He Called Me a Slut

“You’re a fucking slut! A dirty slut!”

I don’t remember what I wrote, but it was about him. He wasn’t the first boy to show an interest in me. He was the first boy who showed an interest in the things I enjoyed.

He sat in front of me in gym class when we assembled in alphabetical rows for attendance. He never faced front. Instead he spun around on his ass to face me, his basketball sneakers planted firmly on the floor. His knees bent, with his elbows resting atop. I looked up through my hair to find his brown eyes watching me.

Unnerving.

I tried to ignore him, but he wouldn’t have that. Instead, he peppered me with questions. He was a year older so we had no classes together. We hadn’t grown up together. Our high school bussed him and a few others in from neighboring schools to attend a business academy only housed at our location.

He wanted to know what I liked, what I didn’t, what my family was like, what books I read.

Why was I so quiet?

He told me all those things about himself. Even though I never asked.

The thing that finally drew me in was his love of words. “I made a promise to myself that I’d learn a new vocabulary word a day,” he told me and his spine straightened as he said it. Without fail, every gym class he told me a new vocabulary word.

One day he smiled at me and said, “Loquacious.”

“That’s today’s word?” I asked.

“Yes,” he answered. “But it’s also how you get when you talk about something you love.”

Done.

That’s the moment he had me.

We found a rarely used staircase in a quiet hall and met there at every opportunity. He’d pin me to the cool mint-green tiles or grab my ass and wrap my legs around his waist as he leaned against the large window sill behind him.

I flung my arms around his neck after he hoisted me up. He stood a foot taller than I and my feet rarely touched the ground when we were alone.

We kissed for hours. For days on end. Each time pushing the boundaries of what we could reasonably get away with if an adult should happen by.

He told his parents he had extra basketball practice. I told mine I had extra lit journal meetings to prep for our publishing deadline.

He came in my hand, hot and sweaty, shoved down the front of his jeans.

I came on his fingers, long and steady beneath my skirt. His other arm held my leg up, his hand squeezing behind my knee.

We felt engulfed, our cheeks flushed and our lungs breathless, in the misery of frustration and want.

So we started meeting at friends’ houses, tumbling backwards onto scratchy couches that smelled of plaster walls and damp cement. “Tell me if I hurt you,” he’d whisper every time. And he did. But I never told him. Because I knew he never meant it.

“You make me sick! You’re a fucking disgusting whore!”

I wrote about him. About the things he did to me with his hands and dick and kisses. I wrote about the way he made me feel and what I hoped he felt for me. I wrote about everything I still wanted to do. All the things he said he dreamed of me doing, whispered into my ear, his breath warm on my cheek.

We laughed on the phone in the evenings and on weekends when we couldn’t see each other.

“He’s just a friend,” I told my parents.

“She’s tutoring me,” he told his.

“My mom is my whole world,” he said to me. “She is a really sweet lady. She just isn’t crazy about me seeing a white girl.”

I shrugged. “I don’t think my mom will care that you’re black,” I told him. “But I’m not sure about my dad.”

“You’re a cunt! Do you hear me? A useless slut!”

It ended up not mattering. We broke it off shortly after my father found and read my journal.

And that’s how my dad became the first man to call me a slut.

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