pain

A LETTER TO THE MAN WHO RAPED ME: YOU ARE FREE, BUT I’M STILL IMPRISONED

Artwork by 
Aleksandra Waliszewska

Artwork by Aleksandra Waliszewska

As I rummaged through my closet in a desperate search for an outfit to wear to the party later that evening, there was not an ounce of doubt in my mind that my night was going to be memorable. My insides were churning with delight for a “real high school experience”, after my mother had finally given into my pleas. My mother’s words, saturated with deep concerned, didn’t phase me as she drove me to the party, “I don’t know how I feel about this. You haven’t been very well, going out tonight may be too much for you to handle”. At that moment, nothing but arriving there mattered. Wandering down the steep driveway and into the basement, I told myself, “Tonight is going to be beautiful. Tonight is going to be real. Tonight I am going to experience the freedom and euphoria of what it really feels like to be a teenager”. But nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. He was the first thing my eyes laid upon. Standing broadly in the corner of the room, with unfamiliar features and a smug grin, stood the monster who was going to alter my life forever. Despite the stories I had heard, back then I believed that human beings were inherently good. So, the way that his dark blue eyes peered through me, left me with a deep sense of curiosity. Time passed by quickly in the beginning of the night. Blurry images of the chaos of drug and alcohol infused teenage freedom are forever engraved in my mind. The bodies of people I once loved swung past me, as the alcohol caused their meandering to become unsteady. In passing we would exchange half lit smirks as the substances settled in.

As I grew increasingly mechanical, opening my mouth for the cold alcohol to slide down my throat, he grew increasingly close to me. He hovered over like a vulture waiting for it’s prey to finally stop breathing. Soon, the walls felt as if they were caving in, pressing my body between them. My spine began to lose strength as my body hunched over and my legs grew weak. I forced the words, “I need to go home. I need to go to sleep. Someone take me upstairs to bed”, out of my mouth. “It’s going to be okay. I will take care of you”, the monster whispered into my ear, as his stubble scraped my delicate skin. I can still feel his arms as he locked them below mine, pulling me into the garage, as the tops of my feet dragged along the carpet floor of the basement. The eyes of individuals I once thought were the closest to me, watched in amusement as my limp, rag doll corpse, was taken into the murkiness of the garage. Smirks were exchanged between them, in celebration of his determination for his prey. When the door slammed behind him, I shut my eyes, desperately trying to find another world inside of my mind. A world that would take me away from what was impending. For a moment, I imagined the soft touch of my mother. And the way that as a child I would tiptoe down the hallway to crawl into her bed to be safe from the monsters below my own. I tried to feel the way that she would rub my back with her loving fingertips to put me to sleep. Or the way that the scent of her would wrap around my body like a warm silk blanket, creating home inside of it. Hopelessly, I held tightly onto images of her arms wrapped around me, but once the pain began, the images disintegrated.

He laid my body out in a crucifix position, with my limbs falling to my sides. For a moment, after I heard the door slam behind him a sense of relief washed over me with hopes that he had left. But the shadow of his body grew larger over the room as the fluorescent blinding light behind him lit up his body like a angel. How ironic it was that there was in an image of an angel in hell. Soon after he began, my body began to evaporate, searching for a heaven to rise to, but nothing close to heaven was barricaded behind those doors. Sinking deep into the cold, unforgiving concrete ground, I felt my breath stolen by a draft below the locked door. The limbs attached to my core went flaccid as my teeth molded indentations into my inner lip. His putrid breath burned into my skin. Hopeless pleas attempted to crawl out of my mouth from the bottom of my insides, but nothing came out.

“I knew you wanted this”, he calmly spoke as he pinned my bony arms to my sides.

I tried to look in his eyes momentarily. I searched for anything that would explain why he would do this. His eyes told me nothing. His eyes told me that he did this simply because this is what he wanted to do.

“Focus on the pain. Nothing is real”, repeated in my mind.

The pain felt better than the reality of what was happening. Counting the sharp thrusts that were splitting me open, one after another. The burning sensation of my palms scraping the uneven concrete was steady and smooth. The room spun around me like the carnival rides my father used to take me on at Coney Island.

But the fluorescent lighting behind his arching body was cold and dull, unlike the warm ones that lit up my childhood. Scents of funnel cakes and my father’s cologne were replaced with the overwhelming scent metal that I could feel myself drowning in. The noises of children screaming with joy were drowned out by the defining ringing in my brain and the loud boom of his grunts. Suddenly the weight crushing my ribs lifted from my bare chest. The monster’s body stood broadly, blocking out the white lights behind him. His nose scrunched up as he swallowed shifting his throat, while his eyes grew larger in size. Staring at my mangled body, bathing in the maroon sea that I had created, he spit out, “You fucking bled on me. You dirty bitch”. Dirty. Dirty. Dirty. Unpure. The murkiness of the dimly lit room filled with black as soon as the door slammed behind him. Adjusting to the darkness, my eyes exposed the loneliness of the garage. It was only me, my body and what had seeped from it. My raw palms desperately attempted to separate my body from the bitter floor.

The inside of my body burned with the flames he had lit. Flames that would be raging for months to come.

Shadows below the door cast temporary lit over my limbs, giving life to the pieces of my anatomy that had given up. My fingertips trembled with the difficulty of sliding the pieces of clothing I had put on in my room with excitement just hours before. The swelling in my upper thighs fought back against the weakness of my crushed fingers. Finally forcing myself to my corroded knees, all at once my body swung itself to the door knob, thrusting the door to come crashing open.

The texture of the couch I was laid upon ignited the sensitivity on my raw skin. And the smiles of those around me created a cloud of confusion. Dancing with love in their eyes, friends continued celebrating the summer’s beginning. Their bodies twisted in circles, tenderly embracing and kissing one another with passion. Thick July air placed itself upon my body. The sliding door was cracked open and the shoes once placed beside it had disappeared. As my purple eyelids began closing, they gazed at the outside peeking in through the open door that my purity had just walked out of.

Death came to me in the form of a blonde haired, blue eyed, wide smiled demon.

Valerie McGovern is a writer based in New York City