It was almost three years ago when I went over to his house. He was a sophomore in college that already lived off campus and that was kind of cool. He was into anime and when I had been the desk manager at the dorm he had lived in the year before that was how we became friends. Kind of.
I had just gone to a party at his place the week before. I remember the smoking room and the video game tournaments and the blurred atmosphere crowding in my vision. I remember the dishes in the sink stacked precariously. I remember when one drink was gone, another was placed there and despite drink after drink, topple after topple, I was still lucid enough to recognize my own laugh.
That was just the party a week ago.
That orange October night, he texted me. I told him I was bored.
And he picked me up to hang out and watch anime.
The house was a blank sheet of missing text in comparison to the bodies it held before. It was quiet and the dishes were still there.
He handed me a can of beer and we went to his room to watch t.v. I sat at the edge of his bed and he navigated Netflix from a few feet back. I took sip after sip, nudge after nudge, and later that night I had sat back and his arm was around my shoulders. I thought, “That’s odd. I wasn’t here before.”
Then behind my eyelids was a mirage of blues and greens, flashing lights of shifting t.v. screens from one fight scene to the other. Then my body was fighting in the dark.
Dark, black dark, deep dark, brown dark, red dark, dark, dark, dark, and I was on the bathroom floor.
I was in his lap, back on the bed and his arms reaching under to hold my body up on top of him and I remember just wanting to sleep, let me lay down, let me lay down, that one hurt. My arms doing nothing and head lolling and looking for a place to rest and finding none.
I cried. Out of pure disorientation. The ups were downs, and right was north, and east was left. I was in my body and out of it. My mind struggling to comprehend where it was supposed to latch onto my brain. Does sanity go here? Does pain go here? Does yes come out? Does no stay there?
Dark. Dark. Black Dark. Red Dark. Bright Dark. Yellow tiles in the bathroom. Am I supposed to brush my teeth right now? Where did I put my panties? Which one was I wearing again? That thought hurt too much.
Going back to the bed, it was Dark. Dark. Dark. Quiet Dark.
A waiting lion’s den and Daniel wasn’t here to pray, praise, raise me up above the Dark.
Between the sheets with a body I can’t feel. Gradually the sun brought its rays to wake me.
I felt it heat between my thighs telling me something was different. My eyelids said no, don’t look. Just stay in here, reality can wait.
I tried to listen and it worked for a minute. Then the lion came out. He said come here and I listened to my eyelids, I stayed inside. He pulled me by the arm and my body laid on top of his and he fumbled and fumbled and fumbled and fumbled and it was Dark behind my eyelids. I said no, that can’t go in there. Stop.
He stopped. I fell off. Naked, apparently.
His white walls were Dark. His t.v. was Dark. His hands were Dark. His door was Dark.
I looked down and found my clothes and buried this body inside them. My eyelids said. “Come back! It’s Dark out there!”
I said, “I gotta go, how do I get back?”
He said, “I’ll take you.”
He drove me home in his Dark car and I walked Darkly quiet up the stairs to my dorm. One of my roommates was gone, the other asleep. I slept too and my eyelids said, “Good, we’re almost done.”
When I woke up again, I ignored it. I showered off the Dark and forgot about it.
For the next three months, my menstrual cycle never came and the only thing that bled was my teeth if anything grazed past my lips. When my period finally came, feeling did too and I was a half-devoured fish out of water. Dark was back.
I looked at it, studied it, wrote about it, wondered at it, marveled at it, hated it, felt it, remembered it, and told my dear future husband about it. He cried for me. I hadn’t cried for a long time.
Dear future husband felt me, healed me, and filled me. He held me. He loved me. He said, “How dare he,” and I said, “I wouldn’t know what love really, truly is if he hadn’t done it.”
And I believe that. And though I hate that Dark sneaks up on me in the darkest part of the night, I thank Him every time I see my future husband that it did happen. The only way to understand true, unadulterated, unconditional love is if you have been broken, by any means, and stitched back together by gold.
Victoria Field was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas where the wind is liberal and the sun is consistent. She has one smol dog and has plans to cultivate an animal farm in the hills of Texas with her fiancé Josiah. With Josiah, they document their financial journey following the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University program on a blog named Salt & Figs. She is a lover of non-fiction essays and sci-fi novels. She hopes that by sharing her story, young women can learn that there are far more worthy things to give their attention to than to dwell in the circumstances they faced.