I wrote this piece for myself two and a half weeks ago, when I began to free-write about the incident for the first time. After reading Nic's story (posted here), it reminded me so much of one particular aspect of my own story that I wanted to share my own writing as well.
*All names have been changed to protect the innocent. I've added a star after each reference to a person to denote this.
I think about the skirt. I liked it. It was plaid and school-girly and short and pleated and had three large buttons on the front. I wore it over jeans and I liked it. I never got it back.
I think about the aftermath. I talked to M*. I went to my room and changed my clothes and crawled into bed. I emailed T*. I didn't cry. I might have slept. I think I did. But I didn't cry.
I think about when I told A*. She said she knew. She said she could see when she tried to hug me and I jumped back and I couldn't be touched and she said that M* was angry and she could see and she could see when I saw him and I ran away and I hid and I cried and I was frozen and terrified. Later than night, when I told her, I finally cried.
Then I told people. More people. People here, people at Tau. K* cried, for me, for her, for all of us who hurt. I loved her. A* held me. B* hurt me. W* lost my trust forever. He told him. He confessed. W* lied. I can't forgive him. But somehow I understand.
B* hurt me. I am angry. It shouldn't matter and I shouldn't care because who is he to decide, who is he to say, why do I listen to him anyway, I don't, but still, he spoke and it hurt me and his words are still with me and I hate him and I have nothing more to say.
Everyone else, they blend together. Kind words, good words, at first, then fading, fading, nothing more, nothing more, oh wait, something happened? I guess I'm sorry. I don't know. Someone held my hand, someone hugged me, they listened, they tried. I don't know. I don't remember. But I know that later, when I needed them, they weren't there.
They were gone when I needed them, when the words I said came back to haunt me, when I curled on the bathroom floor and rocked and cried and couldn't say anything more than “I didn't want it, I didn't want it.” Where were they when I heard voices and saw scenes and couldn't watch things without seeing and feeling and it was there and it was all there in my head and I couldn't make it stop. It played again and again over and over in my head like a movie, a reel that never ends. They weren't there. When I reached out, they were gone.
I hear their voices. Hollow.
No meaning, no feeling, no promises that were kept.
Bodies in the Chapter Room, convening.
nothing real, nothing done, no one cared.
I think about how he tried to put his hands on me afterward. When I was curled up in a ball on the tavern bench and I couldn't be small enough and I was against a wall and I tried but I wasn't disappearing or comprehending just shaking and trying and not knowing what now, what next. My thoughts were about getting away, out that door, up and away, far far away. I was sane, and calm, and I convinced him to leave. I said what he wanted me to say. Then finally, I was free, and out the door like a bird, climbing up the bright wooden stairs, up, up, found the door I was looking for, lights still on, knocked, “come in.”
“That might even be called rape,” M* says, at the end, an afterthought.
I am in my room. I don't remember much. I changed my clothes and crawled into bed. I emailed T* about lunch. I stared at the computer, I stared at the ceiling, I think I slept. It might even be rape. I think it is, but I am afraid to think. What if it isn't. What if. What if.
The next day, morning dawns, I go to lunch but I am afraid. But still, nothing has set in. The day is still bright. Maybe too bright. The movie, M* talks about a movie during lunch, and I hear him but not really. E*'s car, house sitting, that's where A* is. And there's T*, he's there, and he cares. What now, what do I do, who do I tell, where do I go.
I am reliving it now. I feel it in my body. I can't stop thinking about it. I see fragments of images, and jabs of feeling, and pain that I can almost feel and remember but is too far away. Everything is far away, but I feel it. I remember his face, but not in detail, in hazy images and clouds and fog and through layers of thick waxed paper. My heart is pounding and I am still. I sit on my bed and try to feel safe.
I think about it when I am brushing my teeth. It hits me one day that I will never have my skirt back. Those buttons, the plaid. I can't think about the event, but I think about the skirt.
And I am angry at the aftermath. It is what makes me scream and cry in the middle of the night. No more thoughts or dreams about the rape. It is about afterwards. About being told I am wrong, about being told to keep quiet, about being told to shut up and die. It's all there, in my head, and I can never forgive them, not really. Never really. It'll always be there.
I think about that bench. It's there. I see it. It's okay. I don't run when I see it, or freeze when I'm in the tavern. It's there, sitting, standing, a relic of what happened, unchanging, uncaring, like this House. It's what this House is to me.
And now, now I am done. White walls are in front of me, and I stare, and I am empty. I have written what I can write. There is more, there, swirling, uncurling, but it is for another time. At peace now. Frozen, immobile, but safe, and at peace. I am done.
September 17, 2009