I was born seventeen years ago in Orosi, a tiny town in the middle of California.
My parents came from Durango, a northern state in Mexico, where they were farm workers. After they moved to the US, they kept working in the fields. My mom worked as hard as my dad. Sometimes, I joined them in the fields, but it wasn’t easy to keep up with them. I loved my parents more than anything in the world.
My goals were much different than what they could ever have dreamed.
I knew the world was too big to remain in that little town for the rest of my life. I wasn’t planning to have a boyfriend because I didn’t want to be attached to Orosi for too long. Also, I wasn’t in a hurry to ruin my life.
I wanted to go to high school in a bigger city, so I convinced my mom to let me go to Visalia.
I also wanted to be the best in my track and field team. That was the only way to get a scholarship. My dad enrolled me on a soccer team when I was eight years old. That could also get me out of there too. I didn’t hate my life, I just disliked my options. I loved my family and friends but the lack of opportunities in the area made my future bleak and narrow, so narrow, I felt claustrophobic.
It took twenty minutes to get to Visalia. The bus came every hour. Even though Orosi High School was only a few blocks from where I lived, I attended Redwood High School in Visalia.
People said I was pretty, they also said I had a nice pair of legs, but in my opinion, my legs were a bit muscular. A few boys kept chasing me, but I wasn’t interested.
Sometimes dogs chased me too, but I ran faster than them. One of them almost bit my rear end, but just before he caught me I turned around and screamed at him with all the force in my lungs. I scared him so much, he skidded ten feet while trying to pull back. It was funny.
I enjoyed riding the bus. I loved feeling the air in my hair while I did my homework. I organized my thoughts on the bus. I dreamed all my dreams and saw my future riding the bus. Sometimes, I felt romantic, and I daydreamed that I was on a streetcar in San Francisco, where I met my Romeo, and . . . oh well.
One of my dreams was to move to L.A. or even better to New York, but I didn’t want it just to be a dream.
I had to do it. I was fifty feet above the ground, it looked really scary but I knew I had to do it.
The judge gave me twelve years. I’d be thirty-five when I get my release. On top of that, I’d be deported to Mexico after doing my time. I was contemplating the only way out, my only escape. It didn’t seem easy. There was a palm tree, taller than the building. I needed to make a long jump and if I didn’t grab that tree after I jumped, an awful death awaited me, but if I stayed and didn’t jump, I could spend a long and sorrowful time behind those bars.
I was seven years old when my parents came illegally to this country. My dad found a job as a gardener, while my mom started taking care of kids from the neighborhood.
At school, I was always in trouble, I was a bully in every grade. I was taller than the rest of the kids; even the teachers were afraid of me. When I was twelve years old, I started touching girls every chance I got. I lifted their skirts or grabbed their breasts. Most of them didn’t complain, they were probably afraid I’d become more aggressive. By the time I turned thirteen, I was masturbating several times a day.
Around that time, I had constant thoughts about naked girls. Sex was always on my mind. At fourteen, I had sex for the first time with a sixteen-year-old girl. The older I got the more sex I wanted.
When I was sixteen I raped my eighteen-year-old cousin. She didn’t say a thing to anybody because, I guess, she enjoyed it too. I raped one of my aunts too. After that, I had sex with her whenever I wanted, even though she was married.
Some of my victims didn’t get too upset about it, others just disappeared from my sight. I knew there was something wrong with me, but since I wasn’t getting in trouble, I kept doing it. But I was never violent. Well, not yet anyway.
If any of them were insistent enough, I would stop. But it was weird how some of them switched their attitude in the middle of it, from hating it to loving it. It might seem hard to believe but some of them returned for more. If the first time they didn’t have an orgasm because I was too fast or too rough, they would get a second or a third chance.
People could say what they want, but I knew some of the girls I raped enjoyed it too. I shouldn’t glorify rapists, but two of my victims mentioned that being raped had been one of their sexual fantasies.
When I was first accused of rape, the judge cleared me of all charges for lack of evidence. The girl didn’t have any bruises and there were no witnesses.
And then, the waitress in the Mexican restaurant. The place was deserted. I forced her into the bathroom and I ignored her cries and kept insisting until the cops showed up. That time, the judge gave me a six-month sentence, a restraining order, and three years probation. I was twenty years old by then.
