The New Guy

Rating: R (ish)

Trigger Warning: Rape

Life comes in waves. Everything good will happen for a little while then the bad comes and smacks us around a bit before we remember the good. Then we move on. And we forget what was good and what was bad. We reset normal. We start over.

We do this again and again. Up and down some of life in troughs other moments crests in the waves of our lives. But today, today, I had a tsunami.

I suppose it was a normal day. A day like any other; I woke up, I worked out, I had  coffee, I got ready while scrutinizing my reflection for more than the usual imperfections, I went to work, I dealt with jerks and then…

He was there.

The new guy, I suppose is the appropriate colloquialism. Except he wasn’t new to me, and I didn’t know how to tell any one I knew the man in the copy room. I had met him, but what could I say.

“Hey, Martha, can we fire the new guy?”

“Yeah…I know he just started, but I don’t think he’s a good person.”

“Oh, he raped me.”

That wouldn’t go over well or at all. Maybe, if I had said something when it had happened. Two months…two months…and no one but he and I knew.

We had met online first. Though I told everyone I met him on the bus.

We chatted online for hours at a time, eventually progressing to phone calls. He was smart, sweet and funny. He always said things to pique my interest just as it was waning. His emails, photos, texts and calls gave me something to look forward to through the long cold winter that had gripped our city from October through April. We were close friends before we ever met face to face. I thought I knew everything about him.

We met at a coffee shop first. Just casual conversation, nothing out of the ordinary. Moments that felt like repeated thoughts from previous talks took us through our usual repertoire. I left after an hour and a half. I didn’t want to over stay my welcome or seem needy.

The next time we met at a bar. I felt safe, confident even that things would go well. He was so smooth, so easy to connect with on a deep level. I wasn’t even worried when we unexpectedly ran into a co-worker. She immediately gave him the okay and shot me a thumbs up while he was buying us a round at the bar. He dropped me off at home that night; I was too tipsy to drive. He insisted on walking me to the door. It seemed sweet, thoughtful and normal. He kissed me gently then held me close for just a moment, just long enough for me to want more.

But as I pushed through the door, he walked away. I shouted goodbye; he turned, waved and left.

The next day I came home just as the sun was slanting across the road, blinding me into putting on sunglasses. He was there, the new guy, before he was the new guy to the office when he was the new guy to me. My new guy!

I got out of the car and smiled to greet him.

“What are you doing here?”

He revealed flowers and held me again.

I smiled and asked him inside. I made coffee as we chatted about photography. He was admiring some of my work–more of empathy than any compliment. I brought the coffee into the living room. We sat on the couch, the coffee sat on the table. He scooted closer to me our shoulders touching. He put his hand on my thigh. I scooted away.

He put his arm around my waist.

I moved his arm.

“I’m sorry, I don’t…”

He shut me up with a kiss. Hard, fast. I pushed his chest from mine. I tried to push him away, to say anything, to make my protest known.

He didn’t budge.

He kept pushing and so did I, but it wasn’t a fight I could win. He was so big. There was nothing I could do.

When he was done, he left. The coffee cold on the table, me crying on the couch.

Eventually I sniffled and sighed my way off the couch to the phone. I called my best friend.

“Is it rape if you don’t say, ‘no’?” I thought about asking, but never found the courage to confide in her. Instead I told here things weren’t going to work out with the new guy.

That’s my tsunami. I don’t know what to do. I think I’ll quit, give my two weeks. He can’t hurt me if I’m not here.

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