In middle school, where hormones where at an all time high and boys thought it would be funny to call me names because “that’s just what boys do when they like a girl.” Bull.shit. Being called “FAT” and “UGLY” in front of everyone on a public bus by a boy three years my senior didn’t seem like a tone of endearment.
Or being called “retarded” because my inability to speak at age five determined my station in a special education program until second grade. Or guys taunting me down the hall saying “hey look at all those moles on your face! Ha ha, look I can connect the dots.” All those endless dermatology visits and my mother reasoning with the miserable dermatologist that this was not a beauty treatment but an actual medical one, just so our insurance could cover it.
Even my own father, force feeding me to the point where I threw up because I was already a size eight at fourteen and that simply was just not acceptable. I was already 5’6” and nothing was more awkward than going clothes shopping with my father being told constantly, “Jennie, you just don’t fit in that,” in front of the poor stylist who wanted to rip my dad apart just as much as I did.
The taunts and iron filled words I have heard throughout my young life caused me to sneak away pain killers from my step dad’s medicine cabinet (as an iron worker he endured many surgeries), peel back the fabric off of my mother’s floral stem wires, go without eating for days on end, and even pour Grey Goose in a polar springs water bottle before I left for school.
Despite the taunts and the hideous words I have heard throughout my young life nothing came close to when I was locked in my high school gymnasium with a guy who spoke well and was rough. I found solace in his promises that he would “love me,” and “accept me” despite my flaws. He carried out his “promise,” after school; lockers shook in silence, pieces of loose leaf with prepubescent love notes scattered across class room floors, and the squeak squeak of the janitor’s boots echoed throughout the hall like a suspenseful thriller.
I remember holding his hand and thinking it was cool how he was able to pick the lock to the gym. How cool right? How. Fucking. Cool. It was empty like those hallways after school. He was gentle at first, until he reached under my shirt. I grabbed his hand and pushed away bashfully. The sound of those boys on the bus as they kept shouting, “Look how fat she is!” kept ringing in my head like a hangover.
I remember looking into his eyes when I pushed away. His eyes, a sapphire turned cold. He pushed his hand further up my shirt, kissing me harder. Maybe he thinks I am into the rough stuff? Am I giving the wrong impression here? I pushed away with slightly more force, giving him the benefit of the doubt that he misinterpreted my body language. “Hey, I am…this is embarrassing…but I have never done this before and I’m scared. I don’t think I’m re-.”
I felt his fingers wrap around my hair as he pulled, the cold lifeless feel of his necklace of the crucifixion touching my throat. “No – please…”
Static. Nothing. There was absolutely nothing left. Only the squeak squeak of the janitors boots as he walked passed the gym and the smell of ammonium chloride as he wiped the door handles to the gym.
I closed my eyes and prayed the janitor would open the door, but I could hear the squeak squeak becoming more faint. I closed my eyes and I imagined the sound of wind chimes that my grandmother would often hang on her front porch, swinging and swaying as the north eastern wind blew.
When I got home that day I locked myself in the bathroom and washed the dry blood between my thighs. I took the last pain killer from my step dad’s medicine cabinet and fell asleep underneath the running water until my mother knocked on the door and called me up for dinner.
The following week I bought a pregnancy test; God spared me. I couldn’t dare ask my mom to take me to an OBGYN! I relied solely on my local doctor for a routine check up. I begged my mother to move up my check up appointment sooner, about a month early. I needed to know what this man did to me, because this body was not mine anymore.
The first time during a doctor’s visit I asked my mother to leave. Doctor Maria, even though that wasn’t actually her last name, pulled back the scarf that I was wearing and saw the bruises. She closed the door behind her, as soon as she let go of the handle I became undone. I told her everything and asked her to not tell my mother just yet, I didn’t want to disappoint her or cause her anymore heartache.
All I remember is her hand softening into mine and the sound of wind chimes echoing in my mind.