“I think I love him,” she says to her roommate, who she loves.

“Who? Your long-distance boyfriend?”

“No,” I say. “_____,”

The roommate squints. “Really? Why?”

Begin with interesting action, action that will draw the reader in, make them want to keep reading.

He put me on all fours. Took me from behind. “I think he’s rearranging my insides,” I would tell my roommate, the next morning. And, uncharacteristically, I didn’t mean that metaphorically.

“You know you have the perfect body, right?” he’d say, after. He took a magic marker and drew all over my skin. Across my ass: “_____’s Property.”

Places he fingered me: in the freshman dorm hallway, while talking to a group of friends. On the greyhound bus, beside lonely people. At a white kid baseball cap concert.

What he asked me to do, and I did: wear clothes that hid my body—“that’s for me to see.” Drink vodka straight. Not tell his girlfriend. Not tell my boyfriend. Not admit to his parents that I wasn’t Catholic. Meet him by the clock tower and tell no one.

What he asked me to do that I would not do: Stop talking to my ex, and childhood best friend—“you’re mine.” Stop saying “I love you” to my family and girlfriends—“that’s our saying.” Stop holding hands with male dancers while bowing in a line after a performance. Break the skin on my neck, and bleed.

What I did instead: Tried not to partner in dances with men. Let him bite my lips until they bled. Let him bite my neck until I had to wear turtlenecks for weeks.

Worse things that could have happened: He could have hurt me. He could have hurt himself. I could still be with him.“

~Caedra Scott-Flaherty

This gift arrived June 20, 2012 from longreads. I’ve read it many times since. Hope you do too


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