I grew up in San Francisco and have spent my whole life here. Anyone who grew up in a big city knows that the city is divided into many parts- dangerous, safe, wild, tame..
When I was 17 years old, I was walking home from the bus stop, it was around the middle of May, when I heard a “Hey you!” I turned around and saw this 5 foot 4, skinny, tattooed face staring at me.
“Excuse me?” I have never been the type to tolerate disrespectful behavior and I didn’t care if this gangbanger had a problem with it, I would let him know.
“Damn, aggressive. I like that!” He smiled at me. “May I ask the beautiful lady for five minutes of her time?”
“No you may not.” I turned away and started walking about fifteen feet, when I noticed that he caught up and started walking alongside me. “Look buddy, whatever you’re selling I’m not interested. I don’t want your weed, coke, meth- I don’t do that shit and I don’t want it.”
“Because I have tattoos I look like a drug dealer?” He started cackling at me. “I can get you drugs if you want, but I don’t sell them.” He had gotten closer as we walked along. About a foot distance walking on the left side of me. I was approximately four blocks from home.
“Look I’m just trying to walk home. And I don’t really want some stranger knowing where I live.”
“I understand girl. Can I have your number?” He asked as he looked over trying to catch my eye.
“No. I don’t know you. And I’m not stupid.” I looked over at him and stopped walking. I was three blocks away from home.
“That’s fair. How about if fate brings us back together, you give me your number?” I was facing him now standing at the corner of the sidewalk. He would be quite handsome if he didn’t have those face tattoos. He had black hair that was slicked back and bright white teeth. He was wearing a black hoodie and dark jeans.
I rolled my eyes. This kid really thinks he has a chance with me. “Okay.”
I walked away as fast as I could. The feeling of someone following you for blocks is unsettling and a red flag and I prayed that I would never see him again. There was a pit in my stomach and I glanced back to make sure he wasn’t following me. I no longer saw him.
About a month later, around 2:00pm I got on the bus heading to meet a friend at the mall. I sat down at an empty seat. I put my headphones on and listened to music as the bus moved from stop to stop. At the bus stop in front of the City and County hospital, I glanced out the window to see an unwelcomed familiar face get on the bus. He smiled as soon as he made eye contact with me.
“I said hey.” He stood next to me holding on to the overhead hand rails for support.
“Hi.” I didn’t want to entertain him, nor did I want to anger him.
“You remember me I know you do. What’s your name?” He was using both arms now swaying back and forth on the hand rails.
“My name is Jordan.” My name is Lillibeth. But he didn’t need to know that.
“OOOO-WEEEE” He smiled at me. “Jordan, Jordan, Jordan.” He tasted my name on his mouth. “My name is Hector.”
I was about three stops away from the mall, but I needed to get off the bus. There was no way I was going to sit there with him any longer. I could walk the six blocks. I pulled the stop request cord and stood up.
“I’ll get off with you.” I didn’t even look at him. He trailed behind me. I stepped off the bus and stood there for a second. I knew as soon as I saw my friend I would be okay. I ignored him as I kept walking.
“Jordan, have you ever been to prison?” What the fuck did he ask me that for?
“No. Have you?” I didn’t even look in his direction as I kept on walking.
“Yeah.” He said. Well that’s freaking fantastic. I’m walking with an ex-con. As we walked he kept trying to catch my eye. “You’re not going to ask me what for?” He seemed amused.
“Nope. I don’t really care.” And I didn’t. I knew from years of experience that if I gave him an ounce of attention, or if I entertained him in any way he wouldn’t leave me alone. “Look I’m only seventeen. You really shouldn’t be following me.”
“I’m eighteen.” He took out his I.D. to prove it to me. Hector Gomes. I pretended not to look at the I.D. when I glanced over. And I kept my head straight and kept walking.
We began to approach a secluded street and a feeling of dread came over me. There was no one visible on the sidewalk in front of me. Well this is how I die. Some ex-con is going to rape and murder me for the twenty bucks in my purse. As cynical as that sounded, it is exactly what I thought.
“Kidnapping and torture.”
“What?” I stopped walking.
