In My Room


We’re sitting in my childhood bedroom. There are photos of me tossed haphazardly on the walls; pictures of me in my first-grade class, sporting a toothy grin, a snapshot of a childhood best friend with her arms looped carelessly around my neck. Books line the walls of this room, showing a deeper glimpse at my person than even the photos and carefully arranged decor could manage. 

There’s a boy in my room. He is sitting on my bed, in the middle of my meticulous and curated haven. I’m blushing a little when he leans down to kiss me. I’ve never kissed a boy before and I’m happy to have invited him in. 

The boy comes to my house a lot now, he bikes over and spends long afternoons with me. We kiss a lot now and I feel happy almost all of the time. 

Sometimes when he takes off my shirt in my room I feel a little ashamed. Only when I look at my books and my pictures do I feel really embarrassed. Sometimes I cry after we do these things. I wish I knew why and I wish it would go away. 

He sometimes gets nervous after and asks me a lot of questions. Sometimes I wish he would ask me questions before, too. 

He’s in my room again. He leans over and touches my knee, it feels like a quiet demand. 

My palms feel sticky and I wipe them against my thighs. I edge away from him and he withdraws his hand, his face falling into an expression of annoyance. 

And so we sit in the discomfort of knowing he wants something of mine, something I could give to him or something he could take from me. I think that keeping it all to myself would make him feel sad, or maybe angry. I love him so when he touches me again, I say yes. 

It takes me about a year to realize I am weak. My body isn’t my own; it is rumpled and tickled and pock-marked from this boy. I have learned to love the little scars that go so much deeper than the skin; I think they show his commitment to me. 

Now, the room that was once all my own is covered in little mementos from him. There is a little leaf on my dresser, one he picked up for me and asked me to keep. A picture frame of the night sky lies next to my bed and my jewelry box is full of evidence of his love. He’s sitting in our room again.

But this time, we don’t kiss. He just watches me as he takes my precious, delicate heart in between his fingers and breaks it open.

 He tells me he needs to have some time to himself. He can’t do that with me around. 

“But I love you,” I say. 

“I know,” he replies. 

I can’t eat and I can’t sleep. I stay curled in my room. I look at the books and the pictures and the leaf. I don’t sort through my jewelry and I don’t get rid of his clothes. I grieve silently, holed up in my childhood bedroom. 

He’s back in my room. I feel tenser than I ever have; but he looks unabashedly relaxed. He curls his hand in my hair and I know what he wants. Maybe it makes me weak, but I don’t want to feel empty again so I smile and nod. I don’t think he even notices. 

He hasn’t been in my room for a while now. I started my senior year of high school. I feel older and smaller at the same time. I took all of the photos of him off my walls. My shelves now overflow with new material, books lined up that will satiate me for weeks to come. 

Even when I’ve cleaned out every reminder of him, I still feel his presence here. Sometimes, on long afternoons when the sun is just the right shade of gold, I grieve for the quiet love I lost a long time ago. I mourn the death of the little girl in my pictures, stolen away by greedy hands and roving glances. On these days, I sit on my bed and remember the pieces of him that I miss. 

On the nights where I feel paralyzed by fear, I remember the parts of him that stole things from me and remember why I finally left.