a progression in slow movements: how 1 woman ruined 3 promising young men
The year I made captain of the cheer squad,
Bryan pointed a black handgun at his temple and pulled the trigger.
I shaved my head and
stood, next to a different boy, in a black and white dress at the senior prom.
He drove a borrowed yellow VW Bug.
It was only our second date, but
he already knew I’d never be able to leave. Held me
so hard that I could hear the bones crack in my back like old brittle china.
I added a star to my skirt. Became the star of the school play.
Learned quickly how to act,
because Paul had already overdosed on heroine. Scaled a clinic wall and didn’t stop
running until he crossed the Canadian border.
I refused to eat until
my body threatened to quit working. Tried to disappear, because
I was ugly and stupid. Useless. And no one would ever want me.
He said this with his hands, every chance I gave him.
I abandoned the squad, when the uniform no longer hid my injuries.
He stopped burying his face in my skirts and crying forgiveness afterwards,
and I waited for him to kill me.
Quit going to the E.R. when the nurses knew me by name. Even if it wasn’t my own.
Plotted an unrealistic escape.
And while I let another boy press against me at the senior prom in my pink taffeta dress,
he got high on methamphetamines and put his fist through a wall.
Later he used his good hand to break my nose, as I stood in a puddle of pink frills.