I remember, when he almost raped me, the supine terror i felt. For a moment, i felt a sense of stupor so intense that i almost collapsed with torpor. But just at the moment when my limbs unwittingly froze i felt an energy seizing me. I bunched up my fingers into a fist and smashed his nose and kept smashing until he let go. His nose had bled and streaks of blood striated my palm. Poltroon of pusillanimity that he seemed, he rushed off. I was still shaken and atremble but i had averted a danger, a danger that had seemed insuperable but one which i managed to circumvent not only assiduously but emphatically.
Strangely enough whenever i dreamt of him, i recalled, not his physiognomy or countenance prior to my reflex action but after it. His mashed nose, which he cupped in his palms so fearfully, rose up disembodied in my dreams. His eyes were reproachful and his mien congealed with incredulity. In my tenebrous dreamscape i was often raped by him or lay spreadeagled after the monstrosity he inflicted on me. What i was imagining was an alternate scenario where he had triumphed and i had succumbed to the helplessness of my slumberous limbs, rendered supine by terror. I complimented myself on my perspicacity, with certain self congratulation. I had acted instinctively, in blind panic, unmindful of future causality. I had felt entrapped and wanted to strike out because being pinioned stifled me, made me breathless with constricted breathing.
I saw him again,travelling by bus, a few days afterwards. His nose was heavily bandaged. Our eyes met, across the distance and i turned on him a gaze of such ire and withering scorn that he dropped his eyes. I kept fastened on him, the contemptuousness of my gaze and perhaps the incandescence of my rage unmanned him sufficiently to avert his gaze. Whether his execrable propensities had been uprooted by my precipitate counter onslaught remains uncertain to me. But his self assurance had received a dent and i was grateful for that.
After the bus incident many other dreams consecutively followed. I alternated between dreaming of being raped or affronting the rapist. His face, always lucid, blurred and was superimposed by many other countenances, some shadowy and indistinct, others emanations of my unconscious mind. Suddenly.though I had managed to avert rape I became obsessed by rape. The thought of rape had been inhabited in my consciousness only spectrally, in a subterranean vault of forgetfulness. Now it reared up and overwhelmed me. I have to confess that some of these nightmares turned into pleasurable fantasies where I wasn’t being raped but was in control in the sexual mechanism, often seeking pleasure from the very men who I had dreamt were raping me in my earlier dreams. The oppressor and the pleasure giver coalesced on many occasions, much to my discomfiture. Where I had anticipated and projected disquiet, where I had felt threatened, even if unconsciously, now became a pleasurable realm.
What also seemed realizable, consequent upon my analysis of these dreams was the disconcerting fact that very often, be it in the sexual realm or otherwise, those who give pleasure can give immeasurable pain too. Had I actually been raped my consciousness would be completely altered. I would be traumatized, beset by unutterably horrifying nightmares. Nor do I think that my own ambivalent dreams demonstrated my ambiguity about sexual predators. All I did was transmute the unknown into the familiar only to come to terms with the complexity of my unconscious. Yes, I was nearly raped. But that doesn’t mean my life is over. It means that as a woman I have desires too which I have every right to fulfill as a man would. A cataclysm is not an end but a new beginning for me, with a stronger, self contained and evolving me.