Grandma’s Tips For A Happy Life

For my grandchildren

My life has been a series of challenges. How I responded to those challenges has to a great degree given me my life. That together with my choices. In my life it was never the circumstances that made the difference. Everyone has circumstances. You will have yours. It was how I responded to my circumstances that ultimately made the difference.

I hope you have an easy life, but on the off chance that it’s anything like mine, I want to share with you, who I love immensely and yet I know our time together in this world, in this life is limited. No one knows how much time they have. This list of tips for a happy life isa few things I’ve learned in my life. May they prove of value to you.

So here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Never ever get even. No matter how badly you want to. Revenge is a trap. Italian proverb Says revenge is when you take the poison and hope the other person gets sick. It really is extremely self-destructive to put energy into such things. Too high a price.
  2. Give to beggars and charities. What they do with it isn’t your concern unless you are going to do something proactive about it. Proactive includes dialing 911, but usually not. It might include giving generously, perhaps even giving your time. Which brings me to
  3. Help other people every chance you get. Few things are more fulfilling , and there’s the added benefit that it’s not about you. Nothing clears the mind like a break from our own concerns.
  4. Vote every time. If you don’t vote you have no ground for complaining. Participate or be quiet. Don’t stay in the stands when you have skin in the game. If you don’t fight for your rights, damn sure nobody else will either.
  5. Forgive everyone for everything. Forgiveness heals the person who does the forgiving. Grudges weigh you down. Let them go. This is about being happy, not just right.
  6. Tell the truth, especially when it’s hard. Do it kindly, and that’s the hardest part.
  7. Play fair. Give an honest value for the rewards you receive. Scamming the system is cowardly and unethical. Stealing is out of the question. You always pay it back with interest. And nothing is harder to win back than a good reputation. Be an honorable person. Just not breaking the law is not sufficient. Be a role model.
  8. Don’t give away your power. We need other people and their opinions matter to us. But don’t stop being your own best friend. No matter what happens. If you’re not in your corner, nobody else will be either.
  9. There are exceptions to every rule. If you’re following the rules as you ought to be, you will notice when occasionally it is desirable or necessary to break one. An ethical dilemma can support a decision to break a rule. Ethical considerations have more force than rules. It’s more important to do the right thing than to follow the rules. Don’t follow the letter of the law, but violate the spirit of the law.
  10. It is more important to be kind than to be right. Best of all be kind when you’re right.
  11. Gratitude is magical. It really is a trick and it works. Find something to be grateful for and your life will immediately improve. It’s a rule.
  12. Endeavor to the best of your ability to have integrity. Keep your promises. Tell the truth. Pay your taxes. Pay your bills. When possible give more than you have to.
  13. Resistance is futile. What you resist persists.
  14. Always do more than’s expected of you.
  15. Make yourself honest. This will require a lifelong commitment and it will test you. You will be disappointed in yourself and others. This is a sure sign that you are in the game, which means you are learning. Fight the good fight.

Enjoy your life. Strive above all to be happy. Find people to love and give all you can as often as you can because life really is short, and relationships really are all that matters.

Christmas 2019

The Diary Of A Child Molester

Chapter 2

The minute Billy came out to the playground after Health class, Louis Marino started right in teasing him about how he blushed when he read from the child abuse book.

“Louis, you better leave me alone,” Billy told him. I mean it.”

“Why’d you blush, Billy?” Louis taunted.

That’s when Raymond came over and told Louis to knock it off. “Come on, Billy,” Raymond said, “we don’t need to hang around this goof ball. Let’s go.”

“Shut up, Raymond,” Louis said.

“Make me,” Louis dared.

Then Billy swung around and broadsided Louis with the back of his right forearm. The next thing, they were in a pile, ten-year-old arms and legs swinging in every direction. By the time the duty teacher got there, Louis was on the bottom and Raymond had one of his arms pinned. Billy was just about to lay one on Louis’s stupid face, when the duty shouted.