For a while, I behaved properly and stayed out of trouble. I was almost done with the probation period when a young lady moved near my house. I was tempted to sin with that woman in the most horrendous way. She was married and had a child. After spying on her for a week I figured out her entire routine. The time she left home, the time she came back, and the time her husband left for work. She was so hot, I had to do it.
She lived in an apartment building, behind her unit was a small patio with a six-foot fence. Across the driveway, two workers were fixing another apartment.
The worst mistake I made was not covering my face. But when I was horny my brain didn’t function at all. I should have known she could identify me since I lived so close.
One morning, as soon as her husband left, I made my move.
The fence was easy to jump and the sliding door was unlocked. She was sleeping topless, and the sheets were on the floor. She looked beautiful in her black panties. The baby slept in a crib across the room.
I’ve never been so excited. I had an immediate erection. I had the pants on my knees in a second. I covered her mouth and removed her panties at the same time, but the moment I touched her, she woke up and kicked me in the chest extremely hard. I wasn’t ready for that reaction. I was still in shock when I fell on my back, her screams were deafening, the kid started to cry and I panicked. I wasn’t expecting such a commotion. I got up and ran out to the patio and shut the door behind me. The workers saw me jumping the fence but they didn’t say a thing.
What a pathetic pussy I turned out to be, running out like a coward. Later, in my prison cell, I re-enacted my failed attempt. I was convinced I would have to strangle her just for five minutes of pleasure.
That afternoon, when I came back to my house the cops were waiting for me in an unmarked car. There was no need to resist or to claim innocence.
The judge sent me to a county jail, where I was told I’d be transferred a few days later to state prison. My temporary jail was on the top floor of a four-story-high building.
From the roof of that building, I was contemplating the two choices I had. My freedom or my death. I knew I could never find a better chance to escape than at that moment. It was getting dark and the rest of the inmates had gone back to their cells. The guards had gone too. They probably thought that an escape from there would have been impossible.
There were two palm trees next to the building, so I aimed for the skinny one.
I began to run from the far end of the basketball court. I picked up speed in the middle of it because I had to jump over a four-foot metal railing. While flying in the air, I thought I’d taken a stupid decision. I was fifty feet above the ground when my heart stopped beating . . .
After my body hit the tree I couldn’t breathe for a few seconds. I remained immobile for an instant.
I could see the freeway down below. I was holding onto the dark side of the tree. I caught my breath and started to climb down. Except for a solid pain in my chest and a few scratches, I was okay. As soon as I touched the ground I got rid of my shirt. On the back, it read: “Property of The Tulare County Jail.” Well, I’m not your property anymore fuckers!
I walked away from the bright street lights and headed for the St. John’s River, where the homeless people gathered under the bridge. I could spend the night with them, and probably get a change of clothes. Maybe they could offer me a drink that I was sure I highly deserved for my daring ‘impossible’ escape.
I enjoyed watching from the bus the hustle and bustle of people on their way to work. I knew most of them worked in the fields, most of them came from Mexico, and most of them seemed happy. Not much to do in a town where even the bus ride seemed exciting. But the real source of joy for me was hiking in the Sequoia Mountains.
There was a tree near Avenue 336. They trimmed it every year to avoid the branches to make contact with the electrical wires. Because the branches carried water and if they touched the cables they would cause an electrical outage. It looked like the tree was afraid of the wires, and it grew away from them. The tree was ugly and beautiful at the same time.
Out-of-town people always complained about the smells around the area, the cows, the manure, fertilizers, recycled irrigating water, and even the city dump. I always defended my city and denied it all. But I knew they were right.
At school, I got along with everybody. My favorite teacher was Miss Nunez, my Art class teacher. I considered her my friend, she was patient and caring.
Life was slow and peaceful. A little boring is what I meant to say. I was born here, and I had no choice over that, but I just didn’t want to die there.
I had big plans for my future. I wanted to have at least two different careers; I wanted to be a writer and maybe a doctor of medicine or something like that. I knew it wasn’t that hard, I just knew it.
To go back home I had to take two buses, one from school to the edge of town and another one that went straight to Orosi on road 63. After waiting for ten minutes at the bus stop, I decided to get a soda from the liquor store across the street. On my way back, I watched with resignation the bus passing by. I hated to wait for another hour for the next one.
