I remember the night so clearly.
Regardless of the tiny little pill you dropped in my drink
I cannot seem to forget.
I see the scared adolescent girl,
Helplessly lying on the couch as she whimpered,
Begging you to stop.
I guess some things are ingrained in our minds forever.
Some things are burned so deeply in our memories that
No matter how many months pass by,
No matter how many times a week we go to therapy,
No matter how hard we force the thoughts out of our brain,
We just can’t forget.
As I write this my hand trembles.
It trembles the same way my body trembled that night.
Shaking underneath your calloused hands that wrapped around the small of my back;
When you told me to shut up,
That you knew I always wanted this,
That you’ll just be more gentle.
You have taken everything from me.
I can’t listen to “The Wonder Years” anymore.
A band I once loved that now forces my throat to close up
And my breath become shallow,
And my chest to clench tightly, squeezing every last breath I have out of me
At just the simple sound of their music as it played that night in the background.
You have taken my sanity, my peace of mind,
You have filled my veins with medication after medication that runs through them like rivers,
Like sad, shallow rivers with no end, begging for help and longing for an escape.
I had to quit my job in fear of another thirty year old man being hired
And taking away my life and my dignity and my body once more.
I had to miss school to talk to social workers and police officers and countless mental health professionals
Just to erase every ounce of your being you left not only on my skin,
But in my mind.
I hate to say it, but you have become a part of me.
People do not know me until they understand the pain I’ve felt.
In order to understand why I cannot hear that one song,
Or talk about Labor Day Weekend,
Or pass by that one house,
They had to know what you did to me
On Labor Day weekend
In that house
With that song playing in the background.
I wish you never did this to me.
And I wish I didn’t know you.
And I wish you were convicted.
And I wish you knew how badly you destroyed me...
But you don’t.
And it happened.
So let’s try this again.
I have refused to let you break me.
What you did to me does not determine my identity.
I am worth more than what you turned me into,
I am finally healing,
Because the choice of a pedophillic, sex-crazed man does not determine my strength.
What you did to me is not a manifestation of my weakness.
I am not strong despite being raped,
I am strong, period.
So I forgive you.
Not because I accept what you’ve done,
But because it is the only way for me to be free.
The only way to finally move on and become myself again.
One whole goddamn year later,
I forgive you.
You no longer define who I am.
I am no longer your victim,
I am much more than that.