Once you start, don’t stop.
At least that’s what my therapist tells me.
I guess it’s solid advice, but I’m not so sure. I’ve never told anyone except him what I’m about to tell y’all so bear with me if things get confusing. He said it would be good to air my feelings, that I would feel like the weight I’ve carried for the last year would be lifted.
Before it… no, I have to own it.
Before the rape happened, I was a poet.
I was published in three magazines, eight quarterlies, zero books, and six collections. I wasn’t anything big. I spent a lot of time at my computer, drowning in my own words, trying to sew together meaning where there was none.
That all stopped when I met Kevin. Yes, that’s his real name and it feels good to say it. It feels good to get that out.
We met at a bar two days after Halloween.
There’s a lot of weirdness in Austin, and one of the things that happens is post-Halloween costume parties. I guess it’s part of the whole Keep Austin Weird thing.
I originally wanted to stay at home. I remember telling Laura—she was the ringleader of our group—that I didn’t really feel like going out. I told her I wasn’t feeling that great and that I didn’t even have a costume.
I felt fine.
Really I just wanted to snuggle up on the couch with my dog Ringu, and watch a few Dr. Who episodes, maybe even hammer out the dings in a few stanzas of the piece I was working on.
Laura told me to quit being a drama queen and come out.
I told her that even if I wanted to come out, I still didn’t have a costume.
She told me that I could be a slutty poet.
I told her that she could go fuck herself.
She laughed, I laughed, we made plans.
I decided to dress up as a gypsy. I wore a peasant skirt, a loose button-up shirt, a bandanna, and big hoops in my ears.
Everyone thought I was a pirate. Whatever. That was fine with me.
I know, I know. I’m stalling. I’m sorry. Let’s get to it.
He must’ve been standing next to me for a long time before I even noticed him. Much too long now that I think about it. He must’ve singled me out from across the bar or seen me as he walked in, because thinking back, I can’t remember a moment when he wasn’t standing next to me.
I made solid eye contact several times (he was cute), hoping that he would get the hint and strike up a conversation. I’m kinda shy and I’m really good about the eye contact but breaking the ice has never been my—
Sorry. I’m stalling again.
Eventually Kevin asked if he could buy me a drink. I gave him a smile and said sure, why not. The bartender set the drinks in front of Kevin. He paid and turned to hand me my drink right when I brought up my hand to take it. It spilled all down the front of my shirt and skirt. Luckily the glass didn’t break so I bent down to pick it up.
When I stood back up, Kevin’s face was on fire. I’d never seen anyone turn so red or be more sorry. He apologized for hours it seemed. He even gave me his beer and ordered another. I thought that was mighty chivalrous of him so I stuck around.
Laura and my friends left though. They wanted to go dancing, but I didn’t really feel like it.
After that, things got hazy. It sucked having beer spilled on me, but what was I going to do? It wasn’t like he did it on purpose.
We ordered one more round at last call and I spilled beer on him. We both thought it was hilarious. I bent down to try to clean it up, but Kevin pulled me up and gave me his beer. That one hit me really hard.
Fast forward to my place.
I don’t normally take boys home, but Kevin was cute and I hadn’t had a good toss in the hay in a while. He didn’t have a condom though, and I hadn’t expected this whole thing so I didn’t have any around the house either. We were too drunk to drive to Wal-Mart to buy some. He said that we could still have sex. He told me that he was clean and would pull out.
I told him that I didn’t know him well enough to have unprotected sex with him. He pouted for a little, but I snuggled up behind him and whispered in his ear that we could go get condoms in the morning. He sighed and we went to sleep.
I woke up an hour later, maybe two, and he wasn’t in the bed. His clothes were still on the floor, but he wasn’t in my room. I heard rummaging in the kitchen and figured Kevin must’ve gotten what Laura always called The Drunken Hungries. I smiled at that and threw on my robe.
I didn’t really put it together that Ringu wasn’t in my room. He always sleeps at the foot of my bed. If I get up at night to pee, he follows me to the bathroom to wait outside. I figured he must’ve gone out to the kitchen to beg for food from Kevin.
It seemed logical at the time.
The closer I got to the kitchen, the louder that rummaging sound got until it no longer sounded like rummaging. It sounded like someone pounding something against the tile.
I got closer to the kitchen and the pounding noise intensified. I could hear a grunt with every dull pound of the noise.
I walked into the kitchen and my mouth fell open. What I was seeing didn’t make sense. It couldn’t make sense.
Ringu was on the tile, a puddle of blood under his snout.
KEvin was on the ground too. At least it looked like Kevin. A large, pantless man was on top of him, grunting as he thrust his hips and pounded KeVin’s face against the tile.
The man’s eyes flicked up to me and I froze. As he pulled Kevin’s broken face up to look at me as well, I saw a second, darker mouth yawn wide across Kevin’s throat. The man slammed Kevin’s face into the tile A final time as he tensed mid-thrust with a heavy grunt.
He growled at me through clenched teeth, long strands of saliva dripping off his chin.
He said two wordS.
He stood up and Slid Kevin’s body aside with his toe like you push a bag of trash out of your way. Something screamed inside me and my adrEnaline finally kicked in, because I ran for my life. I didn’t Run upstairs or to my room. I ran screaming out the front door. I tried to get lost in my own neighborhood, running through backyards, pounding on every window and door I could find.
People called the cops and they picked me up in their squad car. They took me to the station to wait while they searched everywhere for the man. They never found the Guy. He left plenty of DNA in my house, but it didn’t match anything in the cop’s database.
The man left me a Note though.
It read, See you next year. Look. MOre.
That was exaCtly one year ago today. I’ve been in therapy ever Since.
Edit: My therapist said that someone would probably ask for one of my poems as proof so here goeS:
His edible lead pastrami meets earthen Pepperoni.
root inside some overslow nuns, executioner.
eat rape apple prom innuendo.
review at pain idea, septic taxi.
Yeah. So I’m not really sure what the meaning or message I’m trying to get across with this poem is, but whatever.