I was tempted to hitch a ride, but I didn’t like the idea ’cause there were a lot of weirdos in town. One time I got a ride from an old man. He seemed to be a decent family man, but when he offered me a hundred dollars in exchange for a ‘good time,’ I got out of his car at the first stop sign.
I planned to hit the road as soon as possible, I needed to go to another state. Nevada was my first choice. Hitchhiking or taking the Greyhound bus in Visalia was out of the question. I needed a car to go north to Fresno or south to Bakersfield. Visalia was going to be a hot spot for the next few days.
If they caught me, I’d be facing at least twenty years. That’s too long for attempted rape. I didn’t even want to think about it. All I knew is that I was too horny, and that next day I had to find some pussy, that’s for sure.
There were about a dozen people under the bridge. An old pickup truck was parked at the edge of the road, finding the owner was my main priority. With a twenty-dollar in hand, I told them I needed a ride to the liquor store to get some booze. A guy stood up and said, “I’ll take you buddy, but you drive. I’m a little fucked up already.”
Around midnight, we made another trip to the liquor store, when we came back I kept the keys, it wasn’t too complicated. I just needed to wait for them to fall asleep.
Frustrated, I decided to ask for a ride. Right away, a young guy in a pickup truck pulled over and I asked him if he could take me to Orosi, and he said, “Yeah, get in, I’m going that way.”
I knew immediately that I had made a big mistake when he put a screwdriver against my ribs and said, “We’re going for a ride, and you better enjoy it.”
Damn! It’s unbelievable how fast things could change.
I thought if I got out there alive I was never going to make another stupid mistake like that. I was scared to death, but I was determined to survive whatever was coming my way. I also knew that whatever his intentions were, I would do anything to avoid getting raped or killed.
As the truck gained speed, I saw my chances fading away.
There was an old gas station at the corner of Avenue 328. After that, there was nothing but an empty road for the next ten miles. If we went past that gas station my chances to escape would be minimal.
I planned to provoke an accident. I could die too, but I had to risk it. I was in great danger anyway. So, I went for it with lightning speed.
First, I pushed the button to unlock his seat belt and grabbed the hand that held the screwdriver, and then I turned the wheel toward the gas station. Then, I hoped for the best.
The entire action must have taken all but three seconds.
When I opened my eyes, the windshield was broken and the driver’s seat was empty. My astonishment increased when I saw him all twisted and mangled next to the gas pump. He couldn’t be alive. We crashed into another vehicle, but nobody else got hurt. I came out unscathed, unharmed, and very happy to be alive.
Frustrated, I decided to ask for a ride. Right away, a young guy in a pickup truck pulled over and I asked him if he could take me to Orosi, and he said, “Yeah, get in, I’m going that way.”
“There’s a lot of crime in the area, you shouldn’t be asking for rides, it’s not safe,” he said, as I entered the vehicle.
“Yes, I know, but I don’t want to be waiting for the bus for another hour, it’s boring,” I replied.
He appeared to be in his early twenties; his hair was tangled, disheveled and a little dirty, he probably had just gotten out of work or out of bed.
“Well, we can have a little fun before I take you home,” he said.
“No, I need to pick up my little brother from school and I need to do my homework,” I said, but he kept driving.
“No, no, I said we’re going to have some fun. I’m not giving you any options,” he said, as he pulled a screwdriver, and pushed it against my ribs.
I couldn’t see a stop sign or a stoplight anywhere near so I could jump out of the vehicle as I did with the old man. We were about twelve miles from Orosi. And not a soul in sight.
“No, I want to get out, please stop,” I said, as we approached a dairy farm. It would have been useless to scream, the area was deserted. After he passed the farm, he made a right turn on a dirt road. Then he stopped the truck behind several trees.
He pulled me out of the truck by the hair. And as he held the screwdriver in his right hand, he added, “I said we’re going to have some fun,” then he pushed me to the ground, still pulling my hair. As I lay there, he climbed over me, and said, “My name’s Hector, what’s yours, baby?”
I needed to escape and the only way to do that was an out-of-body experience. So, I transported my body to another area, to a place I loved . . . I found myself hiking up along the stream in the Sequoia Mountains, where I was admiring the centuries-old beautiful trees . . . ouch! I just felt a stinging pain at the center of my body . . . now, I’m walking in the middle of the shallow river, looking up, to where the trees connect to the sky. It appears that all trees point to heaven, the place where I should be.
