Lauren Elizabeth (#3)

I will never get closure for my rape.

I have accepted this affirmation, ingested it in small increments. I have imbibed in it miniature dosage cups, diminutive sips of punctured solace.
A bitter pill to swallow, an almost incomprehensible relinquishing of the teddy bear comfort of consoling control.

There will be no reprieve for my soul, no clemency for my cranium. No psychological pardon. No bombastic admittance or power surge of forgiveness flooding tension lines after years of obsidian blackouts and stilted silence. There will be no face to face Tarantino esque confrontations with my rapist, no Hollywood unfoldings of scripted apologies unrolling like the clenched teeth of April umbrellas beneath the garish glow of city street lights. No pitiful profferings of atonement, acknowledgment of these sewer drains of hurt pooling in the landfills of my pulse.

What is closure, anyway?

Which words or actions can possibly mend the psychic chasms, the constellations of grief unpacking themselves in my marrow like the humming stillness of catacombs? Is closure a handshake or does it resemble cathartic weeping, the jutjawed outpouring of woe into the belly of a diner napkin? In my thoughts, closure has always required a level of reciprocity, a sacrifice of solidarity, a stipend of sorry confetti falling from the mouth of the offending party like manna. It can’t be manufactured from third parties or the middle men of therapists who offer peace doves of moisturized Kleenex in their milk and honey monotone above the whirring whisper of white noise machines in downtown offices.

Internalization was the automatic impulse in the wake of my trauma nine years ago, the sudden rush of sorrow filling the attics of my veins like cheap asbestos, a fragile January branch cracking beneath the accumulated weight of winter storms.

Shock and awe. The sinking crush of reality following the surrealist landscape of dissociation. Once my helium balloon head popped and I returned to earth, so far warped and twisted from the young woman I had once been, wearing my own skin like a contaminated, tattered tarp. Nothing made sense. The world was composed of charcoal and fog, my skeleton slumping over like a sack of grain on the floor, huddled by radiators for warmth.

Where is his apology? Where is the solace?

There was never any justice in my case, as it is with most rape survivors. There was never any procurance of peace.

I floundered. I suffered. Agonized. Tormented.

Now, as an older adult, I can palpably feel the sadism and the brutality with which he treated me as strong indications of his deeper issues. It in no way pardons his actions, but, in my bitterness and hostility, I am aware that any apology I would receive from my rapist would be a hollow one. Something tawdry and inconsequential, fully empty like the stuffed innards of a scarecrow.

He was a sociopath, incapable of empathy or feeling, unable to experience any semblance of benevolence or generosity. “Closure” obtained from him would be useless and insincere like arsonists who apologize for burning down buildings only to strike matches again days later, submissive to the venom of their own sadistic sexual impulses.

My rapist could never offer a genuine apology, at least not one that he felt viscerally. He was brutal and uncaring. He was violent and a sadist, a sexual deviant thriving off of inflicting physical pain and psychological suffering on me throughout the ordeal.

He relished in his dominating control, in his perverse prowess. His words impacted me, his attitude and actions scarred me, emblazoning themselves upon my psyche for life.

“You’re looking for an apology from an adult man who raped and assaulted a nineteen year old girl?” a therapist once asked me.

I am looking for something I will never receive, searching on the scraped summits of my hands and knees for wholeness or purity or some
faint echo of a pulse within the telephone wires of my knitted azure veins. An iota of peace. A lull in the storm.

I am asking to be reborn again, to be healed.

Mine was a stranger rape, and, in spite of what my hypervigilant terror tells me as I glance behind my shoulder ducking between the bellies of alleyways in the city, I will likely never encounter him again in this lifetime. I still sprinkle holy water on my doorways. I still sleep with lights on and eyes pinned open like watchful guard dogs protecting and assuaging.

Any conversation with my rapist would be vapid, forced, and unfulfilling. Damaged people who damage can never undamage their
victims. No one can undo the wound or mend the lacerations left on my malleable yet hardened mind. Nothing can replace the years I lost to the assault, the ambitions and dreams burned out like flashlights in their extinction. No one can return my softness or unclench the contracting fist of my heart, pulsating in its own broken rhythm. No one can ease the loss or unwind time back to the formative days before my body memorized the hum of its own pain like scripture.

He is still out there in the world now with his perpetual smirk, his complacent air of arrogance and smugness. True evil that entered my body, true malevolence still lingering in my bloodstream years later like a virulent infection. An infestation.

He and I are forever linked through forced intimacy and intercourse, through sexual violence, through the injustice he committed against me. He suffocated me, falsely imprisoned me for hours, raped, degraded, and physically assaulted me. Treating me like a ragdoll, as though I were a subhuman.

MY rapist, MY perpetrator, yet, on a physiological level he still owns me, still hooks into me like a feeding, frenzied parasite on those long November nights around the anniversary when the street lamps flicker and shield their faces and I am in states of derealization, immune to the gravity of my own suffering.

Somehow, I survived him. Yet, surviving the aftermath of rape is still agonizing, still a far cry from any semblance of peace. The days living with PTSD are shadows of their former selves, confining my bones into inky shells of what they might have once been. It is waking up and seeing his face. It is falling asleep to the dissonant hum of disconnected thoughts, tripping over night terrors and somber silhouettes of the past gathering like frost on window sills.

He might be out there somewhere, creating new wounds for new girls while I relegate myself to the silence, still licking mine.

Closure is nothing more than a seven letter word.

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