to 5

    on the 5ives




I can’t see A, B, or C. I only know that A, B, and C exist. To me, they’re just variables. They could be x, y, or z. They’re just empty letters meant to signify three people, three anonymous people. If I saw any of them, I wouldn’t know it, nor would I know which one of the three they were. But I know their ages: A was 4; B was 5; C was 6. I use the past tense because they’re older now. It’s been at least five years, but even the time that has elapsed is arbitrary. Even time could be a variable, let’s say variable B. Today, I only see these variables and the numbers attached to them, which are supposed to represent the victims and their appropriate ages when they were molested by R, not the same R that molested me, but an R I know all too well.

For purposes of clarity, I will call the R that violated me will be called R1 and the R that violated A, B, and C will be called R2.

Names have a tendency to blur details. It’s unnecessary to know that R1 and R2 don’t just have the same letter in their first name. It’s superfluous for me to say that they’re both named Robert, and even though they share the same first name, they have different patronymics. It would be useless for me to explain their different DNA because there’s simply no reason for me to split hairs without reasonable cause.

R2 sits in a room made of wood. Twelve people are seated to his left. He pretends that he doesn’t see their looks of unabashed disgust. These twelve people can’t see his wrists. They’re covered with pussing welts from his struggle against steel. He has a habit of hiding what he’s embarrassed of.

R1 is full of blubber and waste. Even when he was 13 and I was 9, he was fat. My family puts a lot of emphasis on the body, especially the female body. R1, being a boy, wasn’t exempt from scrutiny, but his fat was funny. Mine will always be seen as disgusting. In my memory, I see fat, thick skin rolling over his belt line, but I know that I didn’t really spend time noticing his body then. At 9, I didn’t notice anyone’s body. I barely even noticed my own. The image that I have of him comes from old pictures and my current idea of him, a physicality tainted by a disgust that refuses to subside. He’s even fatter now than before. The few times I’ve seen him, I’ve averted my eyes. I’m unsure if I didn’t want to see his degeneration or his proliferation.

He doesn’t look at the other people in the courtroom. Instead, he strains his brown eyes to unscramble the faces in front of him, making it look like he is crying. R2 doesn’t look guilty. He looks sad and repentant. The twelve disgusted people don’t know how to interpret this.

His hair is closely buzzed. His face is still swollen with baby fat. He wears a dusty and old black suit. He looks incredibly young, too young to be in that courtroom, too young to be charged with such disgusting crimes. He’s only sixteen. The defense would have you believe that he did not realize the gravity of his actions.

Of course, I wasn’t there. I never saw any of it. He’s inferred a sentence here and there, but he’s never even told me what he did. I can only imagine what R2 looked like. I found his picture on the Internet, an invasion of privacy that is no longer his privilege. His headshot doesn’t look like him now. He’s lost weight, grown out his hair. Still, he’s marked, and people throw rocks at him when they see him walking down the street, passing their children, running neither towards nor away from him.

When I visit my hometown, R2 and I sit outside his room. We smoke cigarettes. R2 keeps one foot inside the house. It’s impossible for me to ignore the black chunk of plastic strangling his ankle, a global positioning system that may as well be programmed into his brain. No chances, he says. I can’t take any chances this time.

Back then, I didn’t know what he’d done. I only knew that he’d done something, something so abhorrent that he wouldn’t tell anyone. I was too embarrassed for him to ask. He’d make false references to prostitution, an act of sexual misconduct that I didn’t find morally repugnant. Maybe that’s why I accepted it so easily.

A few weeks later, I’d built up enough curiosity to look up his name on the sex offenders’ web page. I’d known him, worked with him, driven him home, trusted him for more than a year. He hadn’t trusted me with this information so I didn’t look away. My eyes weren’t shaking between the slats of my fingers. His personal web page didn’t give me any finite answers, only vague inferences that forced me to build the most horrible story possible.

(De-Constructors: are more esoteric. They would spend more time molding a perfect sphere out of clay than building a skyscraper. They are focused on beauty, but not their own. They often look extremely sloppy and disheveled, but they are never overweight. De-Constructors are extremely conscious of everything they put in their body because food makes up the body.)

Scenario 1:

The Man Pedophile Monster Asshole

Has x Touched + Molested + Destroyed + Raped =

Our Children Boys Babies Innocence

Scenario 2:

The Children Boys Babies Guilty

Have x Imagined + Framed + Cried + Pursued =

His Guilt Lies Name Innocence

Scenario 3:

Neither 1 nor 2 are accurate, but they both tell a certain amount of truth.

