“I don’t let anyone touch me,” I finally said…

“Why not?”

Why not? Because I was tired of men. Hanging in doorways, standing too close, their smell of beer or fifteen-year-old whiskey. Men who didn’t come to the emergency room with you, men who left on Christmas Eve. Men who slammed the security gates, who made you love them and then changed their minds.

Forests of boys, their ragged shrubs full of eyes following you, grabbing your breasts, waving their money, eyes already knocking you down, taking what they felt was theirs.

Because I could still see a woman in a red bathrobe crawling in the street. A woman on a roof in the wind, mute and strange. Women with pills, with knives, women dyeing their hair. Women painting doorknobs with poison for love, making dinners too large to eat, firing into a child’s room at close range. It was a play and I knew how it ended, I didn’t want to audition for any of the roles. It was no game, no casual thrill. It was three-bullet Russian roulette.”

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