Sometimes men flirt with me, and it is a punishment I deserve.

In my world sex is a thing men do to women who are bad. I thought maybe if I tried to be good he would whisk me away to someplace sex did not exist, only love. I asked him and he tried but I am a bad, tragic girl. I looked at him and wanted and I could not stop wanting. I wanted but I did not deserve him so I went about punishing myself so I would not hurt him. Not become a demon in his view.

He was never a demon in my view. I wanted him to touch me but I was afraid. Girls are not supposed to want anything that much. Girls are supposed to be clean and pure. To keep boys safe from our pink and our sparkle and our broken twilit places.

Girls are not supposed to tell boys of our desire or our violences. The rage that is inside of us because someone touched us who was not them.

I didn’t say yes many years ago but in all my life nobody has cared. Not the way I need them to care.

I wanted him with a thickness. I wanted him so real it was a ladder between us. I wanted him so much I forgot about the rest of the world. Someday maybe I will go back to Israel and this time I will see Israel. Last time, all I saw was him.

Saw? See. Those tenses. A lie in between without thinking. A space for secrecy and I was raised to never talk about the things that matter most.

I tried to act like a normal girl so I let them flirt with me. I tried to smile and not get angry. This is the place I was taught I belong. The girl boys can hurt, and no one will stop them.

Boys are romantic but they hurt us. They try to be gentle but their hands are scissors and they strike blows where we are soft. He got angry and it made me afraid so I ran away. Other boys came too close and I was afraid and I froze.

I let him be angry at me instead of them. Sex was a party my heart was throwing for him but he never showed up. Other boys came to the door and I did not let them in though one shoved his way into the entryway. But I did not know how to ask them to leave. I did not know I could do that.

Sex was a party but the streamers have all fallen to the ground and the balloons nod sad daisy chain heads and my ice cream is melted. He is at a party where they serve vodka and bikini clad girls’ bodies and I am aware of how very naive I have been all my life. When I was a child I used to think my friends would all miss my party but that never happened. I was too young and willfully blind to realize that is what my life was. A party for a family who never arrived. For a man who thinks I’m a child and he’s not wrong. I think I would have married him if it hadn’t been for the fact I’m pretty sure he would have wanted a bachelor party and a stripper and I’m pretty sure if I had asked him not to he would have gotten mad at me. I would have taken him home but who buys balloons anyway?

I am still clumsy and awkward pretending to be otherwise. He still likes girls whose closets are worth more than my car. I am still sharp edges and a glittering pink smile. Boys like femininity in girls but boys also like to break feminine things.

He did not want me but I wanted him. I thought I would punish myself for it but I lost my nerve.

He did not does not want me and there is nothing on earth I want any more. Except him, though I try to be a good girl, and stop.

Every other man has hands. I try to be pretty enough to be safe from them but not so pretty they want to hurt me. It is impossible. Anyway what I want is irrelevant to the only person who has a natural right to know.

I am the center of a dartboard. Food turns my stomach. I know where I belong, but I don’t want to belong there. He won’t find me and he does not want me to find him. I am floating on a velvet sea. Sharp things swim here. Let them.

Writes all the things. Photographs the light. Smiles at odd moments. Reads in the shower. Sings to the trees. Hopes a lot.

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