It had been many years since I saw her, but her image floated in my memory, haunting me, though I didn’t know why. Why was I troubled at work, at home, in bed, when I saw her face? Soon, I realized it was God, crafting this image out of the ashes of the past. And when I looked her likeness full in the face, I finally knew why she disturbed me.
I had done her wrong.
She was…in high school choir with me, and she was very hot. I can’t remember how this started, but it became a habit that every other day, during choir’s rest period, I would give her a back rub. I was pretty good and I guess she liked it. To a 16-year-old boy, that is something else, being able to rub your hands all over a hot girl. But hands like to explore, and I always wished my fingers could touch more.
One night, we ended up hanging out for some reason. I remember we went to Diary Queen. There, she told me the horrible story of how she went to a party, was served a roofie on the rocks, and in her own words, “Became the party.” I wish beyond wishing I could’ve said something to her besides “That sucks.” I thought it only hurt that I had nothing to say, but now another question plagues me.
Would I have helped her, were I there? Or would I have joined in the group? Was I really any better than these men, I who spent my days touching her body and fantasizing about touching more, always wanting to push the line a little further? She was only a body to me. Wasn’t she just a body to them?
And not long after I saw her face, the faces of other women came to me. Women I had wronged.
She was…my girlfriend for some years. When I was with her, I was pushing her to go a little farther in the bedroom than last time, until the things we did became normal and expected. My only solace was that I did love her for more than her looks. I simply didn’t know how to stop.
She was…very attracted to me, something I pretty much never had, so she wedged deep into my heart. She was also a self-proclaimed nymphomaniac, regularly telling me all the things she was into, the things she’d be willing to do to me, flaunting her body to me. It was intoxicating to have someone this attractive want me this badly, but that was those were the only reason I wanted her back: to meet my own needs.
That’s what makes me sick. She told me I was kind, that I listened to her, that I was there for her. She wanted me for my emotional qualities, for who I was deep down. I wanted her because of what she could do for me and to me. Despicable.
She was…my first girlfriend. We went parking. I didn’t even ask if she wanted to. Didn’t force anything, mind, but didn’t ask, either. All I thought about was myself.
She was…a friend of a friend, and she let my hands explore.
She was…well-endowed, and that’s all I bothered to know.
She was…unappealing to me, but I took her to bed anyway.
They were…a whirlwind of pixilated bodies with hearts and souls I never bothered to know.
It took too long for me to realize just how sick I was. Too long for me to get help. Now it’s too late to say I’m sorry. Now their faces are burned in my mind. Now I see them, completely see them. Girls and women, human and whole, more than skin, more than what they can do for me. Far too late. All I have are fragments of memories, visions through the glass darkly. These cannot accept my apology, and cannot forgive.
Faces. Names. Shame.
I could only apologize to the memories…and then, to God. Their Father, who had watched me work my way through his daughters like a parasite, leeching what I wanted and discarding the rest. But I confessed anyway, for every one of them by name. An apology they will never hear.
Then, I saw an image. A black-and-white photograph of all these women, huddled together for the camera, though most of them never met. And then a pool of red blood washed over the image until it was completely covered. And I heard the Lord say, “It is done.”
All I wanted was to make things right, to find closure, to be forgiven. The women I wronged can’t do that for me; I’ll likely never see them again. But what they could not give, God gave in abundance. I can move on now; the faces no longer haunt me. I have everything I asked for.
It is done.