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·224 words·2 mins

9 years old

Though I am running a fever, I go to a dear friend’s sleepover at her insistence. The conversation turns to my developing body. I am the only girl in the fourth grade wearing a bra. The other girls pressure me, mock me, calling me names, chiding me for my boob fat, and yet goading me to take off my top and show them what’s underneath, satisfy their curiosity. I cry, refuse. The birthday girl, a tomboy, sinewy and muscled from climbing trees and playing sports, restrains me, and another girl pulls off my top, unclasps my bra. The girls take turns insulting me, calling me a slut, slapping and squeezing and pinching my nipples and tits. I am delirious with my temperature and my tears. I cry and struggle – and yet there’s nothing I can do. It will be over when they’re bored with me. I am scared, and I hate them – but what they’re doing to me physically feels good, unsettlingly so. I’m experiencing physical pleasure that is completely new to me.

When they are done, they laugh at me, call me a baby for my tears. I phone my mom and tell her I’m too sick to spend the night, ask if she can come get me. I do not speak of what has happened to me.


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