I said no at first, too.
When the police ask if our neighbor touched me inappropriately, I say no, as my skin crawls with the feeling of his fingers making their invading way into my soul.
I said no.
Sweat beads down my neck, tiny, baby hairs sticky with guilt. I look up at my mother with large, green eyes – eyes spilling with secrets, too big too hold. Eyes that have seen a man’s cock, feeling it press against my back while riding his scooter with the wind in my hair, desiring that little bit of freedom, never realizing the payment due.
Squirming away from his inevitable grasp, desolation presses against my chest. I cannot breathe.
I stand mute, mesmerized, watching the policeman’s mouth moving around the word ‘inappropriately.’ Memories filter through my eyes in waves, a silent call for help, even as my words mouth ‘no.’
Eyes are such betrayers of truth.
Shame thought she was my friend, keeping me safe in silence, cocooned in the quiet knowledge of shared secrets. She didn’t mean to make me feel bad, or dirty, or used. She only wanted to protect me from humiliation, never realizing how keeping me alone created even more terror.
Shame is still sorry to this day.
So I say no as shame shines out of my eyes, a beaconing glimpse into the unholy madness I hold inside, opening a sliver of release in me.
Holding my hand, Shame gently walks me to that monolithic door of truth …
Where I cry, yes.