ApologyIt was around half past nine in the morning. Thanks to the blazing heat of the sun it seemed like noon. She stepped out of her friend's apartment. She was in a hurry to go back home. She could feel him behind her. She turned. He smiled and graciously offered to walk her to the bus stop. She complied. It was as if someone had turned on a switch in the last twenty four hours. She was in the "complying mode". After a bitter spat of close to two days, she has complied with her boyfriend's final declaration - "I will only speak to you again if I want to and that too when I want to; if at all I ever want to."
She thought it would be alright, she could take silence from him for a couple of days. She pretended to be fine and emptied half a bottle of the oldest of monks. She pretended to be fine and puffed out two packets of smoke into the air. She pretended to be fine, until a friend asked her, "Is everything alight?" The torn heart broke its stony silence in the comforting words of a friend. His encouraging and generous words helped her boost her confidence. She realised all was not lost with her relationship and began to think of ways to end the right. She remembered the liquor hitting her hard and she remembered him offering to drop her home. "No, I am too high to go back home. Take me to a friend's place." She retorted in her drunken stupor.
"Do you know whose place you want to go to?"
"Yes, here's her number. Call her and tell her I am coming over."
A few minutes later, he called her a cab and took her to her friend's place. She remembered reaching there, hugging her friend and clumsily making a room for herself on the living room couch. Before passing out she heard her friend inviting him to stay over as well.
"Hello! What are you thinking?", he said in a sing song voice, waving his hands in front of her. Her reverie broke and she found herself facing the face of a friend. She made an expression indicating a bad hangover.
"Come on! Let's go. You will be fine."
She smiled and sighed, not sure which one of them bore testimony to her true feelings. She adjusted her shades and stepped out.
A few minutes later in the bus, she began recollecting the events of the night before. She remembered calling for her boyfriend and then eventually passing out amidst the laughter and energetic conversations of the people around her.
She remembered suddenly been woken up again by the feeling of something on her. The room seemed dark and everything was quiet. Probably everyone had turned in. She felt uncomfortable and tried to move. It was then she realised that something was moving on her. In the faint light of the street lamps that flickered through the window, she was her friend on top of her. It was him alright, but there was something different about his eyes. She could see no comfort and safety there; no not any more. The eyes spoke of hunger, he himself reeked of liquor and lust. Still heavily dazed by the effect of alcohol, she somehow managed to push him off her and rushed to the other couch. The enveloping darkness and constant swooning prevented her from locating the door. He almost pounced on her like a beast and pinned her down on the other couch.
"Come on, you know you want it. You know your relationship is over. It's fine!", he whispered reassuringly in her ears.
"No, no! This feels wrong. I love him. What about you? What about your girlfriend?"
"My relationship is a mess. She doesn't let me touch her, feel her, fuck her. It's dead from my part. Come on, you know you deserve better, what we are doing is nothing wrong. Come on!"
"But, I don't want too..." Her voice trailed off unheard somewhere in the pressing silence of the darkness.
While his words imitated a convincing tone, his body did not stop ravishing her. She lay like a stone, mulling over what he was saying. She remembered what her boyfriend had told her, "I will speak to you if I ever want to again..."
"It's over then.", thought her fatigued brain. And then she began to feel the physical pain being 'showered' on her. She tried to break free, but that earned her more pain. She wanted him to stop. She wanted the voices in her head to stop - comments, assertions, declarations all pounded her soul. Their din had almost reached a crescendo. It was at that moment the prey submitted itself to the beast. She submitted and complied to his every fetish. She didn't know what was the greater reason behind their 'transgression' - the fact that she believed her relationship was over or that she just wanted him to stop.
The bus was approaching her stop. She quickly dabbed the single tear rolling down her cheek and got off. She went home and slowly made her way to the washroom. She faced the mirror and opened her shades and sweater. A girl covered with red-blue bruises around her neck and swollen red eyes stared back at her. She realised she was bleeding. She washed her face, adjusted her clothes and called up her boyfriend, requesting him to meet her for the last time. The cool and calm voice of an otherwise chirpy girl, frightened her boyfriend. He agreed. She stepped out of the washroom, went to her family and confided in them. She refused to disclose the name of the friend. She believed it was transgression on her part and thus took responsibility for her actions. She apologised to them and stepped out to meet her boyfriend.
They met. He stared at her puffy eyes. She quickly put on her shades and with tears rolling down her cheeks, she told him everything that she had done. She told him how she had transgressed the boundaries of the relationship. She apologised to him over and over again. He stared at her, disbelief written all over his face.
"Please tell me nothing like this happened.", he murmured softly.
"It did. It did! I am so sorry!"
He put on his shades and walked away. She stared at the receding figure, until she could see him no more.
She called her friends. She met them and told them everything. She apologised to them for her transgression. Everyone stared at her in disbelief. "You? How could you do something like this?"
On her part, neither could she really understand how she could have done something like this. This was so unlike her. Her boyfriend called her up that night to talk. They talked for hours, days and days rolled into weeks. He accepted his share of responsibility for the decadence of their relationship. They agreed to work it out. They fought and fought for what seemed like eternity, but finally made peace. He promised her everything would be okay. She felt guilty. She felt she had not apologised enough. She apologised over and over again until he asked her not to anymore. All went back to being picture perfect. She felt the ray of hope slowly spreading back on her life.
However, it still bothered her how she could have done something like this. She kept on asking herself from time to time. It was almost more than a year later that she found her answer. She realised that every drunken 'transgression' is not consensual, even though apparently might appear to be so. She realised the mind could be tricked into believing that you are equally participating in something in order to shield the more treacherous pain, a pain that comes from being mutilated, a pain that comes from being taken advantage of, a pain that comes from being treated as an object of lust instead of as a friend, a pain that comes from being ravaged by a friend, the pain of a broken trust. It was not her fault that the comforting shoulder of a friend would transpire into the hands of a lusty beast at night. It was then she realised that she owed an apology to herself. An apology for being a bad judge of character, an apology for taking the wrong decision. She finally understood that it was not her fault; there was no transgression from her end. It was hard to admit it and come to terms with it, but she apologised to herself for not admitting what had truly happened with her - an assault.