ashley

 

He is right on top of me, the two of us crammed in the passenger seat of my car, but his voice seems far away, as if we are underwater. "Let me just stick it in one time."

I feel trapped in the back of my mind, struggling to find my voice. "No," I say quietly.

"I won't even move it, I'll just go in and then out."

I shake my head ever so slightly.

Later that night, I lay in my bed, alone, awake, the unfamiliar taste of him long grown bitter in my mouth. And remembering: it isn't the first time my saliva has tasted of someone unwelcome.

Suddenly I am back at my ninth birthday party, knees on the carpet, being pulled on top of her, nightclothes piled forlornly in a corner. Her voice seems far away, as if we are underwater. "Kiss me on the mouth, and then kiss all the way down..."

I brush my teeth now, brush until my gums and tongue are raw and my breath smells only of mint. I can't stand the taste of anyone anymore. 

Not even myself.