I have always considered myself to be one of those women who would never find herself the object of someone’s unwanted attention. And should I ever find myself in that situation, I knew I would take the steps to fight back, to not be the victim.
Or so I thought.
I had made a new friend, and he was a handful to deal with, but friends come in all flavors and he was helpful to me when I had to move. He helped me to get 85% of my stuff out of my old place and for that I was very grateful for.
But, he also had his drawbacks. He has a penchant to interrupt which is a major pet peeve of mine. Another major flaw was his love affair with Trump. But, I dealt with those and allowed room for the friendship to grow. (He had other flaws, but there is no reason to list them all.)
Now, this guy is in some capacity, in the massage industry. Some times he would come around a place I hang out at and would walk up to various people and give them a massage. The first time he gave me one was to help me get rid of a migraine. Then, every few days he would just come around, massage my shoulders, neck or back.
After a couple of months our conversations didn’t change, but every once in awhile his touch did. Nothing obvious, nothing overt just… A bit different.
Then, one night I slept wrong, injuring myself. Somehow I had laid on my side in a way that became painful the next day. I woke to find I could barely lift my arm. Later that day, while relaxing after work and trying to get the kink out of my shoulder, he arrived and offered to help me with it.
So, we sat in a semi-secluded corner of my hangout and he started to work on it. His hands were gentle and cautious as he began, “exploring” the extent of area that was tense and in pain. I was wearing my work clothes, which made it a wee bit more difficult because, well, I was wearing two shirts. ( Cold weather, Ohio, we layer.) So he was working on my shoulder and the next thing I know is he has his hand through my sleeve.
This was different, but, it made sense, I thought.
Now, this was no quick massage and my shoulder was unwilling to release the pain. His hand didn’t stay in my shirt the whole time. He would pull out and work the kinks down my arm, up my shoulder, etc. I did what I could to relax, allow his work to work.
I was in pain. I was trying to relax. I was trying to let go. I was trying to ignore everything else in the shop. I was slow to realize that every time someone came in to the shop he would withdraw his hand from my shirt.
It clicked when his hand lowered, covering my breast.
It was only for a moment. A speck of time so short I wasn’t certain it happened. It couldn’t have. I mean, this doesn’t happen to me and, if it did, I wouldn’t just sit there…
Then he did it again.
I… Couldn’t process it.
He couldn’t be doing that.
Not to me.
Not there in public.
Not in my friend’s shop.
Didn’t anyone see him doing it?
Why didn’t I stop him?
I should have.
I should have jumped to my feet, bitched him out, slapped the crap out of him and embarrassed the living fuck out of him!
Instead I sat there, frozen as he cupped my breast and squeezed my nipple.
When he was done, he hugged me and left the shop for the day.
Me? I sat there.
Embarrassed, ashamed, shocked…
I packed up my things a few minutes later and went home, numb.
That is one word that seems the most descriptive of all the English language. You feel it as you say it, think it, imagine it. Numb.
It took about two days to talk to my friends about the incident. I was still in disbelief and, admittedly I wasn’t fully believed. Not fully believed, but they began to be more wary of him.
And me? Well, my habits changed a bit.
I arrived later than usual to the shop n hopes of missing him. As part of my privilege of being an unofficial employee I could find shelter behind the counter with the employees, keeping a wall between him and I.
After two weeks, though, I had come to terms with it and a spark was lit within me. That spark fired a confrontation between us to which I basically told him what he did was wrong, unwanted, unwarranted, and would never, ever happen again. He is not allowed to touch me, not even for a hug.
And then he said it.
“I don’t know why I did it. I don’t know why you allowed it. Obviously I find you attractive…” More was said, but you get the jiest.
A few days I confessed to two more friends. One who’s core is fire and the other who’s core is apparently brimstone. Together the two of them approached him and gave it to him. They flogged him, then banished him from the shop.
Things have been so relaxful since.
I still feel horrible it happened at the shop, and that my friends had to be involved in it at all, but I guess that shows me how strong my new friendships are to me.
I have mentioned no names here, and I don’t plan to. All involved know who is who. This was written for me.