I remember a time when I went to a therapist weekly, to resolve family disparities and inner-struggling, but felt so free to listen to French concert-hall romantic music on my headphones while riding my bicycle at midnight across the Mass Ave bridge in solitude, glancing at the reflection of eternity on the surface of the Charles river. My only warnings came from that therapist: to carry pepper spray and ride under bright lights, and carry my newly-acquired cell-phone, “just in case of emergency.” That quiet and distant ‘emergency’ then, only an abstract threat.
In spite of her threats, Montand's lullaby (above) would score my 3/4 time rhythmic weaving of my front bicycle wheel through the empty streets of Cambridge and over the river- free in heart, free in body, free to embrace to romantic waltz of a nostalgic french love song of a summer's love affair, with nothing but whimsy radiating out from my body as I'd glide through the peaceful calm of night's privacy...
That therapist who later, would question the sexual advances of my professor, a personal friend of hers who she couldn’t conceive as a predator- in spite of how intimately she had come to know ME, on such a personal level.
This reality- carefree midnight bicycle rides to absorb all the romance and freedom in my heart- for only myself, never a threat- now a faraway dream I can’t fathom embarking on, having now been prey to sexual predators.
Oh, how I long for those days. Pigtails, a 1950s red bicycle, Yves Montand on my CD walkman blasting “Trois Petites Notes de Musique;” riding over the river upon vacant bridges when nobody’s watching and the city is silent with sleep.
Now, I don’t leave my house without a taser and check my shoulder every 30 seconds at least- not on a clock, but out of fear that I may be attacked.
This is what rape does.
This, is what being a woman in american rape-culture means, once your veil gets torn off and trodden down into the gutter.
I miss this.
I miss this.