by: Alaina M.
The first person I ever loved was my molester. To understand, you should know that when I was four years old, I didn’t really have a grasp on how exposure to physical intimacy at that age would directly correlate to my inability to be committed to, well anything, so far in my adult life. Someone was telling me they loved me and touching my skin, I was living for those moments. And I have been, since then.
Toya was nine years old the first time it happened. I don’t remember the first time specifically, but I remember trying to figure out how long we had been together before she left. I asked my mother how old I was when she moved in, and an image flashed of us unpacking her bags and her hands on my back, to low. But then it was gone. She lived with us all those years, the first few we shared a room, I was easily accessible. I remember for years after she left, a familiar taste would fill my mouth, triggered by a smell or a memory or something I had eaten, it was the taste of her breast. She would read me stories while she pretended to nurse me. Even while I type this, thoughts spin through my head like: this must have been normal, child’s play. Those thoughts are what kept me silent so long.
I don’t remember everything. Sometimes I try to, and then it hurts to badly to have my eyes open, or closed to tightly, it hurts to try so hard to think of something painful, so I stop. There is one memory that I must have played over and over again because it seems very clear. I remember feeling in love in this memory, racing up the stairs and unbuttoning each other’s shirts. I don’t remember what we did after that. I was eight and Toya was thirteen, it was right before she started dating boys and moved into her own room. I remember lying awake at night trying to decide if I should knock on her door or not, crying and wondering what I had done wrong, why she didn’t want to play that game anymore.
These feelings and sentiments are no doubt familiar to you. Most of us have on some level experienced unrequited love. Lying awake at night listening to slow Mary J Blidge songs and wondering if it’s still okay to hold onto to the fantasy of the house you hoped to share with the assailant of your heart. It’s just that, there is a time for these emotions, late teens, early twenties. So when you’re four and seven and nine, these emotions distract you from the ones you are supposed to be feeling. This is what they mean when they say “stripped innocence.” When you know things long before you are supposed to. And things like running around on spring grass, cooling off in the sprinkler, letting the sun burn your skin, all seem pretty trivial.