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The Rape

When she could think about it, a while after it had happened, she could not exactly blame him. She blamed herself. She was angry with herself for the many times she had not brushed him off more firmly. Been harsher.

Maybe it was because the first time when she tried to react, it had nearly ended her relationship with her sister. Her sister had been inclined to believe him more than her. She had gradually realised at the time that maybe her sister had been in love with the fool. She had just never told him and the fool had already sensed it.

Her sister had said some things to her that had made her pause and think, hurt. Her sister had accused her of being an attention seeker. Of wanting all the men around to pay attention to her. He had probably been doing nothing more than paying as close attention as she had suggested to him. She had never thought her sister could be jealous of her until then.

She knew she had not been encouraging him. She could not believe she had. He knew very well she had a boyfriend. He had met the boyfriend many times when he had come to visit. The boyfriend had not liked him but it was hard for anyone to tell when the boyfriend did not like them. It had seemed like they had got on very well. When he had warned her about him, she had thought he was simply being jealous and protective, like he always was when he did go out with them.

He had said some things that she liked to think were mere flirting. She had refused to take them seriously. Even that night when they had remained the last ones drinking at Lake Vic, a day before her fever became intense. The boyfriend chiding her when she was full-on ill, that it must have been that night’s drinking that had made her so ill. He had hang around when she was sick and sweetly solicitous that sometimes she had been uncomfortable. The thought of having sex with him never occurred to her but she had realised then that he would never have been good in a love triangle. He could never have been one to have a fling with because he simply seemed too possessive.

But still, she had been shocked that mid-afternoon when he attempted to attack her. When he tried to forcefully make her have sex with him when she was ill. The first time. Her sister and her friend had agreed afterwards that maybe the fever in its last flare-up had made her imagine that he had been trying to force himself on her. That she had hallucinated. But she had not! He had made them believe that and for a long time, she could not talk to her sister because of that. Because her sister could not take her side instinctively. It had made her wonder about her sister, about their relationship. If it was what she had thought it was, if it ever was.

She could not understand how strong his lust had been that he would try to rape her when she had just come from the bathroom. From defecating and urinating. How could he be certain that she had washed herself and she had been clean? Did he even think about that? He probably did not. He might have, maybe. But the opportunity must have been too much for him to pass up. This is where she blamed herself.

She was ill that day, yes, but she should not have been floating around in a bathrobe with only a knicker short underneath. She should not have been so loosely strapped. She should not have stopped to greet him and yap before she proceeded on to the bathroom, asking him to get her some juice from the fridge so she could take her medicine. She should not have asked him especially to do that because the fridge in the hallway to the bathroom must have seemed like an invite from her to him.

That she wanted him to hear her in the bathroom. To peer through the keyhole at what she might be doing there. Had he peered through the keyhole? She could not know. The thought chilled her and repulsed her. What had he seen? She could still remember his hands on her shoulders, creepily sliding down her arms, as he had claimed he was helping her from the bathroom and when she had tried to push him away, the roughness as he grabbed her, bruising her. She had never known fear like that fear.

She should have known that he would try it again once he got the chance. She could not understand how she had not seen that immediately. She was so stupid to have not seen that. She should have kept away from him as she had done initially, never listened to his apologies, his pleas. She should never have grudgingly shown him that he could claim to be her friend again.

She had wanted her relationship with her sister so much that she had let him back into her life. She had not thought he would ever be as much a part of her own life as he had been before. She had underestimated her desperation for her sister’s friendship, the soothing balm of memory-erasing a bad memory. She would never have been that way, she thought, if it had been anyone else pleading for his forgiveness. She would never have made the mistake that led for the second time to that terrible night she was sure she would never forget. She would hate him for as long as she had breath in her and she would never, never forgive or forget again. She would remind herself all her life.

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