Zombies are a mythical being, individuals brought back from death without the intellect and sense that makes them human. Yet, as I moved through my childhood, day by day, I felt like a zombie living in a world detached from everyone and everything around me. I somehow managed to acquire skills of deceiving others by portraying a façade personality of mine hiding the reality within, all of this with a level of mastery that would make any actor envious of me. Perhaps that's the only reason that I've survived thus far.
My problems ran deep, to the root of my early childhood. Maybe that is why I can barely remember a major chunk of my childhood and teen years. I believe that whatever incidents led to the corruption of my mind, my body, and my soul, caused me to simply die from within.
I may not recall much from my childhood and vague as it may be, one early memory still lingers on my thoughts, plaguing my existence. It was a summer's day and I was staying at a cousin's place. I don't have much recollection of that day, but what I do recall is waking up in the middle of the night and realizing that the hand of an elder cousin was inside my pants. Half asleep, I mumbled something, giving away the fact that I was now awake. His hand froze; he looked down at me, and slowly taking his hands out proclaimed; 'ssshhh! Go back to sleep. There was an insect on the bed that crawled into your pants, I just took it out.' Not knowing much better, I went back to sleep. If memory serves me right, this happened well before I entered my teen years. Unfortunately for me, the validity of this incident still plagues my mind.
Growing up in Pakistan is an easy experience for most, especially for those belonging to a well-established family, but when one is introduced to individuals who are best explained as monsters, then their childhood takes on a horrific turn. I've always thought of myself as being cursed, a monster magnet as somehow every now and again, something would happen to me that would cause me to question my sanity and sanctity. From early teen years to young adulthood, I began to believe that I may very well be the one doing something wrong, something to attract these monsters to me.
There was a boy at school once who constantly pushed up against me from behind in the cafeteria line. I asked him to keep his distance once or twice, but he would end up smashing into me or brushing his hand against me every few seconds. So I left the cafeteria deciding to go without food till I got home that day. That didn't stop him though, as he followed me outside and forced me to sit down and listen to him talking about there being scientific proof for boys to play with each other to have better growth. I excused myself and scurried away, and thankfully never ran into him again. The few times that I did see him in the hall or on the stairs, I would simply make it a habit to turn around and go in the other direction.
Lacking focus on my studies, my parents got me registered at a tuition center to help me enhance my skills. To get to the tuition center, I would take public transport as we only had one car at the house which was usually occupied. One day, as I had finally started to settle in and understand the complexities involved in working with mathematical algorithms, I left the tuition center and came to halt at the bus stop. Shortly after a wagon stopped and picked us up. I got in, and settled into a seat at the back by the window and took out the novel that I had been reading at the time. I usually sat in the corner in the wagon to avoid having to get up at each stop to let others in or out as my stop was a good 30-40 minutes away. And there I was, sitting with my bag on my lap, focused on the book in my hand when suddenly the guy next to me slid his hand under my bag and let it rest on my thigh. I pushed his hand off and shifted a little to the side and continued to read. Barely a minute passed before he slid his hand under my bag again but this time resting it much further. Before I could say or do anything, he moved close to me and whispered in my ear. He simply told me to stay silent else he would be driven to hurt me, and so I just sat there silently for the next couple of minutes. As soon as the next stop came, I hurriedly got up to leave. He looked surprised, undoubtedly expecting my stop to be much further. As I got out of the wagon, I realized I had just gotten out at a secluded spot. I looked back and panicked as I saw the man also making his way out of the wagon. I started walking in the direction of a market and glanced back to see him following me at the same pace as mine. As luck would have it, there stood a cab at the corner, I got in, yelled my destination, and sat there shaking as the cab sped past the man that had been following me.
After that it became a habit of mine to walk from the tuition center to my home, well over 8-10 kilometers, in an attempt to avoid running into men like that. However as fate would have it, as soon as I became comfortable with walking that route, something much worse happened. From the tuition center to my home, in between lied a park in Islamabad, which I would cross every day on my way home. It was there that I came across the need to pee one time. At each entrance to the park they had built public toilets, so rather than urinating behind a bush somewhere, I thought it best to make use of the lavatory instead. As I entered the park and went up to the toilets, I noticed that the door was locked from the outside. I looked around and saw a ticket collector (for cars entering the park), sitting at the gate. I went up to him and asked him why the door was locked. He explained that the toilets were being fixed but that I could use the ladies section as no one ever uses it. I went inside, used the facilities, and came out to wash my hands. I hesitated for a second as I saw the ticket collector standing there besides the sink. He stood there silently watching me closely as I washed my hands. As I turned around to leave, he walked past me and closed the main door to the lavatory. I asked him to open the door, instead he took ahold of me and pushed me up close to his body and started caressing my body, telling me to stay silent. I pushed him away and started to shout. He slapped me on the face, twisted my arm, and told me to stay quiet as he was not going to hurt me. He took hold of my hand and shoved it into his shalwar and commanded me to rub him out. I started crying and pleaded him to let me go. He stripped off his clothes and told me to do what he'd asked else he would do much worse to me. I kept crying but did what he had asked. After I had made him ejaculate, he let me leave but warned me not to speak of this to anyone else he would find me as he had his ways of doing that.
