He saw another girl when I took my first trip away. His friends called it a date and looked at me with pity but when I asked him about it he told me I was crazy, that he could have other females in his life, It was strictly platonic but it felt strictly toxic when she told me he said he was in love with her and I cried till I couldn’t breathe and then found him at 3am waiting for me for it to start all over again.
He never spoke of my poetry but would speak of his solitary as if it were a curse brought on by everyone that he was passing down to me and I thought of this curse as I lay curled up on the floor with my mother crying and my father praying and naming demons to remove from me.
I told a best friend and she wouldn’t look me in the eye as she absentmindedly declared “only sluts would do that” and I waited till she was asleep and called him to speak to me because he was the only one who could make me feel like I was worth something, even if that worth was my body.
I didn’t know what to call it when I said no and he said “you’ll like it” and slowly stripped me away of my clothes and my pride and he told me this was freedom to not be restricted by the rules of religion but if that was freedom then why didn’t he listen when I said no?
No. I remember saying no. I remember the panic as the word lost its meaning and he told me he loved me and it would be okay but it didn’t feel okay and the weeks, months, and years go by and I look my therapist in the eye and I’m still filled with guilt when my new boyfriend holds me and I still jump when I see a shadow of him pass me and all I can think is but I said no.
But no didn’t stop it or the avalanche that came or the messages I’ll get when he figures out his name is written all over this and he and his friends will gossip about how I lie and I cheat and they won’t listen when I say no believe me because it is easier to believe that the person who said no really said yes in their eyes, it is easier to believe that than to believe that no meant no which means no.