I love children, but they are so small, and they remind me.
“How can I have been so small?” I think when I meet a six-year old. How could he have hurt me when I was so small?
I was sexually assaulted by my next-door-neighbor. His son was a year younger than me, a kindergartener, so we played together constantly. My parents were glad to have me go play at his house.
I don’t remember the first time, but I remember a lot of times. He hid M&M’s around the house and, while the other kids were searching, he led me to his bedroom. At his son’s slumber party birthday, he came in and got under my cover telling me to be quiet so I didn’t wake up the other girl sleeping a few feet away. I remember starring at the dresser next to the bed so I didn’t have to look at him over me. Once we were on his couch, he ignored his son banging on the back door to be let in; he had locked him out on purpose. He never threatened and he never asked.
Once he told me I was beautiful. A first grader! A snotty nose, tangled hair, scrawny limbs, dirty legs and feet, and complete confusion, that was first grade me.
I hate the word beautiful.