“Stop it! You boys stop it right now!”

“He hit me first,” Louis screamed. “He hit me first.”

“You two get to the office and wait for me there,” he duty told Raymond and Billy. “And you … aren’t you Louis Marino? You get to the Medical Office and wash your face. I want the nurse to look you over. Get going, all of you!”

Outside the Principal’s Office, Raymond asked Billy why he got so mad at Louis. Billy didn’t say anything, so Raymond said, “Okay, okay, you don’t have to talk about it. But I am your best friend you know. We promised to have no secrets between best friends. Remember?”

Billy started to cry then, and Raymond said, “Hey I’m sorry, okay? It’s just that we’re best friends, okay? Jeez, Billy.”

When the Principal questioned them, all Raymond could tell him was that Louis was teasing Billy and Billy got mad, and then there was a fight.

“And what were you doing? I understand you were straddling Mr. Moreno?”

“Well yeah,” Raymond said. “I was trying to stop him.”

“I see,” Mr. Owsley said. “And what about you, Mr. Adams? Did you start the fight?”

“Yes, Sir,” Billy said.


“Louis was teasing me,” Billy said. His head was hanging so far down, the words got lost in his chest somewhere.

“What was that?” Mr. Owsley said.

Billy slowly lifted his head part of the way up from his chest. “He was teasing me.”

“What was he teasing you about?” Mr. Owsley asked.

Billy’s head went back down to his chest. Mr. Owsley looked at Raymond. Ray just shrugged. Mr. Owsley sat back in his chair and looked at the two boys for a minute. Then he made a note on a piece of paper.

“Mr. Adams, I believe you’re familiar with the prohibition against fighting. You should be suspended. However this is the first time I’ve seen you in here. So I’m letting you off easy. But if it happens again the consequences will be severe. Billy, you will stay after school today. Tomorrow you will report to Mr. Stewart’s office during recess. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Sir,” Billy mumbled.

“Mr. Windell, you are dismissed. Now both of you please return to class. And remember, I don’t want to see you in here again.”

“Thank you, Sir,” Ray said.

Later, when the bell rang and everybody else lined up at the door to leave, Billy stayed at his desk. When everyone else was gone, Mr. C walked over and sat in the desk next to Billy’s. For a minute he didn’t say anything. Billy wanted to tell him everything. But it was like he had a lock on his voice. No matter how hard he tried to say something, nothing would come out.

“Billy?” Billy looked over at Mr. C. but didn’t say anything. “I understand Mr. Owsley gave you after school detention today. So, what would you like to do for the next half hour?”

Billy still didn’t speak. He just looked down at his desk.

“Maybe you’d like to talk?” Mr. C said. When Billy didn’t say anything, Mr. C said, “You know I was surprised by what happened in the school yard at recess. That’s not like you, Billy. I don’t know exactly what Louis said to you, but I get that it really upset you.” Mr. C’s hand was on Billy’s shoulder. “So anyway, if you want to talk about it, Billy, I’ll listen. Meanwhile, you could help me out by straightening the library shelves under the window. Okay?”

“Yes, Sir.”

Billy could tell he was blushing again, but he forced himself to concentrate on the books and getting them in alphabetical order. On the way home, he thought about what the book said, especially the part about telling a grown-up you trust. Billy decided the book was wrong. Nothing good would happen if he told someone. Anyway, it was a long time ago. Marissa had moved away. He tried to tell himself it didn’t matter, but the more he tried, the more he wanted to tell somebody. He decided he would tell Raymond. After all Ray was his best friend, and he’d already gotten Ray in trouble for fighting with Louis so it was only fair.

On the way up the Greenfield Hill, Myrtle Jones stopped and gave Billy a ride to the daycare, but when Billy got there, Josh was already gone.

“Your Mom called, and a friend of hers picked him up.”

“Who?” Billy asked.

“A lady. I didn’t recognize her. But she knew the password.”