When I returned, I checked my intentionally abandoned body. I found it complete, and except for a little blood on my private parts and some pain, I was ‘unharmed’.
As I reached the main road I began to think about Miss Nunez, because I needed to ask her for a favor. I’d heard about a pill you take the following day after having sex, to avoid pregnancy. She’s my favorite teacher, but she’s my friend too. She might help me get it.
Frustrated, I decided to ask for a ride. Right away, a young guy in a pickup truck pulled over and I asked him if he could take me to Orosi, and he said,
“Yeah, get in, I’m going that way.”
“Hi, how are you doing, my name’s Hector, what’s yours?” he asked.
“I’m doing fine, my name’s Graciela.” he looked a little dirty but he seemed to be a decent person.
“I’m from out of town, just passing by, but I can stay if you show me around. You know, we can have a good time,” he said.
I had a strange feeling about that. “No, thanks, but I have to go home, now if you stop at the next light I’ll be fine,” I answered trying to sound casual, but I was very nervous indeed.
“I don’t think so,” he replied, “I said we’re going to have a good time, and we will,” he was doing fifty miles an hour.
There was a stoplight up ahead, and I was hoping it would turn red by the time we got there so I could jump out. But the damn light remained green for an eternity. Then, all I saw ahead of us was a desolate road. I knew I was in deep trouble. And I didn’t deserve any of it.
“Okay, Graciela, today’s your lucky day, we’re going to have sex. You can enjoy or you can suffer, it’s up to you. I would recommend you to enjoy it, but if you don’t, makes no difference to me,” he said, while slowly getting his hand between my legs.
My body began to tremble. I was mad at myself, I wished it was tomorrow already, so I could forget about today. How can I be so dumb? My fists were tight and my knuckles white, I felt so helpless and vulnerable.
“You don’t look like a bad guy, just pull over and let me out please, I beg you,” I said while trying to hold my tears.
He turned on a dirt road and went to a shed behind an abandoned house. Then, he dragged me to the shed and told me to take off my clothes threatening me with a screwdriver in his right hand.
I suddenly remembered a rape case I heard about on the news. The victim faked enjoying the whole episode, and when the rapist finished, he gave her his phone number so she could call him any time for more sex. But she called the cops instead and they got him. I considered doing the same thing, but I couldn’t give him that kind of satisfaction.
I thought I would ignore him instead. I would just remain immobile down there on the ground like a log. I wouldn’t show any emotions. I just didn’t want to get hurt or killed.
I was on my back, naked. He was holding me between his legs. That’s not how I had envisioned losing my virginity. After he finished, he turned me around and did it again, then again and again. Then he rolled me over like a sack of potatoes and said, “You bitch, say something. Scream, hit me, cry or do something you stupid bitch!” then he said, “You deserve to die.”
He lifted the screwdriver with both hands above his head and in a blink of an eye and with tremendous force, he inserted the screwdriver into my chest. The last sound I heard was, ‘thump’.
I felt my soul escaping my body. I could see myself lying there with the screwdriver on my chest. I could see only the handle protruding from my breast. I thought about my mom, my dad, and my unfulfilled dreams, and my future. It was all cut off abruptly and without a warning. It all belonged to the past now.
How could you do that, God? I only asked you for a little favor, “I don’t want to die in this miserable town,” It was a simple favor, easy for you to concede. Why did you allow this horrible ending, why?
Frustrated, I decided to ask for a ride. Right away, a middle-aged man in a pickup truck pulled over. Oh shit, it’s my dad! I’m in real trouble now.
“Graciela, what are you doing asking for a ride? I can’t believe it. Don’t you know how dangerous that is?” he said in a very alarming voice.
“It’s not dangerous dad; it’s daytime, and there are a lot of people around,” I replied, trying to minimize the gravity of the situation.
“No, Graciela, I’d die if something bad happened to you. You have to promise me you’ll never do it again.”
“Yes, Dad, I promise,” I responded sincerely. And as I got in the truck I kissed him on the cheek. “I promise you, Dad,” I repeated and kissed him again.
Visalia Ca. 11-17-2010.