I am sixteen the first time-too young, too shy, and too soft to say “no.” He puts his hand on my thigh and I shiver a little. “What’s wrong?” he asks. I stare straight ahead and mumble, “I’m cold.” I hate the way his fingers feel. Hate their roughness and that I can tell how often he picks up a guitar by his hard callouses. I hate the way he makes jokes about the movie to distract me from his hand creeping up to my lap. I hate his sweaty smell. His patience. His persistence. His loud laugh. And yet, I stay silent. I remain seated. I do not say “no.”
It takes him three weeks and eight movies for him to slip his fingers behind my underwear and dig around a little. Immediately after wiping his hand on his pants, he turns to me and says, “Damn that guy really can’t act, can he?”
I tell myself I have no excuses. Nothing to say. Sure, he came over without an invitation, but I never asked him to leave. He walked through my front door one afternoon and said he had some movies he wanted to watch. “It’s always more exciting to see something for the first time with someone else,” he said. I didn’t say yes, but I didn’t say no. In my silence, he found exactly what he wanted to hear.
The ninth time he plopped down on the fraying couch beside me and turned the movie on he said, “Spread your legs. Do that thing with your mouth that I like so much.” I looked at him and grimaced. “There you go,” he smiled. “Keep doing that. Knowing I have to convince you makes me want you more.”
Now, when I tell him to leave, he laughs in my face. He says, “Oh, now you want me to go? After all the times you said nothing? Yeah, right. What’re you going to do, tell people I raped you or something? Don’t be such a baby.” I bite my lip and look away. I dig my nails into my thigh and try hard not to cry. Baby. Baby. Baby. Such a fucking baby, I think over and over again.
He’s got a point, I think. I can’t hate him if I never told him to stop. But then his sweaty fingers using force to pry my tightly closed thighs apart comes to mind. I think of how I sat there lifelessly as he offered me a massage. I think of my frowns. Of my lack of appetite. Of my shaking fingers and twitching mouth. I think of all the things that silence says and not one of them is “yes.”