"Tess of D'urbervilles"

Your life could change in a second; you could sit there and watch it deteriorate with absolutely no hope of erasing what is happening right in front of you. You know you are the victim, the only question is, would the rest of the world see you that way? Or are you just corner street whore looking for some extra cash. You’re now known as the filthy, lost little girl when just yesterday you were the prime of your father’s eye. Avoiding the pain, it has become so much easier to look the other way, to blame you instead of defend you. My life was gone the second I opened that email.

Innocent and young with my whole life ahead of me, about to turn 16 and jonesing for a cup of coffee. There was a shop right around the bend, just up the street, that made the best caramel macchiato. I snatched the keys off the hook, already known for taking my parents car with no permission, grabbed my laptop and flew out the door. I loved that constant fear of getting caught, the paranoia every time a squad car pulled up next to me. Act natural, posture up right, look mature. I never did get caught.

I ordered my coffee and sat down to get a head start on my homework due Monday. I had a few new emails to check, one my paper, and ad from Victoria’s Secret, and one from Facebo-- Wait… who is Chandler Heimberg? “Chandler Heimberg sent you a friend request.” I went straight to Facebook to figure out who this man was. No one had ever sent me a request that I hadn’t known previously. He’s 19 from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, graduated at Cedar Cliff… Oh, he’s cute. I added him and we got to talking about everything that one does when getting to know each other. He liked long walks on the beach, and nights under the stars, he loved reading romance novels and kissing in the sand. Of course he was being a cheesy little liar, but I honestly didn’t care. He was just so damn cute.

It’s been a couple weeks since we first met and we had a date; we were going to the park. He picked me up in his big, old, rusty Chevy truck. The thing looked like it was about to fall apart right then and there in my driveway, it was so loud I was glad my dad wasn’t home to hear it. All spruced up in my mini stripped dress, I went out to the truck where he opened the door for me to get in. Sweet. He made me scoot to the middle seat where he fastened my seat belt so I could be close to him. Do all guys do this? I wasn’t going to lie, it was a little weird, but I’ve never been on a real date before, maybe this it’s normal. The entire car ride the only thing I could focus on was how dangerously close this boy was to me. I was so conscious of his scent, his breathing over the rumbling engine, his fingers intertwined with mine, the warmth radiating off of his body. He’s so perfect. Never in my life would I have imagined myself on a date with such a dream, being so entrapped by a boy’s eyes that I’d only just met.

We finally pulled into the park and I could feel myself breathe again; I had to catch my breath for a second before he pulled me in again. I felt myself trembling as I was climbing out the car, my legs shaking to hell just wishing to God he couldn’t see it. Composing myself as if everything was fine and I was completely experienced in this department, I walked my little self over to him and let him wrap his arms around me. We glided across the park teasing each other with each step we took. He had this power over me, I could hardly speak when spoken to, every time he opened his mouth to talk to me I was so distracted and so lost in his eyes that I never understood or heard a single word. And he thought it was hilarious. I am trying okay, it not my fault you look like you’ve been sculpted by the gods. He played with his words in such a way that I had to replay them over and over in my head to find the meaning. Was he just really smart or just a side of crazy? It infuriated me that I couldn’t talk to him. I’ve always been good with the opposite gender.

We found a little nook in the park, sort of like a roundabout of trees and rocks, it was cute. He found a rock to sit on and pulled me onto it with him. Butterflies flew through my stomach, and anxiety flushed every ounce of confidence I once had. I know what you’re doing. He looked at me so longingly with those perfect, perfect green eyes. I stared right back at him, I was so frozen in fear that if he kissed me I would mess everything up. I didn’t remember how to kiss, it’d been months and those didn’t even count! His lips, his teeth, his adorable nose, there was not one flaw in this boy’s face. He must’ve gone for it 16 times, and each time I pulled away. What if he doesn’t want me after this? I’m going to scare him away! Finally I gave in, noticing he was getting bored of waiting around for me to gain the least bit of security in myself. Impress him; let him know you know what you’re doing. I am not weak, I am strong. Get this right. Step one: Pucker. Step two: Gain contact. Step three: Stop thinking about it. Oh man, I’m gunna lose it. I am kissing America’s Next Top Model. Self-five.

I couldn’t sleep all night. I was too giddy to even for a second think about anything other than him. Chandler Heimberg, a boy from a fairytale. We’ve already planned our second date. He was going to give me a tour of his little “Chicken Coop” as he calls it. We’re gunna go on a walk and just hang out together like any other normal couple would do. This boy gives me feelings I’ve never felt before. There’s infatuation, there’s butterflies, there’s excitement, and there’s even a little fear mixed into the equation. I’ve never met anyone remotely like Chandler, with every second that passes I am dying in anticipation to see him again, to experience all of those strange feelings again. A new chapter of my life was revealing itself, and I love every second of it.

•••

I don’t understand what’s happening. We were walking back to his house so he could show me the rest of his “Chicken Coop”. He started messing around, getting more and more touchy as the evening ran on. I knew what he wanted, but it thought that was all that he wanted. I wouldn’t let him; I couldn’t betray myself like that. Nothing makes sense, I don’t know what to do, and I don’t know what to say. I feel like I’m paralyzed, trapped inside of my own body with no means of escape, no way to say no, unable to mutter a single word: stop. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, why I’m broken, why I am unable to function.

I feel like I’m not in my own body, time keeps skipping, it’s like my mind just keeps trying to block out what is happening in front of me. I’ll just let it happen; it can’t be so bad if I just let him finish what he needs to do. It’s not his fault but I can’t tell him to stop as much as I want to…What if he gets mad? What if my struggling makes him angry and he never talks to me again, or he hurts me? I just want it to be over. I can’t hurt his feelings. Maybe I’ll just fake a good show and it’ll be over. I didn’t say no, but I didn’t say yes either. God…please just finish.

•••

I haven’t gotten out of bed in days. I can’t look anyone in the eyes without feeling like a filthy disappointment. Everyone just thinks I’m tired, no one bothers to notice what’s going on, but I’m not sure I want them to. I don’t want Chandler to get into trouble. I loved him and he loved me, there was just confusion and I let him so it wasn’t really that bad… was it? That’s just how other people are going to see it. I have to protect him. Somewhere deep down I know what he did was bad, but I can’t help but feel like I was a part of it, I never said no, I never told him to stop, so was it really a crime? Aren’t I to blame as well? I don’t even remember everything that happened; there are so many spaces and black areas that no matter what I try to do, I cannot get ahold of them.

I’m so confused; I don’t know how to feel. Should I miss him? Should I resent him? I can’t help but feel a little bit of both. He hasn’t spoken to me since he instructed me not to tell anyone if I wanted to continue being happy. Was that a threat? I’ll keep our secret, no one can know what I did, and no one even knew I was dating him so how was I supposed to tell them, “Oh by the way, I think my boyfriend raped me.” No one would look at me the same. That loving look I receive from my parents and everyone I care about would be gone and replaced with pity, or disappointment, or anger. They can never know. This is something I’m forced to carry with myself for as long as I can; they can’t know who their daughter, their friend, has become.

#Essay #ShortStory

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