He Touched Me
M. B. Wolf
He touched me.
Right in the nether regions. The no man’s land. The land I only give to carefully selected men and my G.Y.N.
As I walked up the stairs in the crowd of students flocking like salmon upstream on a mission, he followed closely behind and slipped his finger like an illegal boat crossing unchecked through the dam of my tight teenage jeans with the waist cut off so it rode even lower below my bellybutton. I turned around and shoved him. His breasty chest billowed in like punching a pillow instead of a punching bag. It gave, giving me no satisfaction of the blow. He smiled a white Lego grin to my broken China face. I turned and stormed up the stairs to the classroom I originally headed towards.
Thank all the creators of this world that the teacher was a big, fat, tomboy, no-money-spent-on-her-hair black woman. I told her. I told on him.
She didn’t ask me if I was okay. She knew. She must have gone through the same damn thing at least once before like one in three of all women who’ve had the unpleasant, disgusting, demeaning life event. Excused from class, I pitied myself, unable to forget the feeling of his slimy lizard finger, unable to remediate the hurt by retribution to him.
Years later as I watch the T.V. screen, there he stands, publicly petitioning for people’s votes. No, not him exactly, but someone just like him. Can I forget? Does it not hurt that same wrenching way it hurt that day and every other time something similar happened here and there again? Was I not warned that day, as I cried into my mother’s fortress arms, to stop wearing skin tight jeans, though every other girl in class wore them? If I had not, perhaps I would not feel his stroke on me, would not have turned to see his entitled grin burn like lye into my skin, but I cannot state my choice of dress forced his hand towards me.
I proudly strut the streets in whatever I have on, buttoned-up business casual, grungy yard work clothes with lacing holes and modern art paint splatters, and that same teenage garb, my snake skin un-shucked. Yet when I ride the train during high traffic hours or dance in clubs or go to concerts, I remember. When I walk dark lonely streets or near my car with keys gripped like Wolverine claws or when any man I do not know flirtatiously pursues me, I shudder. I watch my back, my front, my sides as if an owl or the Exorcist girl. But I cannot exorcise the feeling that we’ve elected him, the type of man who could find it in himself to touch someone.
About the Author: M. B. Wolf writes fiction, poetry, songs, and much else. She loves animals, nature, and the surprise of words organized with rhythm and imagery. If you look hard enough, you can find her on a beach.