I lost sleep for a few nights but after a few months had passed, I found myself getting back to normalcy. Alas! My curse was still in bloom and there was more yet to come.
I completed my Matriculation exam and took admission at a Federal Government College branch located near my home, for my Higher Secondary School Education. Since the college was almost one and a half kilometer away from my home, I would get dropped off at the college in the morning and walked back home at the end of the day. It was one such day, when walking back home, I was asked for the time by a security guard sitting outside a house two streets behind ours. I looked at my watch and gave him the time. As I continued to walk on, he asked me politely if could look at his clock as it was not working even though he put a new battery in it. I told him to take it to the clock shop but he insisted I take a quick look as being illiterate he wasn't sure if he had put the battery in properly.
I agreed and asked him to bring the clock to me. He told me it was in his cabin and if I could just step in for a second. Here in Pakistan, guards hired at residencies have a small cabin built outside the home of their employers. It isn't large enough to sleep in, but has enough room for a few belongings and sitting in. As I looked inside the cabin through the window, I saw the clock sitting on a small desk with a fresh pack of batteries besides it. So I stupidly stepped inside only to be followed by him coming in and locking the door behind him. As I turned around, he reached behind the cupboard and pulled out a gun and placed it besides the door. He didn't say anything about the gun to me, nor did he threaten me verbally with it, however I literally froze at the sight of the weapon.
He lowered curtains over the windows and came up to me and told me that I needn't worry about the clock as he'll get it fixed elsewhere. He started putting his hands on my body and asked me if I wanted to get a muscular body like his - at which point he took my hands and put them on his body. I said no thanks but that I'd like to leave. He moved between me and the door and started to unbutton my shirt. I told him to stop, and tried to make my way to the door again when he pushed me to the wall and pinned my hands behind my back. I yelled for him to let me go, at which he shoved a cloth inside my mouth and twisted my arms. Holding me with one hand, he loosened his clothes with his other hand and pushed me over to the desk. He unzipped my school pants and slid them down.
A Traditional Guard Cabin
After the longest few minutes that I've lived in my entire life, he told me to pull up my pants and to get lost. He took the gun in his hand and swayed it around telling me to stay silent about this or else he'd seen me walking home numerous times and would not hesitate to come after me. I left the cabin with tears streaming down my face, and rushed home. Thoughts of calling the police or telling my parents crossed my mind. I could surely report this to someone… I know where the guy works!
As I entered the street I saw our car pulling out of the driveway. I quickly wiped the tears streaming down my face and straightened up as I walked towards my home and the car slowly made its way up to me. Behind the wheel was my dad, who had probably come home from the office for lunch. He looked up at me, I looked at him. It was a momentarily look, but I saw him smiling.
He was smiling, his eyes shining, and his cheeks flushed with color. Our family had been struck with financial issues for the last few months and it was very rare to see my dad smile a genuine smile those days, so when I saw his smile, my face automatically smiled back and flushed up. That moment gave me warmth and hope, and made me feel loved for the first time in a long time.
When I got home I found out that things were looking bright for the family financially. I decided in that instant not to say anything and silently retreated to my room and got into the shower. The memory of what had just happened to me in the cabin crept into my mind and I silently wept while the shower ran bloody.
Although I changed my route when coming back home from the college, I unfortunately ran into the same guard again one day not far from my college. I was walking on when suddenly a hand reached out at me from behind and there he stood. He told me to follow him, I freaked out and started crying, pleading him to just let me go. He simply said 'it never hurts much the second time'. He took hold of my hand and forced me towards a muddy path going under a bridge nearby. I looked around hoping to see someone, anyone, whom I could take advantage of to get away from him. But there was no one in sight… I never saw him again after that.
As I graduated from college and went to university, I was hopeful that adulthood might bring better prospects for me. I couldn't have been more wrong. From troubles with associating with classmates to loss in confidence and suicidal thoughts, my life spiraled out of control. I barely survived the first few semesters at the university, achieving low grades in most courses.
