"Him and I, we are over. The talk we had makes me laugh at times. That day, I brought his past actions up. I asked him why he touched me that way when we were young, when I was a child, vulnerable. How that little girl would always question me about his touch . How i thought that disclosing it to anyone would ruin his life. I was such a hypocrite. Worrying about the culprit rather than the victim. The victim that was none other than me. These past few years I had been firm that culprits should be punished but when it came to my cousin I forgot everything. It hurts me. It hurts to see that I had been a hypocrite then. It hurts to hypothesise that he might have also touched other naive persons the same way.
It's not that I never confronted him about this before. He had straightaway denied my accusation then but later apologised nonchalantly . He tried to make me feel guilty. Emotionally blackmailed me. And much later, when I somehow confronted him again, on that day, the same scenario was repeated. He tried to make me feel bad , that I didn't forgive him when we had previously talked about it and that I was unsated, wanting an explanation from him when there was nothing to explain.
Was there no explanation needed? How can I forgive him with no justification and a simple nonchalant apology? How? It's a big deal for me but he just brushed it off . To be honest, somewhere I wasn't really cross with him but that voice, that voice of the little girl , who wanted answers, who didn't and couldn't forget, no matter how much she tried. Even if she gets the reason she won't be able to forgive. Ever.
I had been patient with him all this time. Bonding with him, befriending him. To be honest I had always admired him. That admiration subtly faded with every touch of his on my skin, but never really erased. That's why I was there with him. I was always acceptant. Huh, how foolish of me to say all this in my heart and not to his face. I just trembled. He came to a conclusion in the midst of the argument. He wanted me to end our relationship. A relationship which was of love and friendship and acceptance and trust, for me. He wanted to end that. To never speak again.
I didn't want us to break apart like this. I didn't want all of this to end. And I wanted answers. The little girl laughed at me, repeating, "That's it? No vengeance? Just answers?"
I was ashamed. That little girl sure made me question myself.
I tried to negotiate. He turned a deaf ear to it. What came after that was shocking, he said that we never had a relationship to begin with. Oh.... How dumb was I to think that we were something, friends, close frie- .
It was over?! How I always thought that people would be envious of our friendship. How wrong I was! It took us so much to build all this but , for him, we were nothing from the beginning.
I tried to mock him saying that it's impossible for us to not interact or talk. We are cousins. First cousins. Yet he disagreed. I felt like banging my head so hard that I could lose all my senses. So many questions were floating in my mind and the one making the loudest noise was "Did all this meant nothing to him? Nothing?"
Was it all so brittle that it all came down in shards?
Was it so difficult to give a demanded explanation? Doesn't he feel entitled to explain. Isn't there a part in him which is eating him away for what he did?
At last after constant persuasion he decided to speak, he said he was a growing teen, a confused one to be specific who wanted to probe. What a classic reason. It made no sense to me. I told him there are teens who commit grave mistakes, they steal, they murder, they…. They rape- and he replied to me with the most heart wrenching words, he asked me, "Did I rape you?" That was it.
Those words jabbed me raw. That was not what I wanted to hear. I didn't want him to sound so strong and confident while defending his dirty actions. His strength baffled me. I was tongue-tied and shocked beyond limits. I was silent for minutes. I was palpitating, perspiring, trembling, falling apart. I didn't know what to answer. After what felt like eternity I gained my composure. I reasoned with him, I told him what he did was a potential assault. He was a confused teen heading towards adulthood but I was a mere child trying to bloom into maturity. He never understood that. One by one I was sliding down the flight of stairs to our friendship. Each step slow and painful.
Before our conversation I was expecting that everything might come back to normal the way it did before. But I was wrong. It didn't. It was difficult to accept the reality. Even after all this, the stubborn grown self in me tried to negotiate, rambling how much he meant to me and that I didn't want to lose him. At any cost I didn't want to lose him. It was my nature. I hated losing a person whom I trusted. And losing the most trusted person in my life was a grave deprivation. How I trusted him even after everything. I surely was a lunatic.
He left. No goodbyes. Just memories, sliding down my eyes, my cheeks, to the floor beneath. That's how the separation felt. Miserable. I thought I would never ever get over it. A hideous scar that would never heal. "
After narrating all the happenings in my life I lifted my eyes which were rooted to the ground. I looked at my friends. Their shocked expressions. They were unaware. How I wish I could tell them all this before.
Now, it's an old folk, something which is at the back of my mind yet omnipresent. It doesn't overtake my consciousness yet lies somewhere in my conscience . The days have passed and I have come to terms with myself. The empty space that he left within me has filled up. The petrifying wounds that he left learning to heal themselves. The wounds of the assault, the wound of separation, the wounds of defeat, now disinfected, completely sealed. After all every wound of ours heals if we take proper care of 'ourselves'.......
Now I don't regret anything. I don't regret losing him. What did I lose anyway? Just a toxic phase of my life that I was holding onto? The past that I thought would weaken me to the core made me emerge stronger. Even though he's not been held accountable for his actions, cutting all our connections helped me lift the burden on my shoulders. It at least relieved me from the subtle shame I felt when I was with him. I was no longer trying to support a culprit. I called him out for his actions and that's the biggest victory for me. For that little girl.
The people who believed in me were my victory. The ones who made me realise what I did was right were my victory. The ones who supported and embraced me regardless were my victory. My friends who were there for me…. Are my victory.