1st Draft 3.6.18: I hope to never see you

*Trigger warning, assault

I can’t remember your face and that used to really bother me. I told a therapist once that I was terrified I would run into you in public spaces and I wouldn’t know that it was you, because try as I may I can’t remember your face.

I remember your hands a bit. I remember them fumbling with my bra straps and opening the condom. I remember the weight of you. In my memories I remember you occupying space and that you spoke and that you left my room so easily, but, where as the memory of so much of you was hid from my memories, the pain you left behind was not.

I couldn’t even say the word for years. Rape. Date rape. Assault. I would call it a one night stand. I would call it a mistake I made. I held all that weight and guilt as my own, it makes sense that it would come out eventually. There I was in the arms of another lover, we were falling apart, in part because I was unraveling from the turmoil within. I started to sob, “I said no, I said no, I said no” the words tumbled out marked by tears. The lover had no capacity to hold it and soon he was gone.

But the word was out, and I could not go back. The questions changed once I gave it a name, once I called out the violation for what it was. No longer did I ask, “what sort of woman am I, that would let this happen?” Instead I was asking, “what sort of man are you, that you really thought this was the way to start a relationship?” What sort of person feels their right to be pleased trumps the right to hold onto a sacred sense of my being? What kind of person leaves scars with such ease and such precision?

For a while in my thoughts your were two dimensional. The flatness of your character made it easy to fold your faceless memory up and store you with the likes of other shallow villains. You must be bad through and through. You must have no spirit, no soul, no empathy, no goodness; because what sort of person does evil things? Evil ones, and as I am not evil that put me over here and you far over there.

But you are not a fictional character. You are real as I am real–and our realness is what put our lives in a collision course of choices, our embodiment is what made this wound on my heart possible. Our realness also makes it impossible for you to be a paper villain. While you do not have a face, you gave me enough details to know that you were part of a family. While I suppose it is possible that you were born from villains, it is more likely that you were just born as a son, trained in the family business, living in this city and  has hopes and desires and scars and triumphs.

From: Draft 2.20.18 “That is the thing about scars, about pain and about memory–in them is not always the easy labels of “right” or “wrong,” they don’t have villains with evil at the core of their being, or heroes with hearts of gold. In the vilest of my memories the one that hurt me is still nuanced, a person with soul and strengths (I assume), weakness and scars of their own, motives of love and motives of malice–what they did left marks across my heart, but who they are is more than the sum of the pain they left in their wake.”

Is this what forgiveness looks like? Is your face erased so that if I saw you, you would have a second chance to see me as the real person that you hurt? Or has my face disappeared too? Perhaps the wound on your soul and heart has been eased by the passing of years? Perhaps you have asked all the questions about “what sort of man am I?” Maybe you have repented and asked God to clear your account. Maybe.

But I still hope to never see you again.

Author: Gracie Rae

I am long on thoughts and short on attention. Writing is my attempt to create a discipline of thoughtfulness carried through.

2 thoughts on “1st Draft 3.6.18: I hope to never see you”

  1. Friend. I know you have shared SOME of this story with me before but something about seeing it written changes things. It’s like seeing the written words makes it more real…more final. I am so proud of you for sharing the deep ugly parts of your story… the parts that hurt the deepest are usually the parts that speak the most.

    As usual, you grip me from the first sentence. It’s like you demand my attention in the best possible way. You make me crave more words. When I was done reading, I wanted more. I think that’s the best sign of a great author.

    I read and reread this one three times before I felt like I could pick anything out to really comment about. I know it’s not helpful for me to always say “good work”, but picking anything apart about this one felt so personal. TOO personal. So after all that… here is what I have come up with…

    This sentence feels like a lot to unload in one sentence… “In my memories I remember you occupying space and that you spoke and that you left my room so easily, but, where as the memory of so much of you was hid from my memories, the pain you left behind was not.” I think there may be a couple sentences or thoughts wrapped up into this one. I think it needs a little revisions to make it easier to read.

    I absolutely love how you described that it was easier for you to imagine this man as a villain. While I have not walked through in shoes, I too have felt like people are villains.

    I feel like if you changed just one word in this sentence it could read a little smoother… “While I suppose it is possible that you were born from villains, it is more likely that you were just born as a son, trained in the family business, living in this city and has hopes and desires and scars and triumphs.” Instead of finishing with “and has hopes…” try “with hopes, desires, scars and triumphs”. I think that’s a picky one… but throw those words around your mind and see what you think.

    I love the inclusion of the language from your other draft. So perfect. SO on point! It does make me wonder if what happens to the other draft if this language is here?

    One final thought… I found it incredibly telling that you spoke about not saying the word… and then only mentioned the actual word once in the entire post. I think that speaks of how hard it is for you to write this even years later. There’s beauty to the vulnerability that it took for you to write this. Don’t change that.

    Like

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