It was our third date if you count the speed-dating event where we met. He was a doctor of physical therapy with a nice condo in the city and he had asked me over to cook dinner for me. His place was clean and very bachelor-y with the only décor being his framed degree hung up on the wall next to a bookcase full of binders of school notes and anatomy and physiology books. His furniture was all brown or black pieces; not fashionable or modern, but it was clean and tidy. Big TV, naturally. When I got there he was still cooking the meal, fiddling with the stuff on the stove and vegetables in the microwave. He poured a couple glasses of wine while we waited and it was nice, really. I had some reservations about him because of our last date but I was being put at ease.
On our second date, we went to a museum and it was really awkward trying to hold a conversation with him there. He was soft-spoken and would walk behind me or away from me in the middle of a conversation so that I couldn’t hear him anymore and I would have to follow him around or twist myself around to keep talking. That got old as soon as it started. Besides that, he was literally pushy. I think he was trying to joke around and he just randomly shoved me while I was on the steps at the museum. Looking back now I know to think: WTF??!! But at the time I was just annoyed and took it like I always take things like that: pissed off inside but not really clicking that it’s wrong for someone to do that to me. I pushed the feelings down, said nothing and kept walking. He pushed me a few times. I thought about taking the elevator to be sure that I wouldn’t fall down the stairs in the parking garage.
Back to our third date; dinner was nice. We had a much livelier conversation than on the previous date and the food was pretty good. The steak was a little too overdone but he had still cooked for me and that’s bound to win you 3,000 points unless it’s absolutely inedible. I was enjoying myself but then somehow we got on the topic of Disney fairy tales versus the original stories. I say something about how sleeping beauty was not kissed but actually raped awake (remember we are having a good conversation and I am feeling at ease at this point). Then he comes back with, “Yeah, but he married her afterward,” with an absolutely serious face.
“He raped her but he married her afterwards.”
“That doesn’t make it not rape. That doesn’t make it any better.”
He didn’t answer me, just took a drink of wine.
“I need to know that you know rape isn’t cancelled out by marriage.”
“No, of course it’s not.”
After dinner he offered me more wine and even though I said no, he went on to pour me a very large glass, finishing off the bottle. After our exchange, I was set on not drinking it to make sure I was sober enough to leave. I was looking for a polite way out when he suggested we watch a movie.
“Ok, maybe I can stay for half a movie.”
He put on an old, obscure movie that I had never seen before but one that he insisted was a ‘classic’ and I ‘had to see it.’ He sat down on one side of the sectional sofa and I placed myself on the far side of the L shape, away from him.
“You haven’t been drinking your wine.”
“I told you I didn’t want any more. It keeps me up at night.”
“Come sit over here.” I didn’t really want to, but he insisted so I sat down next to him. He inched a bit closer. After a while, he put his arm around my shoulders. I was still a bit tense and the movie was from the 90’s and boring. I watched the clock and wondered when would be a good time to make my exit. Then, without any kind of warning, he scooted himself down and laid his head in my lap.
I was in shock.
“Will you pat my hair?”
“I want you to pat my hair,” he picked up my hand and laid it on his head, moving it up and down in patting motions.
“No, that’s ok.” I took my hand away. He grabbed it back and put it on his head. I tried to take back my hand but he held it firmly on his head. I tried to stand up, but he used his head on my lap to apply pressure and keep me sitting down. My heart was beating at a thousand times a second, I had no idea what to do. I stayed still.
He made me stroke his hair again for a little while and then he sat up straight again. He was talking to me but I have no idea what he said. I was panicking. But I stayed still.
He put his hand on my head and pushed me down into his lap. I think I actually felt a piece of my mind snapping. He held me down there with his arm and wouldn’t let me up. I think he continued to talk. I struggled but he was too strong. So I stopped and waited.
He let me up and I stood/rolled off the couch and onto my feet, sliding my coat from the chair onto my back like I’d practiced it a million times and grabbed my purse.
“I have to get up early in the morning so I’d better go.”
“Why do you have to go all of a sudden? We haven’t finished the movie,” he reminded me of a snake, poised and dangerous.
He got up and walked to the door as well, joining me in the doorway. I wondered if I screamed, if any of the neighbors would notice. I remembered my mother always told me to shout ‘fire!’ because that’s what gets people’s attention.
I said, “Have a good night,” and I gave him a short hug. I walked away briskly to my car. I have never driven away from a place so fast in my life.