Young, that is the word that best describes my state of being on that fateful day in 2008. I suppose I possessed to a certain degree all attributes associated with youth; a little innocence, a little naivety and, perhaps, my faith in the extent of the morbidity of what the mind could want had not yet cemented.
Always the disbeliever in the entire concept, both commercial and actual, of Valentine’s day, I would mock it even then.
Then I learnt to celebrate it for what it is. If love is destruction, he taught me, then let’s use the day of love to destroy.
In my head, we were burning things and smashing bottles. We were cutting and attacking each other but he intended to show me that my untold fantasies could too be reality. And my little young mind could cause my own destruction.
He dressed me up, painted me to ‘beauty’ and I envisioned him befouling me to his heart’s content.
What I did not envision was standing before that door.
Brown, weird door.
Ugly, golden doorknocker.
Little, dirty doorbell.
Unknown, strange area.
‘He’s expecting you’, that’s all he said, that’s all it took for me to understand, ‘You’re not doing this for him, you’re doing it for me. You’re mine, do not forget it for an instant. Turn to stone, flesh and bone’, he rang the doorbell and walked away.
That was the first time I felt blind panic. I considered running away and explaining later.
I considered bursting into tears for the mercy of a stranger.
Turn to stone. Turn to stone. Turn to stone.
The chant played in my head.
The door opened, I smiled but it must have looked like I had toothache, I cant be sure for my gaze was affixed to the ground. I could see that my hand was trembling as I extended it to introduce myself. I could feel him note my discomfort. I could feel him react to my recognition of him, a stranger would have been a welcome relief at the time.
Turn to stone. You know what to do.
He asked me in, he brought me water and I thanked him with obvious pretend grace. I was making too conscious an effort not to look at my feet to really be unable to look at my feet.
He sat next to me, close, too close. His fingers lay idly on my shoulder. I took a deep breath and tried to show him soulful eyes just as I had been taught but the sight of his arms around me was nauseous. I consistently avoided his kiss by offering my neck but the rest of me was frigid. It wouldn’t respond to his touch, not that it was supposed to but it was supposed to put on a great show. Yet, if my body is milk, then it had curdled.
Turn to stone, flesh and bone, you fucking bitch.
Yet, I couldn’t. Instead of just feeling his touch as exactly that I contemplated the immensity of what he was doing to me. Every breath of his that I felt on my neck felt like a week I had spent in his bed.
Every piece of clothing he removed from my body rendered me more nubile than I could have believed was possible. I could feel the heat in my face. I could hear myself swallow. I could feel every second that passed by. I could feel the feisty little teenager inside me lose her desire to fight and succumb to fear. I could feel all of his weight on me and hard as I tried it did not feel like him.
When he reached into my depths, intercourse made me feel a violation I had taught myself never to feel.
Turn to stone. You can stop this. Dedicate you mind. Feed your body. Turn to stone.
I could breathe a little easier, despite shaking like I was having a fit. I still prayed for it to end.
Even when it was over, it wasn’t. As I sat and waited, I felt shame that I am now ashamed of. And as I finally walked out behind him, I knew I had failed even though it seemed otherwise.
Do it well, or don’t bother doing it at all.
A lot of life has happened between then and now, a lot gained and a lot lost. So when You suggested playing with Valentine’s, I knew what kind of destruction we were playing with. This time, when I stood at the door, I was ready to see him, he who once owned me. But I wasn’t his and I knew my role.
Turn to stone.
Just a little whisper in my ear, I knocked, I smiled, I entered.
Seeing him again, did bring back the memories of 14 February 2008, yet this time he was the one who didn’t know. He was the catalyst, my once teacher.
For four days, I did what was asked of me never once doing what was forbidden to me by You. He played with me but I was no longer his toy. He brought me to my knees but all his pleasure lay in me and none of mine, not an ounce lay in him. He made me scream, shake and writhe in pain and pleasure but none of it was for him. His fingers on my body seemed to control every inch of me. But his reach was to be unsuccessful forevermore.
And when I walked out of that door, I felt no shame, I held my head high. And as I sat at your feet and regaled my tale, I could see your pleasure. I could feel your pride.
Thank him someday, he taught you well.