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You are seven years old

Maybe eight
It doesn’t matter, you won't remember
These were pre-deadline days
You knew it was time to wake up when your mom sat on your bed and kissed your face good morning
You knew it was time for dinner when the blood orange sun hurt your eyes in the distance
You are seven or eight but because you have two little sisters and you can run faster than all the boys
You think you are just so goddamn old

He is thirteen
Old as dirt, as your preschool teacher used to say
He picks you up during a game of cops and robbers in the cul-de-sac with the other kids, and carries you to his back porch, just a left past the mailbox, down a tree-lined hill
You see a girl sitting on the neighbor’s swing but it’s stopped swaying
She is young, not much older than yourself
For a moment, though, you forget her
Thinking this is just another part of the game where you got caught
You shout and kick your feet in laughter
But only at first, until his hand slides down your pants and starts rubbing your bathing suit parts like a pet rabbit
                 Like he owns it
Your quick feet won't help you now
Still it’s not his touch that makes your limbs go limp
You silence in awe at the look on that girl’s face
As she sits and stares, saying nothing
Not with her words, not with her eyes, not with anything
She offers nothing
      Speechless, emotionless, less and less alive
He lets you go eventually and you skip back to home base
      Uninflicted but forever changed
You’ll never look him in the eye again but her virgin stare will follow you throughout your life

Fast forward some ten years and you are seventeen
Maybe younger, maybe older
Doesn’t matter, you'll tell them all you're eighteen anyway
He is much older
Kind of cute in that suit and tie kind of way
Five o'clock shadow says it's time to grow up
You hear him talk about his work at the gazette and so you ask him what he studied and when he says journalism you gush and tell him you're in love
It’s a joke, but still, you let him pour you one more shot
You were never counting anyway
Glossy eyed and stumbling you let it slip that you might be getting tired
You let it slip that you might be a bit too good at lying
Down you slip into his greedy arms as he drags you down
To lie on a bed that feels like rocks on your back
His body is like waves crashing crashing crashing into you
       Brain fluids swimming
                 Whole head is spinning
Your eyes close just long enough not to see what happens next
You’ll awake in a daze so deep you can barely taste the salt on your lips

Today, you walk the streets with a hard heart and thick skin, calloused by the touch of uninvited fingers and bodies you don’t even know the name of
You’re older now
You are seven and you are seventeen and you are nearly twenty all at once
You are older than you should be
But you will never be old enough

​Author: Alex Strott (

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