Between the Jump and the Ground
So the worst thing happens, and the world ends quietly
or not at all.
The worst thing happens, and you don’t even cry.
You wake up in the bed alone,
a phantom hand sliding up inside you.
Everyone’s talking quietly but they’re talking about you.
You don’t have time to worry about this. You
have your own body to deal with.
He has no idea what his hands have done.
Sometimes bad things just happen
and no one will ever tell you why.
You look in the mirror and say it twice:
“He raped me. He raped me.”
No one will believe you.
don’t even believe you,
and to hear your own shaking voice repeat it aloud is not enough.
You need to know why but the only person who has the answer
is a court order away.
He raped me. He raped me.
over and over until you believe it. You still don’t believe it.
Your body shouldn’t be afraid of anything at this point,
that’s what you tell yourself,
what’s one more man’s hand inside of you?
And if we’re being honest,
maybe you felt a little less empty
with him inside you.
Like he was filling the lonely space.
Like, at least someone wants you.
Maybe there have been nights you’ve wondered
if the only people who have loved you are the ones
who have taken you by force.
You’re in the bed alone and everyone’s talking quietly about you and you feel
holy. You feel important.
You wake up and you’re alone and you feel the bruises before you see them
but you open your eyes and look anyway,
you’re black and blue and you don’t remember a thing.
You’ve trained yourself so well in the art of forgetting
that the memories you do have,
feel like they came out of someone else’s life.
Your bed is a ring box,
your bed is a prison, no-
your bed is a graveyard of everyone
who has forced themselves inside of you.
You don’t trust anyone now, least of all yourself.
You feel lonely and sad and out of control
and you don’t quite know what to do about it.
He will never give you a confession,
You know this.
He will never crawl on his hands and knees and beg
for your forgiveness,
but you must give it to him anyway.
He doesn’t think he needs to be forgiven, he doesn’t think
he did anything wrong, he thinks
you were his for the taking.
Forgive him anyway.
You have your own body to deal with and you must deal with it on your own.
You wake up in the bed alone,
and they’re whispering but it doesn’t matter what they’re talking about,
even though they’re talking about your nakedness,
You wake up, and you haven’t found the bruises yet,
but something’s wrong.
You’re in the bed alone,
and you’re awake, and you’re angry,
and you don’t quite know why.
He says, “don’t worry, you’re drunk, I’m gonna take good care of you.”
He says, “it’s okay, just be quiet, I’m taking good care of you.”
He says, “drink some more,” and you turn your head.
He says, “drink it,” only this time his hand is gripping your leg,
Higher up than it should be,
And everything is blurry and moving and vague
And you drink.
You say, “I want to go home,” but you’re slurring your words, and
He says, “baby, you can’t, you’re drunk, you have to stay the night.”
You say, “I don’t belong here,” and you mean
Your body, not the house.
You’re already dead at this point, and he is the vulture
You’re already dead and he’s calling you baby girl and you say, “I don’t care,”
You say, “just do it, I’m already as good as dead
And we both know it.”
The next morning you press your fist into the hand-shaped bruise on your thigh
And don’t scream.
You didn’t scream then, either,
Not even when they found you with your pants down.
You can’t even sit alone with yourself in a room anymore.
You tell everyone you don’t want to talk about it,
But you can’t seem to stop talking about.
Your body is a library of people who have touched you
While you were pretending to be asleep.
You twist your hands together in your hair as you realize this for the first time,
You have been a dead girl walking your whole life
It’s just a question
Of who will get to the body first.
You ask him why and he says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,
You were drunk, you aren’t remembering it right.”
You ask him, “why?”
Only this time you look at his eyes and they say
“Because I could.
Because I was the vulture and we both knew it then
And we know it now, and
Who are you to fight back against death?”
Marina Friesen is an aspiring author from the Bay Area in California. She began creative writing in 2013, and plans to continue in her free time, in addition to her other hobbies which include hiking and reading. Marina is in her first year of college, majoring in psychology with a minor in English.