the bar is cold on this November night,
the warmth of the air stolen and poured
into stomachs of patrons sipping whiskey Cokes and shots of Fireball
at the end of the bar, a laugh-
gray hair and wrinkles excuse the
acidic honey off his tongue,
while the bartender smiles through gritted teeth
takes me back to 13
crowded halls and busy students
unsolicited hugs, hands of boys on girls.
I know that if I mattered
it would be their hands on me.
I remember boys in middle school slapping girls’ butts as they walked down the halls between classes. It was all in good fun; the boys were popular, and the girls were flattered (at least, I assumed they were). In the clearer light of adulthood, I see that for what it was: a complete disregard for girls’ – children’s – personal space. It was unwanted sexual contact. It was assault.
It’s a fucked up world when a child feels not-good-enough because she isn’t being assaulted.