Memories: A Bad Morning
Everyday through my adolescence, my mother would scream at the top of her lungs to wake me up in time to go to school. As a young adult, I would eventually find myself with six alarm clocks. I sleep soundly and I wake up slowly. One morning I woke up and I had a vague awareness that there was liquid leaking out of my vagina and seeping between my buttocks. My pubic hair was matted together. He’d done it again. I should have felt pissed, furious, enraged. Instead, I only felt tired, burdened. This was the third time in about as many months.
I pulled myself out of bed, walked through the windowless middle room and then through the kitchen, where the vinyl flooring, which covered the entire apartment and could never be cleaned because its shiny coating had long since worn off, was worn entirely through in patches. I crossed the long narrow hallway that ran the entire length of the apartment, where the tin ceiling, black with mold, had been ripped open in search of a leak that was never found by a school teacher friend of the landlord who moonlighted as a handyman. I probably coughed as I walked. As long as I lived in that apartment I had asthma, a disease I had never before had and which mysteriously disappeared after I moved. Three or four years earlier, when we had first arrived, I made enthusiastic attempts to make the place cheerful. Now, it all seemed just like so much wasted effort. The bathroom was carved out of the hallway and was two and a half feet, or seventy-five centimeters, wide. From the beginning, the bathroom seemed like a physical impossibility. Going into the shower, which was so narrow that I could barely raise my arms, to wash off the semen from between my legs, I had the distinct impression that my life was swirling down the drain.
I got out of the shower and toweled off. Stoneface was at work. I worked weekends at a call center and my days off were in the middle of the week. The phone rang. It was Luscious. It was barely half past noon, that was early for her. Something must be up.
“How are you,” she asked.
“Um, okay, I guess.”
“Bullshit. I don’t even know why you try to hide stuff from me. I can always tell. What’s wrong.”
She hated Stoneface. They hated each other, although they both refused to admit it. I was dreading telling her, but I hadn’t told anyone about what had been happening.
In a normal relationship, I would have had a fit the first time it happened, but Stoneface and I had never had a normal relationship. He tried having sex with several women before me, but he lost his erection every time. He tried having sex with men with the same effect. Finally, I came along. He did start to lose his erection the first time, but I was so patient, understanding, sweet and non-judgmental about it, we were able to fuck. However, our entire sexual relationship became about him. I could never be anything other than absurdly gentle, never speak above a whisper. If I did, he would become impotent for a time. I was the strong resilient one and he was the delicate flower. So, the first time it happened, I confronted him, but as quietly and gently as possible. The next time I wasn’t so gentle and I thought we had settled it. Predictably, he was unable to have sex with me for a few weeks after that, and now there was this.
Luscious knew that I was not happy with my sex life, but she didn’t know the details. Many people seemed to think we were both gay and attempting to have a heterosexual relationship despite our natural inclinations. As dysfunctional as that sounds, it would have been a million times easier than what was going on. I never found out what was at the root of Stoneface’s discomfort. I tried to encourage him to go for therapy, but he refused. We probably wouldn’t have had the money if he had wanted to, anyway.
“I woke up this morning with semen between my legs.” I finally blurted out over the telephone.
“You’re saying that like it’s bad…”
“Yeah, well in this case it is. I was asleep.”
“You’ve been raped.” She said, her voice rising with outrage. She was one of those anarchists that was good at being about outraged over anything, so it was more annoying than meaningful.
“Is that the most helpful thing you could think of to say?”
“Well, you sound as if you didn’t know, so I thought someone ought to tell you. If you didn’t consent it was rape.”
“Thank you, but you fucking well know that I know that.”
“I don’t know why you stay with him. Just leave him.”
She didn’t really need to say that. It was pretty clearly going in that direction, but for the time being I was stuck because of a lack of money.
“Do you still use a diaphragm?” She asked.
“You didn’t have it in, did you?”
“No. Why would I?”
“Well, that sucks.”
Well, I originally planned on writing about this in its place, but something I read in a comment elsewhere put me in mind of it. There were more reasons to publish later than to publish it now, at least as far as readers are concerned. This was towards the end of a relationship that lasted about four or five years and I’d known him for a couple of years before that. The sexual parts of the relationship were bad, but other parts were good at first. Intellectually, he was probably one of the closest matches I ever dated. Most of my musical taste is due to his influence. He really encouraged me to dump some New Agey garbage I picked up in college, which was a good thing. Sometime earlier he had asked me to marry him and I said no. At the time, I thought we could still solve our problems and eventually marry, but then we started in a downward spiral. I’m not a martyr type, and I did many nasty things back to him. Right now, I’m having some difficulty remembering the sequence of events.
So, yes, he was odd, but not as odd as this being out of sequence makes him sound. In the past couple of years I’ve had women on the internet say that it’s not unheard of for abusive men to try to trap girlfriends into staying in the relationship by trying to get them pregnant, and I wouldn’t rule out the possibility in this case since I was definitely thinking of leaving him and he wanted to marry me. Also this was a new habit for him. On the other hand, that’s just speculation on my part.
I’ve had two abortions in my life, and whenever I see people making anti-abortion comments, it brings me back to these points in my life. It’s a very abstract question for them and it’s very specific for me. As soon as I could did a pregnancy test and when it came out positive I had an abortion as quickly as I could. The doctor said that I was about three weeks along, but from my own calculation about the dates it was probably four weeks. Today, I could go for the morning after pill or have a medication abortion rather than a surgical one. Then, surgical abortion was the only option. I don’t feel in the least bit bad about it. It was what had to be done. Emergency contraception was already available in the UK at this time, but its approval in the U.S. was delayed in part due to the effort of forced-breeding advocates. Since these EC isn’t abortion anyway, the people who opposed it weren’t anti-abortion.
At the rate I’m telling my story, it would be a couple of years before I get to this point, so I thought I’d jump ahead.
This make me angry, fiction or not, who can tell?
All the posts titled “Memories” are real.
I “liked” this, not because I appreciate what happened, but because of your willingness to discuss a traumatic event.
Anti abortionist bullshit is all about deciding what is best for someone else and damn the consequences. I support the
right for women to make this decision based on their personal circumstances.
I used to be a commercial diver, harvesting freshwater mussels for the cultured pearl industry, consequently I had
associations with commercial fishermen at times. I still remember a quote one of these fishermen said, about what
I no longer recall. The quote? “Fuck em and feed em fish heads.” This is how I feel about the anti abortion movement.
I read this story and I thought this was an odd fellow. Your courage to tell your stories is highly appreciated.
You are very brave…and stronger than you think…I think.