There is this moment, that was probably the greatest moment for me that first year after the rape. It’s that moment you know. The moment you have been waiting for. The moment in which you look into your friends eyes and know you are finally home and nothing has changed.
It took about a week for it to blow up in my face.
This is the moment I fly back to my country, about 2 months or more after the rape.
I’ve waited to get back for all this time. All that kept me going through the too little work hours and the nights waking up each hour, was the thought about a home. I have home, friends, family, university, future, all waiting for me to get back.
I crave that moment every day, this is the moment keeping me going.
I deny access of everything and anything bad to my brain, and it slowly grows under my skin like a tumor. I smile widely, I think positively(or so I say to myself). I push all the bad memories down, because I can’t fight for job and survival and deal with them too.
Even as it becomes clear that I won’t make enough money that summer, going back home is what keeps me going. It’s hell., but it’s a temporary hell. I can do temporary.
Not getting the money I need means also that I need to take a leave of absence at my university. As I think over that, it makes me feel weak with relief. I love university. My friends are there. It’s my home. I like even the classes and the little sleep. I love it. So that feeling of relief catches me off guard and I’m not able to explain it for a while.
September comes, and I am back where I belong, at home, and everything that happened in the summer is safely an ocean away from me. This whole first week goes in euphoria. I have been in hell, and I am out of it. And for a second, it seems everything is right again. I am at home, I have my friends and family around, I have the university. It feels like I’m on top of the world. I have struggled with classes and other things during my university years that far, but now they all seem so much smaller than what I went through during the summer.
If I can do that I can do anything….right?
About 10 days later- 10 really great days of sleeping, resting, and seeing friends, my past finally catches onto the distance. The happiness wears off and I step into the reality. The reality of not having enough money to return my debts, not being able to tell great stories of my over-seas adventure, not being able to sleep or make the money I need.
I tell myself I am trying that fall. I am trying really hard. I keep repeating. I was through the worst, I am here, I can do anything. But it doesn’t work. I don’t have any strength to make it work, no will, no hope. I am so drained, even getting up in the moment feels pointless. Yet, I can’t explain that to anyone, I don’t want to. I just want to forget and move on. So I push myself.
Be positive. Try again. And again. Be positive. Forget. Find a way to turn things around. I don’t turn things around that semester in leave of absence. I just live through the months. I don’t even live. I simply exist. Most of the time, I cry in the bathroom(I feel that I don’t deserve to do it, so I can only let myself feel that way when I’m alone) and get in fights with my mother for no reason at all. I keep lying to myself. There’s no way I can explain the truth about that summer to anyone, so I lie to myself, force myself to be happy and try to find a way to turn things around. Which, considering the fact that I am having very silent, invisible, breakdown- can’t really happen. You can’t fight for a life you want if you can’t find a reason to even keep breathing. And all this time, even with my friends, I push the unhappiness down and I don’t let them see anything is wrong. I have been through the worst and I need to be invincible. I go through that fall the same way I went through the summer- thinking that the moment I get to the spring everything will be different. In the spring, I am going back to my university, which is in another city. Everything I was before is waiting for me there, or so I think.
Meanwhile, that fall, to everyone I know, I have few empty months. My parents want me to get a job, my friends expect me to get an internship. I can’t do either, and I am angry at all of them for no reason, all the time. And all this time I can’t explain why I am so deeply unhappy with everything.
But, unhappy or not, I somehow make it to the end of January, and that means a new semester. And getting back to normal. Fresh start. Or so I say to myself. Because I feel fine.
It’s that moment you know. The moment you have been waiting for. The moment in which you look into your friends eyes and know you are finally home and nothing has changed.
In that exact moment I know, nothing has changed, but I have.
There’s nothing left from the old me, that I can remember.
My life as I know it has changed forever.
And there is no going back.