In the second to last month of 2011 I took a bus from New York City to Providence for Thanksgiving. This bus was filled to capacity, but through my slick maneuvering, I manged to obtain the front seat so I could look at the road while we drove. It seemed no one was going to take the seat next to me. In the last few moments before the bus departed, a young man rushed on and looked at me. He asked “can I sit here?” Well, you can’t say no really, so I said yes.
Four hours later we landed in Providence. Twenty minutes after that we were in his dorm room on the East Side and he was commenting on my breasts, and eventually touching them. One week after that I was visiting him in a nearby town and watching “Good Will Hunting” which was appropriate because he looked and acted and seemed a lot like Will or Matt Damon, not sure which. Three weeks after that we were in my Nonna’s city house, under a picture of Pope John Paul II and he was taking my virginity. I was old to be a virgin. I was not “virgin like” per say, and like all good Catholic girls had done “everything but” up to that point, but I had imagined penises as knives and guns for so long that the thought of penetration was paralyzing. The entire moment was surreal. I was the girl who had fainted at her last two gynecological exams and now I was on a satin quilt with my grandmother’s Armani garments tucked in the closet nearby, getting fucked. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t think I was actually letting this happen. I was silent and still and it seemed like I was actually in the doorway watching someone else be taken within the complexities of my family’s past. It almost felt like they were standing there with me, too.
Of course, three days after this, I stopped hearing from “bus boy” as I began to refer to him as. Normally, and I’m sure for him, this would just be considered “run of the mill” one night stand behavior. We had no romantic connection, no mutual friends. It was a well laid plan. Yet, for me, of course, it was much more. I was, unfortunately, going to have to remember this experience for the rest of my life, while for him, it would just be another conquest.
I didn’t want to let this happen. I wrote him an email with the subject line “in and out”. I wrote him an email telling him exactly how I felt, how I felt about him, the experience, the idea of people talking about how they feel in general. And I felt terrible, a gaping hole in my once pristine and honest heart. I felt, not raped physically, but perhaps, emotionally raped.
Days, weeks, months, and a year went by and I did not hear from him. After about two months I didn’t think about it very much, and I even started dating someone. The memory was faint. It seemed to lose significance as I was making love to someone who cared about me everyday.
In the wake of this momentum, a few weeks ago, “bus boy” sent me a text asking me to hang out. I was pretty rude back, calling him “Chris Brown”—-I think he wondered why.
That evening, I received an email in response to my email that read:
I never read this. It’s beautiful. You are brilliant, you know that. Inside your bratty, and plump shell, you are brilliant. There are universes in there. Thank you for writing this and you are right, I have no illusions and no conclusions or solutions, so be it, but I am unhappy that any suffering existed because of me.
You should write more.
This email, though not perfect, was enough to take away that gross feeling. I don’t think I was looking for validation, but maybe just value—a sense that my being joining with his being in that way meant something, that what I had held on to for so long for so many reasons, meant something to someone other than me.
I had confronted my emotional rapist—and I want to encourage others to do the same.
Below is the original email that I sent to him—-maybe reading it will help you find your way to the laptop, text message, front steps of healing confrontation!
Dear “Bus Boy”:
I do not know why I am writing this besides the far to apparent truth that
I am a rule breaker, perhaps a tad bit eccentric, full of my own self,
acutely sensitive, and in dire need of wanting to challenge you to be a better person.
I saw great potential for growth in you, and despite what perspired between us,
you are a pretty good platonic conversationalist. Perhaps one of the lost that
Ginsberg was speaking of.
Let’s be clear. Obviously you do not actually matter all
that much to me as a human, except for the fact that I will
probably always have to remember you, considering the
circumstances of our meeting, and what was taken from me,
“so to speak”. And so, since I will always have to remember
you, i figure you should perhaps have to remember me at least
for a little while. I am quite sure you suffer from severe narcissistic personality
disorder, and can’t help but be a prick to sweet, intelligent, naive
women, but , to use your own words, i of course do not want to sympathize
too much with you; because then i might become like you– and i would not
From what I gathered, you are interested in bettering yourself, in growing,
in being cultured, in reaching the impossible, in being what others did not
expect for you to be. blah. blah. blah. I hope that seems accurate. You are
interested in honing in on your talents and shining beyond a doubt. You
are interested in overcoming the “strange” culture you reportedly grew up
in, in becoming a better, more worldly man. fine. I also gathered that you are interested in
politics and in being in the public eye. fine.
What I would like for you to consider is this: We live in a society that idolizes success,
fame, talent, etc, to a point that we are willing to overlook egregious behavior if the person
is attractive enough, talented enough, charming enough; if we like their music, films, public
persona or athletic abilities enough. Yet, talent is not the same thing as character. Character is about what you do when no-one’s watching, how you treat people who can’t “do” something for you, (or how you treat them after you get what you want), and your willingness to do the right thing even when it may cost you. ( I took this part from a face book status )
I suppose I seem like a naive, dumb, stupid woman; a woman with no idea she would not even be worth a conversation after, without reservation, giving this man/boy something she had been protecting, for various cultural and personal reasons, for 25 years. Shame on me. How could I be so stupid to expect that someone whom appeared to have so much talent might also have character?
Maybe the joke is on me. Maybe I am some plump little cute faced artsy girl for you to add to your
hidden list of conquests, coinciding nicely with your idea of what it means to be a “man of the world”; to dupe women that you meet in between adventures into giving up what is rightfully theirs for the promise of what ever it was you felt like selling in the moment. Sounds like a real ego booster. And besides, women are disposable. It’s just pussy. 1/2 the world has one. a bit more than half.
I do not want your sympathy, unless it be sincere. I have zero romantic notions about you, nor
had I ever had them. I simply did not want to feel used, nor did I want to to think
about this experience as being one with lack of communication, lack of a point of reference;
I thought that we would continue to be friends, box, bullshit, carry on. or simply address me with sincerity about how you could, unfortunately, never speak with me again I just wanted you to be decent and not so god damn fucked up.
I do not wish to think of you as someone with no character when I see your name on future
ballots in New England, or perhaps National, voting booths; nor do i want you to have to regretfully read my name in poetic anthologies in the years to come as the lady that wrote you a strange email that you chuckled off as “Crazy” “insane” or “entertaining” and showed to your buddies in the privileged dormitory where you were laying your young body at the time.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I would like some piece of mind. I did enjoy fucking you, I don’t even begin to regret that. But I don’t like enemies, strangers, or lingering loose ends. I know I sound like a nagging pretentious insulting bitch in this, a little bit off my rocker, taking things too personally, not understanding the culture of disposable we live within, filled with a slight hurt she is trying to express in words without sounding weak or fragile That is what I mean to sound like.
i know this is the craziest shit –that i am maybe insane–but i just don’t think people speak up enough–
about how others have made them feel—-and i think character is really important—
i don’t claim to be right—i just claim, yaknowhwatimean?
also, don’t you think it’s strange that hippies
are afraid of hormones in milk but take
acid from strangers???