“So, when school was finally over I walked back to the headmaster’s office. I wasn’t exactly skipping along, because getting the cane for the first time, and then having my first fuck: those things are too serious for skipping. But I was certainly happy. I remember that, for sure. And I was so incredibly aroused.”
Maddie lay beside me, on the mattress in the storeroom. She was telling me about how she’d lost her virginity. She’d been cheerfully turning me on, stroking my cock during the sexier parts of her tale. But that was over. She still lay beside me, her body pressing against mine, but her hands had crossed over her belly. They were still. She had something bad to tell me.
“And I got to his office. Or nearly there. I was wondering, I think, whether he’d make me strip of my clothes for him, or if he’d undress me. I wasn’t sure which I’d prefer. And then there was Rob. I nearly screamed.”
“Rob?” I looked puzzled. I’d lost track of the dramatis personae in Maddie’s tale.
“He’s the boy the head was caning, when I went to see him at lunchtime. And he’d been terribly humiliated.”
“Ah, yeah. And he hated you for seeing him. I remember.”
“Hate is right. But he stepped out from the little side passage to the boys’ cloakrooms. He’d been waiting for me, I know now. I don’t think I realised it then. He said, ‘Hey, pretty bird. Going to see the head?’ He made it sound like it was the most disgusting, the most slutty thing in the world.”
I had my arm around Maddie’s shoulders. I held her tighter.
“But then… He’d called me pretty. And no one ever had before. I knew the headmaster thought I was beautiful. But he’d never said so. So I was confused. I didn’t know what to feel. And that was my first mistake. I should have screamed, and run towards the head’s office. But I let Rob come closer.”
I said, “Maddie, love, you don’t have to – ”
“No. Shut up. Sir. I’m going to tell you. I want to tell you.”
“Ok. I’m here. And just in case you need the reminder: I think you’re wonderful. I beat your ass and I’m on your side.”
“I know you are. It’s all right. I hate him; I don’t hate you.”
I shut up. I’d made it about me. Male insecurity. I’m far, far from being a role model (I’m a fictional character, an ethically challenged one, in a sexual fantasy that’s briefly swerved into the real), but I always feel guilty when I hear about another man doing something horrible to a woman: we may know better, but we feel complicit.
As if the Y chromosome had rape and violence against the less powerful built into it. But it doesn’t. It’s not the chromosome, which we can’t do anything about. It’s patriarchy. And patriarchy sucks, and we can do something about that. I shut up and let Maddie talk.
“So he got close, and he put his hand on my cunt. And this is the thing: it took me years to forgive myself for this: I was so turned on that it didn’t matter. I could have banged my cunt with the door, or walked into a desk. And it would’ve felt good. And so did being touched. It was creepy, but I moaned.”
“He heard me. He laughed. I’d given him some fantastic victory, in his mind. He said, ‘Horny little bitch, aren’t you. I know what horny bitches need.’ And he pulled me back deeper into the cloakroom, and pushed me through the door at the back, into the boy’s toilets.
“He pushed me down to the floor. And then, well, he raped me. He stuck his cock into me, and he lasted, I don’t know, about a minute before he came. And this is the awful thing: I came too. It was all horrible, but I’d been so close anyway, so even though I didn’t want him, and it felt so wrong, well: the body takes over, I know that now. I didn’t know it then.”
“Oh Jesus. That poor little girl.” I held her, feeling inadequate. What else can you do?
“So he pulled out of me and stood up. I couldn’t get up. I stared up at him: it was the worst thing I’ve ever seen, I think even now, the utter contempt and hate in his eyes. I didn’t understand it. Then. Well, he laughed and he was gone.
“I got up, and grabbed handfulls of tissues and tried to clean myself up, and get his come out of me. It wasn’t about pregnancy. I just felt defiled. And then I looked at myself in the mirror. And I knew – I mean I thought I knew – that it wasn’t rape. I’d never said No. And I’d come.”
I said, “Of course it was rape. That shitbag raped you.”
“I know. I mean that’s what I thought then. What I thought I knew. And I started bawling, like I hadn’t since I was a baby, I think. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to die. The first thing I could think of was, I could run in front of a car. And then I thought that wouldn’t be fair. To the driver.”
I couldn’t not smile. That was very her, the woman I held beside me. “You’re a good girl. Always. And you wouldn’t know how to be inconsiderate.”
“Huh. Splat! Well, they talk about schoolgirl crushes.” She laughed. A second later, so did I.
“So there was only one place I could go. So I went to the headmaster’s office. Howling with sorrow. I hoped he’d – I don’t know – whip me. I felt so worthless. But I knocked on his door.”
I’m sorry this episode’s so heavy.
It’s kind of essential to the story, even though this bit’s horrible and the story mostly takes place in Sexual Fantasyland, the happiest kingdom of them all. I wondered if the story has sufficient heft to take this dark section, but it’s where the structure took me.
When I came to the bit where it has to happen, last week I couldn’t write it. Hence the beginning of another story, last week. I didn’t realise how much I liked Maddie and how hard I’d find this. Anyway, we leave the Valley of Death and the Slough of Despond here. Starting with the next episode we begin to crawl out.
And last week’s story about the violinist in Ravenna will continue. Watch this space.