Updated: Aug 1, 2021
“ Was she telling me it was me? Was she asking me? How could I tell her that it was more than a decade ago that I knew what Tommy’s father’s penis felt like... "
“So you know Tommy, the boy who lived next door?” my mother asked carefully, making my breath stop. “He was arrested a few years ago for touching two little boys on his street.” My heart raced and my stomach churned. I couldn’t look up at her, pretending to tie the lace of my sneaker. I wanted to run out of the kitchen and bury my head under the sofa cushions. I felt sweat beading on my forehead. She didn’t stop. “But they got him some help so he didn’t go to jail.” Was she telling me it was me? Was she asking me? How could I tell her that it was more than a decade ago that I knew what Tommy’s father’s penis felt like, that she and my dad were so naive as to willingly let me play on “the swing” in the basement of that house, and that until this moment, at 17, I hadn’t allowed myself to believe it all happened. How could she know that for the next few days I would hide alone in my room, behind the shed at the bottom of our yard, or up in our attic, releasing a million tears of confusion as I began to accept that I wasn’t the crazy, worthless piece of garbage that the hell next door had made me believe in my own heart. How could I tell anyone, after so many years of silence buried beneath three hundred pounds of pain, that I was still there, a little boy in the wrong place at the wrong time, bruised and damaged forever.