#72 Sex tape
Turns out I was right. The pictures of Melchior aren’t gone. In fact, it only took Dshawn ten minutes to pull all of them up on the screen of my old laptop, transfer them to an online folder and open it on my current laptop. Long story short, I am now sitting on our bed with my laptop in front of me, trying to force myself to actually look at it.
Dshawn is in the living room and I know he wants to be in here with me to support me, but I want to do this on my own. I need to. This is my way of trying to find some kind of closure. To confront myself with my demons and finally move the fuck on. Besides, I don’t want to hurt Dshawn. I don’t remember all the pictures, obviously, but I do know that Melchior and I look all loved up in most of them. I wouldn’t want to scroll through a whole folder of pictures of Dshawn and his exes.
“Okay,” I whisper to myself. “Here we go.”
Finally, I open the folder and start an automatic slide show so that I won’t have to click through them one by one. A 21-year-old Melchior pops up on my screen, smiling into the camera with his arms around an 18-year-old Shaughna. It’s the first picture we ever took together, a few days after meeting. It’s taken right after our first kiss – a moment that I remember well. It was one of my best first kisses ever, even now, after all the experiences I’ve had after him. Not as good as Dshawn, but close.
The pictures take me through our story. For the first time in seven years, I see his apartment – our apartment, basically – with the old black couch and the huge flatscreen TV. There are pictures of him sleeping on the couch with a blanket over him that I covered him with so he wouldn’t get cold. Snaps of me cooking in the kitchen, laughing over my shoulder at the camera. One of me with his parents, at a family dinner.
I forgot about all those little things. How he used to narrow his eyes when he smiled, those gray eyes sparkling so they looked closer to blue than they actually were. How he pursed his lips when he was thinking about something really hard. The horrid red socks with the holes in them that he refused to throw out. And the way we looked at each other… there’s no denying the love that radiates from us, even in the pictures that were taken after he started abusing me. I know when the beatings started, but you can’t possibly tell from looking at the pictures. I still look in love, and so does he.
In my mind, Melchior got bigger and scarier than he actually was. He looks like a regular guy, to be honest. Handsome, but not a model. Lean, but not nearly as muscular as Dshawn or Aston. He’s got a sweet smile, uncommon gray eyes and a sharp nose that fits his face well. He doesn’t look like the monster I know him to be. He looks… well, like someone I could love. Someone I did love, at one point.
A short movie clip appears on the screen and I click on it so it will play. I’m in the garden, cutting flowers to put in a vase. Melchior’s voice sounds through the small speakers on my laptop, startling me: “Shay, baby, smile to the camera!”
18-year-old me turns around and sticks out her tongue, waving the clippers at him. “You better not be filming me, Melchior!”
His laugh sounds though the bedroom and I feel goosebumps appear on my skin. I forgot how joyful his laugh was. How much I always wanted to join in when he made that warm sound.
The clip is over and the slide show continues, showing me a shot of me on Melchior’s lap, nuzzling his neck. I’m starting to regret doing this. I don’t feel like I’m getting any closure. Instead, I’m starting to doubt myself. Was it really that bad with him? We had so many good times… Is he truly a monster? Or just a guy who made some mistakes?
Then the next picture appears, one of me looking at something to the left of the camera, my chin raised so my neck is exposed. The bruising is not too obvious, already mostly faded, but it’s unmistakably there. Marks that prove that Melchior is every bit the monstrous abuser I’ve made him out to be the past seven years. He choked me. Hurt me. Cut me down until I was nothing.
The next pictures just show more of me and Melchior kissing, laughing, having fun. Not a trace of the hurt I know that was already there at that point in time. The tears I shed at night, the bruises underneath my clothes… I know that it’s all there, just under the surface.
Another clip pops up and I hastily start it, wanting this to be over.
“Hurry up, love,” Melchior’s voice sounds softly, even though the screen is black. “I just want to be inside of you.”
My breath catches in my throat. Oh God, I forgot that this even existed. Please tell me that it’s not what I think it is.
A nervous giggle sounds and the screen shows my face close to the camera as I put the phone on a shelve, making sure that it’s on and facing the right way. When 18-year-old Shaughna steps back, her breasts come into view, bouncing as she skips to the bed, where Melchior is laying on top of the covers, just as naked as she is.
I know that it’s me, but it’s hard to think of that young naked girl like that. The memories come flooding back to me and I realize that this is the sex tape Melchior wanted to make with me. This was about two days before he broke up with me. I never actually watched this, unable to put myself through that even back when I wanted him to love me again. Maybe I should turn it off now, but I just can’t. It’s impossible to look away.
Melchior grabs the girl – me, I tell myself, wishing it truly was someone else – and pushes her face-first into the bed, entering her roughly from behind. A strangled cry sounds, and I know that it wasn’t from anguish. It was pure pleasure.
I close my eyes, wishing I had the strength to turn this off. I listen to the grunts and moans, unable to watch him fuck me. My skin is crawling and I feel tears filling my eyes. Fuck, this was stupid. Why did I ever think that dragging up all the old pain was something that could actually help me?
After what feels like forever, I hear Melchior’s raspy voice again. “Fuck, that was good.”
