It was February of 2016 when it happened. It turned my whole life around. It changed my view on things. It changed me. I felt like I was a good person, that was until it happened. I was confident in myself, I was happy, I was me. It all changed when he came along and put his dirty hands on me.
It was January, the air was frosty outside of the warm classroom where I was talking with my friend, Melody, in Social Studies. We talked about the poem that was written on the whiteboard in front of us in the room that had walls filled with zombie posters and pictures of the United States’ presidents. Mr. Medley, our eighth grade Social Studies teacher, was talking about Donald Trump’s presidential campaign when he joined our conversation.
“You’re pretty, pretty” he said, directing his statement towards me.
“Go away, Jeffrey” Melody sighed, her hazelnut hair swished as she swatted away a fly. Her face said it wished for us to be alone even though there was an entire class of thirty behind us.
“Nah, I think I’ll stay” he curtly replied, scooting his chair closer to me, “I don’t think we’ve ever met, I’m Jeffrey.” He extended his hand out to me, expecting me to shake it, I didn’t.
“Alright then, I see who doesn’t get attention at home” he winked, pushing his chair back to his desk, “it’s cool though, I like a chase,” he smirked.
After that day, Jeffrey continuously pestered me for my number until I finally gave it to him. We texted back and forth for a week and I soon caught feelings for him. ‘God, he’s perfect, he’s tall, he’s smart, he’s funny. Why didn’t I notice him before?’ I thought about him at least three times a day. It was a disaster.
I thought about him as I sat in my room, it was three in the morning as I lay there staring at my ceiling which was filled with glow-in-the-dark stars. I glanced around me, certificates scattered across my powdery white walls, with posters and photocards of Korean, Chinese and Thai idols pasted against them.
A ding sounded out through my room. I checked my phone, a contented sigh left my lips, it was another message from him.
Jeffrey: hey, you up? ;))
Me: yeah, what’s up??
Jeffrey: nothin’ much, just thinkin’ ‘bout you :))
Me: at three a.m.? Are you crazy?
Jeffrey: yeah, crazy about you ;p
Me: oh god
Jeffrey: so uh, I have a question for you, do you like anyone?
I gasped softly, ‘how did he know?? I didn’t tell anyone, oh no, he’s going to tell me he has a girlfriend and that he will never like me back, he’ll tell me we can’t be friends anymore and oh god am I panicking? Over a boy?’ I typed out a response before I could allow myself to think about this any further.
Me: yeah, kinda, why?
Jeffrey: cool, let’s go out
Me: but, you don’t even know if I like you or not!
I waited five minutes before realizing he wasn’t going to respond. I locked my phone, and plugged it in before letting out another sigh. ‘I am so hopeless.’
It was February now and about a month into our relationship, I only told my friends and two sisters about our relationship while he told the entire school about it, even the teachers. I didn’t want to tell my father or stepmother, they never really were my parents. My older sister, Kaitlyn raised me and my younger sister, Allison. We didn’t have a mom, she died when I was four years old due to a rare form of lung cancer. It was sad, really. I cried every night wishing I could meet her as I had no recollection of her. I’ve never had a ‘motherly’ hug or advice or had makeup put on me or had my hair braided. I never had any of it.
My entire family-with the exception of my siblings- wanted, no, forced me to become a doctor. ‘I want to become a teacher! I don’t want this! Listen to me!’ I wanted to blurt it all out, but I was, well, me. I didn’t know how to talk back, I was never given a voice, it didn’t feel like it anyway.
Anyways, Jeffrey and I had never gone on an actual date. We frequently hung out together at the park after school. Soon enough, we took each other’s first kiss. It was awkward, my eyes were open as his lips moved against my frozen ones. It wasn’t a nice kiss, it was slobbery and weird and he did these weird things that I didn’t like.
Maybe that was a sign. A sign to end this relationship. I was happy-or so I thought- and scared. ‘What if he got bored of me? What if he finds interest in someone else?’ These questions ran through my head as I sat against his front on the jungle gym. My back hurt, he smelled like sweat and something undistinguishable. There was a homeless man sitting on the benches across from us, staring.
He kept kissing me and I didn’t like it, maybe he does. I wanted to beg him to stop but I was scared, ‘What was happening?’After a while, he finally stopped and we began joking around.
He joked about wanting to touch me in places I’ve never been touched. Jokingly, I agreed. ‘He was joking, right? God, I hope so.’ However, I should’ve known. ‘This is my fault. I shouldn’t have agreed.’ He was serious, he wanted to do these things to me. His eyes seemed bright as he suddenly stood up. Taking my hand in his, he dragged me off to the public restroom at the back of the park.
Panicking, I tried taking my hand back but I failed. ‘I failed. This is it.’ I thought as he dragged me inside. The restroom was disgusting, the walls were filled with graffiti and substances I didn’t want to know about. Dragging me into a stall, he pushed me onto my knees.
‘Please don’t,’ I silently begged. But he did it anyway. I pleaded with my eyes but he took that as a sign. A sign to start. He touched me, touched me in places no other has touched me. Tears streamed down my face, tears of pain. But to him, tears of pleasure. I looked around once more.’You’re a whore’ was written in dangerous red ink. I felt like one, a whore. Fear ran through my veins as he kept going, using me like a tissue.
I had enough, I asked him-pleaded- for him to stop, but he never did. He kept going as if I liked it. He made me sit on him. I felt his hardness against my back and I threw up in my mouth. The tart and sourness of my stomach contents made the tears stream faster down my face.
A year after that, in the beginning of my freshman year of high school, he told everyone. He told them how much I liked it, how much I wanted it. He never put it in me but it felt like he did. Whoever I talked to, they knew, they thought I was a whore, a slut. I knew I was, I felt like one. I was frustrated, everyone believed I wanted it, that I was a willing partner, no one listened to me. After all, he was popular and I was just a shy kid. The looks on my friends’ faces were of disgust, they didn’t want a tainted friend.
It’s been two years since he touched me, two years since he placed his dirty hands on me. I still feel scared when he comes near me. It’s just another part of life. ‘You have to get through this, you will get through this.’ I kept telling myself that, but it never worked. I know I won’t stop feeling scared. I know I have to somehow overcome it. Eventually, I will, just not now. Even if he never realized his faults or changed me, whether for worse or for better, it doesn’t matter because right now, I am content, I am okay. I am me.