9.21.11

The woman dashed to the one bathroom in her studio apartment from across the room in her towel, glancing over her left shoulder to ensure she was alone, even though no one but her had ever entered the small apartment since she had moved in. In the bathroom, she slammed the door shut behind her, locking it with the dead bolt she had long since installed. Hearing it click shut, she disrobed, turning the hot water on and starting her shower. She averted her gaze from the sheet-covered mirror, and shuddered when it landed accidentally on her own too-thin body. She looked away quickly.

Getting in the shower, she winced as the scalding water poured down her body, scarred from years of abuse and self-harm. She opened a bottle of soap and turned the water off, settling in to rub her skin raw yet again, trying in vain to remove the feeling of stranger's hands, roaming over her body. Worse still, the feeling of hands of people she knew, and had trusted or loved. One pair of hands was especially vivid, and for a few moments she forgot where she was, remembering the feelings of loathing and helplessness as he pinned her down, ripping at her- no! She shook her head to clear the memory, and scratched at herself to rid her mind of the nightmares. She soap burned where her nails had broken the skin, but she relaxed into the pain. It hardly hurt compared to what else she did to herself when she was alone.

Soon, with her skin raw and bleeding in several places, the woman got up and rinsed herself, quickly finishing her shower. She got out and dried off, again averting her eyes from her naked body. She put her towel back on, unlocking the door and ignoring the well-known feeling of insecurity as she entered the open room, away from the safety of the small bathroom with the heavy lock. Almost fifteen years had passed since the last incident, but she was still affected by it. She was still as traumatised now as she had been after the first time, all those many long years ago, if not more so. She would probably never heal, never feel safe again, never be normal.