I successfully suppressed what had happened for years. Activated by silence, wine, IKEA lighting, and time.
One night, I unhinged my thoughts from time or logic, and let them wander through an old house of forgotten memories. They landed upon a grey door shaped like my hips, coated with dirty fingerprints.
[sips rioja] On the other side of the door laid a haze, and I could hear waves crashing. The haze cleared, and a scene focused – and I saw Me. There I sat, younger, in the middle of a world blooming like a lily, on a beachfront deck watching the sunset. I was eating dinner, and so enamored with the scene; it was perfect because it was normal, but not – it was Mozambican.
The waiters and guests spoke not-English, and I tried to join in the chorus. But my Portuguese was horrible, glittered with excitements and over-attempts. I must have been a mark.
So he said olá, and knew when I answered back that I was a rarer bird. So he called back in good English, dotted by a stutter, overshadowed by smiling eyes (and teeth to match). Shouting across the aisle was rude, so he asked to join me at my table. I obliged, and dinner was right-away better. Food tastes better with companionship.
An engineer. Funny. A horrible knock-off iPhone (the logo was backwards, and it had a TV antenna). A storyteller. Smiling eyes (and teeth to match). Vidigal…I remember his name. I remember how quickly the hours passed, like the numbers of wayward and negligent customers listening to be called … but from outside of the store.
Foreign young women shouldn’t walk down dark streets alone. And, a gentleman should accompany her back to safety. We both knew this.
I still don’t know how he found his way to my front door. Did the front desk clerk tell him?
How he forced his way in. Why is he so strong?
Why I let him enter. Maybe I can calm him down if we can just talk for a little while longer on the balcony, outside.
Why I went to my bedroom. I’ll tell him that I just need a minute.
How he forced his way into my bedroom. Did I give him the wrong message?
When he climbed on top of me, I took the cue and left My Body. My Soul stood in the shadows of the dark corner near the closet. I watched tears come down My Body’s own face, but I don’t believe he noticed.
Instead, he said (his stutter had run away) “You’re so…so damn sweet” over, and over again.
And My Soul waited in the corner until he was done, frozen by fear. Frozen, lacking energy that I hadn’t yet gained, or developed. And when he was done, My Soul chose to return to My Body, and did her the kindness of helping her to forget what had just happened…because My Soul loves and protects My Body; they belong to one another.
I met Bill Cosby in March of 2008. I was r**** 4 months later. No, not by Bill. But Vidigal Rodriguez…a Mozambican engineer with a stutter. The night we met. I was 21.