*this post contains descriptions of sexual violence*
1. My sister texted me sometime during the second inning. Matt Kemp had just hit a line drive into left field, bringing in Yasiel Puig and giving the Dodgers a 4-0 lead over the Giants.
"Dad called me the other day to wish me a happy birthday." She doesn’t know it but whenever she has relayed simple information like this to me about all the ways in which my dad has chosen her over me, it makes me resent her. Granted, dad called her four days after her actual birthday, a nice gesture diluted by the fact that he can only vaguely remember his second daughter’s date of birth. She is his favorite still. It has always been this way.
I was fully prepared to feel emo and dark with regard to baseball today. Friday night’s game against arch rival the San Francisco Giants set the mood. We lost 9-0. The Dodgers played embarrassingly, a fact I dealt with by yelling loudly at the television and cussing perhaps unnecessarily.
The Dodgers are a team I have loved since I was a tiny little girl drinking grape soda while sitting next to grandpa on the couch as he took long swigs from beer cans.
Something happened last night on the field. The Dodgers realized how shitty they played last night and just simply decided to do better. Sometimes that is all it takes. Their bats were on fire. By the 7th inning when the score was 17-0 (!!!!), with the Dodgers leading, the crowd at AT&T Park had dwindled considerably, something that rarely happens. Giants fans are dedicated and stay throughout the duration of a game, usually, no matter what the score. I took it as confirmation of defeat long before the last pitch was thrown.
I set my phone down and did not reply to my sister’s text for a while. I felt jilted, like how dare he. Like, fuck him for not calling me on MY birthday as if I did not exist. Like, what is it about my sister that had always been good enough for our dad, and whatever it is, why don’t I have it too?
If the Giants had won last night, they would have taken first place in the National League West from the Dodgers. I know they wanted to. I know they expected to, I did. I expected to throw in the towel and stop caring about baseball until next spring. It is September after all and this is when, historically, the Dodgers usually choke. But it is just like baseball to be all romantic in the way that it keeps me interested. I’m walking away from the game, swearing it off for life. I’m tired of September coming around and losing game after game so late in the year, and then baseball takes me by the hand and promises it’ll change for real this time.
"He called you? Fuck him, he didn’t even text me on my birthday." By this time I am drunk and filled with baseball spirit, and do not care.
"Lol yeah he just said ‘happy birthday, baby.’ And when I told him my birthday was four days ago, he wrote ‘sorry, baby. I love you.’ That was it.” It’s like dad thinks he can soothe the wounds by calling us ‘baby’ as often as possible, too distant and far gone from us to realize that even I, the writer of the family, do not put that much stock into his words.
I didn’t keep the conversation going with my sister. She’s never had to wonder if dad loved her. It has always been so obvious, even when flawed; even when four days late. And the Dodgers, they have lived to see another day. The Dodgers won again tonight, 4-2 and still anything can happen. It isn’t over yet. We are still in first place. There is still hope, no matter how trite. There is still a glimmering faith. With regard to my father and baseball, I can say that about only one of the two. And in the middle of those two things independent of each other, is me, with the dumbest heart for caring.
2. My friend Julio went kayaking in the Gulf of Mexico this week, something I have always wanted to do. He is always doing shit like this. “Please try not to die,” I commented on one of his Instagrams and when he texted me Wednesday night to assure me he had survived the adventure, I asked him how he was doing. He said “I went swimming with sharks in the middle of the night, so probably having some kind of breakdown”, which made me laugh.
3. I made carnitas yesterday (carnitas tacos, to be exact). Here’s my recipe, which has been tweaked over the years.
3 lb boneless pork shoulder, pork butt or picnic (pick one that has plenty of fat on it.)
2 cups water
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 small yellow onion
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
2 bay leaves
A. Slice the pork into 3-inch strips and place them in a dutch oven over high heat. Add the water, onion, and 2 teaspoons of salt plus the remaining spices. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered on low for about 90 minutes to two hours.
B. Turn heat up slightly to medium. Continue cooking until liquids are evaporated and the pork fat has rendered, about another hour. Make sure heat isn’t too high. You want this to cook low and slow. Stir the pork to keep it from sticking to the pan.
C. Taste to make sure the pork is tender enough. If it’s not, add a little more water and keep cooking until it’s evaporated.
D. EAT THE HELL OUT OF THAT PIG.
4. I found this tonight in an old journal from two years ago:
"You’re not listening to me," he says.
We are lying in my bedroom in front of the heater that has been making a strange hissing sound all night.
"I can’t really hear you over the heater."
The room is dark. I can’t see his face and I am glad he cannot see mine.
"You’ve pushed me away so many times in the year that I’ve known you," I tell him.
"I push you away because we wouldn’t work together. The sex is good, but we wouldn’t work together."
The biggest reason I keep old journals to remind myself how much things have improved.
5. On a dance floor in Oakland, I start to spin. There is mixture of alcohol in my body that isn’t agreeing with the beat of the music and the heat from the movement of the other bodies that surrounded me. I need to get horizontal immediately.
"Are you okay?"
"This bitch is throwing up in here."
I heard the comments about me from other girls in the bathroom but ignore them and go to tell my friends that it is time to leave. That’s when I realize I could barely walk and that’s when I find the bench. A bed, I thought. I’m not sure how long I stay there but when a man asks me if I am okay and then where I lived, going home sounds like a good idea.
By some miracle, I remembered Melissa’s exact address despite the booze practically seeping out of my pores. I was staying there for the weekend. It was her 30th birthday.
"I’ll take you home," he says.
He helps me up and as we walk passed the dance floor, I didn’t even think to look for my friends. He and I walk passed the bouncers, who smile at me. Then he leads me to his black Chevy Silverado that is parked directly in front of the bar, just waiting.
The night fades in and out like a pen that works fine one second, then gradually loses ink as you write a sentence.
We are parked somewhere that is not Melissa’s house. I am puking out of the passenger side of this guy’s truck and he is holding my hair. I black out again and when I come to he is arched over me with his dick in his hand. His pants are around his ankles, and my black tights and shorts are draped over the back of the driver’s seat. When I notice that there is a hole in my tights, I call him a ‘fucking prick’ and that is when he penetrates me so roughly, I begin to bleed.
I’m still sitting in the passenger seat and it is difficult for him to maintain an erection. He is sweating on me, and I am present, but not. I go to a place in my mind far away from the reality of what is happening. I’m too drunk to consent or fight back, I know that even while I slip in and out of the blackout. I do not want this to be happening, I know that to be as true as the sun sets in the west, even as I slip in and out of the blackout.
He’s frustrated now because his penis is not agreeing with his decision, so he pulls out, sits in the driver’s seat and begins masturbating. When he’s finished, he smears his ejaculation on my naked thigh.
"Put your shorts back on," he says as he tosses me my clothes. Of all the things that I remember most vividly from that night, exactly five years ago today, it’s the tone of his voice when he says "Put your shorts back on." It was the lack of acknowledgment as to why my shorts were off in the first place. That this act had just happened and he’s tossing me my clothes as if he’s passing the salt over dinner.
We are pulling into Melissa’s driveway and I am just about to get out of the truck when he says, “I want to take you to the movies tomorrow.” I say nothing, just get out of his car and walk into the house, quietly closing the front door along with the events of the night behind me making sure not to wake anyone.