Everything else could fall into dust in the face of this spark.
That night, when you brought him home from the airport at 3AM. Him on his layover, seeking refuge for his nights here in this foreign land. When you lay down together in the same bed, and woke to his wanting.
Him wanting you. Not you. Your body.
You saying no. Not like this.
His indifference. What is indifference but cruelty. Indifference in the face of someone beholden.
Not beholden in that romantic way you write about so often. Beholden because he's bigger than you. Stronger than you. Because the question wasn't truly a question at all.
The first no comes as a whisper. Because you can't believe this is happening. The second no comes a little louder. No. Louder, loud enough that he has to muffle your words with his hand.
That indifference again: The motions are nothing to him. You are just a smallness. A nothingness.
Resist. Buck. Struggle. Whatever it takes, even though he's bigger. Even though you're helpless. Until a momentary lapse—you break free.
You scream at him. Every insult, every venomous word, but nothing could give voice to the betrayal. This is what you gave me for my refuge.
He doesn't understand. Not a monster, but a man, who doesn't understand.
He doesn't understand why you scream at him. Why you pace the room around him now, why your body trembles. Why you ask him to leave.
Don't throw me out—he says, not understanding, but seeing—Come on. It's a foreign city, he says, he doesn't know anyone here.
I don't care. Leave. Get out. Fuck off.
At least give me your wifi password so I can fucking sort something out— So much indifference.
He stands over you, no, towers over. But you do not relent. You cannot relent. If you relent now, you are undone. You are nothing. You are crap, absolute crap and shit and nothing and fuck you, you raped me and you're asking me for my fucking Wifi.
Get the fuck out of my house.
He does, surprising you as you quake and shiver walking him to the door. Letting him free.
Your brother comes out now, woken up by the sound. Sees you in your state, holds you as you cry and break down, whatever semblance of anything gone with him. Your brother calls the police.
And thus begins that spiral. The policeman and policewoman. Doubting you. The unspoken words in every action, how could a man even be raped? Treating this like nothing. Nothing. Indifference to your pain. This is nothing at all. How much pain must a woman see to feel this nothing? Or is she incapable of seeing your pain—your crying, your shivering, your screaming—as that.
More policemen. Disgusting examinations. They fucking ask you to invite him back. That woman, that disgusting inspector, asks you to invite him back with a smile.
No. You can't be serious. No. I'm not doing that.
More policemen. Photographs taken. But no evidence taken—Even today, in a corner of your house, those clothes remain, evidence never to be taken—You're grilled by policemen from a sexual crimes unit. They specialise in this. But fuck, you couldn't find an ounce of empathy between them. Nothing but doubt and indifference.
Nothing but men and women in a suit and uniform, looking down at you. Your smallness. Your still-half-nakedness. Your shame. Your weakness, tears and all. Men and women with the power to, but choosing not to.
You could make this all go away, they say. Give a statement: Say that a call was made to the police, and that you do not wish for the matter to be pursued further.
Hours of screaming, hours of wailing, hours of begging and pleading, believe me, please believe. Please, I'm a man, I'm your countryman, I'm a human. Please. It all comes to this:
You sign, because they don't believe you. Sign the statement to make it go away.
But it doesn't go away. You cry, in that shower, as the running water refuses to take the shame away. You break things. You regret, you faltered. You let him leave. You became that smallness. That nothingness. That indifference, to your own wound.
The cold water shocks you. His indifference has become yours.
You call them back. Before the sun had even set on this day. Demand the case be opened. Struggle with the man in the uniform at the station who doesn't see the point in it. Struggle with the woman at the hospital, who doesn't understand how to do a rape kit on a man. Struggle with that fucking woman inspector, who refuses to understand.
Struggle with the authorities for months, struggle with men in uniform for months, struggle upon struggle. In the office of lawyers, in the office of your trauma therapist, in the room you were raped in, staring at the ceiling that looked down at you while it happened.
Until it all falls into dust and nothingness. Until the police stop calling. Until you've reached the office of the attorney-general and he dismisses it all. Until your resistance erodes to nothing.
Everything falls into dust, to be forgotten.
By your friends, and your family, and the authorities, and the man, and that woman who asked you to call him back like some friend who had merely stolen your money when he had stolen so much more.
That indifference enters you. You are the smallness. You are the nothingness. You must be, to be serene.
God grant me the serenity.
To accept the things I cannot change.
Courage to change the things I can.
And wisdom to know the difference.
But God, I have no courage left. God, I have no wisdom. I have nothing but this serenity you've given me. This smallness. This nothingness. This creature who would accept this betrayal, who would accept betrayal upon betrayals, who would accept the man in the uniform looking down upon me. Not even with disgust, not even with malice, just with indifference.
I am this creature. This creature who must look up at him, and accept that he stands there. That he towers above me. That he will tower above me always. That he—they, her—have broken me. That they have always been meant to break me. That they will always have broken me. That I was broken, always.
Everything falls into the dust and everybody forgets but you.
Everything could fall into dust, but you.
But this spark. But what remains amid the serenity. Amid the indifference you've found, the indifference you must become, amid the pain you've swallowed, this spark:
The memory that you—that I—resisted.
I struggled, every step of the way. To be believed. To be heard. To be listened to.
I fought, to have my day in court. To leave the shame behind. To know that I was not at fault.
I looked up at the man in the suit. I lost to him.
But this spark remains. I—you—will not become this smallness.
Because you fought.
Because you cried.
Because you screamed.
Because you resisted.
Because you will never be okay, because this isn't right, because, because, because, because this spark remains: because, because, because, because. Because this spark has to remain, because, because, because. Because the indifference doesn't win. Because. Because. Because.
And you will look back, when everything has become dust, when nobody else cares anymore. When you feel small. When you feel like nothing. When you face that indifference of the man in a suit, the woman with a smile again. They're always there. Again and again. When that indifference nearly becomes you.
You will remember. You resisted. You resist.