I thought a lot about whether to post this. I think a lot before posting anything these days, because I’m not sure if he’s reading it. I still think the blog’s a secret, and I tell myself that it wouldn’t matter if it wasn’t because I’m not doing anything wrong and there is no identifying information in it. Yeah, I mentioned his kids, which is sort of bad, but there are about a zillion men in New York with teenage boys, right? I’m just paranoid. Paranoid as fuck. I’ve always been paranoid–probably because of the double-life thing–but it’s been especially bad these days.
I did something Very Wrong. Something I wish I could discuss with a shrink, but I don’t have one right now.
So, I’ll tell you, instead.
Please allow me to
justify myself rationalize
preface this story: I know that one of the worst things you can do in a relationship is throw someone’s secrets and vulnerabilities back in their face when you’re angry. You know–the traumatic things in their background, bad relationships, awful things parents did to them, humiliations they suffered in the course of their career. Besides the fact that it’s a complete violation of trust, I’ve had men do it to me on multiple occasions, and I know that it hurts like hell.
I’ve done it exactly once before, during a fight with the Surgeon, and you KNOW how that guy fights–he was dragging me through the mud, but that’s still no excuse. What I said was: “You’ll never break up with me. I’ve changed you permanently. What are you going to do, go back to getting blowjobs in the dark from women you secretly despise?” Yeah, not my proudest moment (but, for the record, I was correct: I had to peel that stalker off like gum from my shoe. They’re all stalkers. All the men in my life have been stalkers! What is wrong with me?).
Well, I did it again, and I feel really really badly about it, and that’s why I’m writing this post.
When I went back, the cattle prod and the dog crate were gone (or maybe he just hid them somewhere, who knows? He did send me a photo of the cattle prod sticking out of a garbage can on the sidewalk, like it was humorous, which really pissed me off). I was still in an angry mood because I didn’t think he’d acknowledged how frightening and degrading that situation was to me. The anger sort of came out of left field because I thought I was over it.
I was trying to suppress it and be civil. In the kitchen, he has a big magnetic strip on the wall where he keeps his knives. I felt myself lingering on it. I do that a lot.
I wasn’t snapping at him (oh HELL NO), but I was shut down and tense.
He went to his suitcase and came back with some pills. It was ambien and valium. And, yes, I took them.
Then it was bath time. Unless he’s working late hours, every night is bath time with me. Besides food, he has a weird fixation on water.
He was finishing his Scotch and left the bathroom to go get a new drink.
The thought occurred to me, and I just did it. I didn’t think about it. I just did it. It was impulsive.
It was bad.
I let half the air out of my lungs so that my body would sink in the water, and I kept my eyes and mouth open. There was no soap in the water yet, so it stung my eyes, but not too badly.
He came back into the bathroom and saw me.
He dropped his glass and it exploded. He screamed something in his own language. I don’t know what it was because my head was under water and I don’t speak his language anyway.
He grabbed me under my armpits and pulled me out of the tub.
He put his fingers in my mouth and I couldn’t play dead anymore. I swatted his hand away and smiled.
“How does it feel?” I asked.
He belted me upside the face. Hard. And he got my ear while he was at it, which started ringing.
Then he crushed me to him so hard I couldn’t move.
“Don’t EVER do that again!” he yelled.
I lay there, limp, with my face swelling up, feeling the drugs start to work and thinking what a stupid idea this was. He wasn’t crying, but this was the first time I’d ever seen him distressed. I’d seen him agitated before, and angry, but never distressed. The Collector generally has perfect, unruffled composure.
Well, it was a shitty, psychological low blow, and it took a lot out of him: he just wanted to go lay down in bed, in the dark room. Immediately. My hair was still dripping. He didn’t care.
He was like an octopus with his arms and legs, holding me so tightly that I had to ask him to loosen up because I couldn’t breath right.
“You hit me in the face,” I said. Hitting someone in the face without their permission is a big deal. I know what I did was wrong, so maybe I deserved it…?
“I’ll never do it again,” he said. Well, that’s what they all say. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about men on the awful toll-road of life, it’s that if they will do it once, they’ll do it again.
He moved on top of me, like he was a blanket.
“You can’t ever leave me. I need you too much. People like us need each other. We complete a circle.”
The drugs were kicking in, and I don’t remember anything after that. Ambien really knocks out the short-term memory.
The next morning, my face was swollen. I’m lucky he didn’t get my orbital bone–I would have had a shiner for sure. It was just my cheek, and the inside of my cheek that cut on my teeth. It was swollen, but no bruising.
“What are we going to tell people about this?” I asked. I normally don’t give a shit if people see my bruises and marks, except when I have to work and cover them up with stage makeup or hosiery. Are boxers and martial artists ashamed of their marks? Construction workers? Furthermore, if it’s something like, say, cane marks…the average person has no clue what they are or how I got them. It’s the last thing they would expect.
But, in this case, it looked exactly like what it was: it looked like I’d gotten belted upside the head. That side of my face looked like a chipmunk’s.
We brainstormed on it a little bit and decided that if anyone asked, I’d tell people I had dental work done. When I’d had my wisdom teeth removed, it caused my face to swell up in exactly the same way.
Another consequence: now I’m covering up for the man.
Well, if there’s one thing I know how to do in this life, it’s how to keep secrets for men. Been doing it all my life.