realized that “Aunt Flow” hadn’t been to visit in a long time.  I had taken a pregnancy test when I thought I had missed my period but it came back negative.  I tested too early.  Several weeks later, I figured that the stress was just so high that I missed my period (which happened at boot camp).  I ended up getting a 2-pack pregnancy test.  I went back home and took a nap.  Figuring I had nothing to worry about, I just waited.

I woke up and took the first test.  Since my roommate wasn’t home, I left it on the counter and went outside to smoke.  After more than 5 minutes, I went back inside and found a positive pregnancy test.  I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me so I did exactly what the instructions tell you not to do…I chugged a ton of water in order to make myself have to go again and took the second test.  I went back outside and chain smoked like 5 cigarettes while waiting those incredibly long 5 minutes.  When I saw another positive test, I ran next door and asked my friend to come take a look at something.  “I think I’m loosing my mind, Jess*.”  I pointed her towards the bathroom were the test was visible and she came back and told me I wasn’t loosing my mind.

I freaked out.  I wigged out.  I bawled my eyes out.  The first thought that came to my mind was that I couldn’t keep it.  I was barely 20 years old.  I didn’t have a handle on my life…how could I bring in a baby into my world being ciaos?  I fought an battle in my head: Tell Nate/Don’t tell Nate.  I told him.  He was surprisingly calm.  It made me feel better briefly.  Within a matter of 24 hours, he filled my head with all these horrible things that could happen if I kept the baby and pretty much told me that the only option was to get an abortion.

I always thought that abortion was irresponsible.  I thought that if you’re adult enough to have sex then you’re adult enough to deal with the consequences if you do not use protection.  I always told myself that if I made the wrong choice and ended up getting pregnant then I would deal with it because I could have prevented it.  However, that being said, I am pro choice.  I know with what I just said, that doesn’t make sense but this is the other half of my view.

After I grasped the concept that I was pregnant and there was a baby starting to form inside me, I was having a change of heart.  I really didn’t want to go through with the abortion but I was convinced that I had no choice.  Nate said that he would pay for everything so he went with me to the first appointment I had at a clinic (on a side note, this act never made it into my military medical record).  I was fighting back tears the entire time.  He said that if they see me upset or crying then they won’t do it.  I thought about just crying but ended up holding it in.

They did an ultrasound, which I wasn’t allowed to see, and printed out a picture for my file.  They told me I was about 7 weeks along.  They scheduled me to come back the following week and start the process.  I went to work and said that I needed to have the majority of the following week off due to personal reasons and when asked why I said that I was not comfortable talking about it.  I got the time off and went in the next week.  I had to take a pill orally and then within 24 hours I had to insert 3 pills.  The doctor said that if I don’t normally cramp then I might have some slight discomfort.  Boy that was an understatement!

When I inserted the pills the next day, I was doubled over in horrible pain in the 2 seconds it took me to get the 5 feet from the bathroom to the couch.  It was the most horrible pain I have ever experienced in my entire life.  There was not a single position I could sit or lay in that eased the pain at all.  I cried all night.  I finally managed to fall asleep for an hour or so and did not fall asleep on a towel and ended up bleeding everywhere.  It was like a living, breathing nightmare.  Even experiencing it, I still can’t imagine the pain I was in.  I suppose that is a good thing.

I was pretty much confined to Nate’s house for 5 days.  By the time the weekend came, the cramps were almost completely gone and it was almost like a very heavy period.  I needed to get out of the house and do something small like go for a walk or something just to get my energy back up before I started work again.  I wanted to go for a walk by the lake and Nate got angry.  He said that unless I planned on getting up before 7am and walking before the sun really came up, then I would have to go alone because it would get too hot…it was the end of August.  I started to cry.  I told him after what I had just went through for him, I expected him to help me through this.  Needless to say, I didn’t get my walk by the lake and managed to get my energy back on my own.

August 24th, 2004 is the date that I lost my baby because I allowed a man to prey on my youth and innocence.  I had a dream a few days after.  I was in a cemetery and I was holding my little girl’s hand over a headstone.  She was beautiful.  She had brownish red hair in soft bouncy curls that felt so real.  She had bright green eyes that could light up any room.  She had rosey cheeks and ruby red lips.  She smelled like baby powder and her skin was just so soft.  I touched her hair to my face and held onto her hand.  I told her that it was time for her to go to sleep.  I felt her kiss my cheek and I laid her down in the casket beneath the headstone that read “Adriene”.  I looked at her and said “Mommy will always love you and I will miss you always.  Please be a brave girl for Mommy and close your eyes.  Goodnight my little girl.  I love you!”  Then I woke up.

Our relationship changed drastically.  I wanted to cry all the time and most of all when I saw Nate.  It was a constant reminder of what I had lost because of him.  About 3 months later, he came to visit me while I was at tech school.  I rented a cabin for us on base by the water and one night, close to Thanksgiving or just after, we were wrestling around the living room and he pinned me down.  He put his knees on my arms so I couldn’t move my hands.  He covered my mouth with his hand and then used his finger and thumb to cut off my oxygen completely.  I tried to laugh through it but when I needed to take a breath and he wouldn’t let go, I couldn’t scream or remove his hand and I started to freak out.  He finally let me go and I choked in air.  Want to know his response to how I reacted?  “If you trusted me, you wouldn’t have run out of air so fast.  You have trust issues.”  Ya think?  He cut off my oxygen supply yet I have trust issues…

The next month he broke up with me.  I begged him not to and then I got angry and I threw it in his face that after what he made me do that summer, he was going to break up with me?  What else could he do to me?  He had already ripped my heart of out my chest and shattered it into a million pieces.  This was just the icing on the cake.

I returned 4 months later and had to work with him every day.  It was hard to ignore what he had put me through.  The next summer, I had started dating my husband.  I was at work one afternoon and needed help with something I had never done before.  I had moved on to a point and was able to work with Nate again.  I asked for his help and he said his piece and when I told him I was so confused because that was the 3rd person I had asked for help and had gotten 3 different answers.  He got mad at me and started to yell.  Not realizing that everyone in the vicinity was watching us, I looked at him and in a stern voice I told him ” I have done NOTHING to piss you off and you will not talk to me that way.  Take a break.  Go outside and smoke a couple of cigarettes and when you’ve calmed down, then come back and talk to me.”  The look on the faces of everyone around me was a mix of I can’t believe she just said that to him and I can’t believe he is listening to her and just walked away!  They had no idea of the power I had over him.

When he did calm down, he came back and apologized to me.  I never saw his next comment coming.  He looked at me and told me that he wished we hadn’t gone through with what we did the summer before.  I looked up at him with a blank stare.  I had a mixture of all sorts of emotions just come to the surface.  I was just starting to heal from the horrible experience that he forced me into and was finally starting to allow myself to be happy again and he says what?!  I wanted to cry, punch, hug, kick, and kiss him all at the same time.  Then it was my turn to walk away.

This has been incredibly hard for me to write about.  I do feel a little better.  I think this is the first time I have actually gotten everything written down.  Here I am, over 6 years later, still haunted by what he did to me.  He took advantage of me.  Not a day goes by that I don’t feel the urge to spit in his face or kick him between the legs should I ever see him again.  I see my little girl’s face and her eyes every time I blink.  I know that I was only 8 weeks and 2 days along and there is no way of knowing the sex but I know in my heart that my little girl should be turning 6 this March.  She should be in kindergarten this year.  I wonder every day what my life would have been like if I would have lied to Nate and told him that the baby was not his and just raised her as a single mother.