As we sit in silence, holding onto the first emotional connection with the past, my attention is stuck on the therapy room window. The size and shape reminds me of a similar one – the one that was an escape route from my attacker.
When I was telling my Therapist, Paul, about some of the bullying that happened through teenage years, there was barely time to grasp just how huge this admission actually is. A number of supressed memories began seeping into my consciousness.
Suddenly I’m back there. My naked back is pressing hard against the bedroom door as I tightly hold onto my attacker’s wrists. We are so close I can smell his breath. There’s blood absolutely everywhere. Words cannot describe the fear. He does not attempt to wriggle free from my grip, but gently takes a step backwards…. smiles.
He’s whispering the same words repeatedly, “Come back to bed… come back to bed…”
I can’t even remember his name. I see no hint of the friendly charm, or that beautiful warm smile that I met earlier. I’m not entirely sure where we are, but one thought fills me with utter horror, ‘No one knows where I am or who I’m with’.
Directly behind him, the bedroom looks like a slaughterhouse. The bed is covered with blood; it’s up the walls and a trail leads across the carpet to where we stand, quietly and calmly, face to face.
There’s a window at the far end of the room. It’s daylight and a silhouette of the narrow window frame projects onto closed curtains. We’re on the second floor, but this might be my only means of escape. If I die in the process, at least people will know…
Everything happens in slow motion, but my mind is on overdrive. I can’t seem to grasp exactly what’s happening. My assailant’s face is ashen and sweaty, and his entire naked body is smeared in my blood. Large vacant eyes seem to stare straight through me.
He smiles before slowly taking another step backwards, pulling my grip in the direction of the bed. His fingers are gripping razor blades cupped within both hands. There’s no way of knowing the extent of my injuries, but I know my life is in grave danger.
Paul’s voice sounds distant. He’s repeating something I’ve just said, “You felt like giving up?”
Who would have thought that the same technique I developed for defusing the teenage-bullies might actually help me out of this terrifying situation?
I resist the temptation to panic or scream into the silence for help. Instead, I relax and smile… I pretend none of this is untoward. It’s all perfectly normal and we are having a good time.
The attacker gently twists his wrists inside my tight grip. He’s teasing more than trying to escape. Time is running out.
I don’t feel myself speak, but hear my familiar voice crack the silence. “Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.” I smile. “I’m just going to the toilet… I’ll be back to bed in a minute”
So often in life, I did want to give up. I desperately wanted to escape from an unhappy and traumatic childhood and be free of the bullies that made my teenage days so miserable. There I was years later, considering giving up once again.
As I stand before my potential murderer, it crosses my mind to lie down and die quietly. Don’t do anything that might exacerbate the problem. I am alone. Desolate. Detached from reality. I feel utterly defeated. Tired of running. Weary of pretending it’s always okay. Whether I lie back on the blood-soaked bed or jump through the second floor window, both are certain to result in ultimate death. The resignation feels incredibly peaceful.
Paul’s words are still ringing in my ear, “You… felt… like… giving… up.”