She stood trembling with her hands grasping, clinging to the back of the sofa, looking at her parents and brothers watching television. Smelling the rain outside as it pitter patted on the concrete surrounding her uncle’s mobile home. Holding back the tears which wanted to mimic the downpour outside the sliding glass doors.
She could tell no one. Not her mother, she couldn’t hurt her mother that way nor did she want to see her mother sit back like always and not do a single thing to support or protect her. She knew her mother would take her to her father and he wouldn’t believe her. He would get furious at her for the lies he knew she was telling him. Or if he believed her then he would look at her and tell her she was to blame that it was her fault. Even though they weren’t lies, even though she hadn’t done anything wrong. She never thought to tell her brothers, they were too young, they couldn’t do anything even if they did believe her.
She stood trembling behind them all wishing she could just disappear. While at the same time, wishing someone would ask her why she wasn’t taking the nap she said she was going to take. As much as she wanted to be invisible, she wanted someone to be able to look inside of her and see her fear, then wrap their arms around her and tell her everything would be all right. That they would take her from this place and never come back. But no one did. No one looked at her. She was invisible.
No one took her from this place. She tried not to act differently but she knew she did. She felt different. The pressure inside was so great she thought for sure people could see she had swelled up like a big balloon with all her fear bottled up inside. Every movement she made was done cautiously in fear of doing something that would make them aware of her shame, of what had happened. She prayed that someone would notice, that someone would make her tell, while being so afraid that someone would finally notice and ask her what was wrong and not believe her when she told them nothing was wrong.
She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t eat. She kept her distance. She wouldn’t look at him. She wouldn’t talk to him. She had loved him. She had loved him so much. He talked to her. He spent time with her, held her hand, gave her hugs when her parents no longer touched her. She soaked up the affection he had given her. When the rains kept them inside away from the beach and playing in the ocean, with nothing more to do than watching television, she had become sleepy. He said he was going to take a nap and she jumped at the opportunity to be with him, to snuggle close to him and take a nap.
She climbed up on his bed and lay down. Lying in the same position he lay in. She liked copying him, doing the things he did, lying on her back even though she knew the position was not her favorite and she had problems falling asleep when she lay on her back. He accepted her company. He said nothing and just lay there quietly.
She could hear the television. His room was next to the living room where her parents and brothers were watching television. She didn’t feel sleepy any more for the excitement of wanting to take a nap with him had chased the sleep from her mind.
She lay quietly not wanting to disturb him, afraid to move. She wondered if he was asleep. She wanted to turn over so she could get more comfortable but she had never slept in a bed with another person so she wasn’t sure if her movements would wake him if he was already asleep, so she lay still. Her arms straight at her side. Her legs out straight. Looking down she could see her bare legs and toes below the shorts she wore.
Then she realized he wasn’t asleep when she saw his hand move to rest upon her tummy, then slide down between her legs. His fingers moved. Rubbed her. Her heart was pounding. She felt odd. His fingers rubbed between her legs and she thought for sure her heart was going to explode it beat so hard in her chest.
She knew what he was doing was wrong. Her heart beat faster, pounding so furiously she could hear it in her ears.
She thought of her parents and brothers sitting just outside his bedroom door watching television. Would one of them walk in and see what he was doing? She knew they had to know what he was doing. If they came in and saw, she knew they would blame her. Her father would tell her it was her fault her uncle was touching her, she was bad, a bad little girl. It was her fault, she asked for it, because she was the one who had decided to come in and lay down with him. Everyone would know she was the cause of her shame.
She bolted. She got up and ran out the door, making sure when she left the room, she did so quietly, and as invisibly as she could. She knew if anyone had looked at her they would know what had happened and they would look at her with disgust. So on quiet feet she walked around the sofa and stood behind them, wishing she could turn invisible. Wanting so much for someone to tell her she wasn’t a bad little girl.