I also believe in the power of the story -- the narrative that we either reflect (fact) or the one that we create (fiction). In my old age (okay, I'm 33), I've come to realize that the hardest stories to write about are the ones we don't feel are our own, where things happen to us and we had no control over them.
A few people know the truth about this story: my spinal surgeon, a few friends, and my dad (he knows the gist, not the details -- so um Dad, you might want to stop reading now).
Many years ago, I met this guy, DQ, online. Tall, smart, handsome, charming, close to his family. He had many of the qualities that I was looking for in a guy. We went out on a few dates and it was good until he moved to go to back to school. I forgot about him until he moved back to DC years later for a job. We got back in touch somehow right around the same time I started boxing (my gym was a block from his apartment). Some of the chemistry was still there. Were we a couple? No. Were we doing the amorphous "seeing each other" modern thing? Sure....kinda?
Was he the decent kind of chap that ever took me out to dinner to his favorite Italian restaurant that he kept raving about or to a movie or a play? No. (In retrospect, yes.... red flag). But the (delusional) voice in the back of my head kept saying "oooh, he could be the one" after each long talk or knee-weakening kiss, or after he would call me "marriage material" and would I consider moving to be with him?
He knew how to keep me on the hook but never knew how to let me in; he was always locked away inside his innermost thoughts and insecurities. The only times he would let me close and let me be his succor was his during post-coital oneness with the world.
And so, like the obedient puppy, I tried to be what he needed. ((Dad, please stop reading!))
After one particularly rough day, I lit the bat signal and called him over. Ever the minx, I thought I'd greet my 6'5" suitor at the door in 5" heels and a sexy little number. He knocked on my door; it was open. I didn't disappoint.
DQ closed the door behind him, walking forward as he removed his coat, his suit coat, his tie, his oxford as I enticed him further into my abode. By the time my back was against my pub table he was tossing his belt on the couch. He bade me turn around so I had my elbows on the table, and then he pressed himself into me. With one hand on each of my hips, he leaned forward to kiss my neck.
[ ... dramatic use of ellipses ... ]I thought he was about to brush my hair aside so he could access the nape of my neck, but instead he grabbed my ponytail from the very end and pulled it back fast and down so my neck went as far back as it could go.
I told him to stop but the damage was done: I knew instantly that he had injured me.
He had watched one too many bad porn movies where a guy yanks a girl around by the hair (and the women are all into it because that's what the script calls for). We are not horses. Our hair isn't reins. He hadn't had enough experience with slow, intentional hair pulling where the hair puller entangles his or her fingers at the base of the skull.
Even when I told him that he was the reason my neck hurt, he was crafty (fucking
I projected the shame that I felt over falling for this loser of a guy onto my injury. But the truth is that I didn't injure myself. He injured me. It wasn't malicious, but it was careless and then he was a jerk after it all happened.
I only told the full story to a few people (friends who would let me be angry and doctors that needed to know how this came to be) at first because I was too ashamed. I wish it was from boxing or from too much running. But (as the surgeon would later discover), I came 3 millimeters from being a paraplegic because of a sex injury. And the insult? DQ was a horrible, selfish lover. Not even worth it.