19 Feb 2018

I reside in Confused Central. And I can’t with the neighbourhood, it’s got too many corners and little streets that look the same, all designed to confuse me. I want to move to the superior Everything Is Black And White district so my mind and emotions can take a permanent vacation. Alas.

Like most women (all women?) I have my own story of an unpleasant sexual encounter, which I have written a little bit about here. Initially, I told it in the context of how a blow job, administered generously by your own self, can fall under the category of coercion. It can. In my case, and I bet a super-duper top dollar in a million other cases, it was “kindly” offered as a meet-you-half-way compromise – I was ready to do what was needed to avoid actual f-cking. I wasn’t feeling like having sex that night but the man, whom I had had a handful of dates with and whom I definitely liked, wasn’t reading my signals (which weren’t signals, they were actual “stop” words). The lesser of the two evils, if you will.

Now, it is this man that got in touch with me last week, over text, almost three years after I saw him last. So let me backtrack for a second and describe this man. In the dates we had – more than a handful I think, it’s hard to remember as they were spread out in time – the conclusion I came to was that he was NICE. He was shy, polite, considerate. We both love hip-hop and art – hello, common interests. His biggest flaw was that he wasn’t virtually responsive: lots of unanswered texts leading to unfulfilled plans. I say “flaw” but I mean rage-inducement because what does it f-cking mean when you don’t answer a text for days and then reappear days, sometimes weeks, later with the eloquent “hey”. And since you can’t continue a relationship slash dating ritual when the other side exercises his right to remain silent, sh-t fizzles out. I didn’t want it to fizzle out, like I said, I really liked him, but my like wasn’t fully reciprocated.

Plus, there was that issue with the blow job “incident” (not an incident).

Back to last week. Can I give him a fake name? Ooooo I’m going to give him a fake name and feel like a real-ass writer! Let’s call him Jason. (Jason is not his real name.) Jason has resurfaced with a text that said “Marina, I have so much to say to you”. Holy gvakamoly. It was not that he’s reappeared after essentially ending it with me, it is that, obviously, DUH, he’s become so woke and concerned and emotional about the #TimesUp and #MeToo initiatives that he could no longer handle the guilt, the guilt that had been eating him up inside lately, that he felt there was no choice but to make an elaborate, thought-out apology (of course he knows how I like my apologies), to man up and ask for forgiveness. Are you laughing yet? Because my best friend Kelly laughed at these assumptions. Whatever, I am a serious woman, I bear serious thoughts.

Real talk, if I had not thought he was going in for the apology I would have ignored his text – I am too worried about once more getting sucked into the same headf-ck where, as soon as I become more interested his interest would automatically lessen. But OF COURSE it was all going to be about the apology so, hell yes, I am going to give the man, Jason, a chance and bless him with forgiveness not only because it takes a special human being to go there but also because I am basically Gandhi.

If you haven’t started laughing together with Kelly, you will start laughing now, it’s ok, I can take it. We didn’t meet up (like I said, he finds it indescribably challenging to return texts so we couldn’t confirm the time or the day) and, in my anger which had had plenty of time to marinade, I sent a rather impatient (ugh) and violent-sounding text along the lines of “one assault is enough, stop popping up in my life”. We didn’t end up meeting but he did call. Remember how I told you Jason was a NICE man? I guess I still stand by it, because when the actual voice was on the other line I knew that I’ve missed all the nice things.

No, one hundred percent he wasn’t aware of anything wrong happening that night, let along anything against my will. And f-ck, this has not only put me in my place (as if people will want to see you in three years “just” for an apology) but it is shocking to me. Shocking to no one else but shocking to me. Two people together in the same situation - two polar opposite accounts. I think back to that night, I try to remember the moments that had led to the distress, and I try to remember if maybe my verbal cues and clues were not clear or loud or assertive but the truth is it’s hard to tell now. It has been years. He remembers nothing of it. I remember crying the next day and calling Kelly. I remember not looking him in the eye right after it happened. I remember his face and his kisses, both being lost in the moment and not believing my “stop”s. For the record, being lost in the moment is not an excuse for anything ever. As is not remembering it.

After I refused to accept the standard “I’m sorry you feel that way” idiocy (NO, you won’t get to apologise to me for MY OWN FEELINGS!), a proper “I am sorry I did this” was born. And, like tiger balm sans the smell, it healed my heart and calmed my memories. I believe Jason. I believe that he was sure everything I did that evening was consensual and of my own accord. And this is why I am here today, writing this, because it WASN’T consensual or of my own accord. It’s pretty telling that it has affected me when, in the past three years, this has turned into my most prominent memory of Jason.

Which brings me to the next confusion! Ugh, f-ck, I still like him. I like him. I assume, after the outpour of aggro I unleashed, he will never get in touch again, and last night I have spent in dreams and calculations whether a) I should not have gone for the heavy artillery of using the word “assault” and b) HOWWW am I wired that, after years of having absolutely no desire to see someone again, a phone call triggers in me the feelings and pushes the buttons which cross out all I’d spent the last three years processing? I don’t understand. I hate this space. I want to go back to my righteous self. This is Stockholm Syndrome or some sh-t. For what it’s worth, he won’t be calling again.