I've never been

one to have a temper, but now it is my white flag; it is my wolf howl.

I am proud to be angry about what manages to phase me. I don't make promises, but I promised my twenty-three-year-old self that, of all the things I force backwards down my throat, anger will no longer be one of them. But I will be frugal with my temper like my dad was with his cash. I know the difference between waiting in traffic and feeling like your arms that have held babies, your legs that dance, and your voice that tells your stories might as well not exist.

I will never say it is my fault I was raped, but I don't want to act like I've always respected my body. I've slept around like my body wouldn't absorb danger the way it always does on the way to the ground after a hard fall. I didn't protect myself and there were consequences. It was a mistake continuing to have sex with someone who didn't like the feeling of condoms. Those shielded my body from whatever sickness his dick absorbed through his years of sex without them, and I allowed sex without them. You know, "It feels better without them." At the time, I didn't fully understand how far down it was I could fall. I felt my body grow angry at me for the first time. Chlamydia. I felt disgusting, physically and emotionally. I hated that I allowed someone to affect my life so undeniably and I hated that, at the end of the day, I was that someone. 

I went to Planned Parenthood immediately and was taken care of at no cost to me. I begged that boyfriend to take care of his illness so we could continue the sexcapade that led us to that spot. I made the appointment for him, he went. He took his medicine, but I knew we needed to wait long enough for it to do its job before we started sleeping together again. He said he agreed. We had one of those decent days of the many months we were together. We smiled. It was August and there was no cold to make us sad. It grew late. Then early. His parents were sleeping a floor below us. The tv droned on. Alcohol ran out long before midnight, but weed was abundant and I was happy that things were at peace. He was so happy I forgave him for cheating on me and I was happy that I stayed with him so we would feel less alone. I was happy we were going to be having clean, fun sex in only a week. 

I loved him. Despite how much my best friend despised him. Despite everyone I grew up with telling me horror stories with his name as the title. Despite his drinking day-old,  already-opened beers first thing in the morning. Despite the cocaine always lacing his spit when we kissed. He felt good. I felt good. Despite all of those things, I could feel him love me and I loved him. 

"We only have to wait a week." I repeated it through our breaks in making out, but things started getting hotter. I was kissing him back. It was a pretty sexy session of heavy kissing, then touching. It was hard to keep my hands off of him, but I knew it was harder to feel so sick and I never wanted to infect my body again. So I said we should stop. I said the words. “Stop. No, we really shouldn't.” I was repeating "Only a week, just wait a week." His tongue between my legs felt as familiar as pee soaking your bed sheets. I rolled my head back and trusted him like he was driving me around in a car. And then somewhere, at some point, he shoved himself inside of me. It turned dark as quickly as a bad trip. Nothing was lovely. The smiles were gone. My arms failed me. I wished I could slam a door, but I couldn't even get up. After, he crawled off of the couch and into his bed. He left the PlayStation on, and the screensaver sounds still make me sick. 

I cried, and then I cried louder. He asked if I was crying and I told him yes. He told me to be quiet so his parents wouldn't wake up. So I stayed silent until I saw the first sign of the sun. I ran out of the house and I wept as I opened my car door. All of his neighbors felt evil, the squirrels surrounding his yard felt evil. The sun felt like a cynical joke. I tried to call my best friend, and when she finally answered, she told me she had to go because her boyfriend brought her breakfast and a smoothie. I hung up and laughed. It could have made me angry, but I no longer had that kind of rage to spend.