On the occasion of being texted by my rapist

Hey, he says, I hope you’re well.
It was nice to see you in your car and wave hello 
even if it was nothing more, he says.
Except, I know it was so much more 
than hello. It was hell, you know?
To see my memory flash before my eyes
with his smile and my grimace 
and his wave a slap to my face.

Except, it was nice to see him 
in the sense that I hope he’s well too
because not every rapist is, in fact, a monster.
They just did a monstrous thing because
they were raised to believe that taking is their right 
and our honor is to give, and they often don’t realize
the damage that they did. They often don’t realize-
no, don’t want to accept 
that what they did was take without asking and mistake-
no, choose to believe 
that silence, and the lack of constant no’s,
somehow meant yes. And so they leave us 
with their dissent, overlooking the lack of consent.
What I did was wrong, he said, but how dare you
call me that- that awful word. Rapist.
How dare you-

But, really, I do hope his hello and my hell
can translate somewhere down the line to:
Once upon a time we knew each other well
and then we grew. And he will be a changed man
and I will feel new...

I hope I can believe in fairy tales
and dreams coming true
instead of reliving these nightmares, 
dark memories, and the bitter truth:
he won’t change.

I will.

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