Silence

*Trigger Warning – contains imagery which may be upsetting and is of mature subject matter. 

“No.”

She knew he’d heard her, his face was so close to hers, she could feel his whiskers on her cheek as he moved, like the stab of needles tattooing her skin with unwanted ink. 

“No,” she said, again, a little more forcefully this time, the word escaping her throat which was beginning to feel constricted, pure panic coiling itself around and around, from the inside out.

All she saw was his eyes. His eyes spoke for him, they gave his response.

Evidently, her eyes spoke, too. One arm pinned her down across her chest as the other pulled down his own pants and ripped her black panties aside. His full weight upon her, he pushed her back further into the couch. She tried to push back at him, to wriggle beneath him to get away, but her own muscles weren’t working like they should. 

Her body went cold. She could taste his scent in the air, a toxic, billowing smoke invading her lungs, fighting for what little air her lungs would allow. Her skin absorbed his vile presence, black sludge through every pore, her stomach twisting and wretching. She could feel her body’s resistance in the rigid freeze between them. 

But, she didn’t scream, even though her friend was just upstairs with the other guy. She didn’t struggle any more. Fear kept her quiet, and not just fear of him. She was immobilized by her own voice. 

Fear of her own voice.

Jerking his head upward, he looked into her eyes again, and she felt his muscles tighten even further. 

No,” she whispered again, reminding herself. 

He invaded her. His hips worked ferociously, grinding and impaling, his elbow digging into her chest.

He took without apology. He took and took and took. 

Behind her eyes, it all slowed, each slam into her, every recoil, in slow motion, his elbows becoming knives, his arms boulders, and his incessant body the evil, leaded blanket reminding her of her own silence, of her smallness. 

He took what he wanted.

When he finished, she stood and quietly adjusted her clothes, never looking at him or speaking a word.

She walked up the 18 stairs, her feet making an oddly uneven sound, and she knocked on the blackness of the wooden door until her friend answered. Thank God the look on her face must have spoken for her, because her friend followed without her ever needing to speak.

She walked back down the 18 stairs and out the front door. 

Automation took her feet toward home, still in silence.

She was halfway home before she realized she was only wearing one shoe. 

Along with her shoe, she’d left behind the last of her voice, the one which spoke up for her. 

It would be years and years before she began to find it again.

~image credit waleoladipo.com

She Believed Him

She could see him standing in the doorway, paused. Struggling to keep quiet, the tears escaped, she couldn’t even contain them anymore. Hugging her pillow, she felt the wave of emotion, trying to make sense of it. She knew she needed him, more than ever. With everything, all of her being. And she needed him to know, for there to be no question.

Hunched over her pillow cradled in her arms, she sat with her legs crossed, her back against the headboard, watching him with blurry eyes. Needing him, but worried she might need him too much. That her need might push him away, that it might be more than he ever bargained for.

“M, I’m sorry,” she said, those words coming easily, now. “It’s me I doubt, not you.”

She’d finally let him see all the parts she’d hidden so well for all those years. The parts she knew had pushed others away, or caused her to push others away. The murky, dark parts, the irrational, broken-feeling pieces.

“You are my life. My love. I’m not going anywhere. You could NEVER truly disappoint me. Ever,” he said as he sat down next to her on the bed, looking into her watery, green eyes. She saw the love and acceptance in his eyes. She felt his arms wrap around her, one hand tucking her cheek against his chest, his chin resting on her head.

As he sat there holding her, his embrace reminded her he’s all in. Hell, his behavior over the past decade had proven he’s the most trustworthy person she’s ever known. He was worth the risk. They were worth it.

Now, the tears really flowed. For the first time in her life, she felt safe and whole.

She believed him.

I Know Her

She stood there, quietly and quickly assembling the sandwich, squaring the meat and cheese and bread, just so. It goes into the Baggie with a pinch and a zip. Her thoughts are busied with arranging today’s list of things to do: call the school, revise the contract, do some laundry, and on and on. Behind her, as is true of most mornings, she hears his footsteps on the hard floor, slow and uneven, tentative from sleep. As he comes closer, she feels the muscles in her body tense. She knows why, but she doesn’t want to know why. Already, she is telling herself, “Let him in, let him in. Today.” Still, she tenses, closes her eyes, her body deceiving her, as usual. His arms close around her, sliding in under her own arms and around her waist, his chin resting on her shoulder, his whiskers and cheek locking into her own. “Good morning, beautiful,” he says, optimistic. She hears the sigh before she feels it, knowing it just escaped her own lips, wishing it had not. She wills her body to relax, but it does not, she is busy after all. There are so many things to do, doesn’t he know that? As soon as the last inch of air releases her lungs, that telling sigh, she feels it. The courage, the risk, the hope, slowly letting go, his fingers not so tight, his arms not so strong, his head a bit heavier on her shoulder. Again.