You don't remember the first time with his father, either, but you were so young then. You feel like you should remember the first time with Jason; you were thirteen by then, you think, or fourteen. It was not sudden; he did not catlike pounce and ravage. It was something in how he watched his father when his father watched you. It was something in how he held you when you both hid - previously iron-grip steel-hard, now softer, and then his hands would wander. You would barely notice at first, concentrating on barely breathing, barely moving, hoping his father would get bored and wander off, but then you became aware of Jason's hands where his father's had been, and you slipped -
stone walls and ivy and the scent of rain and trees
- into and out of your elsewhere, this time without him, and buttons unfastened and -
currying your horse after a ride, wrapping your arms around the strong smooth neck, mane tickling your face
- you were fifteen and running away every night and with him because you didn't know where else to be, who else to be with - night in the park behind the fence and his hands and -
morning in your cottage, spinning wheel and herbs hanging in the windows, every scent a song and every voice a layer of home
- moving in with him at sixteen, when he was eighteen, and by then his eyes were hard, were blank, and he had not been elsewhere with you in years - a presence sometimes just out of view, a sudden shadow, sudden chill, but even when you were with him you were terribly alone. He did not seem to see you. He saw this thing, this hollowness in you that he compulsively filled. He sat across from you at the breakfast table, not noticing that you were not eating, and you kept
and you never said yes
and you never said no, because he never asked, and you never knew you could.
"The Awful Feeling of Knowing You Don't Remember No", by sofiaviolet, consists of a quartz pendant suspended on silver-plated chain along with a large glass bead, fastened with a lobster clasp.
Sofia says, This piece represents an aspect of my relationship with my high school boyfriend, who was very skilled at abusing me and then convincing me nothing was wrong. I put up with sexual assault, the methodical erasure of my boundaries, emotional manipulation and dependence, and continual psychological trauma for eighteen months, before he left me due to my erratic behavior and the pockets of my resistance that he hadn't been able to root out.
My rape, the single instance I recognized and confronted him about during the relationship, was five years ago this month.
I was stuck. I never came and it always hurt and I tried every now and then to say "not now, please not now" but he never let it rest. I tried to leave and called him back to me, crying and scared and doubting myself the way he had designed me to.
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This one's rough, I know. We are getting to less-rough places. I will not promise you all sunshine and roses, but there is joy and grace today, too.