The incidents didn't stop either. I once hired a Cab to get home, and somehow ended up with the taxi driver telling me to suck his private parts. I failed to comply at which he had me give him a hand-job instead. Another time while walking back home, feeing the urge to urinate, I went behind a few bushes. I unzipped my jeans but before I could urinate, I saw a gardener out of the corner of my eye. I zipped up and started to move forward when he forced me to urinate and then masturbate in front of him, all the meanwhile masturbating himself.
I know it sounds crazy. I look at all these incidents that I've written about here and others, and I can't seem to understand how these all could have happened to me! I'm positive to this day that I was a cursed individual, marked by these monsters so that others like them could easily identify me out of a crowd and take advantage of me.
Then it all stopped. There were no more cab drivers or passengers in wagons getting close to me. No security guards chasing me. It all stopped. And somehow I landed a B+ overall GPA in one of the semesters at the university. That one coincidental grade that semester ignited a spark inside me. I started paying attention, and focused on things ahead and not that which was in the past. I finally graduated from the university with a 3.0 average GPA (B Grade) and landed a job right after in Lahore, Pakistan.
It was at a gym in Lahore where I befriended two guys. One of them turned out to be gay, and after texting and chatting, I ended up inviting him over one day. Needless to say, I was interested at the discovery of his sexuality. We fooled around initially and I somewhat enjoyed it. However when he went a little further, the memories came rushing back. I stopped him and started avoiding talking to him too much. I still invited him to drop by at times and when things escalated, I would tell him to stop. The memory of my rape and the impact of it on my life started becoming apparent to me. The guy from the gym started pushing me to get a lubricant or painkillers so that we could go further, and because of that I started becoming distant from him.
By this time I had this notion in my mind that maybe I was a homosexual too. But given that all my life I'd always been interested in women and have had numerous sexual desires and dreams about various women, I failed to believe that to be true. So I went through life completely dazed and confused not being able to identify what I wanted to do. And then a chance meeting with a girl outside a shop, the courageous move to ask her out for coffee, and her agreeing to meet up led to the discovery that I needed. After we met up at a coffee place, I drove to drop her at her place afterwards. Parked outside her house, she suddenly moved to kiss me. The freak that I am, I totally panicked and ended up pushing her into the car door instead. She yelled as her head hit the window and angrily got out of the car. I wasn't sure if I was more amused at the fact that I had just pushed her into the car door, or the fact that I had totally wanted to kiss her too and was completely turned on.
And so I realized that I did actually like women, but belonging to a religious family as well as being somewhat religious myself, I didn't believe in sex before marriage. However I knew that if I were to ever marry a girl and wanted our marriage to succeed, I would have to be honest to her about everything.
Let me clarify that to this point I had not told anyone about my past, the multiple rapes and the sexual abuse that I had faced in my childhood. But then came a point in my life where I became depressed and suicidal. It was then that I decided that I had no choice but to talk to someone and so I wrote up an email and sent it to my best friend with enough information to shock him, and possibly disgust him. I still remember each minute as I waited for him to read and respond to the email. It was a lot tougher to get through that waiting period than it had been to decide to tell him those things about me in the first place.
He responded, and I was surprised. When I had sent him the email, I had braced myself for never hearing from him again. But he surprised me and responded back with the utmost casualness. Even the next time we met in person, there was no awkwardness in his behavior nor any change in his attitude. He helped me tremendously through a tough time.
I had turned 28 and my family started pushing me to get married. Marriage prospects are catered for children in Pakistan at a very early age - right after they turn 18 in most areas. For guys, I've known various people who were married while they were still in university and most that were married right after they completed their graduation. In my case, though I had been presented with various prospects, I had declined to marry at each chance as I had decided that I was not strong enough to share my secrets with a stranger before marriage, as I couldn't honestly tell a girl about my past after we had been married as that would have been unfair to her. Nor did I want to ruin any girl's life as I still believe that I am a cursed individual and would only bring problems to her life.
Then somehow, a proposal presented itself and I couldn't help but agree to it. The girl's family was well known by me and though I had not met her in person till then, I was for some reason excited at the prospect. And so we got engaged.
Today we are happily married and are on the verge of celebrating our first year anniversary. I love her with all my heart and she loves me back! Most importantly, I never lied to her about my past. I told her the truth about what happened to me in my childhood before we got married and gave her a way out and in return she's done nothing but loved me more for it. Honesty sure can be the best policy!
I still get depressed at times and can be found cussing myself and acting a bit suicidal, but my love, the purpose of my life, the thought of her and being with her brings me back to wanting to live on. I may very well be cursed, dead inside, but when you've got a best friend who stands by you, and a wife who loves and cherishes you in every way… You can't help but be thankful and optimistic.