Content Warning: Sexual Abuse & Violence
The Intruder first came at 18. He gazed at me from across the discotheque — through humid body heat and clouds of amyl. He winked at me and I stared back. I remember how later we danced so close that the front of our jeans rubbed together. I remember thrusting my hand down the front of those jeans and grasping his dick a little too hard. I remember we stumbled out of the club and down the street a little way. He took out his keys and opened the door. I remember how we continued our stumbling up the stairs and into his apartment. I remember his little dog — an oversized rat with under-pruned claws. I remember how it didn’t like me so it would pout and find its way between us. I remember taking off my clothes. I remember climbing on top of him and noticing the creases in the corners of his eyes and thinking, “how old is this guy”? I remember how he positioned his huge, terrifying dick against me. I remember I laughed and shook my head and made a noise like “no”. A noise like “no”, but it wasn’t “no”. I remember how many times I’ve replayed that noise over and over in my head. I remember him climbing on top of me and pinning me down and in one determined, dry, push pressing his way inside of me. I remember how I yelped and how he grunted and the dog looked dazed and how a sticky feeling began to come between us and I remember hating it — absolutely totally fucking hating it. I remember hurting. I remember finding the floor and finding my clothes and finding the door and finding the street and finding the train and finding home. I remember for the whole day that followed I literally could not sit down and I remember thinking “oh, god I’m such a fucking cliché”.
I can remember how I carried it around with me — what had occurred between me and the Intruder. I remember how I tried to make sense of it — trying to decode the intricate tangle of consent. At night, alone in my bed, I would try to unwind it, stretch it out and attempt to pinpoint the moment the trespass had been made (and what my part in it had been). But instead, it would hang above me, limp, somewhere between shame and a lie. And so I would bundle it up and keep it under my pillow for safekeeping.
The Intruder came, again, at 19…almost 20. He’d texted me apologizing for being “a little too forward” the last time we’d met (…and for not using a condom or lube). I don’t remember giving him my number. I remember asking myself “what the fuck am I doing?” as I waited for him outside his office a few nights later. I remember how we snuck our way through the dark partitions and the glow of emergency exit signs. I remember asking him “what do you do for a living again?” and I remember how the answer was vague. I remember reaching his office and him asking me what I wanted to do. I remember I replied curtly, “we’re not fucking this time. I’m only going to suck you off”. I remember thinking, “I don’t want to do this, what am I trying to prove”? I remember how he undid his belt, followed by his fly and then his huge, terrifying dick. I remember the carpet against my knees and how his dick felt abject in my hands and then in my mouth. I remember how he thrust and how my eyes stung. I remember pulling away and saying “can you maybe not fuck my mouth”. I remember how he laughed and pulled me to my feet, sticking his tongue down my throat. I remember him unzipping my jeans and pushing down my briefs. I remember how he spun me around and lent me over his desk and how he began to nudge his dick against me and how I tried to bat it away and I heard those words escape my mouth — “I said no”. I remember I said “no”. I remember how he didn’t say anything and wondering if he’d heard me. And I remember receiving my answer as he thundered his way inside of me a second time. After that, I remember nothing. Not a grunt, not a stickiness, not a pain, not a polite conversation, not a descent down steps, not a feeling of relief as I stepped out into the street, not running to the station, not the train ride home, not deleting his number from my phone and certainly not anything after that.
I remember how this time, what had happened between us fell dormant; how I dressed it in off-the-cuff jokes and how it sat behind a smile and disguised itself when I laughed. I remember how this slowly became the new normal; how in time a thick skin grew over it until it was just another part of me.
The Intruder came one last time at 21. In a Gloria Jeans…or was it a Starbucks? I remember how I hated the coffee there, but that there were no other options downtown on a Sunday. I remember how I saw him ahead of me in the queue and how I recognized his badly bleached hair. I remember how he ordered, then stood to the side and how as I reached the counter I could feel his gaze grip my shoulders. I remember how I felt something familiar stir deep within me. A rage that was squirming to get out, trapped underneath months of only coping. I remember how I chanced a look, and at the very moment, he also chanced a look. I remember how our eyes met. I remember how he stopped pretending to look at his phone and gave a huge, terrifying grin. I remember noticing the creases in the corner of his eyes again and, this time, the acne scars on his cheeks and wondering how I’d never noticed them before. I remember how he greeted me like an old friend, throwing his arms around me and asking me how I’d been. And then I can remember what happened next with absolute clarity. He spoke, “I think about texting you sometimes. I miss you, we used to have fun, didn’t we? We should hang out again sometime”. I remember how I looked him directly in his eyes and said, “No”. I remember how I turned on my heel and as I stepped out into the street without my coffee, everything around me seemed to come back into focus.