Hitting the floor face-first woke me.
The overhead light was on already.
Thick fingers knotted in my hair; pulled till my toes pirouetted and twirled.
Alternating between being dragging and scrabbling for footing, my father hauled down two flights of stairs and planted in the unfinished basement.
The poured concrete floor was frigid.
I felt something splash onto my foot. Looking down, I saw blood clotting into my pajama top and crimson dots scattered around my bare feet.
I raised a hand to my face.
My hand flew to my side.
I could see Kyle crying out of the corner of my eye—a spectacular tactical blunder but Dad ignored it.
Not an especially auspicious omen.
After nine years, these sessions had grown predictable: all fuss-and-bluster at first until my father found cadence, began to enjoy the sound of his own voice and the tone would shift adversarial to professorial.
These professorial lulls never lasted. But at least while they did, I could turn off my mind and preserve energy for the worst to come.
The 2 AM lecture this morning was on the subject of Integrity (capital-I) as exemplified by Bolt’s A Man for All Season.
I had not absorbed a word of it but after an hour, the electrical buzzing of a silence that stretched several seconds too long snapped me back into full focus.
“The body follows the head,” my father said.
And with a sinking feel, I knew what followed.
He grabbed my throat, his fingers tightening.
I knew to breathe in shallow and slow. Not to panic. But his grip was too tight.
When you are being can’t breathe is nearly impossible to keep your arms ramrod straight at your sides. I was terrified but I was also certain I would rather suffocate than show that fucker I was afraid of him.
Not to mention, the level of disrespect fearing the man who claimed to love me would entail. Things were bad now but if that happened they would be so much worse.
And just then in that perfect moment a shiver shook my shoulders.
I was on tiptoes again, pulled towards him; held by my neck, my windpipe collapsed. Out of the corner of my eye, I could just see the snarling grey-whites of his eyes shining in his wax-fruit, steel wool stubbled skin.
I stared straight ahead, refusing to meet his eyes, to beg him not to kill me. Black spots swirled and yawned over the porous blue-grey cinderblocks in the middle distance.
“Control the head, control the body.” He said, his voice perfectly calm as he nodded my head for me.
Warm wetness bloomed in my sinuses again. I tried to snuffle it back. Couldn’t breathe. My head like it was going to explode.
A drop. Another. More splattering admist the nests of black hair on his arm.
He felt it and shoved me backwards and I fell sideways, landing on my hands and knees, gasping.
He pulled at the tail of my blue shirt, stretching the material so that he didn’t have to kneel and rid himself of my residue.
I suppose it makes sense that I am completely whack-a-doo about being touched.
And it’s not even being touched so much because I am fine with it as long as I am not thinking about it. If I am thinking about it and you aren’t one of maybe five people, I am likely to launch you into orbit.
There aren’t any easy rules to it I can articulate even to myself, let alone anyone else. Still, this image turns me on in some ineffable way.
But it also makes me sad. There is only one person I would allow to hold me like the young woman above. And although I trust her completely, that wouldn’t be why I would be okay with it. I’d be okay with it because she wouldn’t do it unless there was some truth in the action. I don’t know another way to put it except to say that with out me knowing it was what I craved, this woman knows me enough to grab me by the neck, force me up against a wall and whisper with her lips against my ears how very, very pretty she finds me before enumerating all the unspeakable things she intends to inflict upon my body. Calling me a filthy slut because she knows what I want even when I don’t.