To The Boy Who Changed My Life

I never thought I’d be writing you. Of all the people in the world to talk to, my rapist was at the bottom of the list.

Do you remember my drunk body under yours? The way your hand pressed against my mouth as if I was capable of fighting back? Was your soul that scarred to think that a non-answer meant yes?

I wonder if you forgot about me after you and your friends left me bruised, naked, and broken on the floor of someone else’s bedroom. I assume you did. Who could walk this earth disguised as a human after taking something from a girl who had too much to drink and just wanted to talk?

Did my tears reach the seal you had on my mouth? Maybe that’s why you didn’t stop. What about my muffled cries? I had to have been in pain—my first time was taken by you.

Luckily, I drank enough to black out through the worst of it. Who’d have thought the girl in that bedroom in 2007 would’ve considered herself lucky because she was too drunk to remember? Too drunk to feel everything you all did to her? Definitely not me.

I was ashamed of what happened in Rachel’s bedroom. For a year, I didn’t tell anyone what you did—wait, I’m sorry—what the five of you did to me. I drowned the memory of that night down with bottle after bottle of tequila for a year. Three hundred and sixty five days of the burning down my throat to forget one night, one boy. Seems like yesterday that I was teetering on the edge of real life and falling. 

Sure, I had a heartbeat, but with each drink to smother you that poured down my throat, I died a little more. I kept that secret at the cost of having a soul. To me, it seemed like a small price to pay.

But now, I can say your name without flinching. I can warn other girls and guys out there about boys like you and your friends. I can warn them that being too drunk to fight back doesn’t mean you’re an object.

For years I blamed myself for getting raped. I was too drunk. I shouldn’t have been doing that. I shouldn’t have flirted with you. I should’ve said no when you asked me to go into the house. I shouldn’t have gone to the bedroom with you. 

Those were all my fault.

But then, I remember how tightly you pressed your hand to my mouth. How your pulse thumped against the skin on my arm when you squeezed my bicep, pinning it against the carpet. I remember hearing your belt unbuckle. I tried to move my sluggish muscles, but your grip tightened. The light faded to black when the door shut. Over the pounding of my heart in my head, your voice breathed into my ear, “Don’t scream. I don’t want anyone to hear this.” 

Even though I made all those poor decisions prior to that moment, your actions were not mine to make. The scars you caused have faded over time—the nightmares are far and few between now.  

When I find myself in a bar, I still choose tequila to show that my past didn’t kill me. And when I reach the bottom of the glass, I wonder—do I haunt you like you haunted me?

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