The Closer I Get To You
What does the following stuff truly add up to?
pure and utter exhaustion
... no telling when she'll get to them, so we won't wait ...
The Closer I Get To You
5:03pm I wonder who would play me? I thought, as I stared up at the ceiling. I still had a few seconds to process the situation but I couldn’t get my head clear, it’s seemed like hours had already passed.
Just breath, San, just breathe, it’ll be all right. I couldn’t think fast enough because I couldn’t tell if he was really asleep. I didn’t think so, but I was scared, he’d already stopped me—and he’d locked the door. ♪The closer I get to you, the more you make me feel . . . ♫ was blasting at maximum volume out of this tiny, cheap radio and I wanted to laugh: I had been shoved into the room, the door locked and the radio turned up all the way. It was just like in the movies.
5:41pm I remembered our Tae Kwan Do lessons the week before and started to convince myself that I’d learned enough to fend him off. My sensible, scary side said “Are you crazy!,” and my nervous, shaky side was whispering “You know he taught you, stupid. How are you going to beat him to the door? And, he’s probably lying anyway. What if it’s not there? Even worse, what if it is? You’ve never held one, don’t know how to use one, and still probably can’t get to the closet before him. And that’s still if he’s telling the truth. Oh, my God, what am I thinking? I’m actually trying to rationalize this thing’s behavior. What if he’s lying? What if he’s not?
8:30pm I can’t take the chance. But he’s going to kill me anyway, so why not go for it? If it happens, it happens, you have to take the chance. It’s not that far to the closet, and he won’t know when I decide to go for it. I’ll have a few seconds before he realizes and—well, we just won’t think about what happens if there isn’t one.
And once I get to the closet, where would I look for it? I can’t even remember what’s in there. Is it just my stuff? Did he put some things in there? Think girl, think. What did he say? I remember hearing “closet” and “I won’t stop you,” but maybe I’m making that up. Wishful thinking. Maybe. Slow down and think. Remember. And stop touching your face, you’ll only make it worse. So it stings, deal with it. There’re more important things to think of, like where are you going to get some clothes? I looked down at the pearly, champagne-coloured camisole I’d so mischievously put on that afternoon, it seemed like a lifetime ago. How on earth am I going to walk down the street in this? I can’t believe he threatened to kick me out of my own apartment, without my clothes: “If you go you’re leaving just like that. You can’t take nothing.”
10:19pm Why is this happening to me? I can’t believe it’s really happening. I want to go home. I knew I should never have gone out with him. But I’m too stupid to learn. I promise, God, if you get me out of this, I’ll never be that stupid again. But it wasn’t my fault. I don’t understand why people have to be this way. Jesus, please help me. I don’t know what to do. I can’t do this, he’ll catch me, and then it’ll hurt. I don’t want it to hurt.
11:43pm [song lyrics again] I blinked and opened my eyes wider, to let the tears flow freely, trying to ignore the stinging swell on the left side of my face, and trying to will the coldness of my right side onto my left. I could still see my reflection in the bathroom mirror, and his as he stood behind me. He stood deliberately close, breathing down my neck and I could see him watching me in the mirror—might as well have a few pins in me and put me under a microscope.
He was baiting me and I knew he knew I knew it, trying to see if I would break. He touched my face and I thanked God I didn’t flinch. I was doing good tonight. I could feel his calloused hands gently tilting my head and lifting it back up so I could see myself in the mirror, his gravelly voice breaking as he calmly said “look what you made me do.” A perfect outline of his palm and fingers, scarlet and blue, glowed brightly, my every breath making it pulse, a steady reminder of exactly where I was in this life, at this moment, right now.
I knew he was still talking, about this that and the other, but I’d stopped listening. At the back of my mind, I knew which words to respond to and in his present mood I was definitely on my toes, but I couldn’t help but tune him out. My face hurt like hell and I was still trying to cope with being held against my will, but I was hours away from getting mad. That never crossed my mind. Fear was holding on pretty tight and had a good grip.
I read all of that in my eyes as he nudged me toward the bathroom door, and back into that room. The bed looked rumpled and torn, just like I felt, and I knew he knew I felt that, too. I hated people who thought they knew everything. I hoped I was around when he got his. When it came around, and I firmly believed it would—I hoped I’d be able to see it, or at least hear about it. I wanted God to let me know “it” had come around.
More wishful thinking, I knew that, but in a time like this, a girl had to have something to hold onto and that was all I had. I thought about the phone in the other room and wished myself into another place, but if I could get to the phone I wouldn’t be in this predicament and it was all moot anyway, because I was in a locked room, with the radio blaring and a *#@$)#*$[#, maniac looking at me with a new thought in his eyes. My stomach shrank and I felt my throat constrict as I thought to myself “I’m not that good an actress, I can’t do that. Oh, Jesus he can’t think I can do that. Not now, not with him. Is he crazy? Just kill me now . . . you can’t be serious . . .
11:57pm Oh, my G-o-d-d-d, n-o-o-o-o.
1:41am God, if you get me through this, I’ll never be this dumb again. Please help me, God, please, help me be strong. I can do this. I know I can. All I need to do is get out of this room.
