I am a victim of childhood abuse. As a result, even during my teen years, the slightest touch of a man would scare me. But all this changed one day.
Atishay had been my classmate for many years, but we never interacted much. We started talking only during our 12th board exams. The more we talked the more we realised that we had many things in common. He became a good friend and we often spent time talking over the phone, chatting and meeting for coffee. I liked hanging out with him. After our board exams, though, I went back to my home - I used to study in a different city.
I got to meet Atishay again when I had to go to Delhi for an entrance exam. We decided to meet, and on the day of my exam, he came to pick me up from the centre.
We were walking to the metro station and while crossing the road I saw a bus coming towards us. I stopped to let the bus pass. What I didn't notice was a car, right behind the bus, speeding towards me. But Atishay saw the car and pulled me back quickly - his hand on my back, he helped me cross the street. Once we were safely on the other side, he immediately pulled his hand away.
I don't remember how I crossed the road... The moment I felt his hand around my back, I went blank. A shiver ran down my spine and my hands felt cold. But to my surprise, I didn't fear it.
It was not a bad touch - he did it only to protect me from being run over by the car. I looked into his eyes. I didn’t see lust; what I saw was genuine affection and caring. And a hint of guilt because of my reaction.
For the first time in about ten years, I wanted to trust a man.
Two days later, he confessed his love for me. How could I not accept him? He was the one who made me feel safe, the one who showed me what being touched with affection feels like. The little girl in me, who feared men, wanted to hold the hand which made her feel safe - the hand of a man who respected her and her body.
I still remember the way he cried when I told him about the harassment and abuse I'd faced during my childhood. But it didn’t change his feelings for me. We have been together for six months now, and he hasn't changed a bit. The only thing that has changed is our love, which has become stronger and more beautiful than ever.
The little girl is safe now, safe in her true love’s arms.
*Names changed to protect privacy.
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Published on Dec 15, 2015