“No one beat you up. I don’t see any bruises.” His blue green eyes look at me steady. “Why can’t you tell me?”
We stand outside, like any other time, only my world is upside down and it’s all different. I am me, but I am not.
“Were you raped?”
I am silent, for a long time. Chain smoke, stare at the ground. “No.” I wasn’t, right?
No, I know I was not.
“Why can’t you tell me what’s wrong? What happened?”
I can’t tell. Or if I do, it will never be the whole truth. No one really knows how it is with me, how I feel my soul ripping out through my skin and my mind is flying away a thousand miles an hour. How my heart thumps so hard I can hear it, or then it’s just hollow, cored out. How I feel shamed, awed that I could ever feel such embarrasment that I would literally hide under a rock if I could.
Instead I go each day where I need to go and I face people that don’t know and they wonder what’s wrong. I’ve taken to sitting in my office with the lights off, watching people from my chair where they only see me there if they know to look. I stay there until I can’t. I get some illusion of safety there, of separation, and I can’t bear to get closer. I interact when I have to, and then go to my place I came from and cry. It hurts my skin to talk to people.
“I know a place where there’s no one, a beautiful place. It’s very remote, and there are a lot of trees and a beautiful valley. No one would ever hear you. You could scream. I’ll take you if you want to go.”
I imagine this. Try to see it as a comfort, a safety. I try to see him being there, keeping me safe. I don’t know if I can feel safe again, anywhere. With anyone. It’s so far away, or so far behind me.
I want to say it wasn’t that bad, that I’ll get over it. I want to say I’m stronger than this. But I don’t know how to be. I don’t have any marks on me. How can it be this bad? “No one beat you up.”
There are so many ways to violate a person, if you know how.