1:43am Now how am I going to do that? Just do it, San, just get up and walk to the door. I turned my head slowly and peeked at him through my lashes, trying not to hold my breath but I couldn’t help it. He looked like he was asleep, but I knew he could snore and be wide awake. It was all an act.
I knew that, but I didn’t know if he’d let me go. I couldn’t tell. I had to make a choice, I had to move, I couldn’t stand it anymore. If he was going to do it, I couldn’t stop him, so what the hell, let’s get it over with. I was tired and I wanted to go to sleep. But I wasn’t going to willingly sleep with the enemy. If he was going to do something to me, he’d better do it, ‘cause I was done.
I had resigned myself to walking out the front door with just my underwear on. I had resigned myself to having to explain to my parents that I’d “let” this idiot put his hands on me. I knew I’d have to say something at work because they’d all see my face and know anyway. I tried to count out how many days I could not go to work and hope my face wouldn’t shine.
I tried to think which neighbor would help me and not slam the door in my face, but I couldn’t figure that out, because I didn’t know any of them. It was getting light and I started to panic: if I was going to do this, I didn’t want to do it in the daytime. That I knew I couldn’t do. Time was running out. I had to decide. Was I going to just lie there and continue to “let it happen,” or was I going to try and do everything to get away, even if it meant getting hurt?
Was I capable of making that decision? Could I do it? Hurry up, San, it’s going to be light soon. You know you won’t do it then, because they’ll be able to really see you, and he’s counting on that. He thinks he knows you, doesn’t he? Thinks he’s so damn smart, but that’s okay, let him think what he wants to—one way or another, after tonight you’ll never see him again.
1:45am Everything was running through my mind as I inched closer to the edge of the bed, never taking my eyes off him. He didn’t move, but I knew he was watching me. I couldn’t see his eyes, but I knew it. I kept hearing the song and wondering why no one had called the police, the music was so loud. But all of that was way in the background, because he suddenly moved.
I caught my breath and felt my body tense. I didn’t know what was going to happen and I didn’t know what I’d do. I thought I was going to lose my bladder but I held it together. I don’t know if my mind settled on a single, coherent thought because I didn’t think I was thinking at all. I couldn’t hang onto a thought and all I could see was the light getting stronger outside the window . . . I wanted to go home. I sat on the bed and tried to disappear. I’d always loved the TV show Bewitched, and wished I could twitch myself into another place. It never occurred to me that maybe I should have been wishing I was Superman instead.
1:47am He hadn’t moved again. I didn’t see him move at all, so I tried to rally my courage, to get off the bed without thinking about him. It seemed like hours had passed and I was still lying there, trying to breath, trying not to whimper like a wounded dog, and trying to keep from choking on the stuff sliding down the back of my throat. I thought of the children I’d never have, and my mom and how she’d cry, and my sister, who’d probably want my clothes. And I was glad that at least my underwear, that he’d so graciously allowed me to keep on, still looked pretty.
1:47am Do it now, San. All you have to do is get off this bed. I inched slowly toward the edge of the bed, never taking my eyes off of him. I tried to scan his whole body, head to toe, and began to squint so I could see if he was moving. He didn’t even seem to be breathing. I tried to push the fear back down my throat and swallow through the desert in my mouth. There was nothing there, no moisture to help me out, but I managed to swallow anyway, and I think I was able to breath, too. I wasn’t sure. It didn’t feel like I was breathing. It felt like I was running through cotton and swimming through molasses. It was hot and muggy and my ears were popping, too. I wondered how much longer this night could be.
1:59am Almost there, now, just a few inches more and then you can put your foot on the floor. I knew my brain was still working, but my body had stiffened and it was hard to think clearly. I couldn’t see and my field of vision had narrowed to a tiny slit on the right, and darkness on the left as that eye was completely closed. The legs were still shaky and I couldn’t even think of the limbs in between, so I focused on the edge of the bed and the foot on the floor. The rest would come later.
2:01am ♫ . . . needing you more and more, your love has captured me . . .♪
2:01am The second foot was the hardest, ‘cause I had to move the rest of my body and it didn’t want to. I tried to will it to move, but it refused. I was going to have to stay there and I’d never get to go home. I couldn’t cry anymore, my eyes were so dry and I couldn’t swallow, my throat felt like dirt, but my body had stalled. It had quit on me and I didn’t know what I was going to do.
My head was screaming and my eyes got wide and I looked at the window and knew I was running out of time. I looked down at him, and knew I was running out of air. I thought of my momma and daddy, my artwork, and the jigsaw puzzles that I hadn’t yet completed, or all the books I was hoping to read, and the one I was still writing. I thought of my coat lying on the chair in the living room, that was by the front door, beyond which was my freedom, and I started to cry. And I knew I couldn’t wait anymore. I had to move or I’d die inside as well, and I couldn’t let him beat me. Not like that.
2:01am Trembling and shaking, both feet touched the floor. I inched my way off the bed and kept my eyes on the door. My focus centered on that door. I inched across the carpet, touched the knob and took a breath. I hadn’t heard him move . . . I couldn’t worry about that though, daylight was coming and I had to go home. A small sharp whimper caught in my throat as I pulled the door closed behind me and looked across the room at the distance to the front door and freedom.
2:03am My hand was still clutching the knob when I could have sworn I felt it move.
AWBM Blog Post #021 | 11 November 2019