Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I miss you, 'David'

This is a long post, but I needed to write it. It is something that has been weighing on me for decades. It took me over two hours to get through. Then I had to be away from it for a little while today, so I could come back to look it over with fresh (and not so teary) eyes and see if I really wanted to publish it. I think I will.

Here it is:

I plan on moving in the near future, so I have been going through all my stuff; throwing some things away and packing others. I just came across some pages that I had printed out some time ago concerning a friend of mine from years past.

For the sake of his privacy, I will call him David. He was my best friend. We went to a summer daytime program every year for four years. This was mostly for kids whose parents worked and needed a place for their children to go during summer break.

He was a very sweet, generous person. He never treated me like I was inferior, while most everyone else did. He took up for me. No one else did. It was automatic; I didn't even ask, although he probably would have said that I didn't need to. We did everything together - played, did Arts and Crafts, made cities out of sand, talked, swam and ate lunch - everything! We got called for a special Arts and Crafts class - I'm not sure why -, just us two , where we made our own Play Dough-type stuff and used them to make puppets. While we were making them, we made up a story about our puppet characters. We liked the story so much that we asked the teacher if we could make it into a puppet show. She said yes, and we put it on for the parents!

Once he broke his collarbone and couldn't swim for a while. I didn't feel like swimming without him, so I said I also wouldn't. He insisted that I would do no such thing. He said that he would not have me give up something I enjoyed because of him, so I swam and he sat outside the pool fence the whole time, making conversation with me. I did not truly appreciate this until I was an adult. I did water tricks to entertain him. Later, I was able to return the favor when I cut my heel on a piece of glass in the pool (how it got there - who knows?) and was unable to swim for a short while. I was the one to sit outside the fence and keep him company.

Another time we came upon two older kids (about 16 years old) on the ground having sex - in front of the building! They weren't fifteen feet from the front doors, in plain sight. We looked at them in disgust. We said to each other that we couldn't believe they were doing that - and in front of the kids! They shouldn't be seeing that! Of course we meant all the younger children around. Funny, we were trying to protect the others, but of course, we weren't much older. Then I said that we should go tell a teacher. But the thing was, the way the building was made, we really couldn't get around them to go inside. We were scared of them (especially the boy) because they were so much older and bigger. Then David decided that he had had enough. He walked right up to them and spoke. They did not notice him, so he yelled at them. He asked them what the heck they thought they were doing, out in public like that, and with children around. The boy looked up, startled. They did not even seem to know where they were. The boy pulled his pants up, in somewhat of a daze, and he and the girl stumbled off into some bushes where, I can only guess, they finished what they had started. I was scared. I thought the older boy would yell at him and/or hit him, but he didn't. It was then that I realized that David was brave, braver than I was. I really admired him.

In our last year at the program, there was a teacher who taught a certain sport. We noticed funny things about this teacher. At lunch time he would go home and would sometimes take one of the boys with him. It was passed around that he paid these boys a quarter to let him do things to them. We of course thought this was wrong. We thought that people who weren't married shouldn't do sexual things and especially shouldn't pay people to do it. We thought these boys should not "let" him do these things. We never even thought about this being a crime, because the boys did it (in our minds) voluntarily. It is strange how children think. Now we know better. We tell our children these things are wrong. I wish we had been given the heads-up.

Anyway, one day I left with my aunt to go on vacation to her house in another state. Every day of the week before I left, I meant to tell David that I was going, so he wouldn't expect me there that next week. But I kept forgetting when I got there. So I left on vacation feeling awful. When I got to talk to my mom on the phone later that week, I asked her to have my younger brother tell David how sorry I was. She told me that he couldn't; David wasn't there. I asked why. Then she said that she had something to tell me.

I think you can guess what she said. David had gone missing and that teacher could not be found. In fact, the man had escaped from a prison in another state, where he had been serving time for child molestation. I was in a daze for some time after that. My mother told me to pray for David. I did, with fervor. When I got home, his face was plastered on posters everywhere. I saw his curly blonde hair and blue eyes on the television during the news.

Our house had been sold, so we were moving and going on a pre-planned trip across most of the western half of the United States. I did not want to go. My mother told me that there was nothing I could do anyway, except pray. I think she also thought it would be a good idea to get me away from the constant reminders. Then she taught me a new strategy. She said I should pray thanking God for bringing David home. I thought this was ridiculous. Why would I thank Him for something He hadn't done? She said it would show God I had confidence in Him to do this. I still thought it was ridiculous. But I did it.

A little later in the trip, my mom talked to my sister-in-law on the phone. He had been found! I wanted to go home, but we didn't. I knew some of the things that happened while I was gone, but not everything. Of course I knew he had been raped many times.

It took almost twenty years for me to get up the courage to find out what happened. While growing up, I thought I probably could have prevented it. I knew that if I had been there to play with him, he would have never gone off with this man. He would have been with me. I found out later that my brother thought it was his fault because he left David alone. Some boys were trying out cigarettes out of sight of the teachers and offered David one. So he tried one, I think, to be cool. Who hasn't? My brother told him if he was going to smoke, he (my brother) wasn't going to play with him. So he went off somewhere else. That was the day David was taken. He lived with the guilt for many years, as did I.

I wanted to know more about what happened, but I felt like it would be intruding into David's privacy. Finally, I looked up the old records online. I was not prepared. When I read them, I felt like someone literally had hit me in the face and stomach. All the guilt and pain I had been through during those years came back. I went back into a daze for some time.

The man, who shall remain nameless for David's sake, kidnapped him and kept him living in a car with him. He threatened to kill David's family if he told anyone. David believed him. He was found a month later. The man was sentenced to five concurrent sentences of fifty years each, for charges concerning David and other boys.

I live only five miles from where this happened. Every time I drive by, I can think of nothing else.

I came across the pages I printed out about this just today, while cleaning things out. It all came back again. I never did see David after I got home. But I have thought about him, it seems, almost constantly since then. Even after all these years. And every time I do, I pray for him. I wonder how he is. Is he bitter? Does he know God? Has God healed him of his pain? Is he still alive? I do not know. I have often wanted to find out, but I felt that I could not bring myself to find him because of the pain it may invoke (for him). God help us both.

You may wonder why I am writing all of this. I have never really told anyone about David. A little, but not really. The effect that reading those pages has had on me made me realize I had to tell someone. So, I chose this blog. Thanks for letting me talk.

I don't know if you are out there, 'David', or if you will ever read this, but know that I love you and have not forgotten you. And never will.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I came accross you blog by chance. I do not know you but your story really touched me. If you haven't done so yet, I think it would be good for you and for David if you found him and spoke to him about how he has always been in your heart.


Thu Apr 24, 11:36:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came across your post via the wisdom of google. My brother Dave committed suicide a little over a year ago and missing him searched. I expected little but you post came up. The circumstance is entirely different but the last few paragraphs could be my own words and it helped me to read them.
I wanted you to know. I don't know if your 'David' will ever read your words but they have been read and have made a difference to me anyway.

Thu Mar 31, 10:11:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


My boyfriend David committed suicide a little over 2 years ago and even though they are 2 totally different stories, I want to let you know that I'm glad you shared your story. It's important to speak up and out. Writing is a very therapeutic tool and if you continue to write, you will see.

Wed Jul 11, 10:31:00 PM PDT  

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