I have a hard time articulating why I’ve said yes so many times when I’ve thought no. It’s evolved into a reflex: the bear is angry, and so I must respond with an answer that makes the bear least angry, I must think of myself as a lion tamer gently lulling the beast back to sleep, stroking it into something gentler — a man on the verge of killing me one way or another —
the thing is, the yeses mostly aren’t even said aloud, but assumptions I don’t correct, the pit in my stomach swallowing me whole as if the both of us could dissolve into the fabric of a heaving couch, blend into its stained cushions until we lie still, unaware of his next move, the uncomfortable ministrations of someone thinking he’s doing me a favor only pleasing himself —
I give in to sloppy kisses I wish away as soon as they begin, pretend that my lack of resistance will make the situation less uncomfortable, more tenable, but I am left imagining the relief of cessation, I am pretending joy to hasten his departure —
the thing is, you can’t predict it either way. Is this how I die? becomes a thought becomes a mantra becomes a plea becomes an afterthought becomes the way I lie to myself and on my back, my soul receding with my memory into the darkness of ignorance, of bliss: I remember a time, before Eve, when I thought of myself as basically good —
before shame, and guilt, and the long finger of a confessional’s professions, you are the problem, it wheezes, commands us to beg penance, say ten hail Marys and you’ll be forgiven but not forgotten as the rotten fruit, your fault, the way you sashayed across the room, caught his eye, you practically begged him with your existence to do as he willed —
the thing is, how could you think you have free will, or a voice, how could you think he could possibly want a friend and not a doll, a maid, he will say anything to convince you, though it’s more for himself, he’ll say I am not a bad person, but really he is begging you to say it with him, to tell him, he is not a bad person, he is a good person, you said yes with your eyes —
which was all he needed even though it wasn’t, it isn’t, you couldn’t even begin to say no, the trap was already laid before you even saw him, he saw you and somewhere down the line he would attain a yes of some kind, and a promise that he was a benefactor in the whole situation, he made your night even more than you made his, and you are why it never worked out —
the thing is, resistance only gets you so far, and most often, gets you dead, one way or another, and I’ve been sitting at the metro for the past hour staring at train tracks, wondering, if I’m alive, if he let me live, why do I feel like jumping? But it’s my fault, the entire night, my own reward and punishment, I should have stopped it sooner, should have jumped before he made me.
Marilee Goad is a queer writer who attended the University of Chicago and has work published or forthcoming in Ghost City Review, rose quartz journal, OUT/CAST, Bone and Ink Press, and Georgetown University School of Medicine’s Scope arts magazine. You can follow her on twitter @_gracilis and find her website at marileethepoet.tumblr.com.