Everyone knows how “tough” I am. I walk around cheerful most of the time. I cheer everybody up, whatever it takes. Everybody knows they can count on me at the last minute. Call Dr. Laura, she’ll patch up your hurts, listen to your tragedy, diagnose and treat your illness.
Then there are the days, weeks, months or years that you don’t hear from me. I don’t pick up your call. I don’t return your text, your email, your hand-written invitation….I don’t answer the door.
Or: we are having lunch on Emek Refaim (posh Jerusalem street). It’s a lovely day. I pick up my purse and head to the Ladies’. You wait a long time; the check is on the table. You realize I have gone: out the back door, and it might be a while before I permit you to see me again. It was the panic button that you hit with the sharp elbow of your mind. Never mind that the words were pointed: you meant nothing by them. But I saw. And I left.
I think there must be a kind of man who likes to take on the challenge of Damaged Goods. Or maybe it’s not a “challenge.” Maybe there are men who look for women who are damaged because damaged women are vulnerable to that kind of man. Women who don’t know what a healthy man looks or feels or smells like. Maybe there is a special breed of predator that waits for a damaged one to come along, waits patiently or impatiently for one to happen along…
See, I don’t know much about sexually traumatized men, so I can’t write from that perspective. Why would i want to? Because i am eternally apologetic, is why, and I don’t want to seem like I’m leaving them out. Sorry, damaged guys, you’re on your own for now. All I know about is damaged women, women who have had their natural healthy sexual part of their being snatched away, clutched and groped and grabbed and punctured over and over until every remnant of its original joy song has been squashed and smashed and smeared across sticky floors until it lacks any memory of itself, especially any glimmer of hope of rematerializing as the innocent dewy posey it began.
So you saw me as a fascinating project. An exercise in stealth: don’t scare the skittish animal off. Offer her delicacies you know she likes. Feed her mango on the tip of your razor sharp knife. Get close, really close, before you strike. Hard, fast, without warning. Ah, that feels good to you. You have mastered her, no? You know what she loves, what makes her melt, what will keep her coming back after the sting subsides.
Oh, but I’m not like that anymore. True, I fall for it, I fell for it again this time, and it makes me feel like shit, like…damaged goods. But I got out a lot quicker this time. Yes, it feels like shit, I did it again. I should have known….why? Because it was some guy that knew what I loved, fed it to me, stroked my soft spots before striking like a snake? Or maybe it was all in my imagination, maybe i simply imagined that he knew me in that way, because I wanted so much for it to be true, for him to be the one….Ah, there is no way to know. I am too damaged. This is my tragedy. Call Dr. Laura, please, somebody….what? Shit. She’s not answering her phone.