Title: Come From Behind the Chair
Author: Rochelle Campbell
“Come from behind the chair. You’re being stupid,” he leered at her drunkenly from the open door. She stood behind the green velvet monstrosity that also happened to be a chair and kept her shirt tightly clasped to her budding chest.
Heat rose to her cheeks as she looked everywhere but at him. She knew this couldn’t be happening. Not again. It wasn’t supposed to be happening. Life was supposed to be simple. Easy. Like a book. Life was not supposed to be this dramatic. It wasn’t supposed to have this too seriously real 250-plus pounds of mature male directly in front of her that wouldn’t easily go away…without force.
She dared glance at him and found him staring at her. “I said move from behind the chair! I’ve known you since you were a little thing. So, ugly and skinny and nothing’s changed. What’s wrong with you? I’m like your father! Come from behind that chair and let me see if anything’s changed.” He took a step into the room, his feet sinking into the piss yellow-green colored shag rug.
The rest of the house was empty. Nothing moved or creaked as it usually did. Even the birds stopped chirping even thought it was only a little past three o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon. The only day she had a half a day of classes. The only day she had to be home with him alone. Mother told her never to be in the house with him alone. Mother said to go to the library and wait until she got home and then come. But, he wasn’t there when she first had walked in. The whole two-story ranch corner house was all hers for a blessed couple of hours before the front door banged open and she knew he had arrived in a foul mood.
She looked out the window and the filmy green and yellow floral curtains lifted gaily in the slight breeze that came into the attic sloped room. She loved the room. It had character – like she did. She didn’t like the color scheme. Her favorite color was pink but Mother said all little girls liked pink. Why couldn’t she like a different color? Maybe blue? Or, possibly red. She still had no idea what was wrong with pink. Maybe pink had done something to her Mother sometime in her mother’s childhood. Or, maybe pink reminded her of the blanket she was swaddled in when the nurses brought her squalling to her Mother for the first time. Pink could have been maligned in that traumatically emotionally post-delivery and medicine-induced haze.
“What’s wrong with you? Are you deaf? I said come FROM BEHIND THE CHAIR.”
Her gaze snapped to him. His voice was too close. He was by the foot of the first bed in the room closest to the room’s door. He was a mere six feet from her. She trembled visibly. Her lip parted and a half-yelp escaped her.
“Please don’t hurt me, or touch me. Please…I didn’t do anything. Mother will be home soon…”
“Touch you!? TOUCH YOU?! You’ve got nothing for me to touch! Not like your Mother who’s a real woman with curves! You? You’ve got no shaped no bumps or curves. Who would ever want you? You’re ugly, you can’t dance, you have no personality and you smell. Why would I want to touch you? You disgust me. You’re just here because of your mother. Oh, and you pick up my son and all I have to do is feed you, cloth and house you.”
He sneered at her and took a swig from the long-necked dark brown bottle. He burped noisily and took another step closer.
She screamed, inadvertently taking a huge step back. This put her very closer to the window. Any passerby could easily see her from the street and either ogle or wonder about her semi-nakedness.
“Stop that screaming! And come away from that window!! No one’s doing anything to you! Why are you acting like this? I’ve taken care of you almost your entire life. Why are you acting as if you’re afraid of me? What’s wrong with you?”
Clutching her shirt closer to her chest, tears slid down her cheeks as she began to cry fearing the worst was going to happen. She closed her eyes and shook her head from side to side. She couldn’t live with herself if he did anything. If he came closer. She would just curl up and die. She would run away. She would kill him. She would…
The door slammed and shook the whole house with its force. His angry steps pounding their way down the stairs and down the narrow hall to the kitchen. Another door slammed open and she heard him thrash his way down into the basement. Moments later loud music country music filled the clean, light and airy house with the Homes and Gardenfeel.
Shaken to her core, she dressed quickly grabbed her bag and ran out the house and headed for the library. She was safe…for now.
“So how come you’re not going home? You’re going to get in trouble.” She looked at Dane and looked down at her smooth brown knees and said nothing. The warm June sun shining on her curly hair. She had just had her hair done the day before and it hadn’t turned back to its normal frizzy state yet.
“You want me to go now? You’ve got another girl on the way?”
He sighed and reached over and hugged her small stiff frame. He knew things were worse but she wouldn’t tell him what was going on. He was older, by three years, but he felt imbecilic and useless. She shut down anytime he asked about her Mother or him. He learned to ignore that part of her. When he did, she was so much fun to be around. He liked that girl. The one sitting before him was way too much work. He didn’t want trouble. He wanted an easy, unloving chick to spend time with. Sighing when she didn’t relax into him, he let go.
“So, what do you want to do today? Go to the videogame hall? Or, are you hungry? Hmm?”
“Can’t I just sit here in your room? Do I have to go? I just need some quiet time. Alright?”
