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On Paper

Everything about that night was my fault. On paper I had walked willingly into your unwinding grip, knowing fully well of your reputation to woo and disappear, to charm and smile and guess a girl’s drink, then to spread her like a feast and dig in. Little did I know about how much is against her will.

Too many times since that night I have sat surrounded by all the facts, trying to find a grey area for spectators to highlight. I was wearing a black jumpsuit, skin tight, with stringy straps leaving imprints, so the red tracks of your nails piercing and dragging against my skin were easier to disguise. The neck line plunged into a V so you could clearly see the shadows on my chest, and the shorts stopped short just a few inches down my thighs. It was flattering and pretty, and earlier in the night, you had casually slipped a finger under my sleeve and smiled, leaning down to my height to compliment me.

I had shared a drink with you the night before – a disgusting, bitter, college-guy-staple Four Loko. You had sniffed my whiskey and teased me for being too serious, so we traded drinks and I chugged your entire cup, the burning alcohol rendering me delirious. That night I still had good sense and was accompanied by a friend, so when my words began to slur and my knees and ankles reduced to sludge, she grabbed me by the arm and told me the night had come to an end. That was supposed to be it for us. I didn’t know you’d continue the hunt.

For the next night you became adamant. You used every trick in the book, and I fell for them all, so its not surprising that I’m still bathing in guilt. You complimented my jumpsuit and bought me more drinks, you followed me as I went into the back alley to smoke a joint with my friends. You swung your arm around me and kept pulling me in, and every time I pulled away, you’d be visibly sulking. When all else failed, you pulled me aside to present your last trick, indulging in emotional blackmail. Acting as if my disinterest tonight was highly offensive, that I had made you feel uncomfortable by staying away. I gave you a hug in an effort to console, and you tightened your grip as we plunged into the dark hole.

I had smiled at you. I drank alcohol with you. When you kissed me goodnight the before, I hadn’t puked. I laughed at your jokes and I agreed to give you a chance, and then I came out that night dressed in a skimpy little jumpsuit. So it’s no surprise that when I began whimpering and asking you to stop, you had laughed and called me a tease, and I tried to find a lie in that truth. A part of me remembers how scared I had been, and another part of me remembers giving in. A part of me remembers trying to fight, making pleading eye contact with that group of strangers that had walked by. But mostly I remember how I had willingly walked into this situation so how had I not seen the lines beginning to blur as you morphed from clean-cut white guy into a predator. I still carry your touch and bites and the sound of your voice in the echoing chambers of my body, but mostly I carry the reality that I’m the one at fault, on paper.

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