The Hardest parts to read

It was 7:15.

I couldn’t remember what time the bus passed, but I knew I was late. Mosley eyed me slathering peanut butter all over his rawhide bone, but he didn’t dare jump up. I only had to tell him once not to jump on the kitchen island – that was not the way to get what he wanted.

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What he wanted was peanut butter; it was the best way to leave him. Distracted by the delicious paste, he didn’t cry when I walked out the front door. He seemed not to hear the key in the lock, he was too absorbed with his treat.

When I finished applying the peanut butter, Mosley knew what to do. He barreled to the living room and clamored into his kennel where he sat, tail wagging.

“Bon chien,” I said.

It was now 7:17. I locked the kennel, grabbed my keys and headed for the bus. Hoping it hadn’t already passed, I ran the 400 metres to the bus stop in my work shoes, each step aching as my foot hit the asphalt. It reminded me of the shin splints I used to get as a kid, and I should have known it was foreboding of something.

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That afternoon the California-based feminist publication, Ms. Magazine, was publishing an excerpt from my book online. It was flattering and I had given them free rein to use whatever the editors felt was the most relevant. I waited until the end of the day to click on the link, excited to see the finished product.

I scrolled quickly through the first couple lines, before I realized they had published the hardest parts to read. Did I write that?

After all the edits I’d made before publishing the book, I was surprised at how raw the text still seemed to me.  They even used a picture of an empty futon as the feature photo, and it transported me back three years ago.

It was an honour to have an excerpt published, and yet, I couldn’t share this. I texted my mom, anyway just so she wouldn’t be surprised if she ever came across it. But that bubble of anticipation had been deflated – I couldn’t show this to my boyfriend, it would make him too uncomfortable.

MS. Magazine: The Year I Turned 25: Surviving and Speaking up after Sexual Assault

I took the bus home, fed Mosley supper and then went to the pool. Alone. Maybe I was destined to be alone. No, I don’t mean that in an I feel so sorry for myself, woe is me, look who’s not yet healed kind of way. I mean that in a sincerely wondering am I supposed to be alone? – my mom always told me as a writer it would be harder to find someone.

The question hurt, but I rolled it over in my head anyway, as I swam. I focussed on it for a good thirty minutes. And then I realized something. If women could go on stand-up tours making jokes about their sexual assault, then I could surely celebrate the achievement of another publication recognizing my work.

And I wanted to. I wanted to have a drink and celebrate. Those words that I wrote were powerful – and maybe they were only powerful to me because I wrote them and it was something that happened to be, but they were words that appeared somewhere else than on my own blog. And that means, in my own small way, I kind of did something cool for the world. And I hoped people would read it.

 

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