I still see him. His features are set and his eyes refuse to meet mine. A man determined on his course of action. It will happen, and my opinion on the matter is secondary, no, irrelevant. Because I am a woman. And so, if he wants to have his way I cannot stop him.
“Stop! Stop it!”
Rough hands tear my blouse away. His stubble grazes my nipple. I push him away harder, until I feel the sting of palm upon flesh. Desperate hands work feverishly at my jeans. My teeth find skin, and I clamp down hard. Again, palm connects with flesh. I am tired and I have no more fight left in me. Have your way.
I am only just a woman.
“Come on. I’ll even use a condom. Just this once.”
Outside, a leaf falls. It makes its way slowly to the ground, letting itself be carried on the gentleness of the wind. Even the elements care for the falling leaf. Birds are not singing. The sky is not a magical blue, and the sun is not warm and bright. There is no beauty here. Only pain, and ugliness, and hurt. There is only fear and the unmistakable odour of sweat and the brightly coloured sheets. And there are no tears.
“Isn’t this what you wanted? Why did you come to visit me?”
Because you invited me. You’re my friend.
But my throat will not work, and my brain will not function. There is another grunt on top of me, as I am turned over and violated again and again. My eyes hurt. The paint on the wall is peeling. Someone should get that fixed. I wonder if Mummy has gotten back home. Cold, calloused hands knead my breasts like dough until they cannot feel; I cannot feel.
But I can hear. I can hear the springs on the bed creaking with the rhythm. The same rhythm that my heart is beating to. I can hear the wind outside. I can hear the person on top of me. Making sounds like a woman who has gone into labour. I can see. I can see the fan whirling round. And around. And around. Someone needs to clean the blades. I can see my blue jeans tossed carelessly on the floor like a sack of potatoes gone bad. I’ll burn them when I get home. I can taste his sweat running into my mouth. I can smell the sex. It’s in the air, and the air is carrying it gently around the room, like a proud mother would show off her newborn.
But I can’t feel.
“Hey. I’ll drop you at home.”
“Come on! Don’t be acting like a kid.”
But I am.
I pick up my clothes and my purse, but I leave my dignity on the floor. Because it is broken into a million pieces and I cannot put it back together. I cannot hold my head high. My neck cannot do such a tedious job. I am broken, and violated, and he that I called friend has stolen from me. Head bowed in shame, I leave his room, but his room will never leave me.
I still see his face. You see it too. He sits across you on the train. He rides the bus with you. He takes your order at the restaurant. He helps your kid cross the street. He goes to church with you.
I am not the voice of them that refuse to speak. I am not the shining beacon of example. Do not follow my lead. Do not do what I do. I am the one cowered away in the corner, afraid of my shadow. Afraid to make a new friend. Afraid to be put in such a position of vulnerability again. So, I laugh at your jokes. And I smile at your attempts at flirting. I will even flirt back.
But I am damaged and I am broken. And there is no repairing this amount of damage, no remedy for this injury. With a friend like this, what do I need enemies for?
There is no relief for my pain.