“I went to jail at sixteen years old for a charge of kidnapping and a charge for torture, but it was dismissed.” He continued. “My friends and I picked up a few girls in his car and when one of them asked to get out and we wouldn’t pull over she began freaking out and said she’d call the cops.” I was silent. We were standing in the middle of the sidewalk with no one around. “Look, I’m not trying to scare you or ruin your day or nothing. I just think you’re pretty and want to get to know you.”
“Look I’m going to regret this but if you leave me alone I can meet you tomorrow at the pier around noon. And you can get to know me.” What is wrong with me?
“No number?” He was smiling at me.
“No just trust me.”
I wanted to know what he did. I wanted to know about the kidnapping and the torture and I’m not too sure why I agreed to meet up with him but I felt fascinated, it felt thrilling. I put on some jeans and a t shirt and met him at 12:00pm exactly.
“Let me buy you lunch.” He greeted me.
“Sure.” I no longer felt scared or threatened but I felt like a detective. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for but I knew I would find it with him.
We sat down at a bistro by the pier. The waiter gave us a curious look as he took our drink order. He was probably thinking why I was with someone with face tattoos, but I didn’t mind. I was on a mission.
“Jordan tell me about yourself?” It caught me off guard. I forgot that I had lied to him about my name.
“Well I was born and raised in the city, and I graduate high school next month.”
“You seem very intelligent. You hold yourself all proper.” He could not take his eyes off of me as he spoke. My cheeks began to turn red. I don’t like being looked at. I hate that kind of attention. Yet here I was practically on a date with an ex-con.
“It’s your turn” I said.
“Well I am also from the city and I dropped out of high school when I had to go to jail. But now I’m working on my GED.” The waiter had placed our drinks on the table in front of us. He ceased his story telling as the waiter took our order. “You agreed because you want a thrill don’t you?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”
“You met me because you think I’m dangerous and girl’s like you- all proper and shit- they like men like me because we give ya’ll what your uptight little boyfriends can’t”
“You can’t be serious.”
“I give you that adrenaline that makes your heartbeat faster.”
“And why do you think I want that?”
“Because chicks like you like that I’m rugged and you like that I’m aggressive and get what I want. You can tell I learned how to manipulate people in jail, you can tell that I’m a good liar. But you want to see more of me, I’m a challenge.”
“And what am I?”
“You’re a proper, innocent girl that I’m going to have.”
“I’m my own person, you can’t ‘have’ me.”
The rest of our lunch was pretty standard, he told me about his goals for his future and I told him mine. Nothing too memorable. When it came time to pay, I took out enough cash for my half. There was no way on earth I was going to owe some delinquent money or have someone like him pay for me. As I was taking out the cash, he pulled out a money clip from his pocket. There were hundreds of dollars in his hand. He looked at me and told me that if I didn’t put my money away he would take it as disrespect. So I did. He paid, left a good tip, and we were on our way to get ice cream. I was hypnotized. When it was time to leave, he offered to drive me home.
“You drive?” I started to think about the bus ride I had seen him on yesterday.
“Yes of course, just not very convenient to drive in the city but since I had a date I thought it’d be a good idea.”
“This isn’t a date.”
“It will be.”
Heaven itself couldn’t stop me from getting in the car.
“Jordan let’s go to the beach. We’ll park and watch the waves and talk a little before I take you home.”
“Okay.” I was hooked. I hated him. I hated that kind of man he was. But I couldn’t say no.
We pulled up to the beach and began to talk about life again. When it got silent he reached over and pulled my face towards his.
“Can I kiss you?” I leaned forward.
As we kissed he moved his way into the back seat. Once he was back there, he pulled me on top of him. Down came my jeans, and inside he went. It was the middle of the day, no one was parked near us, and I had been a virgin.
As he thrusted himself inside of me I couldn’t help but say, “My name is Lillibeth, it’s not Jordan.”
He laughed and moaned at the same time. “I had my charges dropped because the girl’s couldn’t pick me correctly out of a line up.”
“I was a virgin.”
“I could tell. And you’re never going to regret me.”
I never saw him after that. He dropped me off at home, and I went about my life.
A few weeks later I saw his face on the news. He had been arrested for aggravated burgulary.
Men like him are dangerous but they’re addicting.
Men like him are only good in short doses, you’re not supposed to marry them.