Monday, January 02, 2006

Bonne Année!

My violence was exhilarating, almost cathartic. Huddled in the corner, trying to shield his face with his hands, the problem he posed me was purely aesthetic: how to achieve a fluidity and economy of movement that would ensure the maximum transmission of energy from my upper arms to the fleshier parts of his face and body. I regretted only that my brutality was not more precisely focused, more deftly delivered.

And then hands grabbed my shoulders and pinned my arms to my sides. "Arrête!", someone shouted, and with some reluctance I forced myself to be still, my heart still pounding and the blood still singing in my ears. "Il a essayé de la violer," I said, "il a essayé de la violer."

I should not have taken her there. It seemed safe enough at the time - a clean, well lit bar in an area which, though with a certain reputation, I had lived in and felt I knew well enough. We had planned to see the sunrise at the church on the hill, a reasonable idea on the face of it but pure idiocy given the rain and the state we were in. But what better way to end the year?

We must have been obvious to everyone in the place - loud, carefree, talking English. It was not long before two vultures began circling, though at first we were oblivious. When one began to play with her phone I realised that the situation had shifted to a place where we did not want to be, and as I took it back from him I asked her to be careful. "The rules are different here," I said. She, bubbly and optimistic and spontaneous in the way that I had always so admired, told me not to worry. She made a move to go to the toilets, and I asked her not to leave. She told me not to worry, and went. I gave her five minutes, and then went down.

He had pushed her down on her back on the stairs, pinning her there, his hands moving in ways I could not see. She looked up at me, and I saw that the heel of her hand was on his chin, trying to push his head away from hers. Then he was up against the wall, and I, with all the pride of a torturer, was trying to find the most articulate physical expression of my rage.

"Je pars," I said. "Je ramasse notre choses et nous partons". The hands let me go. Someone even, I think, said 'Bien fait'. And then she was there, holding on to me and I to her and the only sound my haggard breath as I sobbed into her hair.

What a way to start the year.

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