He sighed again. He couldn’t stand when she was like this. She could be like this for days until she figured out internally how she would deal with whatever was going on. This was her thinking. She closed out all other input. It was a serious downer. There would be no sex today.
Sitting under the overhanging trees in the center of the campus lawn by the big boulders, she studiously avoided looking into her friends’ eyes as they blew fragrant plumes of cannabis smoke towards her. An ephemeral fluffy while ring floated by her head and she swiftly turned her nose up and moved her nose out of its path.
“So if you don’t like it, why you here?”
She turned back and glared at Henrique, the swarthy and handsome guy that she was playing around with trying to figure out if he would be better in bed than Dane was. But today, she didn’t care about his physical attributes and appeal. She only cared that he insulted her in some nameless way. She was hurt – by what, she couldn’t say for sure. The surge of emotions came so quickly they surprised even her.
“I like you guys – not the stuff you do. And sorry to say it, but you guys tripping and falling all over yourselves is not cute. I prefer to be in control and remember the good times I had,” she stood up and slung her bag on her shoulder. “You probably won’t even remember this conversation tomorrow. Look, I’m outta here.” She waved dismissively at them and strode off not looking back.
“Uhm, I need some money,” she squeaked while looking at the roses on the bush beyond him. She made sure to be outside, in the open, in front of the house with the door open before asking him.
“Speak up. I can’t hear you,” he said already leering.
“Mother won’t give me money for a new pair of jeans. My old ones have a hole in them. She said to ask you.”
“Oh, so now you need me?”
“She told me to ask. So, I’m not asking. She is.”
“Is that how you see it?”
She didn’t answer. He had stepped closer. She didn’t dare step back but dropped her head and stared at the toes of her beat up Keds. Besides, people were passing by. He couldn’t do anything. Could he?
He knew she wouldn’t answer. She had gone into that damned shell of hers. He wanted that laughing sweet girl that was so full of life and energy. Her mother used to be like that but work and the long commute to the City had ruined that in her. But the daughter? She was life. He held his breath for a moment forcing himself to calm down and make himself less aroused. Scaring her wouldn’t work. Hell, she asked him for money in public. He wasn’t stupid.
He glanced down at her snug t-shirt. Her chest was getting fuller. There was a twitch in his nether regions. He shifted and stepped back; digging into his pocket he pulled out a few bills and shoved them at her looking down the street. The money stayed in his hand and she didn’t take it immediately.
“What’s wrong with you? Didn’t you just ask for money?”
“Maybe you should give it to Mother? I think she may want it that way. Yeah, I think that might be better.”
She curtsied and skirted around him and headed off to the library with a quickness in her step; her heart pounding.
The coughing kept her awake. She cried herself to sleep from the pain in her stomach and her throat. She couldn’t take the change of seasons. It threw her equilibrium off. She had to stay home because she couldn’t move. Everything ached. At 4:00 am, Mother had bustled up the stairs and inculcated her with things to bolster her system, or so Mother said.
Mother said to call her if she didn’t feel better. But she knew better than to call Mother from work. She would have to be on her death’s bed for Mother not to kill her when she got in. Weak and sick she laid there semi-conscious. The day passed and she noticed only small bits of it.
Something flicked her nipple. It tightened and furled upon itself hardening. It made her surge up from sleep. The flick came again. That’s when she felt the hot breath on her face. She stiffened. How could she have been so stupid and irresponsible? Now, it was too late to move.
“Wake up, sleepyhead. Let’s play.”
She shuddered knowing that there was nothing in his tone that would bode well for anything fun happening for her. She knew her shirt was lifted up and her chest was open for his viewing pleasure. Without her knowing it. The tears slid down her face.
“No, no…we were beginning to have such fun. Shhh.”
He pushed her onto her back. She tightened her body and her eyes. She refused to look at him. The aches still very real from a few nights before. He pulled the blanket down slowly and slid her pajama pants down. She began shivering uncontrollably. He straddled her and stroked her down the center of her sternum. His other hand reaching between her legs.
She thought of Dane. She thought of Henrique. She thought of Mother. She thought of his son. She just thought. It was better than feeling. She imagined she was a princess in a full tulle skirt in fluffy cotton candy pink with a shiny bright tiara. She imagined she had a wand and that she could make her every wish come true. She wished now for a miracle…none came. He did though. She imagined she was the beautiful swan in Swan Lake. She danced furiously, beautifully as he collapsed onto her. She wondered if he was done but within a few minutes she felt it stirring again as he flicked and nipped at her now sore budding breasts. She wondered if other girls had a life like hers and what they did about it.
When he finally left more than an hour later. She just laid there. She felt nothing. She was nothing. She had finally decided. She would let Mother find her like this and see if she could deny it then…
#womens #fiction #short #story #creative #writing #urban #AfricanAmerican #Black #domestic #violence #drama
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