I am a reflection of every decision I have ever made. The girl I see in the mirror is a collage of every situation I’ve dealt with and of all the people who have touched me. Sometimes I wish I could erase some of those people and some of those things. It would be even better to start with a new canvas.
I’d give anything to be rewinded and to withhold every ounce of purity I was born with. My voice is so loud these days. I wish I had that volume when I was younger so they could hear how much I needed help.
But I was scared. Because dad doesn’t like when I don’t behave. He would’ve been so mad if I ran to him and told him that I let the boy touch me. He would’ve spanked me and hated me. And mom was too precious to know the truth. I didn’t want her to get mad. She was too beautiful for that.
It was my fault. I let it happen. I let him put his hands on me. I didn’t move them when they landed on my skin. I laid there and let him play with my body. I was a baby. I thought I was supposed to.
At this point, we lived with grandma. It was always a full house and our cousins slept over all the time. All of us in one room.
When he would spend the night, it was always the same. He was about the same age as my sister, so it all seemed okay.
Me and my sister would fall asleep on the bed. I guess she liked sleeping closest to the wall because I somehow always ended up sleeping towards the edge. And with that, my hands were so easy to grab. So, he would.
He would grab my hand and pull me down to the floor where his blanket was laid out. And that’s how the story goes.
Every night that he slept over it was the same. He waited for everyone to fall asleep and did whatever he wanted to me while my sister slept just feet away from us.
I remember my dad walked in once and we both froze, terrified of what might happen if my dad realized what my cousin was doing. Dad saw nothing more than a still room, so he closed the door and went back to sleep.
That’s when I should’ve screamed.
Usually he would stay the whole weekend, so that meant he was there during the day, too. He was there to stare at me, to play with me, to taunt me.
I thought when shower-time came, it was my chance to recollect myself and wash him away. That was hard to do since I couldn’t reach the lock on the door which meant anyone could open that door whenever they pleased. So, he did. He would open the door just a few centimeters wide. Enough for at least one eye to watch.
I couldn’t escape him. He was there at night and he was there during the day.
For about five straight years, this continued. And every time, I watched my innocence diminish. I was no longer that beautiful, little girl God intended me to be. I had been touched by the devil himself and there was no way God would forgive me because I let him touch me. I let it happen.
We had moved out of grandmas and into our own home that my mom designed herself. It was so beautiful and pretty damn big. Mom’s and dad’s room was downstairs. The rest were upstairs. How convenient for him.
His father, my uncle, my dad’s brother had been killed the year before I was born. I guess that’s why my dad thought it was best to keep him so close. He wanted him to still have a father.
One night, I guess my mom knew I needed her, so she came upstairs and fell asleep with me. I loved it and I should have told her then, but I was scared. I never wanted her to leave. But of course the next morning, we woke up and she went back downstairs and I stayed there, in my room, hugging the pillow she rested her head on throughout that night. I never wanted anyone else to use that pillow, except me and my mother. It was hers.
It might have been the next day, or maybe a few nights after that, but this is probably the last time I remember that it happened.
We were upstairs in my brother’s room playing on the Playstation. He waited for me and my brother to fall asleep. I was lying there, head rested on my mom’s pillow. I took it with me everywhere I thought I might want to lay down. And that’s when he carried me to my room. I knew what was about to happen. I woke up ass soon as he lifted me and I clenched that pillow as tight as I could. In a weird way, the pillow resembled my mom and holding it made me feel close to her. It made me feel like everything would eventually be okay.
He took me to my room and played with my body for the last time.
When he was done, he left me there in my room and tiptoed back to my brother’s where he was supposed to stay the whole night. I laid there in my room, frozen, hugging my mom’s pillow and I talked to God.
After that, it haunted me. Every time I saw him, chills ran down my spine. He seemed so unfazed and I was so broken. It wasn’t fair.
Then, he moved away. I don’t even know where to, but at least he was gone.
For about a year, I was alone with my thoughts. They took over my mind and consumed me at night and I cried. I cried and cried and asked God for a way to make it go away, but there wasn’t one. I had to live with it for the rest of my life. It was my fault after all. I let him.
