It wasn’t until this afternoon, sometime while reading another opinion article on Aziz, that I felt something inside me spark and fade. A memory resurrected from the grave, I felt its presence lurking somewhere in my body … behind my eyes, maybe. In play-back mode, I could see myself in the front seat of his grey, run-down Corvette. I was supposed to be taken back home after hanging out. But as we pulled onto my street, he made a turn and parked us on a side street. No lights above or around us.
Alex, I live over there.
I heard myself say. But he put his arm around my neck and gave that melt-your-heart kind of smirk. Slowly, he unzipped his pants and asked if I could just hang out a little longer. I began to feel myself pull back in a familiar discomfort. I laughed.
No, I don’t want to. I don’t like that.
I heard myself say. He smirked again. I melted again. I said no again. Again. Again. Then he got frustrated. Or was it mad? Not mad enough to take me home, though. In the silence, I thought of what it would mean — I’m much younger than he is, so he probably won’t hang out with me again if I don’t.
Fine. I guess.
I heard myself say. Every millisecond was degrading. I hated myself. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I jumped out of the car and I ran home. I never heard from him again.
The more #MeToo stories I come across, there is a subconscious tug on my unspoken, unopened history.
God, I know that feeling. I feel that feeling.
The body is a magnificent piece of work. It truly is. A mechanism that is capable of storing memories in ways that are beyond my comprehension. When I think of that night with Alex, I remember the bucket seats that made me feel like the child I technically was. I think of the low sidewalk that met the car as I opened the door, and the embarrassment I ran with but not from.
And if it’s not Alex, it’s Dave or Buddy and the all the ways I allowed myself to pretend it was my winning sense of humor they were all after.
I hope we all know the stories that receive even an ounce of spotlight are speaking on behalf of so many other women or men who’ve unspoken histories of their own. We are sitting on the other sides of screens, feeling the beats of our pulse, and the tightening in our chest.
Whispering to ourselves, “Me Too.”