Silence

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” ~Brené Brown

“No.”

He’d heard her, she was sure of it; his face was so close to hers, she could feel his whiskers on her cheek as he moved, like the stab of needles tattooing her skin with unwanted ink. 

“No,” she said, again, a little more forcefully this time, the word scraping the inside of her throat, which was beginning to feel constricted, pure panic coiling itself around and around, from the inside out.

All she saw was his eyes. Blank, as if he was looking through her, his eyes spoke for him, they gave his response.

Pinning her down, one arm crossed her chest as the other pulled down his own pants and ripped her black panties aside. His full weight upon her, he pushed her back further into the couch. She tried to push back at him, to wriggle beneath him to get away, but her own muscles weren’t working like they should. 

Her body went cold. She could taste his scent in the air, a toxic, slur of smoke invading her lungs, fighting for what little air her lungs would allow. Absorbing his vile presence, it was black sludge melting into every pore, her stomach twisting and wretching. She could feel her body’s resistance in the rigid freeze between them. 

But, she didn’t scream, even though her friend was just upstairs with the other guy. She didn’t struggle. Fear kept her quiet, and not just fear of him. She was immobilized by her own voice. 

Fear of her own voice.

Jerking his head upward, he looked into her eyes again, and she felt his muscles tighten even further. 

No,” she whispered again, reminding herself. 

He invaded her. His hips worked ferociously, grinding and impaling, his elbow digging into her chest.

He took without apology. He took and took and took. 

Behind her eyes, it all slowed, each slam into her, every recoil, in slow motion, his elbows becoming knives, his arms boulders, and his incessant body the evil, leaded blanket reminding her of her own silence, of her smallness. 

He took what he wanted.

When he finished, she stood and quietly adjusted her clothes, never looking at him or speaking a word.

Walking up the 18 stairs, her feet made a shuffle-scraping sound, and she knocked on the blackness of the wooden door until her friend answered. Thank God, the look on her face must have spoken for her, because her friend followed without her ever needing to speak.

She walked back down the 18 stairs and out the front door. Automation took her feet toward home, still in silence. She was halfway home before she realized she was only wearing one shoe. 

Along with her shoe, she’d left behind the last of her voice, the one which spoke up for her. 

It would be years and years before she began to find it again…..but she did.

~image credit waleoladipo.com; #metoo 

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

Quotes by Brené Brown. Let’s kick shame’s ass, Warriors.

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