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I woke.

Horror dream. Of being laid across a man and raped. I was frightened and I couldn’t escape. My feet pushed against his; my penis was half erect and tingling.

I turned to look at Ruthie; she was still asleep and the room was dark.

Maybe it was the wine from last night, setting loose the demons that I normally keep safely locked away. Even after this long, I remember new things, or imagine that I do. I don’t have the strength to be certain of anything, and it no longer makes a difference.

I lay quiet, struggling for insight. I moved closer to Ruthie, feeling raw.

He sat across the kitchen table from me. It was mid or late afternoon and we were sharing a pot of tea.

‘Did you enjoy what we did this afternoon?’ He asked me.
What you did, I thought, and No, I didn’t like it and I’m shocked that you pour me a cup of tea and ask my opinion of your abuse of me.
‘What did we do this afternoon?’ I asked him, blankly.

I went into the garden. I was his guest and I was far from home and there was no one to say Stop!

I wanted to wake Ruthie. I wanted to tell her, and for her to hold me and say, ‘It’s alright. It’s alright darling. It’s alright. Just a dream, that’s all. Dreams can’t hurt you.’

I wanted to undo things. Shed things. Turn the clock right back to zero. I wanted to escape this feeling.

I wanted lots of things I couldn’t have.

Ruthie sighed in her sleep. Murmured. Sensing something, her eyes opened and she smiled. ‘Go to sleep,’ she whispered, and her eyes closed again.

The night spread out on either side of me.

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