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  • Michelle Halliwell

Chapter 5

“Honey calm down, we don’t even know,” Daddy says.


“Calm down? Calm down. You want me to calm down?” Mom asks.


“Let’s just get to the bottom of it, before we rush to judgment,” Daddy replies.


“Okay. Fine. Michelle. You’re standing here with your dress torn apart. You have a love bite on your titty. So, did you fornicate with that boy?” Mom asks.


“Mom it’s not like that,” I say.


“Oh really? Then what’s it like?”


“We just kissed a little,” I say.


“Were you naked with him?” she asks.


“Honey stop,” Daddy says.


“You were. Weren’t you. I mean, you’re practically naked right now!” Mom says.


I shake my head, biting my lip.


“So if I inspect the small part of you that’s actually still covered, will we see more hickies?” Mom asks.


I say nothing.


“Answer me!”


“I don’t know!”


“Ladies calm down,” Daddy says.


“Are you okay with your daughter becoming a slut?” Mom asks.


“I am not a slut!” I reply.


“Watch your mouth little girl,” Mom yells.


“Calm down,” Daddy says.


“Stop telling me to calm down!” Mom screeches. “Michelle I’m only going to ask you once. Did you have sex with him?”


“No.”


“Oh thank God,” Mom says.


I sigh.


“Oh you’re not out of the woods yet, young lady.”


“Michelle go to your room,” Daddy says.


I flee the room.


“Stop right there, young lady. You will not harlot around with boys. Do you understand me?” Mom says.


“Mom! I did not harlot around!”


“Then what do you call getting your dress torn off in the backseat of a car? If that’s not whoring around, what is it?” Mom asks.


“Just let her go,” Daddy says.


“After she sees the error of her ways. So what do you call what you did?” Mom asks.


“You want the truth?” I ask.


“The truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Mom says.


“Booker didn’t tear my dress. Alice Green…”


“She was in the backseat too?” Mom interrupts.


“No, she tore it at the dance Mom! Then Booker upheld my dignity by holding up my torn dress, okay? We almost had sex, and I wanted to.”


“You have sinned in your heart!” Mom yells.


“But I told him to stop because I’m saving myself for marriage. He was mad, but he listened to me, but we had a fight over it, so I came home crying,” I say.


“So you were naked with him,” Mom says.


“Only for a moment and nothing happened,” I say.


“No daughter of mine is allowed to whore around like that,” Mom says.


“I thought you’d understand, be proud of me even,” I say.


“You’ve got a pretty low bar, if that’s what you thought,” Mom yells.


“Honey let it go,” Daddy says.


“I should just let him do it! Then I’d be lying comfortably in his arms, instead of getting screamed at by you!” I yell.


“Then why don’t you go screw him!” Mom yells as she slaps me across the face.


I wail as I run up the tan carpeted stairs. Annoying creaking sounds mark every other step.


“You went too far!” Daddy is saying.


“No thanks to you! If you let her think she can get away with stuff like that, pretty soon she’ll be coming home pregnant, or diseased!” Mom yells back at him.


I slam my door, lock it, and burrow my face into my pillow.


My room is split into three sections. Next to my bed, there’s a rocking chair covered with a mountain of furry stuffed animals. There’s a mirror sitting on the long dresser, surrounded by a battalion of cosmetics. The place where I spend most of my time is the well-ordered desk, with books stacked at the back against the wall, and my MacBook sleeping in the middle of the desktop. Now I am pacing back and forth.


What’s the point of following her rules? My mom will find a reason to scream at me no matter what I do. What if I’m not perfect? What if I make mistakes? I am sorry that I cannot be the angel that you wish I am, but I have tried my best. I did my best, and you know what? It wasn’t good enough. I guess if it is impossible to live up to your ideal version of me, all I can really do is be myself, and hope for the coincidence that you might love me, Mom.


But was I wrong, really? All that happened seemed so completely natural. I love him because he deserves to be loved. I am attracted to him so that must mean that he is attractive. When I was little, when there was a jar of cookies in the kitchen, I was never able to avoid wanting them. I want Booker too and I can’t help that either; therefore, you should feel proud that I resisted him. But you aren’t. You don’t care. You just want to lock me away in a monastery until my boobs deflate into wrinkled bags of skin, or until I marry a rich doctor; whichever comes first.


I wanted him so desperately but I still refused to make love. Then you smack me in the face? You don’t understand. You just want to control me but I can’t even control myself. I did want him. I still want him. I want to let him. Let him love me, hold me, hug me, kiss me; I’ll let him…


I want to see Booker’s face in the dark. When I’m cold and shivering, you can be my blanket. When it’s pitch black and I’m afraid, you can make me feel safe.


Now, I close my eyes and I see your face. I can almost feel your strong hand on my hip. When you kissed my belly button and my world was spinning out of control, you warmed me like a winter campfire.


What will it be like to let you? Is it going to hurt? You will put me under a spell of bliss and I will fade away, like a child discovering chocolate. We have been living this life for so long and yet we are so incomplete, so will you join me tonight my love?


The green, digital numbers on the alarm clock say 11:34. My parents have been quiet for hours. They confiscated my smartphone but they can’t take my feet. Stop! Mom’s stern face threatens me. What if she catches me sneaking out in the middle of the night? Laying in Booker’s bed with no clothes and no excuse to say no, the fantasy quickens my blood. It’s wrong. It’s right.


If someone is shooting at me and I dive to the ground to take cover, Mom will nag me for getting my Sunday dress dirty. I choose you Booker.


I sneak down the dark and silent hallway. As I slowly put my feet down with each step, the soft carpet sinks beneath my weight. The floor squeaks loudly, sending my heart into my throat, so I stop and stay totally still. Why am I being so careful? If I get caught here, I’ll just say I am going downstairs for a drink of water. I tiptoe faster.

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©2019 by Michelle Halliwell