Scenario 4:

Three Counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault. Convictions do not lie.

Scenario 5:

In my mind, R2 can’t be a monster. I refuse to believe that he could have taken those small bodies, full of smiles and bubbles, and molded their soft skin into his playground. It just isn’t possible.

I don’t wonder if I’m wrong, but often, I traipse through all the possible scenarios. Then, I tuck them safely into my socks so that no one else can taste the heinous decay of imagination. When I sit outside with R2 smoking cigarettes, I don’t take off my shoes.

When R1 is 13, he acquires a girl to hang on his arm. She lets him kiss her, and sometimes, she lets him touch her body. It is apparent that she is quite fond of his body. In a letter, she dotes on him. She says she dreams of the smell of his aftershave. Reading his letter, I laugh because he doesn’t shave.

(Constructors: are completely focused on money & building. They care so much about social status that they often forget to take care of themselves. Often, Constructors bald very young and have potbellies. They eat fast food and microwave dinners because they don’t have time to cook. 88% of Constructors have either colon cancer or a stroke before the age of 62.)

Between intervals when R1 and his girl are not kissing and touching, a warm fear builds in his immature head that he may not know how to properly touch his girl. He worries he may be too soft or too callous, too tender or too rough. It isn’t that R1 is pro-active. R1 and I are cousins. He says that family should always help out family. He says that’s what family’s for. He says he would do it for me. He says I’m ungrateful because I play his Nintendo and I play his Sonic Gameboy and I won’t even help him out with something small like this even though he lets me play with all his toys. Even his Ninja Turtles. He says I’m a spoiled brat. Then he reasons with me, even though he says I’m an unreasonable little girl. Of course, I believe him.

A, B, and C are not related. They’re friends playing in the street. They imagine elaborate fictions with princes and beanstalks and bicycles and mazes. They play games, and C, being the oldest, usually wins. R2 watches them with his feet folded neatly under his butt. He wishes he could watch children play every day.

I am Donatello, the smart one, but mainly because my favorite color was purple. He is Leonardo, the leader. Even though my second favorite color is red, I don’t get to be Raphael. I’m stuck with Michaelangelo, the airhead party animal. Any one who’s watched Ninja Turtles knows that Leonardo and Raphael are the ones that really save the day so when R1 and I play Ninja Turtles, he always wins. He says that he’s the winner and the winner should always get a prize. I offer to steal him a cookie from Grandma’s secret stash.

(Doers: rarely have time for fun. They’re always doing something, and that something is generally useful. That’s not to say that they never have fun, but for a Doer, fun has a designated time and space, and if life throws this fun time a lemon, the Doer doesn’t make lemonade; he makes lemongrass. Doers are particularly special people because they do more than expected and exceed everyone’s expectations. Generally, Doers don’t have any friends, partially because no one can stand an ass kisser and partially because Doers can’t take enough time out of their immaculately planned days to make or maintain friends. It’s a lonely life.)

To say that a crime is aggravated only means that is has features that make it a worse act, generally this implies the use of a weapon, although this is not always the case with sex crimes. To say that a crime is aggravated means that the criminal who enacts said crime can be punished by being locked in a cell for a longer amount of time than if the crime is not aggravated. To say that a crime is aggravated only means that the criminal will be locked up, in a cell, with adequate food, water, shelter, and even entertainment. The money that the parents of A, B, and C give to the government every year is used to facilitate this punishment.

(Active: personalities tend to be strong characters. They exude a sense of determination & can be seen as aggressive. An Active personality often resorts to alcohol to calm himself down after such an Active day. He’s exhausted and irritable, which is why the slightest provocation can bring about a frenzied rage. During these rages, the Active personality dominates all other personality traits, and the person blocks out all memory of this time. It is not uncommon for unusually violent behavior, mostly rape and other sexual molestations, to be exhibited during this time. They are only trying to actively engage whatever it is that they are currently focusing on. Active personalities tend to try to blaze through tasks. Active personalities have a better understanding of self because they are always trying to improve themselves. They tend to be provocateurs.)

If R1 is 13, then I am 8. If A is 4, B is 5, and C is 6, then R2 is 16. These numbers don’t make a pattern. There isn’t a formula to unite them. I want there to be formula, a solution, a connection, but there isn’t.

If R2 is 17 when he is convicted of 3 counts of aggravated sexual assault against a minor and is 21 when he is released, then the amount of time he spent in a juvenile detention center is equivalent to the number of years A had been alive before he was introduced to R2’s sadistic world of sexual fantasy.

