I was with a couple friends of friends one day
when someone made a "joke" about wanting to get a girl in bed
but only after she's had a few drinks in her.
And when I protested and told them that those "jokes" were disgusting,
they rolled their eyes and said "It's just a joke."
And since apparently this is what their sense of humor was like,
I smiled and told them a similar "joke."
i told them that sometimes
i still have dreams about lying on my back
with my arms to the side, unable to move.
And all of a sudden there's hands on my body
Calloused and warm but not in a way that would give you comfort,
not the same warmth i feel when i'm holding my lover's hand
each time they trail up and down my skin
just barely touching me as if they're trying to be delicate
they're leaving trails of kerosene and when they grope at me
my whole body is aflame.
I want to scream out for help
stop drop and roll
do everything they taught that I'm supposed to do
but I'm being held down and flipped over and no matter how badly i want things to end
I am forever stuck in that moment
and every night it plays again and again.
I told them about how I still remember what his breath smelled like
and how large his hands were
and all the things he whispered while he claimed my body as his property.
I told them about how every time I hear the name "Ethan" my heart sinks and my stomach churns.
I told them about the shower I took when I got home the next morning
and how I rubbed my skin raw trying to rid myself of the disgusting feeling of his touch
but I was never quite able to be as clean as I was before.
I told them about how a house that I once considered a home away from home became a place of vulnerability
of fear and humility
of guilt and shame and disgust.
I told them about how when I saw him sitting on the same couch where I lost a piece of myself
engaging in friendly conversation with the people who were supposed to hate him alongside with me
it was like I could smell the smoke suffocating me all over again.
And when none of them laughed and their eyes fell awkwardly to the floor,
I told them
"But it was just a joke, right?"
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