The Radisson.

I laid in bed this morning recounting what happened. My chest still trembled. That was actually really scary and that was actually really close. I’m 100% ok and 110% safe, but that was, well that simply must not have been real. 

Last night, Susan, Brittany and her boyfriend, and Serena went out to celebrate Serena’s 21st birthday. It was one of the first warm days of spring and I excitedly pulled my shorts for the first time all season. An extra coat of mascara and 30 minutes later, I was out on the town and ready to enjoy some good friends and a good time.

Two bars and one drink in, we met a group of guys who were on a bro-cation to Hipsterville from New York City. That’s where I began to hit it off with Samson. Samson was 23, a “consultant” in Washington D.C. and originally from Queens and he was enrolled to attend Harvard Law in the fall of 2014. I beamed and gushed about how I JUST got back from Queens and had a really cool experience. He showered with me compliments and praise when we got to talking about my commitment with Teach For America, Mississippi next year. “That is a truly noble endeavor and an amazing attestment to your character!” I never felt so respected, nor had I ever had such a deep, intellectual conversation with a stranger in a bar. Samson was everything. 

I even excitedly texted Savannah and Renee to tell them about my great find! ME: I JUST MET MY SOUL MATE! 

30 minutes later, our group decided to change scenes and invited Samson and his friends to join us. Long story short, the walk was long, the streets were crowded, and before I knew it, it was only me and Samson. I sat down at a picnic table in the backyard of a cool, indie, outdoor bar and texted the group text with my friends furious. ME: Y’all I’m at Bar 74. Five minutes and no reply later, Samson reported that his buddy texted him. “The whole crew went back to the Radisson and are partying in our suite! Let’s go meet up with them.”

PAUSE- I know what you are probably thinking. Why the fuck, Sara Wildes, why the fuck would you

  1. party in a hotel-especially a Radisson?!
  2. go to a hotel alone with a guy if you didn’t intend on sleeping with him?!

Confession: I’ve never just hooked up with a guy like that. I mean come on I’ve kissed like, six guys in my life. MY WHOLE LIFE. I’m 22…

I didn’t even connect hotel to sex. I just don’t, or well, I just didn’t. I would like to point out that I was sober for the entirety of this experience.

15 minutes later, we arrived at the Radisson holding hands and rode the elevator  up seven floors. “They are all in our room up here” he kept assuring me. Worried I kept checking my phone, asking about “Big Red”, AKA-Susan’s new nickname by the NYC boys. He swiped his card and held the door for me.

I walked down a long hallway cheerfully calling Susan’s and Brittany’s names in the process. The hallway  eventually opened up into a large room with two beds. The color and blood rushed from my face. The room was empty. 

I turned around. The door was already closed and Samson was walking towards me. You tricked me my voice screamed inside my head. “They-they- they’re not here…” I stuttered. “Oh, don’t worry,” he cooed “they’re coming right back, they texted me”. But I didn’t believe him this time. They were never here, and no one is coming.

In a blur of confusion his hands were suddenly on my waist, his lips were on mine, and I was pinned flat on the bed that I previously stood at the foot of. NO my mind screamed again but no sound escaped. I did not agree to this, I am not ready for this, I do not want this. His hand reach for the button of my shorts and in that same moment I propelled my right arm across my body. I struck the side of his head with my class ring with enough force to make his drunk ass roll off of me and onto the floor  and in a second, I was on my feet and so was he. “Wait,” he began as he moved his arms to touch my shoulders but Samson never got a chance to finish.

Without hesitation, I was at the door. Heavy, I pulled it closed behind me and darted THE WRONG WAY down the hall. I wasn’t able to think about the direction of the elevator I literally was just in 2 minutes ago. I hear a door clank open and moved into a nook of the doorway five rooms down. Samson now stood between me and the elevator. But he hadn’t seen me. I pulled out my phone. SOS. HELP. HELP HELP. I texted my the group text with Brittany, Susan, and Serena. I texted my friend Peter who I had heard from last only 1 hour earlier. I texted friend Cooper. I texted everyone I trusted. 

After 30 seconds of texting I felt some sort of relief. At least if I die or go missing, someone will at least now be looking for me and will know I was in trouble. Ahead of me further down the hall I spotted a stairwell. I could hear some noises coming from behind me but, too afraid to peek, I just walked calmly to the stairwell without looking back.

Now, when I say “calmly”, I mean as calmly as I could. I decided running would draw attention to myself and would be loud. I intentionally tried to appear calm but I am certain that I looked like I was running from a nuclear explosion, a man with a gun, or Hilter himself.

My phone was buzzing, I stood behind where the door would open and answered a call from Cooper. “I’m at the Radisson” I reported with complete shame. He was on his way, now just to get out. The stairwell was not any normal stairwell. It must have been a service area because after I flew down six flights, I ended up in a kitchen. As if I had hit a brick wall, I stopped dead in my tracks. Surrounded by industrial silver and soft sounds of clanking, two men in white stared at me with their brown eyes. Oh no, not more men. I don’t trust men. 

I just kept walking. I blew past them toward the beaming red EXIT sign. I popped out of the heavy metal door to an ally of dumpsters and dirty puddles. Disoriented. I looked up, I was now on the opposite side of where I entered the building. I checked my phone, Brittany was too drunk to drive downtown, Cooper was coming. It was all going to be alright. I quickly confirmed that home was to the left and I just went that way and didn’t stop.

Somewhere, halfway across the bridge I found myself walking across, I looked at the twinkle of the city lights reflected in the river below. I was ok, my heart was pounding and hands were shaking from the adrenaline, but I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t in tears. The only thoughts that crossed my mind were

  • I can’t look at that river the same anymore. Over a month ago, the body of a sophomore boy at the University of Hipsterville was found floating in it. He had been in the water a week. The police ruled it as a suicide.
  • I’m so glad that my dad is alive.
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