“So, I was deliberately increasing the blood supply to my face ….it is called “applied tension”? … He mused.” I thought my face was red, my eyes popping out, I looked demon enough to scare your demon” boyish grin followed. He had misconstrued the experience, they were both surprised, it was ….a moment of empathy…..whatever moment…just a hug meant for a child ended with a knowledge that he was not a child perhaps 10 seconds is all it was , yet she knew it was childish on her part to assume him to be a child…. ….He looked at her worried face, assumed a serious face…”So you did not actually look at any guy after that sexual assault ?” She nodded. “I had even stopped looking at myself like that, like someone anyone could desire… men were sort of invisible, I never saw them”
She wanted him to know numbness would not last forever. It was an insight after 14 years… But she could not convince him with words. He was abused as a child and also as an adult, so the numbness was pervasive, he never could remember a state when he was any different. Still, it was a reaction and was not permanent. It had taken 14 years after rape for her to realize this; she did not want him to waste a life time, thinking of self as impotent. She had spent a life, thinking of herself as frigid…. “What about movies? You did not look at men in movies either?” …I listened to songs sung by men…. And dance. Now, he was interested….”So who was that?”….I usually looked at the lead actress , her clothes etc, wanting to imitate her…Male half of the universe did not exist, even if someone was handsome, it had no effect on me…. Even now, I need to feel connected, a conversation, a response, to even notice a man as a man and not as a predator, attraction is a far cry in this jungle where no one has ears and all have eyes …. “This is defensive stance….You liked a dance in a film….who was that?”
A mask, she said quietly. “Mask of Zorro…..Antonio Banderas…..and the tango.”
“Not the scene where he marks her dress with a Z?” Did he imagine a smile of fleeting attraction ? He was hungry for her smile.. This made her shy. She had not intended this sort of conversation. “Some letters remain even after Z, there is no end to the emotion that gave it birth” she had written that somewhere, when she felt like blooming amidst a garden of flowers, choked by the beauty.
“I liked the tango, even in the scent of a woman by Al Pacino; I liked the dance, not the actor”
“It takes two to tango”
And it takes just one to rape.