Trav deflects these statements. He understands my protective instincts, but it makes him feel weak and uncomfortable when I say the words with such elevated drama. He is not brave, he says. Not a survivor, and certainly no hero. It doesn’t matter anymore, he says, so I suck in my breath and nod.
Mostly, I listen. I listen, and I do not laugh when my husband needs to secure the perimeter of our home each night. He keeps a machete by the nightstand. A long pillow divides our bed.
Trav believes his story is too familiar to be interesting. “I’m just another kid who got molested.” This breaks my heart to hear, but he’s not wrong about his story not being unique: The generally accepted estimate is that one in six men are sexually abused as children.
When high profile cases dominate the news, I feel for the victims, but I also scan for images of their partners and wonder how they deal with it. I want to ask what’s inside their medicine cabinets and if their husbands sometimes wince when touched, too.
I want my husband to sleep at night, and if it takes a machete in the bedroom, I’ve learned not to mind.
Search for Americana singers in our state, and Trav’s name usually tops the list. As a musician, he built a business on his terms, one small stage at a time, and now plays at least five shows a week. He has a kind energy that draws people to him. He is a Reiki master and meditates daily. He defuses bar fights with humor and loads heavy gear with confidence in and out of dim back alley doors. Our niece and nephew run to him, and our chiropractor once called him the nicest man he’d ever met. His shoulders and arms, muscular and tattooed, project strength and confidence. “You’re so lucky,” women tell me after they hear him sing.
There is a hum about Trav—Hawaiians call it “big mana”—so much so, people might be shocked to know about the other, darker parts of him. For all his bold stage presence, he is an extremely private guy.