Matthew told me a lot of things. I don't remember the words, but I absorbed the gist. All of them were lies.
ALL MEN ARE LIKE ME. ALL MEN DO THIS. SOME OF US PRETEND WE DON'T BUT WE ALL DO. YOU WILL TAKE ANY MAN WHO WANTS YOU BECAUSE MEN WHO WANT YOU ARE RARE AND NONE OF THEM REALLY LIKE YOU ANYWAY, THEY JUST WANT TO GET OFF. THERE IS NO LOVE. YOU ARE FIT ONLY TO BE PREYED UPON. YOU WILL BE USED AND DISCARDED AND THIS IS YOUR PURPOSE. YOU WILL TAKE IT.
When I was 19 or 20, I was very into the whole dance music/Ecstasy/free party thing. This was back in the mid-90s, when everyone was covered in fluorescent paint and tribal tattoos and we all used to say "Mental!" a lot.
One summer night, I went to a free party in a wood. All the trees had been wrapped in glowing streamers. I was with, who was I with? Frankie. Frankie, with her long dark hair. Frankie was going out with a guy called Ross. There were four of us; me, Frankie, Ross, and Ross's friend Kev, who everyone called D-Train for some reason I still haven't worked out (although it may just be that Ross and D-Train wanted to be rappers so badly it hurt). D-Train fancied me but at that time I wasn't interested in sex. Or rather I was - I still am - but I have many conflicting feelings about it. I loved the trippy, happy, hippy hedonism vibe when it came to taking drugs, drinking, hugging people and dancing till I fell over, but the sex? Not so much. Easier just to avoid the whole thing.
I remember D-Train and I were drinking vodka out of the bottle in the back of the car. Voodoo People was playing at top volume as country lanes blurred past.
The two of them were low to medium level drug dealers. They always had pills and they always had coke, and the pills and coke were always free for Frankie and me. That night Frankie and I drank an entire bottle of Malibu between us. We then proceeded to take two pills and a line of coke each.
Unsurprisingly, this excess resulted in me lying on a mattress in the back room of a small house nearby which was part of the party. I have no idea whose house, room or indeed mattress this was. I was enjoying myself, as far as one can when one's brain has crashed.
D-Train came into the room. He was in an equally bad way and collapsed on the floor beside the mattress. I was not able to have much in the way of thoughts but one which kept recurring was that D-Train was probably uncomfortable on the hard floor and would be much better off on the mattress instead. I managed somehow to inform him of this fact and he got on the bed with me.
He then began kissing my neck and putting his hand up my skirt. This had not been my intention in any way whatsoever (although, with hindsight, I can see how he could have misinterpreted my invitation to get in bed with me). I was too drugged to move, which meant I couldn't move away. But I managed to mutter "don't want to."
And D-Train immediately took his hands off me, said: "You're a bit mashed up right? Why don't you have a sleep?" kissed me on the forehead, and got up and left the room.
D-Train fancied me. We were both extremely high. If I had got unlucky and been with another Matthew that night, another werewolf -
It would have been rape. But can you imagine trying to explain the scenario in court? Trying to tell it to the police? Let's be honest here. The defence would have crucified me.
But this drug-dealing unemployed Daily Mail readers' nightmare, with his white trainers and his tracksuit bottoms, understood more about sex, women and respect even when he was horny and off his face on vodka and Class As than many well-educated, middle-class, clean-cut men I have met ever will when sober. Which tells me not just a lot about men, but also a lot about prejudice, because the assumption of society in general is that a guy like D-Train wouldn't think twice.
This memory cheers me up whenever Matthew tries to convince me that he is completely normal and all men are just rapists waiting for an opportunity. D-Train saved me from that particular lie. I hope he's good, wherever he is; here's to him, and may all his coke deals go well.
The world turns, things balance. For every lesson we are taught by the Matthews there is a lesson we are taught by the D-Trains. We choose which we want to apply to ourselves.