“Whats up rapist?”
A female with a shaved head and patches hurled at me as I entered the store. She was already on her way out the door, and I decided not to engage. The door shut behind her. The owner and I, we’ve known each other since I started coming into their shop regularly about a year ago, and we share a brief, wide-eyed look for a moment before the door is blown ajar from the sheer aggression the other side.
“Are you here to rape everyone? Does everybody know you’re back in town?”
Instead of looking at her, I look at the shop owner, who gave her a *super* serious stare, and I hear the door shut behind me. I turned around and she was gone. I make my purchase and breath a sigh of relief as I leave, knowing I wouldn't be late to work.
I knew I wouldn't have to ask the aggressor to step outside - not just out of respect for the shopowner but mostly to stand on the corner with her and point down the street. At about eye level from where we stood, down the hill two blocks on the right, there was once a third story window in a beautiful building which was once my elementary school. There, within shouting distance, is still a window, but the whole place has been renovated into condos now. The window I remember is long gone.
I knew I wouldnt have to tell her about that window, and the light that shone into the coatroom of my 4th grade home room. Or about the wall with two tight rows of antique coat hooks, or the violence used to throw me against it by my classmate. I wouldnt have to tell her about how she told me not to make a noise, how she slid her hands down my pants. I wouldn't have to tell her how warm her mouth was on my genitalia, or how cold her eyes were in comparison. When she decided to leave me alone, I knew I was saved from having to explain how my classmate continued to sexually harass and assault me through the rest of the school year; about how it made me afraid to go to school, afraid to keep friends, afraid to trust my peers, afraid of myself. I wouldnt have to tell her about how I came to embody those patterns of abouse after decades of internalizing their trauma, about how I cheated and shoved to get my way or disregarded others in my quest for personal satisfaction. And most of all, I wouldnt have had to tell her about my personal path to recovery, or how her antagonism and aggression was only throwing fuel on the fire.
It would have been so surreal to be able to walk those two blocks with you and stare into the window from the outside looking in, when for decades a piece of me was trapped on the inside looking out. Maybe I should have spoken up, maybe we could have both found peace, maybe we…
I smoke a bowl to calm my nerve, and rush to work without looking back.
This is my first post since renewing my subscription to this web service. As I re-enable this website, I hope that it becomes a testament to the exploration of both sides of abuse from someone who knows both all to well.