No one at work that Monday morning knew why I was crying. I tried to hide my tears. I couldn’t do it. I kept sniffling and pulling tissue from my skirt pocket. Finally, my supervisor asked, “Are you alright?” I wanted to say no. I wanted to tell her what was going on. I decided not to say anything. She always spoke in a gruff voice like all of us only looked for ways to slack off from work. So, all day, until five o’clock, I walked around in a daze. I made many trips to the bathroom with the excuse, “I have a stomach flu.” Little did they know that my boyfriend of four and a half years had raped me the night before I came into work. It wasn’t date rape. I couldn’t give it that name because he wasn’t an acquaintance. In my heart, I knew him backward and forward. I knew his family. We were talking about getting married next autumn.
I didn’t have any clues to tell me he could be so rough and downright cruel. I was afraid to go to the police. I could hear them saying, “didn’t you know what kind of guy you were dating?” So I didn’t call the police. I went home from work. I cut the phone off. When my brother came over, I didn’t open the door. I wanted to die. I thought about taking sleeping pills. Why hadn’t I seen one clue, two clues, something? I felt ashamed and guilty. Oddly, I didn’t feel angry with him. After all, it was all my fault. I had taken our relationship for granted. I had made excuses for the times when he did act a bit off. Like on my mother’s birthday, when he said, “someone needs to teach your mom how to act grateful for gifts.” His words stung me. I just didn’t think he meant what he said. I thought he might be tired. I thought he just hadn’t gotten use to my family. I thought of everything but the right thing.
Now I only knew one thing. I never wanted to see his face again. I would change the lock on my door. I wouldn’t date for a while. I would learn more about rape. When was anger just anger? When was grumpiness just grumpiness and what words or actions were thought of as truly dangerous? I also wanted to know what was wrong with me. What signals had I given off that made him almost choke me to death as he pulled my dress up and buried my face?