I begin having nightmares at age 17. I see terrible images of R1. Freud would call this repression. I don’t tell my family until two years have elapsed since the initial memory struck. I don’t know why I refrain from telling them my secret. Freud would also call this repression. My memory isn’t full. There are long gaps missing. I try to sew pieces of this mystery together, hypnotically patching together dreams, memories, and recollections blotted with blue ink to cloud the original text.

R2 spends 4 years locked in a cell, with every convenience but physical freedom. He’s even allowed to go outside for most of the day, without any restraint but the fences. 4 years for 3 children. Again, formulas and patterns are deficient. R2 will spend the next ten years on parole and house arrest. The terms of his freed confinement are: weekly meetings with a parole officer, weekly sex offenders’ group therapy, bi-weekly counseling sessions, steady employment, no internet, to costumes of any kind that may attract children, his face and crimes posted on the web, and an hour allowance for travel to and from work and meetings.

If I were to chart the gravity of causes and effects, R2 would be seen as overtly fortunate, but statistics are much more powerful. The truth is that early release and this kind of quasi-freedom for sex offenders is more common than brown hair and blue eyes.

I attempt to build a home out of my experience with R1, but the patches are too awkward, some pieces too large, some too ephemeral, some without any purpose at all. I remember things that couldn’t have happened, but they’ve dissolved into my truth. Instead of building a home, I cause fault lines to tremble. I can’t stop earthquakes from burrowing rifts in my family.

(Masochist: personalities tend to let rational thought dictate action. This is not to say that whatever decision is made will be the most “rational” though. Rather, Masochist personality only means that they prefer to think through scenarios, following every possibility, before acting. Much like the Sadist, the Masochist has also been misunderstood. He is not in any way cold or malicious. In fact, Masochists very much so look for approval. This is why he works so hard to be rational. He doesn’t want to appear “soft” and will often hide behind sarcasm to save face.)

Now, when I talk to R2, I want to throw up. His words are empty. He says he met this guy on the bus the other day, and oh god, I’m so embarrassed, and please don’t be mad at me, but I made out with him, right there on the bus. And he was the best damned kisser ever, and I’ve kissed some men in my lifetime, let me tell you.

(Thinkers: never shut up. Unlike the Doer though, he never actually gets anything done. All that the Thinker does is talk and talk about whatever it is that he’s trying to figure out. Often, Thinkers develop some sort of sleeping dysfunction, whether its sleep talking or violent behavior during the REM stage. These are common warning signs for schizophrenia, which many Thinkers are afflicted with. Thinkers tend to develop this illness because their thoughts are in constant competition with each other, and the Thinker himself is left dumbstruck as to which voice or argument to believe. In general, Thinkers don’t live past the age of twenty-six and a half. The most common method of suicide is death by hanging.)

He says he’s going to be celibate from now on. He says that sex has been the worst thing to ever happen to him. He says he’s going to stay away from all men, no matter how much they hit on him. No matter how hot they are. I smile, thinking that no one hits on him. His face looks guilty, but aside from that, it’s also shaped like an alien face, like a smooth E.T. His voice is raspy but shrill.

Still, I find myself addicted to his friendship, trying to make a relationship work with another R, to mend what has frayed with R1, but I can’t tailor my cousin. He has too many ripped seams.

(Sadist: personalities tend to let emotion dictate action. This is not to say that whatever decision is made will be the most “caring” though. Rather, Sadist personality only means that they prefer to consider the repercussions of actions on those around them before acting. Because sadism has been given a negative connotation in today’s society, it is important for one to understand the positive aspects of the Sadist personality. Sadists tend to be most kind and caring people, much more so than any other personality type.)

I don’t live in the same city as either R anymore. Even then, R2 calls me almost daily. He tells me the most mundane details about his day in the most flamboyant way, and I try to pay attention. When I return to the city, I see R2 as little as possible, but even then, I feel guilt about it. I don’t tell him that I know. He doesn’t offer any more information. He wants a friend who won’t judge him for what he’s done. When I return to the city, I don’t see R1, but my family tries to ignore what I’ve told them, and on accident, we coincide shifts at family gatherings. He’s disgusting. His life is a mess, and in some small way, I revel in that.

A, B, and C are cousins. They visit their Uncle Robert. They don’t see him often, but they like him all the same. When they leave, they laugh at his squeaky voice. They think he’s a goof. They don’t cry to their mother or father. They don’t want to talk about it so they pretend that it never happened. Uncle Robert has cool games for them to play. He’s got the new PS2. It’s a new generation, and technology is much better now then when I visited my cousin Robert.

