Blog, Consent, Kink, Mental Health

Glow-in-the-fucking-dark Stars

Content warning: trauma, triggers, sexual assault

My biological mother and I do not get along for a variety of reasons. We do best when we talk every couple of months and see each other once a year. She wants more, I want less. It’s a compromise.

I knew she was going to be coming through town today, but I rejoiced in my work schedule and told her, unfortunately, that I wouldn’t be able to meet her for lunch. She asked if she could come by on her way out of town; I gave in and gave her the address. She lives across the country; I figured 20 minutes couldn’t be but so bad.

She always brings some random assortment of crap that she finds at thrift stores and dollar trees and wherever else to give me. This time, it was a used t-shirt that says “Costume,” (proving she knows me not at all, that I would never wear that to get out of costuming because I like costumes), a Spirograph set (that I already had), a travel Nutella and breadsticks (I hate Nutella, and always have), a brochure about where she lives, and a package of glow in the dark stars.

Freeze.

I stare at the package. Not again, I think. This makes the third one she’s given me in the past six months. I focus on my breathing. It’s fine, I think. I can deal with it later.

“These are for kiddo!” she says,

And then it starts.

He walks past my room and glances in. Saw the stars on my ceiling and stopped, poked his head in. A friend had just left and I was sitting on my lofted bed, lights out, staring at the stars I had carefully placed to mirror actual constellations.

“Those are nice,” he says. Walks into my room, shuts the door. Lays down on my floor and makes small talk; I can’t remember what about. I answer, and he says he’s having a hard time hearing me. Tells me to come down and lay next to him so he can hear me.

She asks me if I’m ok. I say yes, I’m just tired. I think. It’s a blur, like recalling a movie I watched in a dream. I rolled a cigarette- great, now she knows I’m smoking again. And all this time, she’s talking about something and I’ve got flashes coming, faster, those damn stars blurring my vision.

Like when he pulled me on top of him. Asked if the door was locked and, as if on cue, my friend walks back in to grab the bag she left behind as I scramble off of him. She gives us a strange look, and as she leaves, he follows behind and shuts the door. Clicks the lock. I feel trapped and don’t know how to escape.

Sunlight now. Sudden heat. 75 degree weather and a lighter flame, and I’m choking on smoke scorching its way down my throat. More flashes. Where am I walking to? Flash.

I feel stiffness and pressure beneath me and feel sick. My eye hurts where his finger hit it in the darkness as he worked his arms around me, pinning me to him. I don’t know how much time has passed. I don’t know if I’m missing time, but I focus on the pain in my eye and keep silent.

Inhale. Exhale. Blowing smoke and reassuring her again, yes, I’m fine. What else am I going to say? She didn’t believe me the first time. Why would she remember or believe me this time? I’m just tired. I’m talking but I don’t know what I’m saying. Autopilot is engaged. I am projecting forward function, but the tapes are spinning, faster and faster, flickering behind my eyes. No one can know. Must maintain composure.

I used my aching eye to get out of the room. Go down and ask my mother to tuck me in. She hasn’t tucked me in in a couple years now, but she does. Tells me to go upstairs and lay down; she’ll be up in a minute. I can’t get the words out that I need her to come now, so I go. Walk past my sister’s room where he is sitting on the bed. He beckons me over, tells me to give him a kiss goodnight. I do, on the cheek. He insists on one on the lips. I give it, and then flee. Back to the room. Back to where the stars are staring down accusations that I don’t understand. Back to wait until my mother comes in to kiss me goodnight, and I can’t sleep for staring at the stars.

My goddaughter is around the age I was. The thought of putting those stars in her room makes me nauseous. I can be around them, now, even though they make me uncomfortable (although I have never tried to fuck under them).

But I remember many a sleepover as a child where I snuck out of someone’s room and slept on the couch, waking to uncomfortable questions about how I ended up there. Sleepwalking was always a good excuse. Later, I learned to wake up early and sneak back to where I was supposed to be.

Someday, I will do a trigger and catharsis scene around this. Someday, I will not balk at the sight of those damn stars we all had semi-permanently attached to our ceilings. Someday, the memories won’t come in flashes or, if they do, I will have other tools to deal with them. I’m better than I used to be. If it’s not much, it’s still something. I am better than I used to be.

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