Little Bits of Pixie Dust

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thourougly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!!"

Monday, November 21, 2005

Halloween for Perverts

I was reading another blog the other day and it made me think of a situation from my childhood and hey, where is the best place to air all your dirty laundry? Why, the internet, of course, where no one or a million people could read it. There is a painful, fuzzy memory in my past that I have only shared with a few people. Mostly this is because I can't remember every single detail, and sometimes I have questioned if it really happened. Following a conversation with my mother, I am sure that it really did happen, and with the clarity of validation I am ready to share the incident with The Internet.

I was always really into Halloween. I won the costume contest every single year at the neighborhood Halloween party at the high school. I put a lot of thought and imagination into my costumes... I never wanted anyone to be the same thing as me. A very important part of my Halloween tradition was going to "FS" every year (* name has been changed to protect the innocent *). FS was a store dedicated to costumes and was, to my child's eyes, the greatest place on Earth. No matter what crazy idea I came up with for a costume, FS was able to make it happen.

I don't really remember the exact age I was at the time of this story. I would guess around six or seven. My mom and I were making the annual pilgrimage to FS to pick out my costume, and I was jumping out of my skin with excitement. I had a vauge idea in my head that I wanted to be a mime, but didn't really know how I was going to go about achieving it. I knew that the friendly people at FS would know just what to do.

Our helper for the afternoon was a younger man, probably in his early twenties, with glasses and light red hair. He was eager to help us, and started spouting off mime ideas left and right. He started going up and down aisles, grabbing props and masks. I followed him gleefully, thinking of the shiny silver dollar I would win as first prize in the costume contest. My mom was more sedate, stopping to examine things more closely. Soon we left her in one aisle and went down another. We were standing in front of a wall of masks, and the man was earnestly explaining something to me. I remember that I took a step closer to the wall, looking at what he was talking about. So now I was in front of him, and he was behind me. Without even a break in his endless stream of conversation, the man put both hands in his pockets, and then, with his fist still in his pocket, he took that fateful step towards me. Now he was really close, but I was still looking at masks and didn't think anything of it. Still talking, he began to rub my backside through his pocket. I mean, his hands were still in his pockets, but he lifted them up enough to start stroking my behind. With his hands in plain view, no where near anything inappropriate to anyone that walked by, this man was fondling me. He rubbed and rubbed, while all the blood drained out of me and I stood there dumbfounded.

Thankfully, my mom chose that moment to loudly proclaim that she had found the "perfect" hat, and I ran to her. The man followed behind me, and like nothing had happened took my stuff up to the counter and rang us up. My mom paid for our purchases and we exited the store, the man calling out a cheerful good-bye as we left.

This whole time I was just thinking, "I know that was wrong, I know that was wrong," but I didn't know what to do. I thought that for some reason my mom would be mad at me for what had happened. I thought that maybe I had done something to provoke it. I thought maybe it was normal for grown men in the Halloween shop to touch their young customers behinds. Hey, I was only seven, and nothing in my sheltered little world had prepared me for this!

On the drive home, my mom sensed that something was wrong. She asked me, and at first I was reluctant to say anything, but she persisted, and eventually the whole thing poured out of me. I remember that she got very quiet, and told me that she needed to talk to my dad. She assured me that it was the right thing for me to have told her, and that I didn't do anything wrong. Just the fact that she wasn't mad at me was enough, and I was calmed. We got home and my mom pulled my dad into the kitchen with her. Before I knew it, we were all back in the car and heading up to FS again. I begged my mom to not make me go in the store, and she told me that I NEVER had to go in that store again if I didn't want to. She asked me if it was the man that was helping us, and then her and my dad were out of the car and into the store. I couldn't really see what was going on in there. I could see the tops of their heads over the shelves, but I couldn't see what they were doing. Within ten minutes, they were back in the car.

"He'll never bother anyone again," my mom reassured me, and now I know that this is because he was immediately fired after my parent's told the manager what he had done.

We never talked about the incident again.

I hope that wherever that man is, someone is rubbing his bottom while he tells them not to, and I hope that he remembers the little girl that he violated so long ago. I want him to know that a large part of my innocence was lost that night, and I never really looked at Halloween in the same way again.


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