You find yourself in a room with a man from your past. You do not know or remember how you got into this room, whether it is a hotel room or part of a house. The only thing you know is you’re with this man. Now, this man never reveals his face. But you remember, from some long-ago memory, his skin, like polished leather. You two are lying in bed together. You are dressed; he is not.
He starts to touch you but not in a way that implies he is merely after sex. His touches are soft, careful, sensual, like the way a friend comforts you after a breakup or a death in the family. He slips his hand under your shirt and settles on the space between your bra’s ending and your waist’s beginning. It’s an unusual place for a hand to rest but you don’t move it; you don’t say “no” or “stop,” or even get up and remove yourself because you’re comfy there. You know to run from the stranger in the streets, the Boogeyman behind locked doors, but the homie you comfy wit? Nah fam, he not gon hurt you. He’ll just make you a little uneasy at most, nothing to worry about…
And then you wake up.
When you awake, you still have the image of him in your mind, his fucking gentle hands memorized, and suddenly, you can’t breathe. You’re gasping for air and clutching your chest as the fear rips you apart. You try to remember your surroundings instead of focusing on how a short slumber undid all your wonderful. And then, the memories—your actual trauma memories—start flowing through your damaged hippocampus and you can’t stop it. The thing that hurts the most is this: it’s the gentle touches, the warm embraces that kill you. 5 years of fucking PTSD and it still gets to you. He still affects you.
You will live through this.