Last night I dreamed that I hiked up to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun to watch the sun rise. And as it spread and melted over stone buildings I have seen only in pictures I wondered as I have so many times before whether love was different in long ago times– was there even such thing as love?
When I was in seventh grade I took the late bus home and a boy I knew from class pushed me down on the floor of the bus between the seats and stuck his hand up my skirt while I kicked and screamed for him to get off of me.
I remember him laughing weirdly maniacally at first, the way a kid would laugh at a stupid joke his friend told or a piece of toilet paper stuck to a teacher’s shoe.
Then I don’t really remember any sounds, just how heavy he was on top of me my arms and elbows trapped. How slippery my sneakers were as they struggled on the slick black floor of the bus.
Then the bus stopped. We were the last stop, the only two kids on the bus and the driver seemed to wait a solid minute before yelling, “Name-of-boy, get off of her!” Like a tired auntie breaking up her sixth fight of the day.
Then he got up without looking at me and got off of the bus. And I sat up shaking, and pulled my skirt down and I remember the walk to the front of the bus felt like a mile and when I got to the front the driver didn’t say anything to me and I didn’t want her to. I was ashamed except I didn’t really know I was ashamed yet.
And before I stepped down off of the bus I had to look left right left, like I was about cross a dangerous street, except I was only stepping onto the sidewalk. I had to make sure he’d gone and wasn’t waiting for me. He wasn’t.
Then I walked straight home. I wanted to run but I also felt like I wasn’t really in control of my legs, of my body.
I don’t think about that moment much, except sometimes when I think about being a woman and all of the women who came before me, stretching all the way back in time to the beginning… and to wonder whether they were sad, and to hope that they expected something more.