Why won't they leave me alone? It's the same everyday. Ken and Maurice, dressed in white, escort me to Dr. Johanson's office. They tell jokes and laugh while I stumble down the hall feeling like I'm going to throw up.
Dr. Johanson's nice. She and I chat about how I'm doing and why I'm here. Well, I do most of the talking. It's all very serious, and that's fine with me. Dr. Johanson tells me I must have experienced a trauma when I was a child that made me this way.
I tell her about the time Matthew Peters picked on me for not laughing at his jokes.
“Let's see you do better,” Matthew says, crossing his arms on his chest. “Come on, Duh-wayne, make me laugh.” The girls standing near us giggle, the boys chant Duh-wayne, Duh-wayne. Mr. Grant, my Algebra teacher, smiles as he hands over his meal card to be punched.
I try to move away, but two boys block my path. My mouth is dry. I need something to drink. Water spots form on my shirt as the sweat soaks through. One of the boys notices and says milk is leaking from my tits. The kids laugh. Mr. Grant's teeth make an appearance. My body starts shaking. I scream and attack Matthew, punching and kicking as hard as I can.
“That's enough,” Dr. Johanson says. “You need to calm down.”
I look at Dr. Johanson. She's pretty. I wonder if she's an alien.
She asks me if I think that's when my problem started. I don't answer. I look out the window instead. She asks me again, and I say I don't think so. It's the first time in eight months I haven't replied I don't know.
The look on Dr. Johanson's face changes. She leans forward. A gap forms between the buttons of her black blouse. More black shows, bruises, just like mommy. Tell me what happened, she says.
I'm calm now. I know there won't be any laughter.
“Please,” I hear myself say. “Please don't hurt mommy.” I watch as he rips her blouse, pushes up her skirt and yanks her underwear down. Mommy struggles underneath him. “Please, Daddy.” I grab his leg and try to pull him away, but he's too strong. He carries me out of the room and closes the door. I sit outside, helpless, listening to mommy cry.
My dad's been away. Mommy told me he was in the Army. Once I heard Aunt Joyce ask when he was coming home from prison.
Daddy groans. I hear him say how good it was and how much he missed my mom and how she should be ready for more in a little while. And then he laughs.