So after I was raped, I wrote a play about
everything that had happened and part of that process ended up being… Having to talk to
the actor who was going to play me about everything I’d been through. And it was such a weird,
awkward but amazing conversation that I ended up writing a poem about that, and erm, this
is that poem. The guy who is going to play me on stage
has a voice that only speaks in major key, so when he talks my mind throws up
the words accident, soliloquy. It’s an old technique for distracting myself;
works when they tell you about an odd lump or a burst water main.
I am sitting under a blanket that has not been cleaned
since I brought it back from India, on the sofa bed
that has not been cleaned since I was raped.
And that is what we talk about. He speaks a lot
and listens. I keep sandwiching my feelings
in between statistics. He keeps calling me mate
to make me feel like we are colleagues, like this is the sort of thing people talk
about on weekday mornings in February.
(I know all about what can happen on a weekday morning in February.)
I tell him about the police, the ‘off the record’. The way
the pavement seemed to slide beneath my knees.
We make magic this way. I give him every small piece
of suffering. Each rape joke somebody made, each trip round the supermarket, duck diving
away from the guy with my rapist’s haircut, every night when the
dark boiled in from the windows and pooled around me. I tell him about the times when it nearly
drowned me. He listens a lot.
and speaks. Two weeks later on stage I see me in his bones
as he performs, feel the crowd buck and sway. People cry. I don’t.
He says my words his way and his way becomes the truth
see I wrote myself an ending I can live with so now
living with this is something I can do. I walk out into the night, humming music
in a major key; it’s a Christmas song in February; a loop of notes that change the
shape of this damn year and thank God I learned to say all this. Thank God that I’m still