Previous “Keeping my promises” posts can be found here.
My junior year of high school was a rough one for me. Not only was Justin no longer in school with me, but he was no longer dating me either. I tried to pick up old friendships that I had somewhat neglected while dating Justin, and for the most part my friends were happy to have me back. They were all happy that I was no longer with Justin, seeing as none of them had liked me dating him from the beginning. They had no idea how hard of a time I was still having with losing him. You don’t have a close to 2 year relationship with someone and then just get over them immediately after you split up. Justin had been my world, and I was having a hard time navigating my life after suddenly finding myself alone again.
I dated a few people, trying to move on from Justin. But none of the relationships lasted very long, and after splitting up with my latest boyfriend I was back to missing Justin and wishing for him back in my life. It was during this time that a new student named Antonio moved into my hometown and started attending my high school. The girls in my group were intrigued by this new guy and he ended up becoming our friend. When he started talking about how he was a “pimp” we didn’t think he was being serious, and we started joking with him about becoming his “girls”. We thought that it was funny and never really thought that it would amount to anything, but we made the mistake of writing him a note (this was back before cellphones) talking about prices for services and joked that we weren’t “cheap whores”. Like I said, we all thought it was a joke and never intended to actually perform any of these services that we had listed prices for. We found it exciting that this guy found us attractive and that he thought others would find us attractive too. We were all sophomores and juniors in high school happy for the attention that this guy (a junior himself) was giving us. I ended up hanging out with him alone after school a couple of times. He had his own car and offered to drive me home. Things started to get weird one afternoon while I was hanging out with him though. He stopped by another boy from my high school’s house and we went inside for a few minutes. There were a few guys hanging out in the living room and Antonio started talking to them about his prostitution idea, and pointed to me as a example of what he’d have to offer. I should have known to run from this guy at this point, but I was not in my right mind. By this point my dosage on my Zoloft had been upped by quite a bit, and my decision making skills and impulse control were significantly decreased. I was probably in a full blown manic state at this point, but wouldn’t know that until a month or so later. So I didn’t run, and when Antonio drove me to a secluded spot and we parked there talking I decided to try and pursue the possibility of having him as my boyfriend. He said that he would not be tied down, but he had also talked about wanting to “test the merchandise” for all his “girls”. So I decided to go for broke and see if sex with me would convince him that I was worth being with and we had sex right there in the backseat of his car.
My experiment didn’t work, and I wasn’t the only one who had sex with him trying to convince him to date them either. We didn’t really have any contact over Winter break, and when I got back from break I had come to my senses somewhat. I decided that he really was serious about his prostitution idea and that my friends and I needed to get as far away from this guy as we could. But one of my friends who had also had sex with him couldn’t be convinced that this guy was bad news. She had fallen for him and wouldn’t believe that he wasn’t going to start dating her. Unfortunately, our discussion about Antonio was happening in a classroom and the teacher decided to send us to the dean’s office to try and help us sort the whole mess out. One of my other friends and I told the dean about Antonio and how we just wanted for him to leave us alone now, and we thought that he would help us out. (My other friend was still upset though, and still couldn’t see that this guy for who he was.) Next thing I knew I was having an interview, without my parents present, with a detective in an office at my school. I was under the impression that he was there to help us, and so I was honest with him. I told him that we had joked with Antonio about prostitution. And that, yes, some of us had slept with him. But we had never actually done anything with anyone else, and that we were never really serious about it. I was the oldest girl out of the group and I told the detective that I felt that I needed to protect my younger friends from Antonio… only I made an unfortunate choice of words at this point… I called them “my girls”. I didn’t realize at the time how big of a mistake this was. But I know that I told both the dean and the detective that I wanted Antonio to leave me and my friends alone, and that I no longer wanted to have anything to do with him. But by that point it was already too late. More interviews followed, and I still thought that this detective was going to help me out. Right up until the day that he was scheduled to come by my house for another interview. Before the time that he was supposed to arrive he called my house and told me that I needed to come down to the station. I don’t remember if he made it clear over the phone that I was going to be arrested, but it was made abundantly clear once we got down to the station. I was being arrested for running a prostitution ring at my high school. You see, Antonio had saved that note that we had written joking about price lists and showed it to the detective. I figure that the detective looked at that, plus the fact that I slept with Antonio, and then decided to misinterpret my having called my girl-friends “my girls” at one point during my interview and see me as some sort of high school prostitution ring madam. Never mind the fact that this whole mess started because we went to the dean for help in getting away from a situation that we belatedly realized was very, very bad. Or the fact that absolutely nothing criminal happened. No sex acts were performed in exchange for money. The system failed.
My mother was the one that drove me down to the police station and I remember her bursting out in tears and me being annoyed with her. I think I might have even said something to her about stopping crying, but the reality of my situation still hadn’t set in for me yet at this point.
It became very real when they brought me back to a room and took my mugshot pictures and fingerprints and then locked me in the little cell in one corner of the room. Then as I was sitting there on the little bolted to the ground stool in the cell in shock they started asking me more questions. I don’t remember all of the questions that I was asked, but one of them was about if I had ever felt suicidal. I was honest and told them that I had been suicidal in the past. They also asked how I was feeling right then, and I answered honestly again by telling them that I didn’t know. The next thing I knew they had decided that I needed to be admitted to a mental hospital. (I found out later that they had told my parents that I had threatened to kill myself. Which was not true at all.) They called an ambulance for transport and I was driven to a nearby hospital where my parents met me. We waited around for hours for a doctor to come and talk with me. We eventually found out that at some point earlier I had apparently accidentally been discharged. The waiting continued and then my parents and I were eventually moved to another area of the hospital to wait for the doctor to talk with me. It had become really late at night, and my parents had to go home to my younger siblings. So I was left there to wait by myself. I was told to go lay down on one of the beds that were separated by thin walls for a while. That’s when one of the scariest nights of my life started.
To be continued…