You don’t know me, I don’t know you. No idea what you look like, but still, there you are. In my thoughts, in my dreams, in my life. A stranger, yet so close to me. Every day, every night. Especially at night, actually. I don’t even know your name, what you do, where you live. You must have a job, a house. A wife maybe, a few kids running around, a life. Do you even remember me?
That evening, you must have been sitting outside, on that table outside the bar. I probably even talked to you, didn’t I? I went in for a glass of wine and took it outside for a smoke. I sat there, with you and your friends? What did I say? I keep thinking, was it something I said, did I put my glass down at some point or did I accept another drink from you, what did I do? Maybe you thought I was just an easy target, apparently I was.
Do you remember? I do. Well, the weird part is; I don’t actively remember anything after that. But I guess that was the whole idea. What I know is waking up on a strange couch in an unfamiliar room, half of my clothes on the floor, bruised and hurt. I remember that. Getting dressed, feeling so dizzy, staggering down the hall to the elevators, getting outside and realizing I was across the street from my own building. I was almost home, almost.
I was so confused, I didn’t drink too much the night before, did I? No, just two glasses of wine, one at home, one at the bar. Where did I even come from just now, what floor was I on, which room? Some time later I could have beaten myself for not paying attention, when I realized what had happened. I should have looked around, memorized your face, the flat. I should not have rushed home and taken that shower. I should have done a lot of things, but I didn’t.
Who was I to you, I wonder. How many came before me, how many after. Yes, I believe I wasn’t the only one. You must have had this planned, tried it before, felt confident enough to do it again. Do you remember? How many lives did you affect, how many years have you ruined with your bit of fun. Yes, to you it was probably one night of fun, but not to me. You’ve taken so much more from me than just that one night.
It’s been almost five years, but you’re still here. In the beginning you were there so vividly, I couldn’t take it anymore. With time, memories can come back, did you know that? It got to a point that you were there all the time, your hands, your smell, your grip. You hurt me, you broke me and you did it over and over again. You broke me in such a way that I didn’t want to live anymore. Did you think of that? Did you care that you drove me to take a handful of pills and wash it down with alcohol, just for some pleasure on your side?
Obviously I’m still here, still going. I’ve tried to move on, you know, and I succeeded for a while. I was actually pretty happy at that stage, finishing my studies, getting my degree and traveling the world. Until I realized I’m hiding, from you and from anything that reminds me of you. I’m avoiding going out, always coming up with excuses. Being in a bar, I get so nervous, strangers getting too close. Anxiety fills my head when I even think about going out, getting close to someone. One comment, one look or a touch, panic sets in. You’ve broken me, to the point I’m afraid I’ll end up alone.
Do you know, do you care? I wonder, do you even remember? That memory that haunts me in the night. Me, that girl in that empty room with that bare white wall. How I got there, I don’t know. I’m cold and all I see is my hands on that wall, feeling like I’m falling. But your grip keeps me there, your fingers are digging into my skin from behind and the smell of beer and sweat makes me want to throw up. I just stand there, as you force yourself into me, pushing me against the wall. It hurts, but I just stand there, hands against the wall. Didn’t I say no? Didn’t I say anything?
Five years later, but the pain is still there. I remember being on the ground, my hands slipping from the wall, did you hit me? Those bruises on my face, my body? I can’t see you, but you’re pulling at my arm. Didn’t I cry or say anything, didn’t you see it hurt? That couch, the only thing I remember from that room, the couch and the white wall. Usually the last thing that flashes through my mind before I wake up is your hand on my head. Your hand gripping at my jaw, forcing me to open my mouth. I can’t breathe, I keep thinking, I can’t breathe. I wake up shivering, gasping for air, feeling your hands on me, trying to get away from your smell. Yes, after five years, you’re still there.
I’m a smart, sensible woman and I know I can’t be blamed for your actions. But even today I can kick myself for not doing anything. Was I really just standing there, not saying anything, letting you put your hands on me? I can beat myself up over the fact that I didn’t pay more attention to you, your face, the room. I didn’t even think of any evidence, I felt so confused that I just stepped in the shower and washed myself for an hour. I keep doubting myself if I took good care of my drink, if I gave you any misleading signs. I keep wondering what’s wrong with me, why I let this happen.
There you go, you’ve hurt me and I’m taking the blame. Everything I know tells me I shouldn’t, but deep inside I still feel like I should have done better. I should have been more careful, said something, I should have payed better attention. I’m weak for letting this affect me so much, for not being able to just forget about it. Something is wrong with me, for I can’t enjoy going out and meeting new people. I’m pathetic for cringing when some stranger touches me, for lying awake and crying in the middle of the night. I’m angry, I’m sad and most of all I’m scared. I’m scared that I will end up alone, because I let you break me.
So, I wrote this letter. A letter that you will never get to read, questions you will never get to answer. I don’t even care, I don’t want answers. Nothing you can tell me will fix what’s broken. Nothing you can do to make this better. I can only hope you have come to your senses, that you realized how much pain you’ve caused and how wrong you were. I can only hope there aren’t as many girls out there, feeling what I’m feeling, lying awake at night over someone who hurt them.
Yes, hope is all I have, that someday I will be able to read this back and not get filled with a deep sadness. That I will not wake up in the middle of the night with your fingers digging in my skin. Hope that I will be able to breathe, move on and be with someone. I hope that someday I can forgive. Not you, I couldn’t care less about you, you can’t heal me. I hope I can forgive myself, for letting you break me.