The pale pink champagne Cadillac pulled into the Emery Road McDonalds parking lot. Melie and I stopped when we heard our names shouted from the window. We knew the car and it was filled with our classmates, football players.
I was perpetually “talking” to the owner, Junior.
We went on dates but were never dating. We spent time together but were never girlfriend and boyfriend. He knew that I was a good girl. He was not a good boy. But he treated me respectfully. Meaning he didn’t ask for what was not freely given. Junior would make sure I wasn’t late for curfew. After he dropped me off he would go pick up someone who could stay out later and who was a little more generous with the panties. I was under no misconceptions, to be his girlfriend was to share. The title was unnecessary.
Melie and I felt comfortable around our fellow Tigers. After all we were the high stepping, dancing, kicking, butt swinging, pom-pon flinging half-time show for every one of their games. We were still wearing our blue and gold uniforms, sweater-skirt-majorette boots with matching jackets. So we stopped when we heard familiar voices calling our names. The boys exited the car. Melie stood talking to one of the guys. The other guys spread out not far from the car, catcalling to other girls and classmates. I and my sometimes paramour began our familiar dance. Speaking with no content, but we were teenagers and it was exciting.
Before Melie and I knew what was happening we were being tossed into the car. I was thrown across laps in the back where a wayward hand found its way up my skirt. I swatted it away from my posterior. Quickly sitting up and rearranging my short skirt I settled into the seat next to the right rear window. Melie was in the front in the middle. It was fun and flattering at first. There was an air of frivolity and humor. I was a bit jealous that Melie was sitting by my sometimes escort.
We pulled off quickly. Then silence settled in the car. I stared out into the dark street wondering what now. This was the early 80’s. Nathan McCall hadn’t yet published “Make Me Wanna Holler” which explained the gangbang set up. One guy plays crazy, one guy plays nice, and everybody else waits for an opportunity. The crazy guy is meant to strike fear. He will do "anything." The nice guy tries to bring calm and "logic" in to the situation. If he can convince the girl, or girls, to agree to sexing at least one guy crazy guy will be satisfied. Of course the others make sure they are primed and ready to hop on after guy one is finished. So it’s not really rape right? A mere technicality to the hormones, lust, and group think peer pressure in such situations.
We didn’t know any of this then. All we knew was that somebody suggested we drive behind a dark plaza across from Randall Park Mall. I had a clear view of Junior in the review mirror. I could see him biting his lip. Apparently deep in thought and when he looked up, periodically catching my eye, I stared at him with a steady unblinking gaze.
We refused to give into whatever they had planned. We said enough take us back. Melie and I showed no visible signs of fear or upset. We lived up to our reputations of “strong Black women” in training. But we were afraid. There were half jokes half threats, from the boys.
We were lost in our own thoughts of self preservation. I considered jumping out of the moving car. Quickly rejecting the idea, I continued to stare out of the window. The evenly placed streetlights briefly illuminated the cars shadowy interior and conflicted passengers.
Mostly we drove around in silence with Junior stealing peeks into the rearview and nervously biting his lip, saying nothing. I was afraid and pissed. Pissed that someone I liked could allow me to be in such a situation and pissed that he was a part of the same situation.
After driving around for what seemed like hours, in nervous expectation, fear, and uncertainty we found our way back into the McDonalds parking lot. We left the car with no fanfare. Away from the old airplane like pink champagne colored Cadillac we hugged and screamed recognizing that we escaped...virtue intact. We melted into the after game crowd and never mentioned the night again.