I do not know how to begin. I do not know, because these things aren’t talked about. There is no way to talk about them, so there is no way to start. But maybe starting at the beginning is best. It was a date. Not the first. He was charming, well-spoken. Complimentary, unusual. I told friends I was going on a date with a ‘wildcard’. He was quirky, intelligent, interesting. And interested in me. I liked him. I was flattered.
He gave me a gift when we met. He held my hand, so tight. We had dinner, and I liked him still. I asked to go back to his place. I asked. He placed his arm around my shoulder as he walked me down the corridor, down another corridor, and another, a maze of corridors, to his apartment. He locked the door behind us, and took off my clothes, my glasses.
And that is when he changed.
I do not know how much to tell you. I do not know how much is proper? How does one describe what is unspeakable, in a proper way? Should I tell you about the teeth he etched into my cheeks, onto my throat. Should I mention his hands around my neck? The bruises, or the scratch marks across my chest? Yes, those are proper to say.
You want me to tell you that I fought him off. I am a man after all. If a man doesn’t want sex, he fights. A man cannot be raped, you say. But I didn’t fight back. I felt in his teeth, in his fingers that squeezed my throat if I pulled away even a little, that if I fought, if I resisted, I would never leave that room.
I do not know how much to say. I do not know whether I should tell you how he bit my penis until I begged to suck his instead, so he would stop. So that it would finish sooner, so that he would let me go. I do not know whether to tell you how I stared at the front door when he went to the bathroom; trying, trying to see without my glasses whether he had left the key in the lock. How I tried so hard to remember the left, right, left, left (or was it right?) turns that we had walked to get there. How I was paralyzed, couldn’t get off the bed, in case he heard me trying to leave. I don’t know whether to tell you that although I kept telling him that I needed to go, I was too afraid to insist. I do not know whether to tell you that when I wouldn’t get hard, he would ask me why not, why not, why not. He’d put his hands around my neck, and the biting would start again, until I did, until I did get hard. I do not know whether to tell you that he raped me twice. That he made me shower after the first time. That he played me music after the shower, that he toweled me down gently. That there was kindness between the pain, and that hurt the most. That the music went on forever, and that I blacked out. That when I came to, he had started again. The biting, the biting. That if I’m driving now, and that music comes on the radio, that I have to stop, and shake. I don’t know whether to tell you that every time he would put his hands around my throat, when I felt his nails digging into my neck, that I thanked him. That I told him it was okay. That it was okay. Because then he would relax his grip.
I don’t know whether to tell you that it took three hours to convince him to let me go. That when I got outside, that when I stepped into my car, I cried, but I didn’t know why. My legs shook, something awful. That when I got home, I showered, and showered, and showered. That in the days that followed, I couldn’t stop feeling his pimpled back under my fingertips. That when I look at myself in the mirror now, all I can see is my image in his mirror. How he made me stand there in that mirror, stare at myself while I thanked him. I don’t know whether to tell you that his ejaculate covered me, my torso. How I still feel it there when I touch my stomach. I see it in the mirror. Can one talk about ejaculate, do you think? Is that too much?
I don’t know whether it’s proper to tell you that the next morning I stood in a cold shower forever, until the hyperventilation stopped. His pimpled back.
I don’t know whether to tell you how he asked me: “Do you want me to be more intimate?” “It’s okay,” I replied, “it’s okay.”
I don’t know what to say and what not to say. Because you tell me that it wasn’t rape. That we were both gay, so it can’t be rape. That it was a date. After all, I chose to go back to his place. So why, in the middle of the night, while you sleep, does my body shake until it can’t shake anymore? And why can’t I rest any longer, fully, like I did before? Why do I want to vomit when I look at men now, the men I loved to kiss and touch before? And why do I feel so terrified, so utterly terrified, that he will read this and know it is me.
“Why didn’t you fight back?” you ask me. “If you didn’t fight back, you have nothing to complain about,” you say. “Be more careful next time,” you advise. It’s my fault, is what you mean. It’s my shame, my unspeakable shame. “Why didn’t you report it?” you ask me. I couldn’t, you see, I couldn’t speak it to you, you who think it is my shame.
But I’m speaking it now, because this is not mine. It is his. And even though it is impossible, it is time to speak the unspeakable. And then one day, when I look at myself in the mirror, maybe I won’t see his ejaculate (there it is again, sorry) all over me. Maybe I won’t feel his cock (is that word okay?) in my mouth, smell the sweat of his pubic hair at the back of my throat.
And maybe, you will listen.