SNAP: Stories for Living

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    At 23, trust was not a notion I had grasped; especially where men were concerned.  Trust was devastated at 12 when my father first raped me.  Then pulverized at 19 when Father X, the campus priest systematically manipulated a sexual relationship.  By virtue of his collar, he evoked trust.  After many late night discussions, I finally divulged the secret of my incestuous past why I believed to be my fought and thus a mortal sin on my soul.  What I longed for was absolution, but what I received was another reason for shame.  At 23, when I said no to sex, he raped me.

     What I learned was that if my own father and a priest- a man of God thought my worth was what was between my legs; it must be true.  I deduced the price for having companionship was sex.  I concluded that if I were good enough at sex, maybe someone would care about who I was.

    Throughout these affairs, there was one man looked beyond the surface.  We were friends first, and lovers when neither of us were dating. 

     One night on the phone, we were in a deep conversation.  In an attempt to compliment my sexual prowess, he told me what a good lover I was.  My response was, "Did you ever think it's because I have to be?"  I hung up.  He tried to call back, but I didn’t have the strength to pick up the receiver.

    In no time, there was a knock at the door.  When I opened the door, I was taken aback by the look of panic in his eyes.  He led me to the bedroom, and lay with me on the bed.  I hadn't intended to tell him about my father and the priest, but words flowed out before I could think.  His response was to pull me into him and reassure me that I wasn’t alone.  The last words I heard before succumbing to sleep was, “I’m so sorry, Toni.  It’s okay; I’m here.” For first time in years, I felt safe.

    Regretfully, I became very demanding of his time and energy.  Looking back, I know I was testing his veracity, but needed to know what was true.

     Wayne responded my many late night calls and demands with only patience.  I called; he came.

    I was confounded by his constancy.  Here was a man who didn't profess to love, but respected my boundaries.  I repeatedly tested his resolve by making sexual overtures only to stop midstream.  Never did I hear the words that echoed from my past, “If you love me, you will.” 

    Wayne taught me that love didn’t have to hurt and that trust was something to be earned. Even now, 25 years later, I am grateful for the life lessons of this dear friend.  With him, I found myself.

Note: this story is from 2007. View other 2007 stories and 2007 voting results. View current stories.