I’ve had a lot of memories come back in the past day or so, things I’d forgotten. From the years I’d forgotten.
And for the most part they’re almost all bad memories I wish I hadn’t uncovered.
Most of them involve men much older than me following me home from places or trying to flirt with me.
One guy tried to follow me home from the bodega by my house after I picked up the cigarettes my father sent me to get him. He was a white guy, and he kept asking me for my name or my number, and when I told him I was ten and I wasn’t interested, he called me a lying bitch and kept following me. I walked into this mattress store by my Nana’s house and told the lady at the counter and asked if I could hide there until I was certain he was gone. She said yes, of course, because I was so clearly scared.
And she asked me if I wanted to call the police, and I told her no, my father would be mad at me if I did.
And then, one time, we had off for Yom Kippur because I went to school in New York, and this was before I was thirteen, so I had nothing to do so I was like ‘fuck it,’ and took twenty bucks from my dad’s wallet and walked up to a chinese food place by my house and ordered myself food.
And this guy I recognized from this house construction site by my school walked in followed by a few guys from the site.
And he walked over to my table and pulled up a chair and told me how pretty I was, and asked me if I’d be his girlfriend. And I told him I was only in middle school and he told me he knew that, and that he saw me walk home from school every day, but that I was so beautiful that it was okay. That G-d would understand. I threw out my food, which I hadn’t even started eating, and ran home. Literally ran.
And another time, I was taking the subway home late one night, alone. I don’t know where I’d been that I was there alone, but I was, and this guy got on the train, in a black puffer jacket, so it must have been winter, and despite the whole train being empty, he sat down right next to me and put his arm around me and started talking to me, and I tried to pretend I couldn’t hear him. Then he put his hand on my thigh, and I got up, and despite being really scared of walking between subway cars when the train was moving, I walked to the next car, the guy following me.
And I, after walking through two or three cars, found a car that had someone in it, an older black lady and I told her there was a guy creeping on me and that I was only eleven and that I was really scared, and asked if I could sit next to her so he’d leave me alone. And she agreed, and when the guy came into the car, she and I chatted like we were old friends so he’d leave me be.
These are not memories I want to remember. I don’t want to remember being a child, not even thirteen yet and already having my body open for sexual advances by men more than three times my age. I don’t want to remember this.