He was the first man to ever comment on my appearance, the first male to bring attention to my pale freckled skin, he was the first one who pinched my love handles, and the first one who taught me to beware of attention from men, there was something unsettling about him, something that triggered ten-year-old me to know to be uncomfortable, and yet he was my best friend’s father, and he would never do anything to harm me or her, but he made me uncomfortable, it was in the way that he told me I looked older than I am, in the way that he discouraged me dating when I was a teenager, it was when he tried to have the talk with me, about older men being attracted to my adolescent body, when I already had the talk about the birds and the bees, and the condoms that I must use to avoid having a baby, because I was already told by my mother that I was an ideal rape victim, too quiet, too submissive, too weak to fight off a sexual predator, and I was told by him that I had everything a rapist would desire, long legs paired with a quiet nature, a thin frame of a teenager, innocent enough to not recognize the sexual desires of men much older, he never hid that he was into Lindsey Lohan when I became a teenager, dangerously close to the woman I did not know I had become, hitting my full-grown height at the age of sixteen, unaware that I appeared fully developed, because my mind had still never dated anyone, I had not had my first kiss, I had not been fingered in my car on Homecoming yet, I had not had the opportunity to deny teenage boys of taking my virginity, I still felt like an ugly duckling, maybe he was trying to fix that for me, but there was something unsettling in the way he made me aware of my natural sexuality, something that I was missing, something that bothered me subconsciously, maybe that is why I couldn’t stay friends with his daughter, because I had this secret that made me uncomfortable, something that disturbed my psyche every time I saw him, something that triggered my anxiety to be on guard around them, or maybe it was because he was the first man who ever touched me, not in a way that could be called morally wrong, but still in a way that made me feel uncomfortable, in a way that brought a realization of my sexuality before I was ready, in a way that I knew was unsafe, that I instinctively knew could lead to rape, but he was my someone I knew, someone I trusted, the father to my best friend, and so I never said a word, I kept my mouth shut and avoided interaction, I kept this self-conscious realization quiet until now, out of respect for the best friend I once had, out of fear of admitting that I felt violated, out of a fear that he could discredit all of my emotions, and tell my mother that I was just broken, lying, drug-addicted, crazy, for ever thinking that he was the first man to violate my sexuality.
Amy Bohannan is a writer based in Portland, Oregon. Although she grew up in the Bay Area of California, she refuses to go back to the state she came from, much to the frustration of native Portlandians. She writes poetry and practices daily stream of consciousness writing, in an effort to better understand herself and the rest of this crazy world. You can find her work in The Tulane Review, on her blog, and scattered across pages of the internet. When she is not typing her life away, Amy enjoys dancing and long walks with her best friend Johnny -- a “career changed” Guide Dog for The Blind. Johnny reminds her every day that sometimes failure can be the best thing for you in life.