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.
7 thoughts on “Part 1: No, I wasn’t r****”
Jade. The Nigerian diplomat’s son. And so he reminded me, to drive home the fact that there would be no punishment for him. For three months after, I feared he had given me AIDS as I tried to make it through my semester after returning from being abroad in Ghana. Finally, the results came back. I didn’t have AIDS. Because God blessed me to live through that, I promised Him I would tell everybody I could, tell them that you can thrive after rape.
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Sorry for that DAMN.
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Thank you for sharing and so sorry this happened. May your sharing promote healing for yourself and others and shed light on atrocity with the goal of reduction and elimination. Much love and light.
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I’m so sorry this happened to you. I know u know this but I also know you’re strong and you’re beautiful. More importantly you’re powerful and you haven’t let this define you negatively. Keep smiling.
After reading this I am stuck, motionless. As your big/older sister, I want to reach out to you and hold you and protect you. I didn’t know. It reminds me of a similar situation that I experienced-different, but the same. He was familiar and we were both intoxicated-in and out of consciousness. I hid and slept under the bed…And for me I just keep it in a dark closet in the back of my mind one that I do not open. Sometimes when it cracks open upon itself, I find excuses and reasons to remain Forgiving. But right now I am motionless because I just want to reach out to my little sister and remind her that her body, mind, spirit, and soul are all loved. Never will I understand why men do this. Never will I understand why women like myself remain silent. Let the healing begin.
Sorry to hear that… this saddens me.