the morning after...
Xuefei Jessica Thompson
As the sunlight pried open my sore and swollen eyelids my consciousness returned. A heavy pressure was digging into my lower stomach/rib region. I turned my head to find a foreign creature resting peacefully next to me, his arm wrapped protectively around my rib cage. A cry of shock and fear escaped my lips. Squeezing my eyes shut and holding my breath, I silently counted to three.
When I reopened my eyes I tried again to process my surroundings…desk, wardrobe tucked into the corner, the blinds were drawn concealing the room from the outside world. Swear words circulated my brain when I saw my beloved lulu’s swung over the cheap plastic desk chair.
My eyes scanned the dull carpet floor..
issss- is that- is that---- a condom? shit, Double fuck. I pinched the end of the wrapper flipping it around. Sainsbury’s Own was plastered across the front in bold writing. I lifted myself up onto my elbows, turning around to catch a glimpse of the foreign creature tangled in the crusty bed sheets…triple fuck, he’s ugly.
Pins and needles shot up and down my legs as I grabbed my belongings off the ground, including my empty flask. My last memory being throwing it into my clutch before heading to Warehouse Project the evening before, hoping I’d run into Jeremy.
Stumbling towards the door, I managed to latch my hand around the lock and drag myself out in one swift motion falling into the hall. I came face to face with another grim looking fella. ‘you alright darling, ur Sam’s lass ain’t ya?’ he chuckled as she shovelled a spoonful of cereal into his mouth. We stood at eye level. He had a ripped long sleeve shirt draped over what looked like BooHoo man grey joggers. My mouth felt dry as my sight focused on the milk dripping from the pink plastic spoon in his hand …water…I need water.
I raked my fingers through my hair, smudging the lingering makeup on the side of my face ‘um…no. I just want to go home…where’s the nearest bus stop? I need the 142 into Fallowfield.’
Grim fella number two, wait the other ones Sam…so just grim fella. I was confused by my own thoughts. My brain felt like mush and my eyes were sensitive to the little light that was in the hallway. Grim fella chuckled lightly ‘Ya fucking knob, how fucked were you last night, this is Fallowfield. You’re in Richmond Park.’
I pressed my lips together as I processed this information. The realization that I, a near graduate, had just fucked a fresher sinked in. I clenched my stomach as my other hand reached for the faint yellow wall to my side ‘I’m gonna be sick.’
Grim fella laughed slightly before making his way pass me into the communal kitchen. He whipped his head round briefly ‘mate if you’re gonna chunder, do it in Sam’s room. He can fucking clean it up.’ The kitchen door swung open and he disappeared out of my sight.
Relief overwhelmed me as I recognized the street outside. I turned on my phone to 20 missed calls from my housemates, 17 from an unknown number and 2 texts from Jeremy reading:
I’m queuing up now, where are you? I’ll come meet you with ur VLS 11:12pm
WTF What game are you playing? I thought we had something going 02:54am
I leaned against my counter waiting for the kettle. Empty mug in my hand staring through the window into my empty yard. A migraine had kicked in and my hands were jittery. I browsed through the few memories I had from the night before. It was like flipping through a scrapbook that has been drenched in water. The pictures were blurry and the writing was smudged.
I remember getting on the bus..arriving at the club..snogging…Jeremy?..I was dancing with someone..then..then…
I squeezed my eyes shut, begging for it to make sense.
I slammed my hands onto the counter out of frustration, dropping my head in sync to the click of the kettle. I poured myself a quick brew before taking a seat at the kitchen table, spilling the contents everywhere as I struggled to sit down without collapsing. My legs felt like jelly. I felt as though a cloud of fog was blocking my ability to think rationally.
Out of the blue, salty, warm tears started pouring down my face. I felt dirty, undignified and frustrated. At the mature age of 21 I was making the same mistakes my younger self did. I had let the world of alcohol and midnight fun wrap me up once again. I felt a deep self-loathe brew from within. Taking small sips of my tea, I slowly started to feel at peace with my mistake and that maybe I was indeed just a good shag. I scrunched up the end of my skimpy see-through shirt to wipe the tears and clumpy mascara from my eyes. I sat in silence, disgusted by my own presence.
Josie, my house mate of two years, wandered in looking as if she hadn’t slept all night. Deep purple bags hugged her under-eyes. Her brows furrowed when she saw me ‘Mate, what the fuck? Where were you? We’ve been looking for you all night.’
I tilted my head in confusion ‘sorry. I went home with someone.’ I took a sip of my tea turning to look at her. Her eyes widened in horror and I turned away in embarrassment.
‘Wait..’ She rushed to my side ‘was he blonde?’ she lifted a hand over her head ‘around 6’2, quite built.’ Worry crept into her voice ‘wearing a purple rugby shirt.’
I nodded lightly not quite sure what she was getting at.
‘Please don’t panic.’ She rested a hand on my knee ‘But you were spiked.’ She pulled me into an embrace. My face collided with the rough edges of her hoodie. I let out a small sarcastic laugh ‘What?’
I pulled away ‘No way-I---I just…’
She interrupted me ‘We left you with Jeremy thinking you’d stay with him but he said you disappeared.’ She paused ‘Next thing we know, we hear you were kicked out the club cause you collapsed. The bouncer left you unconscious on the side of the road.’
Tears started welling in my eyes ‘W-w-wwww-what?’ I felt lumps in my throat as I choaked out the words ‘what do you mean.’
‘We spent hours trying to find you, but the bouncer said you left with your friends. Your friends from rugby apparently.’
I retracted my leg from under her hand ‘But how do you know I was spiked?’ I was afraid of the answer.
‘The bouncer saw you talking to the rugby lads outside the bathrooms, I assume you were waiting for Jeremy.’ She paused briefly ‘he said you asked a bartender for water cause you were feeling typsy. But they don’t give out free water.’ She sighed in frustration ‘you draink their water.’
I finished her sentence before she could continue ‘and I was too drunk to notice the difference.’ I pushed the mug of tea away from me dropping my head into my hands ‘I’m such a fucking idiot.’
In a stern voice Josie stated ‘What? Hey, Hey’ She repeated as I didn’t react ‘listen to me’ She lightly patted me ‘This is not your fault, okay?’
I nodded but I did not believe her.
I had put myself in a vulnerable state.
The next day we went to the police as a victim of rape and spiking. Nothing came of it. I spoke to 3 different members of staff, repeating my trauma 3 times reluctantly accepting a ‘we’ll get back to you’ in return.
The bouncer was never exposed or questioned for letting an unconscious girl leave with boys she did not come with. And I didn’t have a good enough description to find Sam or grim lad. Maybe my brain subconsciously blocked out the memory, or maybe even I’m wired to protect the male species. Either way, I was left alone, confused and filled with self-blame for months.
Also, I never heard back from the authorities. I am Another buried in the annual 85,000 other rape cases.