An Open Letter to the Man Who is "Not" My Rapist


United States
39° 53' 25.62" N, 75° 22' 13.3176" W

I know it’s been a while, since we last spoke. Or rather, since you last spoke and I listened with my cheek on the sidewalk, my first kiss with lips to the concrete, my last prayer flung to the ground in front of me into the path of the Good Samaritan who must’ve been running late.
Better late than never, my best friend said when I finally got my period seven weeks later and didn’t have the heart to illustrate the look in the eyes of the nurse when I told her that the miscarriage was an accident.
She looked at me, one thousand, one hundred, and thirty two heart beats less than you had, and assured me that most… Most are.
And most people don’t swallow everything in the medicine cabinet, quit taking their medication more regularly than they actually do, or bowl over-handed—but I do all three.
And most people don’t get struck by lightning but I’ve been fried now, twice, pushed down in towns 250 miles away, I wonder if you two have met.
The first time I told anyone about him I was told that he didn’t count because we were both at least seven drinks past sober and that is the legal limit of asking for it.
For the record, I wasn’t asking for it.
For the record, you were my first.
For the record, I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, and running shoes I don’t sleep in, any more.
For the record, I never told them about you. My high school, the therapist, the best friend who found me outside chain-smoking when the shove of a table across linoleum sounded too much like your pulse—I didn’t tell them. It was dehydration, a cat -scratch, a bad day I wanted to burn under the soles of my timberlands, my steel-toed boots I hope to meet you in, some day.
Let me ask you about your first time: Did you spend it praying to Gods who don’t believe in you, biting your lip and hoping the only thing to enter you might be a bullet, only to have an entire round emptied into a target you didn’t know you were born with?
Did you spend the next two years writing about anything but? Makeup stories of your first time for your friends until you couldn’t keep them straight, anymore? Carve the word GUILTY into your thigh because you never got any other verdict from strangers? Did you keep him? DID you keep him? Did you keep HIM-
Did you keep the son you can’t have because your entire life is a nightmare, do you sometimes refer to him, in conversation, as your brother?
It’s been two years now and I still can’t get drunk at parties without my back against a wall and every third floor window a chance I didn’t get before, one that I am now asking for.
It’s been two years now and even when I tell a counselor that I have always been a man, I can’t help but watch as they stutter over pronouns and tell me it’s YOUR fault, that wanting something else between my legs can’t protect me and can’t make it disappear.
It’s been two years now and I am numb to those miniature explosions that her fingers trigger because every hand against my neck is your gun against my temple and there is no such thing as a safety, anymore.
For the first time in two years I have met a boy who knows that this shoulder is safe to touch and this one isn’t. Who doesn’t pin my fingers to the desk when they shake but instead lets them dance across his back until his bed is an earthquake.
You know, on average, the human body needs 8 positive touches a day to stay alive, and I am slowly blossoming under his lips, he offers me 80 a day, breaks down scar tissue with his kiss, I swear to God we’ve got the same finger tips, even on the days I don’t see him.
For the first time since you found me I am cutting the kite strings you left on my hips when you left, I am taking back everything that you cost.

Do not come looking, you will not find me.. For the first time in two years… I am not lost.)


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