Dare to Tell – Day 24
It was when I was 20 years old. I was living on the Oregon coast I had a 1972 Volkswagon bus; she was my best friend, I called her Rusty. We’d come over the mountains into the valley to spend the day with some old high school friends.
It was 12.30am and I had to make a decision, I could turn to the right and head home to my parents’ house which was about a 5 minute drive. Or I could turn left and drive the hour and a half over the mountains to where I was living on the coast. I headed up the road and could feel Rusty telling me this wasn’t the best move.
I keep driving though I was really tired. I’d rolled down the window hoping the cold air would help; it was 2 days before Christmas. I heard a nagging voice telling me to pull over. I started and woke up on the wrong side of the road. I began to pull over and realized that I was only two minutes from civilization. I kept on going.
This was a time in my life that I was between colleges. I had gone for a couple of years but then I had to leave. I loved to go exploring with Rusty; we went on all kinds of adventures. Strange as it may sound, Rusty was a meaningful relationship for me.
I had been studying music composition, at that time I dreamt that I would score films. I went to a great music school, I had a fantastic mentor.
I was very musical and well spoken. My mother had insisted that I dressed well, took speech in high school. People made assumptions about me. One guy came up to me one day all upset because his boyfriend broke up with him because of me. But I was just an ordinary guy.
An ordinary straight guy, I never aligned in that way. It was a strange time, I’d been dealing with this odd dynamic.
My mentor and I were very close. He was the grandpa I didn’t have. I’d go to his place in the evenings and we’d listen to music, classical or opera. He liked to drink.
Then one night he made a pass at me. I was very annoyed but not threatened.
He came to me the next day and said I needed to make a decision whether or not I was going stay around. I had planned to stay at his place over the summer. I had no expectations, no idea actually. In that moment everything changed.
I cared about him a great deal but I was angry as hell.
There was no decision to be made, I had to leave.
To this day I have never told my mom any of this. She had also developed a very strong affection for my mentor – it was really hard for me to share with her. I didn’t want her to feel the same level of disappointment in him as I felt.
It was a huge breach of trust.
Next thing I know I was dreaming; there were flowers tapping on the window of my childhood bedroom. I woke up to find that I was driving through branches and heading into a big tree. I tried to gain control and we’re dancing. Eventually I was leaning over a cliff 45ft above a river and I was begging that we don’t go over. I pulled us back over the road, the car flipped over and we cartwheeled over the cliff into the river.
I didn’t feel anything or hear anything except the seat belt holding me fast and all I felt was that somebody had me, was holding me tight and keeping watch. It felt like Rusty, my best friend, she was holding on to me
I hit the water, there was a blinding flash of ice and I realized that I was half under water. It took me a while to realize that it was the wrong half; I was upside down, but luckily we had settled on a very narrow ledge so I was able to unbuckle and climb out of the windshield that had fallen out back on the road.
I didn’t drive for 3 years after that.
I told myself was that I was unworthy
I had a constant stream of stories about being unworthy and irresponsible.
I had destroyed my best friend Rusty. It was unforgiveable.
It took me many years to begin to understand the depth of my feelings about being unworthy.
– Robert L Killen www.empowermentforge.com