Monday, April 22, 2013

What he'd done

You told him about that night.

That time when you went out drinking with co-workers on a Friday night. When you came back to your table after a trip to the powder room to find only one male co-worker there. How he explained that the others wanted to go home already and could you hang around long enough for him to finish another beer? How you felt dizzy and couldn't remember anything from the time you blacked out until you found yourself in the motel room. How he had talked to you in his soft, sweet voice. What he'd done despite your tears, your pleading. How you wished he'd be merciful and kill you. How you knew he wasn't man enough even for that. How you wanted to kill him but discovered that cowardice wasn't exclusive to assholes. What self-loathing you had to endure. What it took to get up every morning and drag your body to work. How you froze up each time you saw him. How he would smile and sit casually on your desk. Why you couldn't get up, walk away, scream at him, slap him. When you started noticing that people were staring at you. When you started hearing muted mutterings about you. How some of the men began talking to you with new-found interest, even familiarity. How the women looked at you with envy or superiority, or worse, pity. What went on in the cavity of your chest as you carried on, day after day after day after day.

You told him, because he said he was your friend. Then he said "I'm sorry," maybe for the transgression of a brother. "I understand," he added, though how he could was beyond you. What he didn't do was hold your hand or take you in his arms. And in your mind you were walking away.

(photo by Julie De Leon)

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