One night, I laid there in the middle room at my grandma’s house. I loved spending the night there for some reason. Grandma always made me feel better. Tia lived with her, so she was always there to make things better, too. That night, one of those dumb phone-sex commercials came out on t.v. and served as a reminder of the ways that my cousin used to touch me. I wanted to die. I felt disgusting and so impure. I didn’t deserve to smile or laugh again. It was my fault. I let it happen.
Too many emotions ran through me, I couldn’t handle it. So, I grabbed a pencil and paper and wrote down my story. I addressed it to my tia because I knew she would make it better. I folded the letter and went to her room. She had gone out that night, so her room was empty. I placed it under her pillow and went back to the middle room to fall asleep.
The next few days were silent. I thought maybe she hadn’t seen it yet. Until one day, my mom came to pick me up from my grandma’s. It was the four of us standing in the kitchen. That’s when my tia told my mom that she and my grandma needed to talk to her. I felt my heart drop. I knew what it was about.
That’s when I finally screamed. No.
If I wanted my mom to know, I would’ve given her the letter. I felt so betrayed. I confided in my tia and she was about to tell my secret. I ran to the middle room and cried and waited and thought about how much easier it would be to fall dead to the ground. At least then, I wouldn’t feel this anymore.
But it wasn’t that easy.
They finally came to the room to get me and brought me back to the kitchen where my mom sat. She was crying. She was furious. She was broken.
She took me home. The whole ride, she called all these numbers in an attempt to find the boy. She was frantic. I was numb.
We turned into the driveway at home and I prayed for God to just take me. I knew my dad was inside and he still had no idea. My mom told me to wait in the car while she went to go talk to him, so I waited. And waited. And waited.
Until finally, she opened my door and grabbed my hand. She walked me inside and took me to the living room where my dad sat staring into space. I walked in front of him, expecting the worst. I was ready for the screaming and the spanking.
Then, he grabbed me. And he cried.
I had never seen my dad cry. He looked so defeated. It was my fault.
I don’t remember what was said. I just remember the tears.
My dad’s a cop. He spends 24/7 fighting against things like this. And here it was, happening in his own home. It was my fault.
All I remember next was them telling me to go upstairs to my room.
I could tell something was going on because it was too quiet. I heard the doorbell, so I tiptoed to the edge of the staircase to see who it was.
They came in and my parents told them everything. They called me down to speak to them and tell them my story. They asked so many questions and I just wanted them to shut up. Because every time I answered one of their questions about how it happened or where he touched me, I could see my mom die a little more inside.
Then they left and after that, my days were spent driving to offices and different centers for sexually abused kids.
They asked more questions. I hated it. I wanted to go home.
They told me to see a therapist. What does an 11-year-old even have to say to a stranger in an empty room after all of this? It was useless. I told my mom not to waste her time and money. I didn’t need therapy. I needed an eraser.
After that came the court dates. I was completely oblivious to this part of the case. That’s how my parents wanted it. They didn’t want to drag me to court to be further traumatized. They didn’t want me to see him. They wanted to keep me home, safe.
He went to jail. I don’t know how long. I don’t know if he’s still there. I don’t know if he’s free.
It doesn’t matter because I am not.
The case is closed, but it didn’t change anything.
It still happened. I’m still the impure, twisted girl that he left in that room after he was done playing with me.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve tried my best to forget. I try to erase him. I figured if I let someone else play with me, it would replace his presence. It’s been about ten years and he’s still here.
They say everything is a learning experience, but all this taught me was how to make myself numb enough to take what’s given to me. It taught me that men will have their way and no matter how much you plea and cry, they will win. It taught me that sex is meaningless. It taught me to be afraid. It taught me to submit.
And that’s what I’ve been doing. Letting people have their way, even if I don’t want to.
Every time I say no, they don’t listen. They laugh. They don’t take me serious. They ignore me and take me either way. And I just lay there frozen, afraid to scream because I know nobody will come save me. I’d rather lay there in silence and take it because that sounds better than screaming for help and risk being punished for my rebuttal. Who’s going to listen to a girl this tainted anyway?
She’s been touched too many times. She’s undeserving.
She needs the kind of tenderness only a certain soul could provide. And every time she thinks she’s found it, she’s wrong.
She will one day. And she’ll be so thankful and she will be whole again.
She can’t wait to be whole again.