R1 never sits in a room made of wood. No one will take control of his body like he took control of mine. He will never have people throw rocks at him for what he did. This was my decision. I never take control.

The first family member I tell is my sister. I am eighteen, away from home, depressed, anxious, and cursed with memory. I see a psychologist who tells me to see a psychiatrist who tells me I’m crazy and hands me pieces of paper that represent all of my mental illnesses. I call it genius. They call it bipolar. I hold the pieces of paper in my pocket, secretly proud that now I can join the club of fucked up artists. I call my sister to ask her for money. I only tell her because I don’t want my parents to know. I’m Catholic and store guilt more easily than fat. I don’t want my parents to be sad. I have no real justifications.

Rightfully, R1 should be punished in some way.

A, B, and C don’t really know each other at all. They’ve never met. Their parents drop them off at a cheap day care. It’s the cheapest they can find. A teenaged boy greets them with a big, fake smile. A, B, and C run off to compare toys. They meet more kids. D, E, F, and G are already inside. They play and eat and nap, and when they nap, R2 stands over them.

For females, rape is penetration. For males, definitions vary. Bodies can be easily fooled though. Fingers can be as erect as cocks. Fingers can rip flesh as well as any other body part.

I am no longer 18. I don’t think that crazy is an elite club, and I no longer subscribe to medical cocktails. My family hopes that in my insanity, I falsely accused R1 of the most ugly crime. We don’t talk about it. I want to vindicate myself. I want to tell them that I didn’t make it up. Instead, I hide in tight shirts and a childish voice. I know this. I also know that it wasn’t just R1 that did this to me, even though I want to blame him for everything.

The first time I see R1 again, I’m nineteen years old. I’m a recently converted feminist, jarringly anti-male, with a shaved head and piercings all over my face. He comes up to me and hugs me. He says, You aren’t still mad at me, are you?

I want to punch him, but I don’t. I look at him, almost crying, and reply, Of course I’m not. How could I be mad at you?

He’s fat and really very ugly.

R2 calls me crying. He’s failed a mandatory polygraph test. He says it was because he was nervous. He failed two questions, even though failure is the wrong word. The questions were: ‘Have you had sexual intercourse with anyone from your place of employment since your release?’ and ‘Have you had sexual intercourse with a minor since your release?’ He tells me that it’s because he flirts with people at work that his guilty conscience must have had such an impact on him that it registered on the test. He says that he hasn’t done anything with anyone at work, my work. The place I’ve worked for the last 8 years. I want to believe him very badly. He says he swears that he hasn’t done anything. It’s just friendly flirtation. He says that he hasn’t had sex with a minor either. That this one time, he didn’t look at a guy’s ID, but the guy looked young, really young, and even though he said he was eighteen, he looked young, and that must have been why he failed that question. He says he doesn’t want to go back to jail because he isn’t a minor anymore, and he’d have to go to real prison. He says that juvy wasn’t bad, but prison will be bad, especially for a gay sex offender. He doesn’t mention that he was a child rapist. He always manages to leave out that small detail.

Of course, he says the exact same thing to his therapist and his parole officer, and they increase surveillance on him but don’t arrest him. He calls me and says how relieved he is but he isn’t surprised because he wasn’t guilty.

When I’m 14, the school doctor tells me that I need glasses. I’m embarrassed. My sister takes me buy glasses that she thinks are cool, but they’re hideous. I refuse to wear them, and by 17, I can barely see that they’re writing on a chalkboard if I’m sitting in the front row.

R1 works at Eye Masters. When I visit him, I don’t remember anything. He makes my glasses, and they aren’t bad looking. I visit him again at 23. I ignore my accusations, saying that I’ve forgiven him, but I haven’t. He pays for two pairs of glasses and cleaner for me. I think he does this out of guilt. He tells me I should get contacts or laser surgery. He tells me his mom got it done and she sees great. I ask him why he hasn’t gotten it. Or contacts for that matter. He tells me he likes his glasses. He says he likes the feel of it on his face.

(Reactive: personalities do not act until provoked. They will tend to be the followers and follow directions perfectly. They do not deal well with authority, unless there is someone above them giving them instructions. It is not that Reactive personalities are submissive. It is just that they prefer to react to situations rather than provoke them. Reactive personalities also tend to carefully complete tasks. Reactive personalities make excellent stalkers and assassins because they covet any assignment as though it was made of solid bronze.)

I say something nice in response, but I’m disgusted at myself for talking even to him, for being supportive of him, for this.






lily hoang