You Are Not One Of The Good Ones
I was 14 when the first person who kissed me shoved me in a dark basement with blankets covering our faces, illuminating my lips with his tongue as if he was rimming the outskirts of a lollypop. My mouth was covered in spit and saliva that belonged to a stranger who had just lured an innocent girl that should’ve expected to be violated.
I was 15 when I had first truly understood what it meant to be used, to be picked up and played with and then torn down and roughly thrown back onto the ground, like some kind of papier-mâché of loose sticky notes with unfinished thoughts bunched up together in a mesh of easily destroyed art.
It had felt like I was walking through life assuming that each boy that would come my way would treat me like I was another body floating, one with no face or eyes or a heart, one that just glided through experiences unsure of how to react.
And then it happened again and again, one after the other, I kept learning that I was right, that I was just merely a body, a person that’s mouth was taped up and cut off, as if my tongue was tied up with tiny rope, as if it was impossible for me to figure out how to stop this, as if I was supposed to continue expecting this flood of poorly raised boys to destroy each part of me that they chose to ignore.
And then I stopped, I stopped it for a year, maybe two, I stopped letting them near me, stopped going near them, stopped letting them think I’d let them near me, put up caution tape that separated me from danger (at least physically).
And then I got to college and it happened again, but it was worse, this time I was tricked so easily, like I wasn’t supposed to expect this college-aged Tinder match to actually come over and study with me, like I was supposed to know that he wanted something from me, and how could I still be this naive? How could I still think that these men might be good? That they might not come in fully prepared, with a goal in mind, not allowing anyone to stop them.
Not even my sleeping roommate. Not even my “I don’t think this is a good idea” not even my “no” not even my whimpering “okay.”
You wondered why I didn’t agree to hang out with you after this night, you questioned and asked and invited me and you wondered why I couldn’t look you in the eyes in the middle of the student center.
When someone hooks up with someone else and consent is involved, their interactions afterwards are awkward, but they are manageable; when someone is forced into doing something, when someone is assaulted, when someone is raped, they cannot look into the eyes of the person that took advantage of their rejection.
The same way I couldn’t speak or look at the first person, how every time I thought I would see him around the corner, there would be a rock that sunk to the bottom of my chest, in fear he was there, in fear he was with my friends. And the second person, I would run the opposite direction, in fear we’d share empty silence in a hallway together, both knowing what he did. And the third, I am scrolling through my Facebook and you are a self-proclaimed feminist and you go on dates with girls and you like my photos and you act like you are good. You act like you are one of the good ones.
And I hope you know.
I hope you know that you are not good.
The cherry inside –
it splattered across the bed sheets,
blood ran like my nose in December.
Dried cherries, dried fruits,
dried apricot. There is a reason
the juice is squeezed out
and the packets are stored in cabinets
for the healthy, for the elderly.
I felt sick the first time
I ate it dry.
Your Thirst Is Not a Compliment
The first time I was introduced to Arnold Palmer, I was 14 and in my basement with my brother
and his drunk friends. Drunk high school boys love Arnold Palmer, it’s cheap, I guess. I sipped it and hated it. Yesterday I walked a mile home with a giant gallon of Arnold Palmer in hand.
My mom used to try making me eat tomatoes and I couldn’t bare the liquid seeds leaking into
my mouth like someone’s snot, so I avoided them until I was in 6th grade and my mom
bought a container of cherry tomatoes and I ate the whole thing. Now I can’t eat a sandwich without putting a tomato on it.
The first time I kissed someone, they left me with slobbery saliva all over my mouth as my tongue was violated with unwarranted spit and I felt it trickle down my face like cement dripping into the ground. Heavy, unbearable it felt like my lips would remain stuck forever.
A few months ago I learned that kissing was something I wish I could never stop doing.
I used to love the way men would sext me like I was their fetish and they didn’t even
know it until they laid their eyes on my thickness. I used to love their affirmation, the “ugh you’re so hot,” insecure, seventeen, underrage, confused
Sometimes, things reverse: something you love becomes something you hate.
I want to annihilate their words with a steak knife. Cutting into their predator moans as I question their morality, delving deeper into their skin like they are my worst enemy. Savages. Each time a man coos me with drool gliding down his chin, I give him a napkin to wipe his own spit.
Becky Yeker is studying Media & Cinema Studies, Public Relations, and Creative Writing at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. She is the Managing Editor and Co-Founder of Hooligan Mag, a webzine that celebrates art. She is always looking for new ways to break molds and reconstruct social norms through communication and words.