My father died when I was about 10 years old so this incident happened prior to his death. I want to say it was the summer of 1965. My mother was best friends with her sister-in-law, my Aunt Angie. She had a brother, Manny. Manny had a wife, Irma, and four children. Irma was a sweet lady. She had been a seamstress and had accidentally sewn her hand shut. Her hand was always half closed because of this. I was afraid of her hand, but not of her. As I said, it was a summer day and the family was going to Manny and Irma’s house for Sunday dinner. My Aunt Angie, Uncle Louie and their kids would be there. Eventually Aunt Angie would have seven children. Maybe they were all there, maybe all of them hadn’t been born yet, but Debbie and Yvonne, Donna and Beth and maybe baby Louie were there. Manny and Irma’s four kids were a little younger than me and my siblings, and of course, they were there, along with other kids from the neighborhood. We spent the day running around, as the saying goes, like wild Indians. Manny was cooking paella, a Spanish dish that since that time has disgusted me.
Some of the kids were riding bikes to the deli and I asked if I could take one of the bikes and go. My father said I was too young to go that far on a bike. I was angry and hurt at being treated like a child, and proving my maturity, asked for the keys to the car so I could sulk. He gave them to me and I went down the walkway to the car. I unlocked the door and sat for a while. Of course, it being summer and all, it got hot with the windows being rolled up. I had watched as the older kids took off on the bikes and sat with my arms folded accross my chest, stewing. A short time later Manny came to the car and tapped on the glass. After a few taps I opened the window. Manny asked why I was in the car and I told him that my father wouldn’t let me ride the bike to the deli even though I was big enough to go. He laughed and asked me roll down the window some more and after a short time I did. He said he knew I was a big girl and that he would have let me go with the older kids. He explained that my father was just worried that I might get lost or get hurt if I went that far away on the bike. He tousled my hair and pinched my cheek and asked if he could give me a kiss. I said no, as I was still pouting about the whole incident. He told me he knew I was a big girl and he was going to give me a kiss and then we could go back up to the house. I said OK. He leaned into the car and kissed me on the cheek. His hand slid into my summer shirt and his tongue slid into my mouth. I couldn’t scream, couldn’t squirm away. I felt sweat trickle down my back as he held the back of my head, preventing me from getting away. He broke the kiss because I was struggling and kicking, or maybe because he thought someone would see. He laughed. Told me to be quiet. Told me I better not tell because he would get me. And do it again. I rolled up the window as he walked away laughing. As he turned the corner to the back of the house I bolted out of the car up the walkway and into the house. My father was sitting at the kitchen table. I clung to him for the rest of the day, scared and confused. Throughout the day Manny would look at me and mouthed the words, “I’ll get you.” I understood the warning. Nobody knew I had changed.