What follows is the story of an anonymous girl.
We will file it under fiction, because it must be, fiction.
More people should tell their stories.
Years later, everyone smiled as if nothing had happened, as if she had kept her secret.
Her heart sank each time.
She did not wish him ill, but it was a dagger that plunged deeper with each passing day.
She was 13 or 14. She had stayed home with him, while everyone else went to the airport to pick up a visiting family member. It was a joyous occasion, as they had never been able to visit before, and it was suspected that they might stay permanently.
She sat on the bed in her sister’s room, and watched television, while eating Eggo’s. It was about 9:30 at night, but it’s never too late for Eggo’s.
He waltzed through her open doorway, in his brown loafers, red sweatshirt and cargos, with his foolish grin, and Black on the rocks in hand. He stared at her glassy eyed.
She felt her cheeks redden as he approached her; she fixed her gaze on the tv, and took another bite. The syrup, or the knot building in her throat, made it difficult to swallow.
He stood by her side and leaned in close to her face. The smell of whiskey and the bristle of his unshaven face made her wince. As she moved away, he placed his hand on her thigh. She stopped chewing. Her hands shook as she held the plate nervously, but she was otherwise paralyzed.
“Give me a kiss,” he said.
She shrugged him off and said,”No, what are you talking about?”
He turned to face her and persisted, all his weight bearing down on her leg.
“Just a lil’ kiss, right here, on the cheek.” He slurred and pointed, then puckered his lips.
She put the plate down on the bed, and got up, pushing past him. She quickly crossed the hall to her room, and dead-bolted the door behind her.
She sat on the bed and tears moistened her cheeks.
What had just happened? Was she overreacting? Did she misinterpret him?
He knocked on her door.
“Open the door. I’m not going to hurt you. I was just playing.”
He knocked again, but she remained silent.
It was not the first time she had felt that sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach.
One time, he and his family, her family, had been over, and he had asked her to give him a back massage. Young and naive, she was proud to show off her skills and began to karate chop across his upper back.
Everything was fine, as she pounded away on his back with her fists.
“Sit on my back,” he suggested.
“Where?” She asked, obviously having misunderstood back for bed.
“Sit on my back. You know, so you can get a better angle.”
She was maybe 12 or 13; young, but old enough to know this didn’t feel right.
“I’m kind of tired, actually. Sorry.” She apologized to him, and walked away to the kitchen where she knew others were talking and snacking.
She thought she had been imagining things that first time, but this was something different.
Once the family got back from the airport, she ventured out of her room to welcome the visitor.
Everyone was so happy.
He acted like nothing had happened; wouldn’t so much as look at her.
I’m not gonna ruin everyone’s happiness when nothing happened. They’re just gonna think he was joking around as usual, anyways.
She was a month away from turning 17, when her parents went out of town for a week.
He and his family always stayed with her and her little sister while their parents were out of town. He had always been like a big brother, like the son her parent’s had never had.
She wasn’t feeling well, and signed herself out of school early one day.
He was at the house when she got there, checking in on some work that was being done in her parent’s yard.
She sat outside on the patio and looked at the progress they had made. There were 2 or 3 workers clearing weeds, planting new trees, and pouring fresh mulch. She sat on a rocking chair to enjoy the refreshing springtime breeze.
When he spotted her, he went to the patio and sat across from her.
“What are you doing home early?”
“I wasn’t feeling well,” she said, overlapping both hands across her stomach. She was already starting to feel worse.
“How’s your boyfriend? Gonna see him today?” He asked, rocking casually.
“He’s fine. You know I can’t go out ’til my parents get back.” She frowned at him thinking, “you’re supposed to be the adult here.”
“I could teach you things.” He leaned forward, speaking more quietly now.
“I’m sure you guys kiss. Do you do anything else?”
She hesitated, but then was certain of what she had heard.
“What kind of question is that? It’s none of your business.” She felt more uncomfortable now, but the workers were around so she still felt safe.
“Don’t be shy. I can show you how to do everything. We can go to a motel, right now. I’ll be gentle.” He reached out for her hand, but she pulled it away from the arm of her rocker just in time.
“I have to go.”
She got up abruptly and headed for the door.
Where’s my backpack? Where are my keys? She scanned the room frantically, blind.
The door closed again behind her, and she turned to see him steps away.
<strong>There, at the end of the counter, my keys. She reached for them just as he reached for her arm.
She tried to pull away, and stared at him, her heart pounding in her chest. He gripped her forearm tightly.
“Come on. I promise it won’t hurt. Nobody has to know.”
“I would never do that!”
She shook her arm free and ran for the door. She drove off crying. She just drove and drove.
She drove, until she knew someone else would be home.
A couple months after, she worked up the nerve to tell her family.
They believed her, but…
There must not have been enough harm done?
Maybe they all didn’t know the whole story.
Maybe it didn’t matter.
She never saw him again, except now again through the ills of social media; but many of her family did.
And she suffered in silence…wondering all the time if she did right, if she was right, and if they knew it?