“It’s no longer there but keeps re-appearing like a flashback with all the emotions and sensory details. I can see the wall paper pattern and the errors made when it was pasted, the nail holes where family pictures once hung in rectangles protected from the sun’s bleaching power and the sweaty skin of years of cigarette smoke residue. Cobwebs that my aunt could not reach in the curtained back bedroom defy time and gravity still, empty witnesses to my abuse. Clear as day for me, though that house was demolished fifteen years ago. My uncle diddled me there…more than once.
“Why does this stuff stick in my head when what I want to stick slides away easily? Things like patient compassion, tolerance, forgiveness might as well be banana peels for me to slip on. Whoosh, I’m down. Sin is as slippery as an eel in a vat of warm Crisco. Wholesome memories don’t have a chance of attaching to the grime and grease. Goodness passes by like rancid crabmeat while filth attaches and multiplies virally.
“Shame has pooled in the back of my throat like acid reflux. If I open my mouth, it will spill out and burn those I care about, burn right through granite. I don’t even tell God about it, though I’m sure He knows. Dialogue with anyone will poison two or more. Where will it end? And how can shame ever be over? Silence and cobwebs cover my shame.
“Grieve his death? No, only that I did not aid his demise, speed it along, you know. He was a perv, an abuser, a thief. He perverted my innocence; abused my trust and body; and stole my self esteem. What did he get out of this? Some cheap thrill if his drunk mind could even contain it. In the end his brain was just as scarred over as his liver. He didn’t know who I was or what he’d done. I’d like some of that amnesia anesthesia. ‘Bartender! Absinthe all around.’
“And what have I lost? Connection with men. Faith in men as friends. Man, I got so tight about not being a victim again– I developed a perp awareness radar that Homeland Security would envy. I scan first for a wedding band, then on how they dress. How do they gaze at other men? How long do their hands fish in their pockets? There are other subtle tells, winks, smiles, gestures. I get ill just thinking of the bag of tricks that pervs use. They don’t know that I know; see, they don’t have a former victim radar or they’d run as soon as they caught any drift of me. I will kill if they go through their steps…never submit again or get fooled again by believing that manhood is something secret and erect. He took me blindfolded into his bestial lust; he left me brutalized and abandoned in the woods. Alone. Afraid to ask another man for directions back.
“I cannot be weak. I will take your dare rather than let you have any doubt about my strength, my courage, my glacial power. You have no idea the rage that roils below my surface and the effort I expend to just be.
“It’s not about gay or straight either. No, it’s manipulation, violation and devastation of the other, who is always younger and innocent, like a bunny and a boa constrictor. ‘Pretty snake, shiny snake, gentle snake. I can’t breathe.’ Consent cannot be given, only imagined by the narcissist perp who thinks he is giving love, joy and wisdom away…as he squeezes the life out of his latest victim.
“And I can’t do diddly about it now except breathe again and again.”