Here is another excerpt from "The Ceiling or the Floor," an essay I've completed about my rape experience. At some point, I will post the entire essay. Thanks for reading!
My mother referred to my rapist, a man she never knew raped me, as the politician. He acts, she said, as if he’s running for office. If there was a baby around, he’d kiss it before dropping it on its head. I knew my mother was right, even then. She knew things, like when I was about to dump someone, and she’d start to enjoy that person, the way you cheer up when an annoying guest edges toward the door. I watched her with great interest, if only to predict what I was going to do next.
By the summer of the rape, my romantic relationship with the soon-to-be rapist was grinding to a halt in that, I’m bored, there’s got to be more to life than this, you weren’t who I thought you were kind of way, a job that was winding down with only a few more weeks left. It was the bittersweet summer between my junior and senior year of high school, that time when a restless fever begins to spike. The man who raped me attended the same college I planned to attend and was back in the old hometown for the summer, doing nothing while I life-guarded at a public pool on a decommissioned army base. The nearby but not too nearby college was the only game in town for me, given my dreary financial situation. Even so I knew he wasn’t the only game in town -- I wanted to be free. But before our inevitable collapse, he broke into my parents' house with my one pair of pantyhose over his head, fed our German Shepherd a Gainsburger to ensure her silence, stole some gray duct tape out of my dad's garage and attacked me as I stepped out of the bathroom after taking a shower. I did not know it was him until it was over, and he pulled the tape off my mouth. I could feel the tape for years. What didn’t get used in the attack was thoughtfully returned to my dad’s garage where it stayed until it was all gone, and he bought another roll. They have a saying in Texas that you can use duct tape to fix anything.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"When you leave the house, the/ shadow of the Hindenburg enters/ to take your place." Richard Brautigan
Drinking novella collection suggestion: Arkansas David Leavitt
Benedictions and Maledictions