Tuesday, June 23, 2015

You Were Supposed to be My Friend


You were supposed to be my friend. 

You were my neighbor for two years. First in the building next to mine, then the apartment across the hall from me. Your girlfriend lived above me. 

Remember? 

We used to hang out. I used to run into you at the bars. You were always so nice, friendly and welcoming. You used to tease me about the crush I had on your roommate. 

You guys used to eat leftover spaghetti when I made giant pots of it. 

You always invited me to your parties, and vice versa. 

You used to make extra spicy chicken wings after a night out. 

It was one of those nights when it happened. 

I had been out with some girlfriends. My roommate and I went back to your place for wings. I had been drinking, I don't deny that. I remember most of everything … except for a chunk of time after my roommate left. 

She was going home across the hall to go to bed. I planned to follow right behind her once I'd finished my wings. 

...that's when it goes blank. There is a gap in my memory that I’ve never been able to get back. The fact that I don't remember details … well, that only makes it worse. 

The last thing I remember is you pouring me one more drink. My next memory is of me, banging on my apartment door in the early dawn light, crying silently. 

One of my other roommates finally opened the door, and when she saw me, her jaw practically hit the ground. 

For a few minutes, everything went hazy. I heard my roommate asking if I was okay, but her voice seemed to come from very far away. 

I went to step into the apartment and that is the first time I noticed the pain. I went slowly to my room, trying not to wince or limp. Don't let them see. They'll never believe you. They'll say you drank too much, that you asked for it being left alone with him. 

You were supposed to be my friend. You were supposed to look out for me. You were not supposed to violate me. 

What happened during those black hours that I can't remember? 

Afterward, I slept for two days. It was a while before I could walk comfortably. 

My roommates tiptoed around me for weeks. They knew something was wrong, but they eventually stopped asking what had happened. Things soon went back to normal. 

I still saw you from time to time. Sometimes with your roommates, sometimes with your girlfriend. And you would smile and wink at me. Did you find it enjoyable, remembering what I could not? 

I felt disgusting. How could I let such a thing happen? How could I have been so stupid? I shouldn't have trusted anyone, not even someone who was supposed to be my friend. 

Did I ask for it? Did I lead you on? I can never know, since I have no memory of what happened. 

I only remember the pain. The pain I felt was not that of consensual sex. The pain down there, and up my back and shoulders, the bruising on my buttocks. 

Those things are not normal. 

It would be years before I would tell anyone. My first husband was the first person I told, but even with him, I didn't give details. I haven't given details to anyone, until now. 

Some might say I should call you out. 

I'm not ready for that. I don't know if I will ever be ready for that. 

For now I will take comfort in knowing that you no longer haunt my dreams. I am in a place in my life where I can trust again. Although what you did to me has not made it easy for me to be in relationships, I am in a wonderful one now. You didn’t beat me. 

I hope you know, in your heart of hearts, that what you did was wrong. I hope you felt horribly guilty for a long time. I hope it affected your relationships with women. 

I hope you never allowed anything like that to happen again. 

I hope you have forgiven yourself.

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