We were old friends. You helped me learn to control and direct my emotions, you were an invaluable resource of objectivity, my sounding board, something of a mentor. The tone of our relationship changed when I divorced, but I made my disinterest clear and hoped you’d understand. I asked you to be one of the few men in my life who could give your friendship without expecting more than mine in return. I stood up for you constantly, assuring people that you weren’t a creep or an asshole, just a harmless aficionado of both the female form and the off-color joke. I was wrong.
You don’t understand why I won’t speak to you, you’ve expressed righteous indignation at my refusal to accept the vague apologies you’ve slung my way in the last two years. You’re hurt and angry because I won’t even tell you to go to hell- you bang your head into my wall of silence.
Really, it’s my fault. I should have known better. I knew you had a drinking problem. I knew you were prone to stumbling benders, I’d lost the fight to wrangle the car keys from your sticky hands, watched in horror as you left the bar hardly knowing your name. Still, I agreed to meet you for a drink, “for old times sake”. You don’t remember what happened that night, but I’ll never forget.
You couldn’t remember where you parked the car, and you seemed to get more drunk as we searched the parking deck, so I told you I’d drop you off at home. You couldn’t walk from the parking deck to my car, so we took our time, stopping at benches and planters to rest on the way.
I was seeing someone, someone I cared a lot about. You knew that, but it didn’t stop you from begging me to sleep with you. I told you no, I told you to stop asking, I told you we were just friends, I told you that I cared too much about this new relationship to fool around with anyone else. You were angry, and still very drunk, and you made more than a few hurtful comments about my taste in men, my sexual morals, and my body. I accepted it as the drunken ramblings of a rejected man, as irritated and hurt as I was.
We finally made it to the lot where I had parked. I was trying to coax you into my passenger seat, or at least over to that side of the car. As soon as I came within your reach, you reached out and grabbed my right breast- angrily, selfishly, in that “if you won’t give it to me, I’ll damn well take it” kind of way. I recoiled, horrified, and told you to get the fuck in the car and keep your hands to yourself.
I should have left your pathetic ass in that dirt lot; maybe when you woke up there you would have remembered violating me, violating my body, violating our trust and friendship- but I didn’t. I didn’t leave you there, I took you home, made sure you were safe, and checked on you the next day. For old time’s sake.
People like you- alcoholic abusers with their sense of entitlement and their righteous anger- can’t understand or accept the boundaries of others. You don’t take responsibility for your actions. You minimize, you justify, you cajole and manipulate. I absolutely refuse to subject myself to any of it.
After I dropped you off, I stopped at another bar on my way home. While the bartender finished the side work, I sat in that empty room, crying quietly, nursing my own drink with a shaking hand. I wanted to tell some man, any man that was stronger than you and cared about me at all, because I wanted you to pay- it seemed like the only thing that could quell my anger.
I didn’t. I went home. I was embarrassed- of what happened, for having reassured other women that you were safe, for my own error in judgment, for my own culpability. Because I wear alluring clothes and make dirty jokes and sleep with whoever I damn well please, and maybe that’s what a girl like me gets for associating with the likes of you.
It isn’t even as much about the actual groping as it as about that shame, which is something a woman should never have to feel, most particularly at the hand of someone she loved and trusted.
That’s the reason why we don’t talk anymore.
August 10, 2012 1 Comment