At eleven, I didn’t have the word to describe it.
I didn’t have the right words to tell, either.
So when I tried to ask for help
I got an eye-roll that said boys will be boys.
Walk with me if they’re bothering you, the teacher said.
He was probably the type of man
to comment on a girl’s skirt length
after she got herself raped.
Of course as soon as he left me behind
it happened again.
I was going to have to take care of myself.
Deal with it or deal with it.
I scanned the trail ahead with hyper-alertness—
I didn’t know that word yet either.
Waiting and watching:
When I felt the pervert’s hand
grab my ass again
as he laughed his disgusting laugh
I was walking by a half-rotted log
thicker than my calf.
I sprang like a dancer,
grabbed with both hands,
spun, and blindly swung for home.
I felt the jolt reverberate
from my shoulders
all the way down to my toes.
The wet crack was nothing
compared to the sound he made.
part moan part scream
as he fell to his knees in the weeds.
It was as horrifying as it was satisfying.
I dropped my log and kept walking.
The teacher ran past, full of concern now
for the moaning boy
with his wandering fucking hands.
I didn’t care what happened to him next.
He never touched me again.