"So girls, what do you think?" he asks as we put the first bites into our mouth. It's not the worst concoction he has come up with but it's not the best either. I shrug as I never give him an opinion. I don't want to help him run a successful business. Mother makes a face because she hates cottage cheese and says that she's a bad judge because of this. She only has a few hours to prepare for her night shift at the hospital so she grabs a granola bar from the cupboard and goes back to the bedroom. Henry gives me a wink as he grabs his invention back off the table to put into containers. He takes a quick bite of it himself and shrugs seemingly unable to decide if he likes it or not. I throw the rest of my share in the trash and I make my way to my room.
Once I'm safely in my room, I prepare for a rest. I take off my jacket and lay it on my desk chair a foot away. I replace my jeans with my P.J. bottoms as I know I won't be going out for the rest of the night. I keep on my bra and white camisole. My thoughts spin round to my mother; she takes the night shift on Mondays so that she can spend his day off with him. She especially likes the fact that I'm in school for most of the day. Their favorite day, Monday, is my nightmare. Most people hate Monday's because it is the beginning of the new week, they have to go back to school or work and things are due. I hate Monday's because that means that I am not safe that night. He doesn't always come to my room on Monday nights, but that is usually when he will do it. I think he does it irregularly because it's scarier that way - I don't know what night will be the night. I lay down on my bed and try to forget the memories. I lay my arm over my face to block out imagination. It has been a week since the last time; he never comes consecutively. I should be okay tonight. I toss over in my bed and cover myself with my blankets, I feel suddenly exhausted.
A while later I hear my mother wishing Henry a good evening and that she'd see him on her break in the morning. Her shoes squeak as she walks across the tile and out the door. I start to go back into my lull as I hear my door click open. He's just going to ask me about dinner or tell me mother has left. My heart starts to race as I fear the coming interaction. It was just last week, I am fine. I am safe. I keep my eyes closed as I feel my bed weigh down with his body weight. He's just checking to see if I am sleeping. My covers start to slip down my torso and I become suddenly cold. My body shivers at the sudden exposure. My mind is blank as I can no longer think of comforting excuses. I feel his hand pull at the straps of my bra and camisole on my left shoulder. He slides them down so that they are loose on my arm. I'm asleep. He'll go away. He fiddles from the top side of the back of my camisole and undoes the hooks of my bra. I keep the pretense of sleep as he pulls at my left shoulder and rolls me onto my back. It's just a dream, this will end. I will wake up and it's just another nightmare. He pulls my arms out of the straps of my bra and camisole and then pulls the bra out from under my shirt. My breathing gets heavier as anxiety spills through my veins. I curse myself for I do not want to betray my act of sleep. The ice that has made its way through my skin hardens my nipples and I'm scared that they are noticeable through the white shirt. I swear to myself that I'll never wear white to bed again. He slips his finger tips under the top of my shirt and pulls down slowly. I try to stop myself from crying as I hope for him to finish quickly.
I hear the lock of our deadbolt flip on our front door. He quickly gets up and leaves my room and shuts the door behind him just as mother comes in the front. "Arlene, my dar-ling" he sings to her slightly out of key for his breath has not caught up to his act. She was half way to work and forgot her medical equipment, she explains a little too humorously. The supplies clink together as she gathers them up from their bedroom and goes to leave again. There is a pause before she walks out the door without a word. I lay in bed, afraid that if I cover myself again that he will know I am awake and force me to participate. I fight with my urge to cover myself for I do not want to lay bare like this either and make him feel invited.
Before I can decide he comes back into the room with a sigh. My thoughts freeze as he still was not dissuaded by the interruption of my mother coming back. I hear a soft whirl and whiz begin. I try to open a small slit in my eye lids in such a way as to not give away my deceit but still see the source of the noise. A flash brightens and covers my sight as I hear the familiar ch-click of the camera lens once it has taken a photo. Henry takes a few steps forward and ch-clicks again. I close my eyes, livid. Pictures? He is taking pictures? A few more shots later he steps out of my room and I hear his bedroom door shut. He's done? He only shuts his door when he is done for the night. I quickly put my arms back into the straps of my shirt and cover myself with my blanket like a protective yet fragile cocoon. I bury my face into my pillow to muffled my anguish.
Some hours pass before I am completely calm. A unsettling calm where I am like a blank canvas - no thoughts, no feelings, not even really conscious. I reach into the drawer of my dresser next to my bed. My movements feel slow and alien like I am playing in first person mode on a video game. I go straight to the back right of the bottom of the drawer, under old school folders. My relief lay like sharp salvation, my self-control in the shape of a single razor blade broken free from one of my disposable shaving razors. I twirl it in my fingers a few times; where should I cut? I bend my left arm so that I can reach the underside of my forearm. I slice one quick, small line down my forearm. No pain. The blood starts to poke through in dots on the line I made in my skin. I trace the line again, digging deeper. I still don't feel pain. I feel removed from any sensation, like there should be pain if I had a nerve left in my body to feel it. My skin and tissue rip like I am removing the seams from my disguise. I can almost hear the ripping as I keep digging with the blade. Blood starts to run freely from my body and I am envious; I wish to escape my own body. I wipe the clotted blood on the blade onto my arm and return it to its hiding place. Just one cut, I watch as my blood trails down my arm and I wish to be the blood. Though there is no pain now, I look forward to the pain in the morning when my nerves have crawled back to me. This is my pain. The blood finally clots as if the hatred has harden my blood into a dark, bubbled line. I wipe it with a tissue from the box on the dresser. I buried the tissue at the bottom of my trash can. I roll back over and wait for day light.