I skipped in the door, happy to be home, knowing I usually had my Mother to myself for the afternoon on this particular day of the week. As I rounded the corner to the living room, however, I stopped short, my stomach knotting in sudden apprehension. What was he doing here?
“Where’s Mommy?” I asked softly.
“Oh, hey there baby girl. Your Mom had to work a few extra hours this afternoon, but I told her I’d be able to be home for you. How was your day? Come sit next to me and tell me about it.” He patted the seat next to him on the couch.
Everything seemed to be progressing with an almost hyperreal clarity. I can remember the smells of bleach and wood polish and potpourri and the lovely dark floral pattern of the L-shaped couch. I can still see the benevolent gaze of the Quan Yin statue that adorned one of the many oriental-style tables that were scattered through the house. I remember his salt-and-pepper hair that formed a high widow’s peak atop his weatherbeaten face.
“I..uhh…I have to pee!” I said suddenly, emboldened by my own genius.
I rush down the hall, shedding backpack and jacket along the way in a jumbled heap.
I make it to the bathroom, and lean against the door, panting breathlessly, momentarily stunned by my ability to obtain a reprieve. After a moment I relax and sit down on the toilet.
I must have taken too long. Suddenly the door opened, and there he was!
“Hey!” I say desperately.
“Oh, it’s OK, I just wanted to chat with you. I missed you today,” he said casually, shutting the door behind it and leaning against it. “Did you learn anything good today?”
Frantically I rack my brains for something to tell him, anything to make him leave, to make him stop looking at me in that way. My bare skin crawled clammily against the frigid toilet seat.
“Well, we learned about the mollusk family in science,” I blurted suddenly, grateful to remember something.
“Oh? And was that interesting?”
“Sure,” I say uncertainly, not quite sure what he is after.
“How about boys? Are they teaching you anything about boys yet,” he asks, grinning that grin.
“N-n-n-n-noooo,” I say slowly, wishing there really was a monster in the toilet that would come and swallow me up.
“Would you like to learn?”
“No!” He didn’t seem convinced.
“Oh come on,” his sibilant voice continues to whisper. “Have you ever seen a man naked before?”
“No, and I don’t want to!” I said vehemently, starting to feel a bit hysterical.
Suddenly he unzips his pants, and pulls out his penis. I am horrified. Dumbstruck. I stare straight ahead, hoping if I ignore him, he will just go away.
“Look at it, Tricia,” he commands, coming closer, holding himself in his hand.
I can remember a bead of sweat trickling slowly down the tip of my nose, tickling me mercilessly until it detached itself and plummetted to the floor. I watched it, anything so i did not have to look to my side.
He came closer.
Oh, oh, no, he’s touching me with that!!
He’s touching my face!! Oh, please, stop, stop, stop, I’ll be a good girl, I’ll do anything if this will just stop!
“I have to poop!” I blurt out. “I have to poop, and I can’t go with someone watching!”
He looks at me carefully, knowingly. Then he grins slyly and puts himself away, leaving the zipper open. I barely stop myself from heaving a sigh of relief.
“OK, baby girl, you do that. I’ll be waiting for you. We’ll continue our chat later on.” He leaves, and shuts the door behind him
I sit there on the toilet, shaking, sobbing quietly so he can’t hear, wishing my mother would come home, wondering if I can stay right here until she does.
I am eight years old.