Women is...: Before the Hockey Game

Before the Hockey Game

"It is important to talk about violence without taking for the hood of victim. To be strong, without the denial of our rights which are weak. Majority from experiments which we (women and men) run into, are grey areas which - |, why they are such difficult, to describe, and why they are such difficult, to find support and cicatrization."

Before the Hockey Game

There was the hockey game. We had to leave for the hockey game, or we were going to be late. I cannot remember how you were on top of me, only that we were vertical then horizontal, as though played like marionettes. I recall a glimmer of fear—that falling would hurt, my head would slam backwards into the floor, perfect hair would come undone. But in my mind we fell with control, precision. I've patched it up so that the history becomes soft as the sleeping sounds my lover makes when I wake from this nightmare and stare at his body there in the morning light.

In my memory I am wearing a rust-orange dress, with my hair all up in a bun. I had told you that I didn't want to that morning; I guess it was something like the fact of having pulled on my pantyhose. How long that takes, you know, to make sure your thumbnail doesn't snag the nylon. But I wouldn’t have worn that dress for the hockey game. The times you forced yourself on me and the reasons for no and the clothes that I wore and the expressions on my face have all run together.

It was okay lying on your living room floor, because it was covered with a plush brown wall-to-wall seventies carpeting. I was comfortable, more or less. It was okay to lie there and negotiate.

I was lying on the carpet but I wouldn't really call it negotiation; there was too much fear involved. I don't know where it came from, but it was thick. It was like the fear of dying, the idea of losing you was.And your interrogation was an ultimatum. It was either with you or without you; it was either yes or a resounding no.

So it was understood that I would act as the machine. I was making no sacrifices because, as you put it, all couples go through this kind of negotiation. This is how couples are. This is what they do. I would understand this.

You cannot imagine my ceaseless rationalizations. You cannot imagine how I have tried to place my woman's body back in the physical reality that is past, how I've empowered the resignation to mean, fine you can take me, but you haven't taken me. Maybe there was power in that divorce—the body from the mind. Maybe there was domination in my resignation. Maybe letting you have my body was a smirk. Maybe it was a beautiful dancer, bowing out.

But none of that came just then to the seventeen-year-old, to the inexperienced, to the fear acting as machine. Indeed, you did have my mind. The idea of losing you placed so much fear in me, so real and arresting, that I went to grab onto something and I felt there was nothing to take. -

That was the grayest moment. That is the moment when the jury leaves the courtroom with concerned wrinkles on their foreheads and we wonder at the muddiness of truth and reality, experience, choice.

It was easy as pie, and then it was over. You know what I did afterwards you? I broke just like a little girl. But when you asked me why I was crying, I betrayed myself.

“I’m not mad at you,” I said, serious, sincere and sweet as ever, “I’m mad at myself, for not listening to my heart.”

How badly I wanted to let you off the hook. How scary it would have been to hold you accountable. Isn't it funny, the kind of power, poverty, desperation my love had?

“I raped you,” you have written me, years later, “I’m sorry.”