Christmas is now over, officially by an hour, at least where I am, and I am trying to tell myself that means there will be no more occasional stabs of sadness so deep it has become physically painful, so all consuming it feels as if my lungs could fill with it and my heart drown.
Christmas reminds me of my rapist (and this post has now become even LESS fun than you probably anticipated, sorry). All holidays do, but Christmas reminds me most of what I lost. I have spent the last two days turning around in my head how I could possibly erase the fact and the memory of what he has done in order to reach out to him, contact him, somehow conjure again that love and awe and completeness I felt with him. Hoping if I could just fill my head with new memories and experiences of him, immerse myself in feelings for him, I could paper over what has happened. With enough bandages over it, goes my thinking, maybe the deep wound will just go away.
Desire constitutes the self; if I am being honest, I must admit he has created and shaped more of me than anyone else ever has. I can't escape that. And I can't escape the undeniable, simple fact that I miss him.
I shouldn't miss him. But there was a decade worth of being in love, so there is an awful lot to miss. And when it is not the rape that is at the forefront of my brain, when that has settled down quietly to sleep in the corner of my mind (it will be back, yes, I know), when I am lonely, and I wish there was someone I could love, someone in the universe I loved like that again, well . . . here we are.
I saw him every Christmas, when I went back to my parents' house. It was a tradition for a while, too, to go to midnight mass with friends in the church where I first met him, when he walked up to me, out of the blue, some kid I didn't recognize and was sure I'd never seen before, to take my hands in his and look me right in the eye to tell me I was beautiful. On Christmas Eve he'd sneak in the backdoor late, late, after both our families were asleep, and we'd talk, and kiss, or make love in front of the fireplace, on blankets just in front of the hearth, our skin covered in sweat and lit orange by flames. His kisses always tasted like spring rain, and his skin would smell of the damp soil just after the shower ended. It sounds so embarrassingly poetic, and perhaps I should be ashamed at such tawdry romanticism, but to describe it in any other way would be a lie, and I am barely finding words to capture something so ethereal as it is. It was perhaps why we never inhabited any other reality well. Whatever love we had, it thrived best at night, fit perfectly in dreams. Once harsh daylight came, there was nothing but struggle.
Although, he raped me late at night, now that I think of it. But I suppose that was how we would reclaim me - he was angry, he was afraid to lose me, I was, he said, the only thing he had ever really loved. I do not think he was untruthful. His fear, even when he was hurting me, was palpable.
But Christmas is over. So I am hoping the urges to reach him, to try to erase the pain and make it all go away, to try to bring him back into my life and make the rape never have happened, will lessen. Tomorrow it will be better. The day after that will be even easier. Someday soon I will have an entire day when he never even enters my head at all. And that will be a very good day.