Last night I had a dream. In it I was assaulted by my father — no, my therapist — no, my father. I was in his office in a loose white t-shirt and a pair of shorts. My bare legs were exposed to his gaze. I lay on a twin bed pushed against the wall, my cheek pressed against a pattern of white, cobalt blue and orange stripes. Very 70’s. A window and some ferns dotted the walls amongst bookshelves.
I was heavy with sleep, safe as a slumbering child. My eyes fluttered open as my father — no, my therapist — walked towards me. I smiled to myself knowing we would start talking. I trusted him to sit in his green leather chair and rest his ankle on his knee. Only he didn’t. He passed the chair and filled my line of sight.
What I thought was the weight of sleep revealed itself as fear, oppressive and paralyzing. I struggled to sit up, to gain my bearings, but my therapist — no, my father — closed the gap and lay behind me. His weight strained the bed and I rolled back against him, helpless to gravity.
He breathed on me. I imagined that he closed his eyes and filled his nostrils with the scent of my clean hair and I shuddered. He let his arm rest along the curves of my body and his hand innocently, accidentally, rest where my legs joined.
But he and I both knew it was no accident.
I screamed, but no sound came out.
I sobbed, but no tears fell.
I only shook and died behind the barrier of my skin, the walls of my soul.
His hand pressed down on my plump skin and again I howled in terror and helplessness. This time a sob escaped my lips. This time I was able to tear away from him. But I was only just now awake and my legs were weak, my eyes shrouded by the blur of tears. I was painfully vulnerable.
He came towards me again and touched my breast through my loose white t-shirt. My nipple hardened, braless. He touched it again, smirking at my paralysis and my horror.
I pressed my back against the wall wishing it would swallow me, desperate for air, for my muscles to work, but I was immobilized with the searing cruelty of what my father — no, my therapist — was doing to me.
I wept and flung myself from side to side, but not really.
I bellowed and yelled and cursed his filthy, lying, betraying piece of shit life, for hurting me in a brightly lit room meant to be safe, but not really.
I willed it to stop, willed him to die, willed it all to go away just so I could breathe and suddenly… it did.
I lay panting in my bed. The fan whirred above me. The room was cast in midnight light. My father really was dead. My therapist was history.
I could breathe, but was I safe? It doesn’t feel like it anymore.