The first time a strange man groped me, it was in the afternoon. It was a busy street. There were about twenty people watching. There were about twenty people who stood still and didn’t blink an eye when it happened.
The first time a strange man touched my breast, it was through three layers of sweaters and I was barely an A cup. There was little to grab onto but he seemed delighted anyway. It was a few seconds before I could stagger back and quickly walk away.
The first time a strange man ran his hand over my body, I was angry and humiliated and scared. I went back home and washed my body for hours, I tried to scrub the skin off my bones but I learned to live with it. And my soul, though bruised, remained intact.
You, on the other hand, never even touched me. You never ran your hands over my undeveloped, pre-adolescent body to abuse me. You never stood in front of me in the middle of a busy road in the afternoon sun.
You simply looked at me. And it’s funny how no strange man with his eager, groping hands can touch me in any way that could compare to what you did. To how your look raped my soul.
You know that warm, comforting feeling you get when you step onto soft grass with your bare feet? How the blades of grass gently tingle your skin and you feel a kind of one-ness with the earth?
You know that relieved breath of sigh you let out when you step out of your tiring shoes and sweaty socks at the end of a long day and let your toes feel the floor of your house? How the cool, hard tiled floor sends shivers of happiness right up your spine and you feel the majority of your stress and exhaustion just melt away into the ground?
You know that funky, uplifting feeling you get when you let your toes wriggle in the hot sand of a sunny, gorgeous beach? How your feet sink into the sand and you just become a part of the nature and beauty of the place itself?
I really hope you know how all this feels. I hope you’re not like me, terrified of letting myself walk barefoot on the ground for no logical reason. I hope when your toes touch the floor, you’re able to appreciate the beautiful feeling for me because damn, I wish I was in your place.
I guess I’ve got some things to clear up with you. And even more to apologise for.
I know I’ve been acting weirdly and I’m sorry if I’ve made you uncomfortable. I did not mean to stare quite so hard at you, really. But it is partly your fault. You were the one who looked over first. And how do I explain what that did to me?
No, it’s not how you think it is. No, I’m not obsessed with you.
Fate is cruel. And so are your eyes. For they remind me of something. A someone who once mercilessly grabbed my arm and stomped on my already broken sanity. Your eyes have his laugh, Stranger. It knocks all breath out of my body.
It’s so much easier telling the world and even myself that I’m attracted to you because it’s the biggest lie I’ve ever spoken. And I could be a professional for all the lies I’ve told in my life. So that’s what I do. I tell them I’m hopelessly attracted to you so they’d think my abnormal attentiveness to your presence is normal.
Attraction is thrilling. But the shreds of my mind confuses that thrill with fear way too often. And that’s what’s happening between you and me. My own fear is pulling me towards you instead of making me run. It’s not courage. It’s self destruction.
My eyes are fixed on every move you make in a horrified paralysis. My mind is frantic with terror, seeing nothing but that imaginary monster in you and that monster alone. My body is cold with memory for it remembers more than my mind does, even the bits I subconsciously shut out to protect myself.
Dear Stranger, you make it more difficult when you stare back. And I’m so sorry for never looking away. I’m so sorry for hating you for something you never were and never will be. I’m sorry for glaring at you and I’m sorry for the unreciprocated friendly smiles.
But mostly I’m sorry for ever having run into you and dragging you into the middle of my crazy world. You deserve it even less than I did.