Heart, soul and body
I am Jane
The moment I saw him, my heart leapt. There was something invisible tugging away deep within me, an invisible connection between me and him. A soul mate. I went to stand by him, looking down but he noticed me. He asked if I would like a drink. Everyone else at the party faded away as we got into conversation. He was so easy to talk to, he was interested in everything I had to say. The truth is that I had had a shit week, and my boss had humiliated me in front of everyone. In fact, I had been reduced to tears and had to go the to toilets in order to compose myself. But I need the money and my Boss said that I was lucky to have a job at all. I have a small flat, with my cat for company, it’s damp but I am happy enough. It’s better than staying at home.
When the party ended, the man Michael, put his arm around me in a protective way. I was slightly tipsy , and his warmth really moved me. Something in me hoped. Michael offered to take me home. He has a car?? Yes please, I said. I was nervous though, something deep inside was churning but I ignored it. It’s fine, everything will be fine.
We got to my home. I was embarrassed. Would he want to come in? Did I do the washing up? Michael leaned across the car to kiss me. I did not resist. and it was a most acceptable kiss. I was acceptable. Michael said we had better find a room. I hesitated, something stirred in my gut again, that churning. But I thought what the hell, I am going to risk this. He’s a nice man.
We sneaked up the concrete stairs, trying not wake the other residents. Mrs Coker would get up especially early to clean the stairs if she was annoyed with someone. Her broom would bang against the iron railings . Bang Bang. And the smell of disinfectant would invade my flat under the gap in the front door.
I glanced at Michael as he walked up the stairs. It looked like he was bracing himself just for a short moment. I dismissed it. It’s ok. He is just nervous like me. My desire for him was waning and my heart was doubting my decision but once we had closed the door, he suddenly turned and pressed himself against me. It felt rough but I was trying to be nice. How can I tell him that this was uncomfortable for me.
I cannot tell you what happened next. At some stage it was over and Michael left without a kiss. I was relieved when he went. I feel so bloody ashamed, I am in pain. Unbelievable pain. I did not go to work , I sat in my flat in a daze just staring at nothing. My heart hurts, my body hurts, my soul is ripped deeply.
I found the energy to get to work the next day. I sat like a mouse, just working. Not connecting with anyone , looking down if anyone spoke to me. I felt threatened when my boss came near me. Intimidated. Flashbacks of that night came at unfortunate moments and my heart would leap with shame. But I kept swallowing the choking and drank coffee. Lots of it. Once, in the toilets, I could cry a bit. There was a window and I pressed my face against its coolness. Howling cries were finding their way up to my vocal chords. I let them out a little but closed them up for fear of someone hearing me. Oh shit. I was in pain. It was a muffled, confusing sort of pain, I was confused.
I had to see someone . Who? I had left home, which was horrible, and my town. I did not know anyone. Doctors were nice. I would find a Lady Doctor. An older one. I found a surgery on google that was close to me. I got an appointment. It had to write out an application from first. I felt numb. I could not even see my writing properly. The howling was coming up again. I shoved it down.
The Doctors name came onto the screen. I moved like I was on ice, sliding silently down the corridor. Bright posters announced their messages along the way but I could not read them today. I sat in the Doctors office, hands closed in my lap, looking down. What shall I say?
“ Well um. There was this man”. I whispered.
“And he took me. And it was not good. I don’t know what to do”
The Doctor breathed out slowly and swivelled her chair towards me slightly.
“ so, when did this happen?” She gently asked.
I took a deep breath and in between sobbing, which was embarrassingly snotty, I told her. I the held my breath and looked up slightly to look at her reaction. Will she judge me?
“ Now, “ she said.
“ There are some things we need to do”
Then it dawned on me. Disease , pregnancy, potential damage.
She got through the with it in a gentle way, I felt sick though. Really sick. It reminded me. I do not want to think about what was going on down there.
Now I am mending
Five years later, I am mending. The journey has been horrid at times. There were moments when I thought I would never stop crying. I went to therapy, then more therapy and retreats and studied my pain. I found out what has caused me to be nice and be quiet. I also worked out why I was attracted to Michael. He was like my Uncle Steve. I had some therapy for that too.
The truth is that my radar had broken before I met Michael that evening. It’s not his fault in one sense. My need for acceptance was not his fault either. I just did not feel loved, or accepted in my own family so I looked for it elsewhere.
I am sitting watching my son play in the sand pit in the communal garden.He is nearly ready for school. He is my world. I love him so much. I am there for him in every way I can be. Our first couple of years together were very difficult. It was sheer survival but we made it and we are making it. I have a dry home now without disinfected stairs. I joined a cooperative housing scheme. We get electricity off grid through solar panels.I have met some lovely people in this scheme. I enjoy their company but I do like to close my door at the end of the day.
I have learnt that I need to look after my heart, and my soul. I need to obey my gut instincts. That churning feeling is a warning sign and I take notice of it now.
Life is a lot freer now. Because I have learnt how to live it with intention, and self awareness. I listen carefully to everyone, because they all have a story and you don’t know if you might bring them harm by not listening properly.
I don’t know where Michael is, and it does not matter in a way. I forgive him, and it has taken years to do that. I wanted revenge for a good couple of years. I had to forgo even looking to forgive him to start with. He has a child, but he likely won’t ever know it. And my son will not know life with a father. I feel sad about that. There is someone who is a father to him though. He is part of the cooperative. I like him. He is gentle and kind.