Story 60


It was dark when she opened her eyes and it took a while for her eyes to adjust. She looked around, she was in someone’s studio apartment. She felt dizzy and her throat hurt. She realized that she was wearing a big size button-down shirt and absolutely nothing beneath it. She felt scared. She tried to recollect what had happened; and she remembered the embarrassing moment when she had peed her pants. She covered her eyes with her hands. 


She had stepped out of the bar for fresh air and that’s when she had seen him walking towards her. She was alone in the alley and she’d been scared and had peed her pants in fear. Next, she had vomited and soiled her shirt as well. The man had come running towards her and she had fainted straight into his arms. She did not remember anything after that. What had he done to her? Where was she? She looked around for her clothes, they were not there. She tried to get up but could not stand; she felt dizzy and collapsed back on the bed. Had she been kidnapped? She wondered. 





She heard the front door being opened and she closed her eyes, pretending to be asleep. She heard footsteps coming closer to her bed. She should have grabbed something to defend herself, she thought.  
Someone came closer and sat on the bed next to her. She could feel her heart-beat in her throat. She opened her eyes slightly and saw a man placing some medicines on the side-table. She closed her eyes again as the man turned. Was he going to touch her? Had he already touched her? Of course, he had. She was in a stranger’s bed wearing nothing but a big size button-down shirt. He had undressed her. The headache was unbearable and the burning sensation in the throat made her want to scratch her throat. She was thirsty.


Thankfully, the man got up from the bed and walked away only to return with a glass of water. Had she spoken out loud? She tried to remember. No, it was impossible, given the condition she was in. Not a word could escape her throat. 
He placed the glass of water on the side-table and turned to go. She jumped at the opportunity and in one fluid motion she sat straight in bed, picked up the glass, hit it on the side-table to break it and stabbed the man with the broken glass. He yelled in pain and turned around. She tried to get up and run past him but she could not. She collapsed after running a few steps. She cursed her fate. She was not as strong as she thought she was. She should have played along until she regained her strength and then attacked the man. But it was too late to think about it now. She had ruined her chances of escape. Any moment now, she knew the man would grab her and hit her. This time maybe tie her to the bedpost. And then what? She shuddered. Would he rape her? Would he kill her? 


“What the hell was that?” the man screamed holding her by the waist and making her stand up. She was tempted to hit the man with her elbow but she was already feeling drained out. 
“Are you crazy?” he yelled throwing her back on the bed. She closed her eyes, waiting for the inevitable. Nothing happened. She opened her eyes and saw that the man was examining the wound in the full-length mirror. Strangely, a thought crossed her mind, he was handsome. His white button-down shirt, similar to the one she was wearing, was red with blood from the wound on his shoulder where she had hit him with broken glass.
“I was not going to hurt you.” The man said looking at her and then looked away. She covered herself with the bed-sheet. It took a while for the words to register in her mind. He was not going to hurt her? She tried to wrap her mind around it. 


The man muttered a few curse words and walked away. He stormed out of the apartment. Since the time she could remember she had been told that men were bad and they would harm her if she trusted them. She had a few experiences of her own to believe what was told to be true. The only people she trusted were of the same sex – her friends were the ones who took care of her, she was the one who was always lost, always scared. She had stepped out of her house with her best friend who had asked her to ‘live a little’, she had not known it included alcohol.
She was sure she was never going to touch alcohol again in her life, ever. 


She checked the side-table; the man had kept aspirin for her. She took out one on her palm and tried to get up; with the support of the walls she managed to reach the kitchen area. She took the aspirin with a glass of water. She felt hungry and rummaged through the cabinets searching for something to eat. She settled for a stale sandwich kept in the refrigerator. She was half-way through the sandwich when he returned. She froze. He almost ran towards her yelling – “no, no, no, don’t eat, not yet” but it was too late. Before he could reach her and take the sandwich from her hand, she dropped the sandwich. She felt her stomach trying to crawl out of her throat and the next moment she realized she was vomiting all over the place, including the man’s shirt – the one she was wearing as well as the one he was wearing. 


He did not care about the mess or the stink. He held her by the waist and guided her out of the kitchen. She was too exhausted to stop him from touching her even if she felt his body through the thin fabric of the shirt. To be held together by the vomit on their shirts; the thought was nauseating and she was about to vomit again when the man picked her up in his arms and rushed towards the bathroom. They reached in time and she vomited in the commode.


When she turned around she saw that he was unbuttoning his shirt. Before she could know what was happening he stood under the shower and let the hot water run down his body; thankfully he had kept his jeans on. He stepped aside but let the shower run. He looked at her and that’s when she realized he was expecting her to get into the shower. No way, she thought. After a moment of hesitation, he walked out of the bathroom, his wet jeans making weird noise and leaving behind a trail of water. 


“Wash yourself” he told her and added, “I will get you a fresh pair of clothes.”
She pulled the curtains closed and stepped in the shower. The hot water felt good. She unbuttoned her shirt and let it fall to the floor. 
She could not believe it took her only few minutes to trust this man. She had never trusted anyone before. She was never taught to trust anyone before. She did not know why but she was sure he would not step into the bath. She trusted him enough to stand naked under the shower; only a curtain separating them both. 


She washed herself clean and wrapped a towel around her. He had kept a fresh pair of clothes for her on the floor, she picked them up and got dressed – they were his clothes she realized. He was cleaning the vomit on the kitchen floor, the embarrassment was back. She offered to join him to clean but he refused. He said she should get some rest so that she could go back home. That should have made her happy; but she felt weirdly sad.


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When she woke up she felt his rhythmic breathing on her neck. He had wrapped his arms around her leaving her with no option but to lay still in bed if she did not want to wake him up. When he finally turned in bed, she propped herself up on one elbow and watched him sleep. Her thoughts went back to the day when she had seen him first. The memories made her smile. She’d thought he had kidnapped her. She still remembered the look on his face when she had stabbed him with the broken glass. That day, she had not known that he would be the first and the only man she would trust in her entire life. It had been difficult to convince her mother that she had taken the right decision, she could not blame her mother who had been married to an abusive bastard. 
Being abused as a child had made her believe what her mother told her – men were not to be trusted. 
It was impossible to convince her mother that not all men were bad; there were a few good ones out there. Her mother had warned her that someday she will realize that she had made a mistake.


Every night after that, whenever he returned home late, she worried that he was drunk and she would hide in a corner, baseball bat in her hands. He’d then try to convince her that he was not drunk, he would then kiss her on her lips and she’d never smell alcohol. He stopped drinking completely, for her sake. He did not drink at all, not even at the parties.


She knew she was lucky to have him in her life; the man who loved her, perhaps more than she loved him, the man with patience, who understood her insecurities and took care of her.


She was deep in thoughts and did not realize he had woken up. It was only when he moved to kiss her neck that she noticed. She went into his arms and closed her eyes – his heart beating over hers assured her that she would always be safe.


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