I almost never talk about it.
I wish I could say that I almost never think about it, but that is far from the truth. I do think about it, in dark, lonely moments. I remember that night, more than five years ago now, that Mr. Wrong and I went to a small, local bar that he hung out in way too much back then. It wasn’t the kind of bar that women should spend time in, but I never gave that a second thought. I was with my husband, I would be safe. There were two things I was sure of back then, that Mr. Wrong could hurt me in ways I never knew possible, and that he would kill anyone else that tried to hurt me, no matter what. I was happy to go that night, happy that he wanted to spend his time with me, to be with me. I was always so hopeful back then, that my marriage would turn into what I dreamed it would be, hopeful that I would be loved.
When we got to the bar, Mr. Wrong was already half way to drunk. “Pre-game drinking” I used to call it. At the time, Mr. Wrong wasn’t always drunk, but he wasn’t ever really entirely sober, either. Once there, he was drinking shots quickly, chasing them with beer after beer. I occupied myself playing the jukebox, and talking to the bartender, the only other woman in the bar. Mr.Wrong had started talking to a couple other men, something that usually happens only when he is drinking. One of the men was much older than either of us, and very obviously drunk.
Eventually, he walked away from the men and stood next to me, talking to me and the bartender instead. I remember that I didn’t like this man, and wondered why Mr. Wrong had even spoken to him.
I guess we had been there a couple of hours when he came up to me again at the jukebox. He kept saying that he talked to my husband, I had no idea why he was telling me that. I tried to walk away from him, but he stepped in front of me, so I was pinned against the jukebox. His hands were everywhere at once. I was frantic, desperately trying to get Mr. Wrongs attention. “I talked to your husband, it’s ok. I talked to your husband…” His hands went under my skirt around the time that I started to understand what he was saying.
I walked away a different person. I found Mr. Wrong, and tried to tell him quietly that we needed to leave. He told me he was having fun, and wouldn’t leave. Finally I told him what happened. I expected blinding rage. I expected broken barstools, broken noses, blood. That would have been horrible. What actually happened was worse. “Oh, him. He told me he liked you. It’s ok, calm down.” To this day, I get upset if anyone tells me to calm down. He refused to leave the bar, so we stayed. For hours. When finally, blessedly we went home, he passed out and I cried until I fell asleep.
The next day, he didn’t remember any of what had happened. When I told him, he really did feel bad. He apologized. I believed he meant it. We moved on.
I know that this story could have been so much worse. I thank God that it wasn’t and my heart breaks for women whose stories are much worse. The thing is, what that man did to me wasn’t the worst part of what happened. The one person that I trusted completely with my safety had let me down. Not only had he not been able to stop it, he didn’t care when I told him. It was ok, to him. That is what haunts me. That is what I honestly don’t know if I will ever completely let go of. Because it’s not ok. And I won’t calm down.
I feel like I should say here, that I am not posting this to hurt Mr. Wrong. I know that he reads this blog. I know how sorry he is that this happened to me. We have talked about it, and I truly believe and accept his apology. I wrote this for me. Because it’s time to look at all the things I have kept buried for far to long. That is the only way to heal, and grow. That is how I can make my life a better place, and move on.