I had no immediate recollection of what had transpired the previous night following my walk home. But I wasn’t really trying to remember either. No reason to, really. As far as I knew, I had had an okay night. Uneventful.
I do remember walking to the restroom and taking note on my way that it was rather strange I had no hangover and instead felt wound up and energetic. Once I was in the restroom, I noticed spots of blood. Immediately my attention zeroed in on an uncomfortable chaffing sensation that was present between my legs, and parts of the night started to flash in my mind.
A.T. ejaculating all over my stomach.
Me asking, “Were you just INSIDE me?”
A.T.’s unemotional response of “no.” He wasn’t even looking at me.
He grabbed his shirt, quickly wiping his semen from my stomach
and putting on his clothes. Abruptly, he left my dorm room,
never speaking another word.
What the hell? That can’t be right. First of all, he is always so polite, overly polite almost, described as a politician by some. He seemed so cold. He wouldn’t have responded like that. I wasn't even touching him down there. Why did he climax?
I felt a pit in my stomach. Had A.T. seen an opportunity and just taken it? Despite the fact that I had been explicit in stating that sex wasn't in the cards just weeks prior....sober.
No, no, that couldn’t have been the case. A.T. knows that I don’t want to have sex. He really likes me and wants to postpone physical stuff, ALL physical stuff, until we return from break.
My mind was racing. I started concocting different scenarios in my mind in an effort to make it one big misunderstanding.
I had already stated that I didn't want to have sex with him, so maybe he had anal sex with me? NOT that I would have wanted that either, but I just couldn't believe that he would have knowingly gone against my will. I mean, we had JUST talked about it. At length.
Besides, I had been so drunk, and he had known that it would be my first time, so wouldn't he have realized that I would have wanted it to be special? That I would have wanted to talk about it with him beforehand? That I would have wanted to take part in it?! You don’t just postpone something you consider really special, and then decide on a fluke to throw it away one night. Had I done something that indicated I wanted this?
Worse than the feelings of trying to convince myself a misunderstanding had occurred were the feelings that I deserved it to happen. Maybe because I was willing to do other things, he got confused and thought I wanted to have sex? Maybe because I was doing other things, I deserved this? Maybe I am worthless. Oh, that negative downward spiral of self-blame and criticism would soon become ingrained in my thought process, long after I had blocked out that night.
"Guys will be guys, but it's up to a girl to be a lady." I had put down my guard and thus allowed a "guy to just be a guy." Sounded so harmless, right? Yet I felt like shit. Violated. Dirty.
The more I thought about that night, the more disconnected I felt from it. From the images that would play over and over in my mind. Disconnected from myself.
The me I had once known was gone. A strange version of her was floating above, almost completely dissociated from her tainted body. I held onto to her by a thin string. I began to feel nothing. Well, maybe nothing is an understatement. I was hyper as anything.
Exams were a few days away, and it was time to get focused. And I needed to vacuum.
I kept it together, at least superficially, in the days immediately following that night. I was going through the motions of my life, but I wasn't connected to my life. I could have essentially described my life to someone objectively, but it wouldn't have felt like it belonged to me. It was almost like my life was a dream. Like that night was a dream – a disturbing dream I could not shake from my mind, but a dream, nevertheless.
The only thing preventing me from completely succumbing to denial was the chaffing sensation that permeated both my vaginal and anal area. I had paid little attention to the sensation until my first trip to the restroom. Now it was the only thing grounding my disturbing memory of that night in reality.
The disjointed memories I had from that night made little sense to me. In addition to the memory of what transpired immediately following my assault, I remembered springing out of my bed once A.T. left, tripping a little as I rapidly put on all of my clothes. I do not know how much time passed, but I was staring at the door when my roommate entered the room.
In response to her question, “How was your night,” I asked if she wanted to go back out. She looked at me, trying to determine if I was serious or joking, and then awkwardly laughed and replied, “You know it’s like 4 am, right? There’s no where to go.”
So maybe he hadn’t done anything I would object to because why would I have put my clothes back on, ready to go back out?
I can now identify this strange behavior as denial of what I wasn’t ready to accept as truth. I was still trying to piece together the night through the lens of my old self. My naïve self. The self I would need to learn to let go of. But for the time being, I needed to settle on suspecting the truth, but hoping it was false. I needed to turn my attention to finishing the semester.
Although my grades up until that point in the semester were very strong, preparing for exams was a joke. I remember trying to write my final art history paper and only producing three incoherent paragraphs. The words were present on my computer, but they were completely void of meaning. I soon realized I was in danger of failing my exams.
What the heck is wrong with me?!
I knew that normally I would have been upset by the circumstances, but I didn’t really feel upset. At least not in a sad, distraught way. No, that would come later.
I just felt so weird and out of place. Sleeping was almost impossible. When I think back to those first few days, the image of me vacuuming frantically is what immediately comes to mind. I almost felt like if I were to stop moving, something bad was sure to happen. I was a wound-up mess. Looking back, I was likely running from the truth.
What the heck happened that night?!
No matter how busy I kept myself, my mind always wondered back to weighing my memories and speculations against my beliefs regarding human decency. It was driving me nuts that I couldn’t remember. It was weirding me out. Adding to my feelings of being crazy. Of being out of control. Perhaps I appeared okay, but I was spiraling out of control and fast.