It was dark. The dark felt huge. I felt swallowed up by it. Every little noise made me jump. I wanted to tear out of there, to get as far away from that spot as I could. But I was frozen.
I was convinced that he was waiting around the corner for me. That he was going to finish off whatever part of me he'd left living.
I don't know how long I stood there, hugging the building. It seemed to take forever for me to work up the courage to move from that spot. I heard whoever was doing security rounds go by. I waited until I heard nothing. Then I bolted from my spot. Once I was convinced that the guy on the quarterdeck wouldn't see me go by the window, I bolted to my car.
The drive home ended too soon. I prayed that D would be passed out. I couldn't let him see me. I was as quiet as I could be coming into our apartment. Once I was convinced that he was out, I set to doing what I needed to do to survive.
I stripped out of my uniform, and stuffed all of my clothing except my coat, my shoes, and my belt into a garbage bag. Then I ran the shower hot. I sat in the tub and cried while the water poured down on me. I don't know how long I sat there. I just cried and cried. By the time I turned the water off, I felt numb, like there was nothing left of me. I felt like a shell of who I'd been.
My body was bruised, and I tried not to look at myself while I dressed. I covered every inch of me that I could. Then I took the garbage bag downstairs and set it with the rest of them. Then I locked the apartment up and curled in a ball on the couch. I just lay there, staring off into space. I turned the TV on, but that was only noise. It didn't drown him out.
I heard every word he spoke, over and over. I felt him, on every part of my body and inside me. I wanted to scream, but I had nothing inside of me to scream with. I felt like a zombie. When D awoke in the morning, I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep. After he left, I realized I didn't have to go back to work for three days. It was the only thing I found comfort in.
I think that everything about me changed after that night. I trusted no one, not even D in most ways. He was a man. I stopped sleeping with him, and blamed it on his snoring. Our sex life fizzled, and I blamed my lack of interest on my job hours and being tired. Sex became a very occasional thing.
I was terrified of the dark. I had to sleep with a light and the TV on. I also had to sleep with my back to the wall, and if we went out to eat, I had to have a seat against the wall. I wanted to jump out of my skin if anyone came up or walked behind me.
When I was working, he stared at me every time he saw me. It didn't take long for me to become absolutely terrified of men in uniform, and extremely fearful of men in general.
I lost weight because I wasn't eating, and I broke my sobriety, but I managed to hide my drinking from D. My period was almost two weeks late, and I was convinced he had gotten me pregnant. For a while I considered suicide, because the thought of having his child was too much for me. Even after I got my period, I still considered suicide. It seemed a better option than the pain I was in and the hate for myself that started to consume my whole being.
I considered telling someone. I even looked up a crisis line number. But his words ate into my mind. His threats about what would happen if I told. His other hateful, disgusting words. The words that shamed me, that convinced me I was dirty and worth nothing. I heard them all the time. I started having trouble sleeping, and when I did, I had horrific nightmares. Always, there were his words.
So, I buried it. I buried all of it. His words, his hurting me. His stares. Every single thing. But it was always there, in the back of my mind. It would haunt me occasionally, but I became a master of stuffing it all. I stuffed everything except the way he made me feel. Those feelings, the feeling dirty, disgusting, guilty, hatred for myself, the worthlessness, I embraced them all and made them a part of every bit of who I was.
Every day he confronted me with his stares. For about four months after the second rape. Then one day I broke free of that.
I had about two months left in service when a spot came up in the mess hall. They needed someone to assist the cooks. I jumped on the opportunity. Since I was on my way out, I was allowed to fill the spot. It was a place I could hide from him.
I was free of his stares. But I wasn't free from him. I was far from it.