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2:44 pm - Thurs 10/23/03
When Bad Things Happen To Good People.

When Bad Things Happen To Good People

He came into my room at night, after everyone had gone to bed.

I never saw him, because as soon as I heard the bedroom door open, I'd shut my eyes tight, and keep them shut the whole time he was there.

I was "asleep". It wasn't really happening. It was just a bad dream.

I don't remember him talking. I just remember the weight of his body on the bed, the covers being pulled back, being exposed. I'd lay stock-still, terrified, as he took me in his mouth. Sometimes, if I had rolled myself into a fetal position, thinking that would protect me somehow, he'd rub himself against my buttocks till he climaxed.

That's all I remember him doing. He never tried to penetrate me, or make me do anything to him (Writing this now, I wonder if he wanted to pretend he wasn't doing anything almost as much as I wanted to pretend he wasn't doing anything).

It started a short time after I went to live with his family. I was 9 years old. I don't have an exact sense of how long it went on, but it wasn't long-term; I'm guessing, from start to finish, it lasted no more than a few months.

I didn't tell anyone what was happening to me. Who was I going to tell? Besides, these were the days before "good touches" and "bad touches". Even if there had been someone to tell, I'm not sure what I would have said. I don't know if I would have known how to tell someone "My foster father is sexually abusing me". The words were simply not in my vocabularly.

It was over 20 years before I told anyone else what had happened to me.

I did, some years after the fact, confront my abuser with what he had done.

His response? He dismissed me by saying, "Come on, you liked it".

For the record, Mr Omar Pupo? I did not "like it".

I've never thought of my sexual abuse at the hands of Mr Pupo as being a "defining experience" in my life. It was so far "beyond the pale", so completely out of my frame of reference, that I never took it on as "my fault", like I did with the various rejections I'd experienced up to that time.

I wasn't "bad" because he abused me, but I would say the experience fueled my feelings of powerlessness; bad things were always going to happen to me, because they always had, and I would never know why, and I'd never be able to do anything about it.

I was a victim.

But in my own mind, the more meaningful abuse I suffered from Mr Pupo, the abuse that was far more damaging to my psyche, was the physical and verbal abuse directed at me the entire time I lived with him and his family.

I was ugly. I was clumsy. I was lazy. I was "Herman Munster", and "Clem Kaddiddlehopper". In the stories he'd tell the kids, his own children were cowboys and astronauts and spies–the heroes, in other words--while I was the comic relief, the janitor or the cook or what-have-you. Foolish, awkward, the butt of the joke.

In junior high, when I tried to play basketball, he made fun of the way I'd guard my man, calling me "The Wing-Flapper". I never played team sports again after that (It was only in recent years I realized how much he'd taken away from me on that front).

During my time there, his "discipline" went from hitting with a belt, to punching and kicking me when I got older.

The physical "discipline" was eventually the reason I left. As I've told people in the years since, there was a real "no win situation" brewing there; I didn't want to keep taking beatings, and was getting to a point, physically, where I really didn't have to, but where would I be if I fought back? Out of a home, and possibly in jail (I don't think I'm being overly dramatic to say that I might very well have killed him at some point, had I stayed any longer).

Over the years, I would have violent fantasies of retribution, usually involving the two of us in a dark alley. Sometimes I had a baseball bat, sometimes a gun. Sometimes I'd just beat him

to death with my bare hands, as he cried for mercy. Mercy he'd never shown me.

I think I've mostly gotten over wanting revenge (Though just to be safe, we probably shouldn't ever be in the same room together). Now he strikes me as having been more pathetic than monstrous. A sad, twisted, confused man, who last time I had contact with him, some years ago, seemed to have pushed most of the people in his life away from him (I now believe that he sexually abused his own children as well; There was a lot of sexual "acting out" amongst the siblings in that family, which I now understand is a symptom of abuse).

I don't know why he did the things he did. I'll never know. But I've come to realize it had nothing to do with me; I was just the poor bastard who ended up in his path. And I sense that he's caused himself more pain than I could ever manage to do with my fists.

There's no "retribution" to be had here, no "revenge". It wouldn't change anything anyway.

He's a sad, lonely old man who let his demons take over the show. And the only "revenge" to be had, if you want to call it that, is to not go down that same path. The "win", if it has to be made a win/lose proposition, comes from being able to say, "You were a bad person. You did bad things to me. And I'm nothing like you".


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