Unspeakable by Susan Gibb

He makes no sound, no pant nor grunt. He woke me with a lover’s touch, his fingers speaking words a woman understands. It is a dream but no, I feel the warm breath on my neck, the weight and scent of a man that settles me slow and deep into my mattress, my room, my reality. My shriek is stopped by a hand and my body screams by bucking, pushing, shoving at the mass of him. He slaps my face.

“Who are you?” I say, but he slaps me again, so hard that I’m amazed at the gentleness of his other hand between my thighs. This man is complicated, I think; more conflicted within himself than what is happening here.

I moan. He grabs my neck between his thumb and hand. All right, he is no fool. He knows and hates the faking too. He slides inside me and if for nothing else, I’m grateful that my body has responded in its instinctual way.

The silence hangs between us like a world suspended. I imagine Earth orbiting without a sound inside the dark expanse of space. His lurching moves the bed as if the universe had suddenly gone mad and blown us down a black hole, spiraling out of sight–for I can’t see anything, can’t feel myself at all.

And when he’s done, no sigh of pleasure. I close my eyes and when I open them he’s gone. The bedroom door wide open. My soul ajar.


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Filed under Susan Gibb

15 responses to “Unspeakable by Susan Gibb

  1. Al McDermid

    I don’t know what to say this rattled me so.

  2. I can’t believe this. Very disturbing. The last line captures the rest perfectly.

  3. Kim Hutchinson

    Susan, this is excellent, every word. One of your best, and that says a lot.

  4. Thank you all, it’s not exactly holiday fare, but it is likely one of my edgiest.

  5. grey johnson

    This makes me feel some conflicted things, along with a conflicted response. I have entered my post-feminist era, maybe. I just don’t know, and I love it. Brave writing.

  6. Len

    you’re very brave! good for you. i agree about that last line being wonderful.

  7. Al McDermid

    Hi Susan,
    I had to come back and read this again (same reaction, though the impact was less), and realized that my comment could be read as something other than a testament to the writing. As Len and Grey noted, very brave. And very powerful.

  8. Really, I’m glad that it evokes such a strong reaction. There are many ways to look at rape, and there are many different kinds of rapes. It still comes down to a power struggle between rapist and victim, and how it impacts.

  9. John Riley

    I read this several times over the weekend. It has staying power. Great story.

  10. kelly

    very skillful, how you balance the violence and narrator’s perspective, which makes the last line all the more wrenching

  11. Unspeakable indeed! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

  12. Powerful stuff. Al’s word choice “rattled” is perfect. My favorite sentence was”his lurching moves the bed as if the universe had suddenly gone mad.” And I loved the parallelism at the end: “The dor open – my soul ajar.” Lovely stuff. You took me there, and I held my breath for the duration of the story. Doris

  13. Very powerful, and very masterful treatment of rape, the yin and yang of it, the complexity of it. I agree, one of your best — and your most honest. You dug deep for this. Peace…

  14. Pingback: Week #32 – Silence | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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