The Survivors

Tinder. Thursday the seventh. Evening.
Eduardo: I don’t want to beat you. I don’t want to abuse you. I just wanna fuck you.
The Mother: I’m sorry, but I’m not ready for you to fuck me.
Eduardo: What are you ready for then?
The Mother: I just think it’s too soon. For everything. I thought I was ready to get myself out there, but I’m not. We should just leave it.

Queue flashback. The lakes. January 1st, 2021. Afternoon; still some daylight.
“I didn’t think we were going to meet,” I say, and she looks at me with a quirky smile.
“I felt I needed to do it. I was very curious about you,” she says. Looking at me with flirtatious eyes.
“But the second I told you I like rough sex, you felt very uncomfortable. Like I triggered all your abuse PTSD. So how come you are here, anyway?”
“I don’t know. Maybe I wanted you to be an abuser. I saw the red flags, but I wanted to see it for myself. I think I wanted to finally face my fears, my trauma. But you also said you have been abused, so I was confused. So here I am…”
I take some moments to put my ideas together. I look at her. She looks at me and I feel I’m naked; can’t even hold her stare for over a second or two. Intimidated by her experience, the mature beauty of a mother of two in her 40s. Deep blue eyes that seem to pierce right into my frontal lobe. Hell, all the way through me and my bullshit. I’m a fucking child, all of the sudden. Now she’s becoming -potentially- a mother of three, if I include myself in the mix.
“I not only a victim of abuse from my ex-girlfriend,” I say, afraid to scare her away with my tumultuous story with L. Yet, I do it. “I also was an abuser with my previous ex. I mean, not on purpose. She had cheated on me and I wasn’t mature enough to understand that I could never forgive her. Instead of just breaking up and moving on, I forced myself to stay with her and fix things somehow. But I just couldn’t, and became increasingly more abusive to her. I felt that my anger and resentment towards her were justified. I was furious at her for “fucking things up for both of us;” but in reality, I envied her. She had had the life I wanted to have lived. My anger wasn’t really about her, it was about me. But I didn’t know that, and I was fucking horrible to her. I never hit her, though…”
“Oh, shut up! Fuck that! You know that emotional abuse is as bad, and sometimes even worse than physical abuse.”
“Alright, alright! I know, I was terrible. But, as I said, never on purpose. I understood too late what I have done, unfortunately. All I want to do is apologize to her, but my therapist told me not to. And I get it. Nothing I do or say will fix the past. I hurt her so much and fucked her life up. How can I ask her for forgiveness, if I cannot even forgive myself? And now, ironically, karma fucked me over and I ended up in the other end of the shitty stick,” I finish, with a sigh.
“Do you think all abusers realize at some point what they did? Because after more than three years, my ex-husband still maintains his version of the story. He never apologized to me,” she says, bitterly.
“I know my biggest regret is what I did to my ex L. She never deserved anything I did to her. I screwed up. It was so bad that I think, as a survival mechanism, I buried those memories in my mind. That version of me is so different to who I am now, that it’s so hard to believe that was me at some point. So yeah, I got it, eventually. But if your ex is a narcissist, he will always be certain that he is right. Not taking any responsibility for your actions is like Narcissism 101, right?”
“Absolutely.”
“So you still want your ex to apologize?”
“Yeah. I know it won’t change anything, but at least it’ll be good to have a final confirmation that I was not crazy, as he tried to make me believe.”
“Tell me about it! To be honest, the whole abuse thing is fucked up. Even after everything, do you still feel you love your ex?”
“Yes, that happens. They get you hooked.”
“They really do. And I totally get what you say; I wish my ex apologized too. She never did, not for real. She just said whatever I wanted or needed to hear, but never truly seemed to feel any remorse or regrets. I don’t think she ever realized she fucked up and how. Probably, in her mind, I’m The Bad Guy. But what do I know, I’m not a narcissist…”
“That’s exactly what a narcissist would say,” she interrupts me, snarky. “How do I know this is not your own little sob-story; your narrative to explain why you are just a poor victim of circumstance?”
“I know, it’s so tricky! But I’m really not. Well, unless my therapist lied to me every time I asked her,” I reply, nervously. “Also, this is so meta: if I were, indeed, a narcissist, wouldn’t I say I’m not one and lie my ass off to create, as you say, an elaborate narrative where I’m always the victim and the world is against me and blah, blah, blah?”
She sighs. “It’s a mindfuck, huh? My ex-husband always blamed everything on me, and he seemed so convinced that I started believing him, taking the blame for everything, all the time. After I finally snapped out of it and left him, I went on to meet another guy. He was Latino too, now that I think about it. It seems like I have a pattern!”
I smile, but quickly respond “I’m not like other Latinos, though. I’m very different.”
“That’s exactly what he said!”
“Fuck…”
“And he had this whole tragic story with his fucked up family. From that, he created this complex narrative that explained how he was better than everyone and I fell for it. He swore he wasn’t an abuser, but he also was a covert narcissist and ended up abusing me, anyway. Just differently.”
“And here you are, hanging out and flirting with me. Even after you saw all those red flags, and still after I told you I have been an abuser as well. What does that say about you? Or… about me?”

Queue two hours later, outside a parking lot near the central station. Nigh time.
The Mother is standing very close to me, her back against the wall and her car keys in one hand. I’m nervous and shy as hell. The situation is unnerving, after such a heavy conversation.
“I feel I should do something,” I say, finally, my voice breaking a bit.
“Something like?” she asks, with a luscious gaze.
“You know…” I say, in a very obvious tone. “But we are both narcissistic abuse survivors and I don’t want to hurt you, because I can relate to your experiences. Also, you know, I’m a consent nerd. Maybe I’m just imagining that you want me…”
She hushes me. Takes off her leather gloves and steps even closer to me, as she starts running her fingers through my hair and my face. “I love the gray hairs in your beard,” she says, looking at my lips and then into my eyes. I breach the short distance between my mouth and hers and we kiss for the next ten or fifteen minutes in the dark, cold streets of Copenhagen.

Jump 24 hours in the future. Frederiksberg. Eduardo’s gray sofa.
Vito’s Ordination Song, playing in the background. Two cups of tea, half-empty on my coffee table. Most of our clothes on the floor, and our bodies intertwined in a cuddle that feels too familiar, too natural. As if we’ve been lovers for as long as time has been time. Her hands touching my hairy bare chest, her nose sinking between my left ear and shoulder.
“I love your smell,” she says, after taking a deep breath.
“All women seem to love my smell… I really don’t know why,” I say.
“Don’t talk about other women, please.”
“I’m sorry,” I reply, and hold her tight against me. Not wanting to let go, but with so much urine in my bladder I feel about to burst.
“It’s been so long I don’t do this,” she says, holding me tighter.
“Yeah, it feels like forever for me too,” I respond. I feel my urethra wanting to give up and my balls turning blue. She asked me to take things slow, so I know skin is all I will get tonight. I’m very fucking horny, but I don’t want to get anywhere near to sexually abusing her, as the previous guy did.
A few minutes more go by and I can’t hold my piss anymore. I rush to the toilet, and by the time I come back to my living room, she’s completely dressed. “I am going home,” she says. I would love her to stay, but don’t want to pressure her. I embrace her tight and say “I understand.” We kiss very romantically, and then once last time, quickly, as she makes her way out the door.

Skip to now. January 10th, 2021. Sunday afternoon.
I check my Tinder chats and she’s gone. She really meant it when she said it was over. Whatever “it” was. Rolling Stones on my Spotify sums it up, coincidentally, as Ruby Tuesday plays right now. “Still I’m gonna miss you.”
Goodbye, you sexy milf.

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