Note: This piece contains graphic depictions of rape, self-injury, a forced pelvic exam, and involuntary psychiatric commitment. It’s not fiction. If any of those things are triggering for you, you might want to skip this one; it’s really not that great, but it’s a story I needed to tell. At the very least, please make sure you’re safe if you choose to continue. And please don’t cut. It is possible to arrive at a better place, even if it doesn’t seem like that now. I promise. Love, nerd girl
Parker was a good girl. Pretty without being a threat. Smart. She kept her thoughts to herself.
A world of soccer fields, shopping malls, and minivans. A house with a green square lawn. Once there had been a tree, but the tree got out of hand so some men came and chopped it down.
This is her story. She doesn’t want me to change the names, but I tell her it’s necessary. I’m unsure we should share this, but Parker, she insists.
It begins with—
Words in the dark. Dirty words on her hot pink cell phone.
She bought a phone card a few weeks ago, just to call him. He teases her, calls her Barbie girl, says she’ll be the first white girl he’s fucked. She isn’t sure she wants to fuck, but she likes his words.
And where is your hand, Parker?
More than one night—and he plays Pink Floyd over the phone for her. She downloads the mp3 on Napster.
Think you can tell, Parker? Yeah, you think you can.
Parker and Dave drive out on dead country roads to get him. 7:30 a.m.
How do you know this guy, again?
I met him on a mailing list.
And that is all she says, but which one, Parker?
It was on Yahoo. Back then it was called Cutter.
Parker likes broken glass—at least in part because her mother hides the knives. It is easy, however, to take a bottle, wrap it in a T-shirt, place it in a plastic bag and—
She needs to smash—bottles, boundaries, the hollow bones in her hand. She is a bird, a dinosaur.
She likes to smash almost as much as she likes to cut, and she likes to cut almost as much as she likes to fuck—and Parker really likes to fuck.
Or, at least, she thinks she does.
That spring she burns herself for the first time. She extinguishes her cigarette on her wrist. Over the next six months, she will repeat this action seven more times.
Parker hides her burns with a pink plastic Hello Kitty watch. And because of this, the being covered, they become infected and take a long time to heal.
Promise me, Dave says, that you won’t have sex with him.
Dave is older, in his twenties, and is dating Parker’s friend Cara, who is a virgin. But Cara is a Catholic virgin, which means she will do everything but—
Parker is an atheist.
Hot, dusty here outside the gas station where the bus pulls up, and Parker gets out, walks over to him, and they kiss in front of Dave’s car.
It is not a good kiss.
He sits behind her, touches her neck.
Back into town. He touches her neck, and she struggles not to scream.
A pancake restaurant. She seats herself.
And he sits beside her. Dave across. She chain-smokes, and she orders Texas toast. Hash browns.
He touches her wrist—the left one, the burnt one. Adjusts the band of her watch, pulls it tight, and says, I don’t want your burns on display.
Dave leaves them at the park.
We’ll meet up later, okay? he says.
Pink plastic cell phone—Parker calls Tiffany and asks, Can you meet us at the park?
And Tiffany, she says, Sure. Sure she will, that sounds fine.
They walk—across the park—he is quieter than she expects.
We go somewhere secluded to fool around. I’m too good at hiding when I don’t want to be found.
Through small trees and branches, down a dirt path we go, about one-and-a half bodies wide. We put some clothing down—to cover the dirt—I don’t remember whose, does that make me a liar?
Does it? Does it make me a fucking liar?
Why don’t I know?
Parker doesn’t intend to go any farther than blowing him—if that. She still isn’t sure, but he’s fingering her, and that’s okay.
He’s fingering me, and that’s okay.
And then he starts fisting her—
And that’s okay.
Because in the past she had loved that.
I’m on my back now, and he’s leaning over me.
She’s on her back. And he is bigger than her.
But it can’t, because Parker . . . well nothing hurts her—have you seen the burns on her wrist?
Self-control means never saying anything.
And Parker, she has a high tolerance for pain.
And self-control means—
So she says nothing.
And he says, Ow.
He says it, as if he is repeating what she says.
But she says nothing.
I don’t say a word.
His arm is inside me. I’m being pushed around on the ground.
Parker—doesn’t say a word—and he holds her down with his other hand, for more force, I guess.
She’s scared, but she doesn’t say anything.
He says, Ow.
She can’t see. Doesn’t know where she is.
You’re in the park—remember? You met him on a mailing list. You’re good at hiding when you don’t want to be found.
Why didn’t you want to be found?
And where was your hand, Parker?
I don’t understand. Does that make me a liar? And his hand—
This is the part I don’t remember.
He pulls his hand out. It’s covered in blood.
He pulls his hand out.
Out of where?
I don’t fucking know.
You’re such a fucking liar, Parker.
He pulls his hand out, and it’s covered in blood. Then it’s over?
His bag is open, and there is a pair of underwear on top.
He wipes his hand on the underwear.
Nothing in me. Oh god, nothing in me, nothing in me.
He has his pants on.
So, so I undo his belt.
To blow him.
And he is large, and he is maybe half hard, but Parker—she could have sworn that he was fully erect earlier.
I could have sworn.
He isn’t wearing underwear.
She looks—at his bag—and there is a pair of underwear on top.
Nothing in me.
He grabs her head, says, Deep throat.
Pushes her head down, and says it again, Deep throat.
She starts talking, but she doesn’t make sense.
Maybe she deep throats him for a little bit. I don’t know. He’s pressing me too close.
And she doesn’t know what happens next—he does not come. They are forty-five minutes late meeting Tiffany.
We have to get you cleaned up, he says.
Parker begins to run, and she’s dropping things.
He grabs her arm.
And she’s dropping things.
Tiffany is there—waiting. Parker has dirt all over her arms and legs. And her hair—her hair is a wreck.
And Parker is calm. And Tiffany, she takes Parker into the bathroom.
And he follows them—into the bathroom.
You can’t be in here, Parker says. Or you can, I guess, but not legally.
He stays all afternoon. Doesn’t let her out of his sight except once—to pee.
Blood on her underwear.
Dirt on her thighs.
And even after he leaves, he calls her several times. Doesn’t he? Says he doesn’t think a bus is coming.
Because he didn’t want to let her out of his sight.
And that night—long after the bus drives away—she is hurting, she is sore, and she begins to panic.
Small town, things get around—who did you tell? Now they all know.
Chrissy looks right through you, and says, I heard you had a thing at the park.
He posts an angry rant to Cutter—stuck-up racist white girl.
He writes, I’m sorry if I scratched you.
Weeks later, Parker tells her psychologist but refuses a rape kit.
He tells her mother—Parker isn’t dangerous, but something must be done.
Lying, dissociating, sneaking off with boys. Schizoaffective, possible thought disorder.
Something must be done.
She drives me to Ohio where they’ll commit a minor upon her guardian’s request—without being dangerous.
Parker strips. Legs in the stirrups. I do not consent to this.
No evidence of rape.
What is it?
You need to.
I want to speak with a lawyer.
Dead roads. A dirt path, one-and-a-half bodies wide.
Ruined underwear, blood.
You didn’t say no—
Parker, take the pill.
I want a lawyer, she says again.
The alternative is a shot of Thorazine.
She takes the pill.
“Shut the Fuck Up and Take It”
Megan Lewis // Parker Marlo
A previous version published in The Prague Revue.
No reprints without written permission.