A Punch in the Stomach 

Copyright © 2008 by Tiki Kritzer Seger.  All rights reserved.


I lived with my father in Queens (one of New York’s 5 Burroughs) for several months when I was eleven years old.  I already acted years older then I was, and, with my 1m 60cm of height, curvy body (I wore a D cup bra and had a proportionately small waist and well rounded hips) I looked really grown up for my age (especially with makeup and low cut tops), and most people would easily mistake me for 18 or even older. 


I used to go to school during the day with a bunch of dull, conservative kids (none of them were my friends) and the teachers weren’t much better.  In the evenings, I worked at the Church of Scientology in Manhattan; my job was to type addresses onto metal plates that were used for printing envelopes for bulk mailings.  I got into working at the Church because both of my parents were Scientologists and my father put in a good word for me.  I didn’t care about the philosophy, but I enjoyed doing the work even though it only paid a pittance (about 4 dollars a week since Scientologists are really enthusiastic about volunteering their time and don’t expect to get paid for it).  Since I figured that I should get more money for working 6 – 8 hours a night, and my father didn’t give me any pocket money, I used to steal small amounts of cash from the purses that my colleagues left laying around in the break room.  I never bought anything really worth having with the money, just some cheap clothes, makeup and a curling iron that had been beckoning to me for weeks; somehow, ill gotten gains don’t tend to bring much pleasure.  Also, I used to feel really guilty about taking it; the women I worked with weren’t exactly rich either.


One night, I didn’t get back home until around midnight; it was cold, dark and I couldn’t wait to get into my nice, warm bed.  When I walked into the apartment building where we lived, I noticed that there was a really cute guy just getting into the elevator.  I looked really messy and tired and I didn’t want him to see me at my worst, so I decided to take the stairs; we lived on the 5th floor so it wasn’t a really long walk up. 


I was on the second landing when someone shouted “Wait up!”  I looked down the stairwell, and there was this rather heavyset guy running up the stairs; without thinking, I stood still and waited.  The man (he was young – about 20 years old and rather ugly with dull brown hair and a kind of squashed in nose) caught up to me and when I asked him what he wanted, he slammed his fist into my stomach, then pulled out a gun and held it to my head; he said that if I made any noise or didn’t do what he wanted me too, he would shoot me.  I couldn’t move and my mind went totally blank.  Then he shoved his tongue into my mouth and twisted my breast; I gagged and almost threw up.  When he lifted his head, I yelled as loud as I could – it wasn’t even a word, just a high pitched, strangled sound which was rather forlorn and quavery (I was shaking so hard that it would have been strange if my voice had been steady); if I had thought about it, I probably wouldn’t have made any noise, but I was beyond thinking.  The guy gave me one long, startled look, threw me against the wall and ran down the stairs as fast as he could.  I swallowed back tears, picked myself up and wearily climbed the 3 flights to the fifth floor where I let myself into my father’s apartment.


Once inside, I curled up on a chair and told my father and his wife (not my mother) what had happened.  She didn’t say a word, just sat there and stared at me.  I could tell that he didn’t really believe me even though a nasty bruise was starting to discolor my stomach, but he took me to the police station to make a statement. 


The cops were really unfriendly; after I finished telling them what had happened to me, they gave me a stack of huge books full of mug shots and told me to see if I could find the guy who had attacked me.  The police station was freezing cold, and the Chief offered my father a cup of coffee, but he didn’t ask me if I wanted anything.  After about two hours of shifting through the books, I was about to give up when I found him.  There was absolutely no doubt; it was definitely the same man.  The Police Chief said that I was the third girl that month to come to them with a tale of almost having been raped and the other two had both turned out to be lies.  He told me that he thought that I was also making up my story and that he wasn’t inclined to pursue it further.   He said that I could really harm the man by accusing him of attacking me and that I should think seriously about what I was doing.  I asked him how he could justify that conclusion after I had actually picked out the person who had done it and with a bluish mark the size of a paperback book on my belly.   He just brushed me off; he wasn’t interested in hearing anything that I had to say.  I saw him laughing with my father just before we left the station.


When we got home, my father handcuffed me to the radiator and turned it on full blast.  He said that that would teach me to waste his time with such bullshit.  He left me chained to the heater all night; I spent the time alternating between imaging how I could kill my father, creating romantic fantasies and thinking about what I was going to do.  I didn’t sleep all night.  In the morning, I was exhausted, and when my father opened the cuffs, my hand and arm were both covered with little, white blisters and my stomach was dark blue. 


After my father, his wife and my little brother left for work and school, I packed the few items which were really mine (a half finished book of poems that I was writing, a couple of my favorite books, a little makeup and one change of clothes) in a backpack and left. 


I never went back.