Thursday, January 10, 2013



Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:40 a.m.

Maisie stares straight ahead. Her skin is pale, and her lips are taut with concentration. She doesn’t look anyone in the eye. The eyes are where it matters, and Maisie doesn’t want to matter. Mattering is painful.

Once when she was little, Maisie was helping her mother iron some clothes. At one point her mother left the room to answer the phone, and Maisie kept the iron on one of her father’s dress shirts for too long. It was a blue-and-white-striped shirt, and it was burned. A brown, iron-shaped stain marred the left side. It was ruined. When her mother returned, Maisie looked her right in the eye and told her what had happened. Her mother’s slap left a red handprint across her cheek. Maisie knew her mistake had mattered.

In high school, a boy named Peter wouldn’t stop following her around. He brought her flowers, he asked her out on countless dates. One evening he followed her to the local park. He grabbed her hand and refused to let go. He begged her to give him a chance. Maisie looked Peter right in the eye and told him she wasn’t interested. He shoved her against a tree and forced his mouth onto hers. His tongue was rough, and it tasted like onions. He bit her lip so hard it bled. He reached up her skirt and shoved his fingers inside of her. Maisie knew her rejection had mattered.

Mattering is painful. Mattering is misery, and Maisie doesn’t want any part of it. She has learned the hard way.

Oh man. I am all about the really sad and/or creepy stories this month. It's always weird writing stories about touchy subjects like sexual assault, but I think it's important that people do write about it. The first step to ending the rape culture in which we live is making people aware of it. We can't pretend like it doesn't happen. 

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