A Legitimate Feeling: Nothing

He extends a devilish grin from across the table. The cholesterol-dripping air reeks of a third world country and bad intentions. You know him, so red flags seem more yellow than dangerous. The third margarita seems more inviting than ill-willed. His eyes seem more understanding than deviant.

You’re swimming in tequila. You think you see a lime pass you, but the waves of agave make much of anything difficult to determine. Or comprehend. Or remember.

You know there was conversation. A conversation that crippled his ego. Demolished his confidence. Sideswiped his security. His two-tongued terminology sends slithering words of understanding your way. It’s ok, he hisses. We don’t have to date, he smirks. we can be friends, he smiles. The fourth margarita makes his sentences feel lighter, so you have no problem picking them up and placing them in your pocket, alongside your relief and thankfulness.

You know him, so red flags seem more yellow than dangerous.

You’re walking into his apartment. Stay a while, he hisses. We’ll talk some more, he smirks. Or watch a movie, he smiles. Your last margarita makes his sentences seem genuine, so you have no problem chasing them with a lick of relief and a bite of thankfulness.

You’re on his bed. You don’t know why. Your hands are pinned down. You don’t know why. Your legs are spread. You don’t know why. He’s on top of you, and you know exactly why. You’re drowning in tequila. You think you feel him inside you, but the waves of agave are climbing up your nostrils and filling up your lungs.

You know him.

A flash. A lifeguard. A life jacket made out of pride and sown together with reserve is thrown to you from the pit of your stomach. No, the base of your spine. No, the smallest piece of your tearing heart. No, some place inside of you you didn’t know existed.

You fight.

You kick. Scream. Claw. Bite. Scratch. Push. Pull. Yell. Lunge. Leave.

You know him, so the sobs from his disgraced body – lying in a heap on his bedroom floor – are empty. You feel nothing. You leave his front door open.

You walk into your home. Your roommate is sitting on the couch. She looks up at you. You cannot meet her eyes. They are still in his apartment. In his bedroom. In the palm of his hands.

She asks if you’re ok. You nod. Stall. Stand. Sway. Then continue walking to the bathroom. You turn on the shower. The steam scrapes the screams caked on the inside of your lungs. The water washes him off your skin. Your tears cleanse the images seared into your eyes.

You feel nothing.

Two years later, a politician will make a statement involving “legitimate rape”. You will laugh at the ridiculousness. You will proclaim the highest form of stupidity on every public forum imaginable. You will wear a mask of humor. You will slip into a costume of feminism.

You will feel ancient screams filling up your lungs. You will feel him touch your skin. Images will flash from the depths of your eyes.

At night. Alone. After comments were made and reactions were documented. You turn on the shower. The steam scrapes the screams. The water washing him off. Tears cleans the images.

You’re two years younger, on August 20th, 2012.

And you feel nothing. TC Mark

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