*Trigger Warning: Rape*
El Bolsón, Argentina. January 20th 2014.
The fire was hot on my back but I inched further from him and closer to the flames. The scene was familiar; laughter, worldly holier then now youth sitting around sharing too much over full cups. The sky out side falling darker as conversations flowed naturally from Spanish to English and back again. I found him attractive, I was curious, but his intensity left me uneasy. Hours went by, with souls hopeful and bellies satisfied we hugged each other good night and gathered our things.
I followed the others out the door, the night air had turned crisp. He grabbed my arm and spun me back around, my head felt dizzy and his sweater itchy. “Come back later and have more wine with me?” “Ok” I whispered back, unsure. I shook my arm free and ran to catch up with the others. The garden we walked through smelt damp and the noises from the night echoed through my brain.
“X wants me to go back over,” I confessed to my friend as we entered the main building. “I’m spinning” she replied as she ascended the staircase to our room. Her way of telling me she had had to much wine and was done talking until sunrise. I went to the kitchen where the others had disappeared to. We rolled cigarettes and didn’t bother leaning out the old windows. “I’m going back to tell X I’m going to bed,” I announced to no one in particular. “No vas a volver” I heard someone shout as I left the room.
I got outside and saw the stars for the first time that night. I enjoyed the scene as I walked the short 30 yards from the main house to the restaurant. Suddenly the sprinklers turned on and I began to run. When I arrived, the restaurant door was open a crack, I stepped in to find the room dark, fire put out and empty bottles lined up against the wall.
Assuming X had left, I felt relieved in the idea of not having to see him, I knelt down to catch my breath. My first inhale filled my lungs, before I could exhale my body flew against the back of the door, closing it completely. The sliver of light that had been shining in from the night sky disappeared and the room fell completely dark. I reached out to defend myself as his body came onto mine. That’s when I felt it, that itchy wool that built his sweater. I tried to push his body away, it felt bigger then I remembered. His face was shoved up to mine, his tongue filling my mouth, his hands grouping my body.
We managed to wrestle our way outside. I threw my head side to side as his lips and tongue moistened my skin. His hands were everywhere, like he was growing more by the minute. Up my shirt, down my pants, around my jaw, steadying my face, it was hard to tell where his skin stopped and mine started. As I felt his fingers penetrate me I heard my voice for the first time. “Please stop,” I pleaded. He couldn’t hear me. My body was pinned to the side of the greenhouse. A green light had his face lit up the color of seaweed. I stopped fighting and stared at his face. His seaweed face. Into his black eyes. He had lost all human form. He had become the creature from my nightmares. Then I tasted blood, it jolted me back into the present. For the next five minutes I fought with everything inside me.
Every hope, every fear, everything. I kicked, I cried, I begged, I bit, I pushed, in my most shameful moment I kissed. I felt my chest filling with fiery acid. I was going to be sick. “Que pensaría tu madre de ti ahora?” I tried. With this his grip loosened, he had lost control for less then a half second. He was thinking and I was running, through the manicured garden. I didn’t look back and he didn’t follow.
I ran until our bedroom door was closed behind me. In my bed I sobbed, I let my mind free. It raced a million miles a second and I didn’t try to control it. It was still screaming, my eyes fixed on the door knob when my exhausted body won and I fell into a deep sleep.
When I woke I felt weak. My face swollen and lips crusted over with blood. I told my friend about the dreadful events that unfolded after I had left her. She allowed herself a minute to cry, then she packed our bags. “You need to decide now if it’s important to you to tell someone who works here or not.” She tucked the last of our cash into her underwear, slung her backpack onto her shoulders, picked up mine with two hands and vanished from the room.
I wanted to get the hell out of there, but couldn’t leave without outing him. He worked there. What if I was leaving future girls in danger. I walked down stairs and asked the hostel manager to talk outside.
From the bench we sat on I could see the greenhouse. I worked up the words. “Last night X attacked me in the restaurant.” I explained what had happened, sparing him the details of my aching pussy and demonic hallucinations. It was hard to speak, my wounds felt too fresh.
There was some silence and then he uttered the following two sentences, “perhaps X was just coming onto you. I mean he’s a good guy, did you give him the impression you wanted to sleep with him?”
“I don’t know that attacking someone from behind in the dark is...” I started, I exhaled smoke, feeling it burn my lip on its way out. I knew where this conversation was heading and I knew where it was ending. I stood up and walked through the garden for the last time.
Five minutes later my friend and I were dragging our feet down the long dirt road, the same one we had arrived on. This time in silence. This time a little less in love with life.