The blood trickled down my leg as he rolled off of my body. They always said it would hurt the first time, it’s normal to bleed, but they didn’t say anything about it happening every time afterwards. They never told me about the times that would hurt even worse when I tried to tell him no but he claimed that it was my responsibility, my duty, to please him.

I crawled out of bed, waddled to the bathroom, and shoved a towel in between my legs. I kept it there as I reached over and turned on the hot water in the shower. I pulled back the curtain as roughly as he had pulled apart my legs just moments earlier. Hearing the sudden clack of the rings mirrored the surprise that I had vocalized. Minutes before that I was preparing for sleep, with a daylong venture planned tomorrow, I wanted to be sure to get some rest.

That’s how most of my nights have been lately though. Endless cycles of my plans falling through, not mattering, and my body being invaded. Each time he forces his way into my life, he forces himself onto my body. I begin to question what the definition of no is and whether or not my voice will ever be heard. At least he has the decency to turn music on and then even I can't hear my own sobs or whimpers of pain.

The end of the night and rising sun can never come fast enough. Each time he shifts in bed, I find myself pulling farther away until the edge of the bed welcomes me warmly. Every time he faced me and threw his arm over my body, he pulled me back to him, and I shivered and folded into myself. I feared the feeling of his hand tracing my side and finding its place in the warm spot between my thighs. The tenderness would throb prematurely, preparing me for what could happen.

But tonight, he wanders into the bathroom after me and finds me curled up under the steaming water. I’m waiting for the blood to stop flowing down the drain with my legs spread open and shampooing my tangled hair. I look up at him, soap streaming down my face, and the water finally running down the drain filled with bubbles instead of blood. As I stare up at him, unsure of what was about to happen, he pulled his underwear off and kicked them aside before stepping into the tub behind me. His legs wrapped around my body as he began to finish massaging the soap into my hair. “I’m sorry it hurt you, baby”, he whispered into my ear. I began to relax and laid against his chest.

Each apology warms my heart every time and I crawl back into bed with him after the shower. I slip into some clean underwear and pretend that I won’t have to scrub the red out of the other ones in the morning. The comforter forms around my body and I begin to take my place on the left edge. The pillow pushed far away and the blanket pulled up high, I sighed as I felt him crawl in beside me. I braced myself to be pulled close and, as it happened, closed my eyes to hopefully enter into a state that was better than the reality that I am trapped in.

Published by Nicole Clement