“Yeah,” my voice sounds from the laptop. “Hmmmm….”
I force my eyes open and watch me and Melchior cuddle, wrapped around each other like we’re the only two people in the world. He’s stroking my back softly, the other hand knotted in my hair. It looks so peaceful, so right, so… normal.
“I wish I didn’t have to go into work tomorrow,” Melchior says, his voice groggy from exhaustion. “I’d love to just stay in with you.”
“Me too,” my younger self replies sweetly.
“You could come with me?” he offers, still gently pulling his fingers through my long blonde hair.
“I can’t,” my voice says softly, trembling a little. “I’m meeting up with Oliver, remember?”
Melchior’s hand freezes in my hair for a second before he grabs it and yanks my head up harshly, making me gasp in surprise. “Oliver? Who the fuck is Oliver?” His voice is nothing like it was before. Gone is the gentle raspy baritone. This is the monster coming out to play after all.
“He’s just a guy I know from high school,” a now scared Shaughna whimpers. “Just a friend. No – not even a friend – just a guy I know.”
“Are you fucking him, you dirty whore?” Melchior asks, sitting up and putting a hand around my throat, squeezing hard enough so I can’t answer. “I bet you are. Why else would you want to meet up with some random dude? You disgust me.” He suddenly pushes me off the bed, my naked body tumbling onto the floor.
I don’t even get up.
The 25-year-old me is safe, sitting on the bed in the apartment she shares with her lovely boyfriend who would never treat her like that, but I somehow feel like I’m back there, laying face-down on the floor of Melchior’s bedroom, afraid to get up. I’m hurt, but not broken. I’m just too damn scared of what else he’ll do to me if he thinks for even a second that I’m trying to fight back.
“You look like an angel with that long blonde hair,” Melchior grunts, grabbing my hair and pulling me off the floor by yanking at it so hard that I cry out in pain. “But you’re not. All you are is a dirty tramp that lets any willing dick into her pussy.”
“N-no…” I whimper, trembling all over. We’re both still naked, but while it makes him look like a glorious revengeful God, my teenage self is just a broken little girl. “You’re the only one, Melchior,” I try to appease him. “I swear!”
He lets go of me and steps back, only to pull his arm back and let his fist connect with my stomach, making me double over in excruciating pain. Melchior waits until I’ve regained enough of my strength to stand up straight before he lays another blow on me, watching me crash into bed and slump down onto the floor, sobbing.
“Oh baby, look at what you made me do,” he says, his voice suddenly soft and raspy again. He drops onto his knees and cradles my body to him.
Fight! I want to scream at my laptop. Run! Get the fuck away from him!
18-year-old Shaughna doesn’t do any of those things. Instead, she just melts into Melchior’s embrace, like he’s not the one to beat her down in the first place. He rocks me, kissing the top of my head before getting up and placing me on the bed, pulling the covers over me.
“Oh Shay,” he says, shaking his head while he looks down on me. “When will you ever learn?” When I don’t respond, he walks over to the phone on the shelve. He smiles into the camera before his hand moves into the picture and the screen turns black.
Immediately, the slide show returns on my screen and I watch the last few snaps of the two of us together. Still, I smile at Melchior in every image, looking at him like he’s the sun and the moon combined. Like he didn’t hurt me. This is exactly what it was like with him. Sweet bliss, followed by bitter abuse, only to fall right back into the bliss like nothing ever happened.
Feeling sick to my stomach, I shut my laptop with so much force that it sounds like the screen just shattered. This isn’t closure. This is just ripping open old wounds without a bandage to put over it. I feel my breathing speeding up, but I refuse to succumb to a panic attack, so I breathe right through it, making sure to keep my inhales and exhales slow and controlled. It only takes me a minute to feel alright again, but my mind is still reeling.
“Fuck!” I yell, finally snapping. It’s just too much. I grab my laptop and throw it against the nearest wall, watching it crash onto the floor, a sickening snap sounding through the room.
“Honey?” Footsteps sound in the hallway and the door flies open, Dshawn looking at me with a worried look in his eyes. “Oh, baby…”
I sob as he throws himself onto the bed with me, pulling my body flush against his so he can hold me. My tears stain his shirt, but he doesn’t care. He strokes my hair and back softly, making reassuring noises that don’t make sense but work wonders anyway.
He’s holding me much like Melchior was in the video, but with Dshawn I can always be sure that he won’t suddenly yank me up by my hair. He won’t turn violent. I just know he won’t. My body relaxes into his and my sobs subside after a while, although I’m still sniffling a little.
“Hey, it’s okay,” Dshawn murmurs, pulling back a little to place a gentle kiss on my lips. “I’m here, baby. He won’t ever hurt you again. And neither will I. You’re okay.”
“Yes,” I reply, looking into his deep brown eyes. “I am.”
“What happened?” he asks softly, his fingers still in my hair, massaging my skull in gentle circles while the other moves up and down across my back.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Okay,” Dshawn says with a sigh, obviously wanting more but accepting that this is all he’s getting right now. “What can I do?”
“Hold me,” I reply simply. “Love me.”
He smiles and kisses me softly. “Done and done.”