I was molested. Or raped, maybe. Or harassed. Or maybe I just had sex.
For many days. Twice.
And I still don’t know what it was.
Alyssa Milano re-ignited this phrase which was earlier used by a social activist, Tarana Burke.
I was intrigued. I felt some sense of strength. Maybe i could decode that mind numbing confusion finally.
And I saw so many women taking that pledge. Posting Me Too statuses. And I started with mine.
Until. I was back into 2010-2011.
Back in 2011. When I was kissed for the second time. When I was so naive that I allowed him to kiss me and then melted and reciprocated. When it was a temple of studies. When I was smiling from ear to ear excitedly because in a few hours I was going to be awarded at a community function for my academic achievements. When the wind was whistling and tempting me to join into its dance.
When I hear him call my name from behind, ever so softly. When I see myself going 2 steps down the stairs and standing just half a step above. When I feel his closeness and all I see is his face inching closer and his hands holding my face until I feel a softness on my lips and he kisses me. And I numb. My eyes are open but my brain is shut. I see his eyes closed and I feel his lips moving slowly, as if deliberate. As if to taste the taste of mine. And boy!he did taste. He was able to successfully manoeuvre around my lips with his hands adding to the effect and I find myself melting. I see myself closing my eyes and I feel my lips move. And then I can say, WE kissed, right?
He released me. Slowly and delicately. And he finally opens his eyes and looks at me! I see a smile playing at his lips while my brain is confused and my eyes are a witness to that. And he asks, Happy? And all I can do is smile a tiny smile. And then he moves back and allows me to go outside. Outside the compact space. Outside the heightened anxiety and confusing mind space. Outside in the fresh air where I can breathe again.
My vehicle arrives at that moment. I sit in the backseat and I try untangling this entangled web. And I must admit, for I admitted it to myself at that time, that it was a good kiss. But then. Why do I feel his hands all over my body, exploring and inching to the parts where I never wanted him to. Why do I feel as if his shadow is still by my side. Why do I get numb when I see that image again and again even after so many years?
What do i do? Nothing. I dismiss it ( at least my brain does) as a one time impulsive decision. And I go back. And I stand numb. Again. Only difference? Last time it was just outside the place of worship and now its inside.
But hey wait! This time he makes me sit down after another long kiss. And he reveals his intentions. He had not had sex ever. He had needs. He wanted to fulfil them. With me.
As always, I didn’t open my mouth and just let my ears do the listening. And I processed the information. And I said NO. I said no the next day. I refused him. And I went Scott free that day and the day after. Until he pinned me to a wall, mind u, he didn’t push. Rather he held me delicately and tenderly. And he kissed me again. And I melted again. Conclusion? I too wanted the same. So lets continue with this.
I hate that day. So much. I don’t curse the day he kissed me the first time more than I curse this particular day. When he convinced me to enjoy this and allow both of us to go with it.
And then it all began. His taking my questions and solving my doubts at the end, his brushing his legs with mine, his deliberately calling me on the other side and pinching my breasts and kissing my face, his catching me from behind, suddenly, after everyone was out of that 4 walled room and the next moment I see myself on the table and his body almost over me.
And then the final act, as if of a play. It was a 7 pm show. Almost dark outside. We had our semester exam the next morning. And I had my doubts. He took everyone’s but mine. And them my turn came. He took his own time solving them till I was the only one left. And he asked me then, lets go inside.
Now that I think of it, what’s funny is he would always be the one who would ask this question and then answer them on his own. He went inside with me following him. I stood at the door and he took me further inside. He kissed me and then I see my shirt lying down, with him making me lie down on the floor and his moving over me. When I am unable to pull my trousers down, he does it for me. He unfastens his own belt and his underpants are down. And it begins. In the midst of the kissing and his trying to pump in and out of my body, after realizing that I am not really getting an orgasm or whichever peak is desired he mumbles ” Bacha ho jaayega” and gets up in a flash. Leaving my body bereft of the heat. I realize that its done and I have to get up and I start to put on my clothes. Also realizing that not once did he unbutton his shirt, only exposing the organ which was supposed to do the work. He makes me sit and gives me a glass a water. And I gulp it down with the shame and humiliation, both, at my staying silent and allowing him.
This was followed by the sometimes soft and sometimes passionate kissing, sometimes behind the curtains or sometimes on the stairs. Until I graduated a level up. And it was thought best to move to another place of worship, by my parents.
And I thought it to be all over. Finally. No more numbness, followed by helpless meltdown. No more of brushing of thighs. No more of fear and anxiety. No more of shame.
Until he started texting and calling me at odd hours. For no specific reason, leaving me to handle the questions asked by my parents. Until I stopped picking his calls.
Until, finally, my brain summoned the strength and will power to text him a text and requesting him to understand the wrongs done but also asking him to stop his bothering me. Until I hear of his engagement and then marriage. And I finally think its over for ever.
Fast forwards 5-6 years:
He is married. He was just blessed with a girl. I had long decided to forgive both of us, thinking that his realization followed up with his marriage. Until I ask him for some notes. And he gives them, when all of sudden he asks with that same smile and raised eyebrows ” Happy?”. And all the misery the shame and the feeling of being done and dusted with came back rushing in. It hurt so much, it was as if, he had pierced the tip of a sharp knife through my heart. I couldn’t breathe..it was as if the air had stuck somewhere in the neck. And I wanted to run, run so far away from him and from me.
That’s the day. The day I realized that in his eyes I was always and maybe still am his student who had a crush on her teacher, still a girl who, because she had a crush and because she was naive would be willing to enjoy the workarounds.
Who he could have his need fulfilled with.
After that day, I have never once contacted him. Never spoken about him. Moved on. With my head held high and as I understand more and more, I have this feeling of giving a full impact slap all across his face for fucking with me and screwing my innocence.
And as I am jolted back into the present, I see the cursor still hovering over the me too #.
And I stop. Stop from posting that status. Stop from showing my pain. Stop from letting the tears fall. Stop from allowing myself to cry, like I did in those nights.
What can hundred other Me Toos do for me? They can give me a realization that I am not alone. Which I already know from the daily incoming reports of women safety issues. Those statutes, try as they might, will never be able to relieve me of the pain, the nightmare and of the confusion that I have suffered from.
So then, what is the use of this status? Why do I need an opportunity to relive the horror, to open the wounds and regret it all, once again??
Why do I need to stop the tears and let my eyes burn, taste the salt, just because it hurts so much, everytime, like the first time yet I need to be strong and smile as if nothing’s wrong.
So, you tell me, #ME TOO?