color key — red: abuse. contrast of light and dark correlates with bright and somber tones of voice.

Red

Red

Red

Red

Red. That’s all I have. That’s all I have of the incident — or the incidents — I don’t even have that clarity. I just see the color red. It’s a bedroom that I don’t really recognize, can’t quite fully make out. The only thing that I am sure of is that either there was an actual strange light glare in the room or my memory of it has been painted red. It’s as if a dull, aching red filter has been placed over this moment. Just, red. Then there is me. I am small and young. I believe I am around age seven, but it could have been earlier. Maybe this wasn’t the first time…but there I am, young and small. Laying on whatever bed this is. And then, there is you. You’re lying next to me. You are close. And then, it is just more red. The slide clicks down and changes. The next slide is up. This one isn’t red, but it is the placement of this one, directly after the previous. My father is upset. He is yelling at me. He tells me — never, to ever, allow a man to lay down on a bed with me. End. Frame. 

 It is true that I don’t fully remember. But I remember…something. I know there was something. My body remembers. My fingers repeated your acts for years, not knowing what I was doing — what I was emulating. But it was you. My body remembers. You make all the nerves in my body stand on end when you are near me. They become ready for war. At my grandmother’s funeral, I felt you behind me before I ever saw you. I don’t need to see you. My body remembers. I could feel your breath on my neck. I could feel your eyes on me. My body remembers. I declined the incoming hug after the ceremony. So you rubbed my back. All the vile in my stomach convulsed. My body remembers. 

© Midnight Woman 2021