What do you say about falling in love?
There’s something violently infectious and appealing about the the type of love young people experience. Maybe, we’re attracted to that feeling because it is so new too us. The feeling of falling in love, or lust, with someone rocks your body to the core. It throws you off guard and catapults you over it’s cliffs without mercy or consent.
I fell for a boy with black hair. I felt the feelings, but didn’t really know what to do with them. We would sit far apart in school and could barely hold hands without our hormones jumping out from under our skin. But that feeling did not last.
My mind was tricked into believing love was dependant. That love was a text every day. That love was being pulled onto his lap and pinned there in what was masquerading as a hug. And maybe for him, it was.
I remember the day I started stepping back when a boy would approach. I remember the day I became wary of physical touch like it happened only yesterday.
He had pulled me onto his lap, I wasn’t enthusiastic about this, his legs were bony and stuck into my ass, but I was his girlfriend and that was girlfriends were supposed to do. His friends gathered around, they were talking and dissing each other as fourteen-year-olds do. Someone said we were cute, my heart lurched, this was a dangerous topic. Someone said we probably hadn’t even kissed yet. This was true. I was petrified about kissing and had only just learned from the internet that sometimes tongues get involved. Someone else said he probably hadn’t even touched my boobs yet. I was barely on the brink of puberty, my chest was still relatively flat and I could get away with going braless under a T-shirt.
He took a deep breath and I heard him whisper, ‘I’ll probably get in trouble…but…’ and then he grabbed my breasts with both hands, hard. I froze up, nobody had ever touched me sexually before, and he held on pinning me down with his arms. I started to struggle, the only thing in my mind was that I needed to get away, and for a few seconds I couldn’t. Then he let go and I leaped up. I was halfway across the courtyard before I even realised it. He was following me with one arm out, laughing. His friends were also laughing. Grabbing me, he pulled me into a hug.
I started to laugh. My skin was crawling out from underneath itself, I couldn’t breath and all I wanted to do was keep running, but I laughed.
That was what girlfriends and boyfriends do, I figured. Hell, I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to enjoy that sort of stuff.
I didn’t talk in the car ride home. When I finally made it to the solace of my room, I crumbled to the floor. My knees physically gave way, like they finally felt like they could stop running and I curled up into a ball on the floor and silently sobbed. My breath wouldn’t come quick enough and my ribs exploded from behind my breasts, screaming at me.
In the days that followed, people laughed and jokingly grabbed each others boobs in front of me, a few of his friends even became bold enough to timidly poke mine.
My body no longer felt like my own.
But all I could think was that, maybe that was just what girls are supposed to feel. Maybe, I was supposed to be enjoying the attention.
A few weeks later, the boy with the black hair and I got into a fight. He was loud and over opinionated. I tried to argue my point and instead of offering a rational argument he just starting shouting his opinion in my face, puffing his chest up so my head only came up to his shoulder.
Before I knew what I was doing, my hands were up at his throat trying to push him away. All I wanted was for him to take a step back, out of my space, and my body was just acting on the fear eating up my mind. I dug my nails in and relished the fact that he looked surprised for a moment. For a moment I had the power, I was in control, finally.
Once again, I was completely at the mercy of someone else.
Suddenly I was no longer defending myself, I was fighting to survive. I dropped my fingers from his neck and tried to pull at the ropes of fingers entwined around my throat. I dropped my hands, and he didn’t let go. He held on. It was only a few seconds. Maybe not even that. But eternity stretched out in front of me in his eyes. He didn’t blink. I saw the behind his eyes no shock anymore. I will never forget the way my stomach lurched when I realised that he was enjoying this. He was holding on just that little bit longer to win.
And he did. He did let go, and walked off angrily cracking his knuckles to ‘get some space’. I rubbed my throat. Someone asked me if I was okay. His eyes portrayed the same message I would grow to loathe.
I said I was. Then I laughed saying that we were just messing around.
I was silent on that car ride home as well. Once again, I closed the door to my room behind me on the day, and once my knees fell out from below me. I crawled into the corner of my room that was the most well hidden by the bed and I hugged my knees. My breath didn’t come to me, my tears free flowed, but I couldn’t cry out loud. My mouth was open in the shape of a scream, but sound refused to come out. My ribs jumped and clawed at my skin like they were trying to escape my body.
When I came to school the next day none of his friends, who were my friends, would talk to me. He had shown them the marks on his neck that my nails had made. Five half moon purple bruises. His battle scars. They asked me to apologise to my victim. To tell him I was sorry I hurt him.
My side of the story was dismissed. I didn’t have any bruises to prove I had been hurt, so how could I have been?
I apologised and didn’t fight back for a long time after that.
If he said something I disagreed with, I didn’t try to argue. I let him kiss me against the green lockers when the bell for end of break rung through the school.
The boy that hurt me, was my first kiss.
After a very long two weeks of amping myself up I broke up with him. I did it over text because I was too scared to do it in person. He had said that he would probably turn suicidal if we ever broke up. Exactly three weeks later he was back with his old girlfriend.
A much kinder boy once put his arms around me and asked why I flinched when he did.
I think I told him I was just ticklish. He didn’t argue, but that night he just held me. Nothing else, just held me.
That night was the first time I felt like I could finally stop running.