I Don’t Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Trigger warning: rape
I have never been one to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In America, it was adopted as a day solely dedicated to getting wasted. I never understood the appeal, especially as a teenager without a fake ID. Still, people in my life had countless parties where you were meant to dress in green and celebrate the act of being drunk.
The history of St. Patrick’s Day is often lost in translation when celebrated in the States, but this isn’t the only reason why I choose not to partake. On March 17, 2011, I was raped by my best friend. The party was a St. Patrick’s Day/Congrats on Getting Citizenship extravaganza.
I remember thinking how cool it was that the party was held in the community area of a big condo complex. My best friend's mom got her citizenship, and that was the main purpose of the celebration. Being from Paraguay, the family was very inviting. They always included their son’s best friend.
We were strictly friends because I am gay.
He knew this, and I was often dating or pursuing women at this time in our friendship. I appreciated his friendship so much because things never got weird. To me, he was one of the only men I could actually trust—this was before the whole him-being-a-rapist thing.
While I was open about my sexuality, I still never felt that he was pushing any boundaries. We did everything together, everything platonic. As best friends, he was always there for me. Online, we would talk for hours. At school, we were almost attached. Wherever he was, I was also there.
I think people definitely saw us as a unit, but in my mind, it could not be any clearer that what we shared was pure friendship. Who knows what others thought, and who even knows what he was thinking.
I had just gotten out of a relationship.
At the time, she used female pronouns. That has since changed. This person was great, a good match for me during a very temporary period of time. Honestly, the breakup wasn’t exactly ugly or difficult. It just didn’t end up working out. Of course, my best friend supported me through this.
One of our mutual friends became his girlfriend shortly after my breakup. She was kind, pretty fun to be around. I thought that they were a good match, and I was genuinely happy for him. It was nice to know that he could still be friends with me while he was dating her. A lot of people tend to ditch their friends once they find someone they are interested in.
He was there on my conquest to find a new girlfriend. I told him everything about my love life as did he with me, and we shared many great laughs about the situations we had both gotten into. Above all, I would say that I felt most comfortable around him.
At that time in my life, a lot was going on. I was experiencing ongoing trauma, but he was always there for me. He made me laugh, went along with any of my proposed antics. Truly a ride-or-die type of friendship, I knew what we had was pretty special.
Then, the party happened.
The party itself was very tame but fun. It consisted of myself, my best friend, his girlfriend, his sister, his uncle, and the rest of his adult relatives. I was the youngest one there, just shy of being a minor. His mom would not let us drink, but the sparkling cider sufficed. We played games and celebrated well into the evening.
Staying for a few hours, his girlfriend had to leave early because she had a church function early in the morning. This seems really ironic to me now. After we said goodbye to her, the night seemed to shift. We didn’t want the party to end.
His family rented a block of hotel rooms nearby for friends and family to stay the night. Of course, I was extended the offer of staying in one of these rooms. It was agreed that my best friend, his sister, and I would all share one room. There were two queen-sized beds—the siblings would share one, and I would have the other to myself. It was really a perfect setup because I lived kind of far away.
Once the evening was about to come to a close, the younger members of the party decided to keep the fun going. We all went to one hotel room, the one I would eventually retire in. I remember his uncle pulling out a bong, packing it. His sister had just gotten back from the liquor store, providing us with so many options.
My best friend was busy arranging red solo cups. There was also the fun promise of a hot tub to sneak into later. I was honestly having a blast, and I was partaking in my fair share of hotel party-goer activities. I decided that my liquid courage would lead the way.
I ended up inviting a girl that I was into.
We had never hung out before, but I knew that she enjoyed smoking. I was hopeful that my offer would seem like a fun time that she couldn’t pass up. Success! She wanted to come. I was too intoxicated to drive, as was my best friend. His sister had to work in the morning, so she was the only semi-sober one.
We piled into her small car to pick up this girl. I noticed that my best friend had glaring eyes in the rearview mirror as I kissed this girl in the backseat. It was the first time I had ever seen him this way. I thought that maybe I was just imagining it.
She couldn’t stay for very long, but we did enjoy some time in the hot tub together. We all smoked and drank a little more before we ended up having to take her back home. Again, I could feel my best friend’s glaring eyes staring at me from the mirror. I ignored this as I kissed the girl goodbye.
The party didn’t end for us here.
After she was home safely, the rest of us continued to drink and smoke well into the early hours of the morning. One of the last things that I remember is changing into my pajamas and watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It was me next to my best friend next to his cousin next to his sister.
We were all cuddled up and slap-happy while watching the program. Pretty soon, I noticed that I was seeing Will Smith in double-vision. I told my best friend that I didn’t feel well, that I needed to go to bed. His cousin left, his sister moved to the next bed, and I blacked out on my bed.
My best friend didn’t move. He stayed in the same bed with me. My body was lifeless, but I did have a pulse. Everything was black until, suddenly, I was jolted awake when I felt his hands on me. My head felt like a balloon filled with lead, too heavy to even turn.
It happened. I was raped, and I didn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t move, couldn’t scream. His sister was asleep in the next bed. It was an astounding coincidence, as I lost my virginity the same way just a few years prior. That wasn’t rape, but the hotel room and the person in the next bed set the same scene.
I remember that he stopped midway through. I don’t know if he felt remorse or if my lifeless body finally deterred him, but he eventually finished. I dared to open my eyes, watching his silhouette enter the bathroom. I could hear him vomiting a few times. There I laid, wide awake, as he proceeded to get back into bed with me and fall fast asleep.
It was 5 AM before I finally felt like I could safely move.
I collected my purse, keys, and the clothes I had worn to the St. Patrick’s Day party. As I left the hotel room, I sent him a quick text saying that I had to go and not to worry about me. It’s not like he was very worried about my well-being, it turns out.
Not knowing what else to do, I went into the hotel lobby and found a public restroom stall in which I took refuge. I sat on the floor in the biggest stall for at least three hours. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started putting on makeup. I wanted to look different, to feel different.
Finally, I got in touch with a friend who then came to pick me up. St. Patrick’s Day was never the same again.
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