The Diary Of A Child Molester

Chapter 1

“Who should I tell?” the little girl in the story asked, the words floating above her in a bubble.

“Tell a grownup you trust.” These words were written in a bubble above the head of a nurse, just like in comic books. In his mind, Billy imagined it was a bubble gum bubble, stretched to the limit. He pictured it busting and slapping back against the nurse’s face. Billy didn’t like the book and he didn’t like the nurse, either. Billy knew better. And he knew better than to say.

“It might be a teacher,” the nurse was saying, “or a school counselor, or maybe your principal. It might be your Mom or Dad, a Policeman, a neighbor or another adult in your family.”

Billy’s attention drifted up from the page, across the tile floor with its high-gloss finish, and over the top of the bindings on The Complete Works Of Mark Twain, standing gilt-edged and upright on the bookshelf below the window. He looked past the beans sprouting under a thin layer of gauze on the sunny ledge, beyond the slanted and slightly open wired-glass windowpane, and out into the school yard.

His gaze wandered to a wooden power pole, split halfway up from the ground and held together with metal bands. A gray squirrel scurried into view, stopped and twitched its tail. It seemed to be listening intently to something. Billy thought it was listening for danger. The squirrel shook its tail again, and circled to the other side of the pole. Billy’s gaze wandered up and came to rest on a queerly shaped pale blue island of sky floating above the doings and beings, the shapes and edges of the here below, where Billy knew better than to search for a grown-up he could trust. ‘How,’ he wondered, ‘would you know?’

Then Mr. C was behind him and touched him lightly on the shoulder, “Billy? Billy I don’t think you were listening. I asked you to read the next paragraph.”

“Oh,” Billy stammered, “sorry,” and looked down at the page, totally lost. “Um, I…I think I’ve lost my place,” Billy whispered. Mr. C leaned over, turned the pages of the book and with his index finger showed Billy where to begin reading. That was the great thing about Mr. C, Billy thought with relief. He never made fun of you, or scolded you in front of the class. Billy stood up and began to read, tentatively at first, until he could figure out what had happened since his mind had wandered. In the story, the girl told her mother, who believed her right away. The rest of the story was about how everyone came to the girl’s rescue. The story ended with how glad she was that she had told someone. Billy knew better than to believe this story, but he wished with all his heart that it was true. He was a good reader, so he easily made his way through a couple of paragraphs, until Mr. C said, “That’s enough Billy. Thank you,” and called on someone else. The book was called “Private Parts – A Privacy Primer.” In the beginning of the book, before the story, there was a section about the right words to describe “private parts.” The book said not to be embarrassed. That was when Warren and Chris started giggling. They kept it up, getting louder and louder, until while Mr. C was reading about girls’ breasts the two of them just busted out laughing. Billy knew somebody had said “titties.”

Mr. C stopped in his tracks, and looked for a minute as if he was listening hard, frowning with his eyes squinting at nothing in particular. Then he told Warren and Chris to go to the Principal’s Office and when they left, he left too.

The rest of the kids sat there not knowing what to do, and then Mr. C came back in and told all the girls to go next door to Mrs. Lewis’s class. A minute later, all the boys from Mrs. Lewis’s class came into Mr. C’s class, and when everyone was seated and quiet, Mr. C started reading about private parts again. Billy was glad Mr. C didn’t make the kids read that part. Everybody was so nervous, the room felt like a light bulb getting ready to explode from too much heat. It felt like every kid in there wanted to be someplace else.

Warren and Chris were someplace else. Billy thought right now he’d rather be in the Principal’s Office with them, than in here listening to Mr. C. talk about penises and vaginas. Usually everybody just shook their heads at those two cut ups. They were always in trouble. But right now, they were the only kids being spared the indignity and humiliation of learning about “testicles,” among other unmentionables, and Billy thought that might be worth getting in trouble for. After the correct names of body parts came the story, which was dumb but okay, and then came the second book about different kinds of touching. It was called, A Very Touching Book. According to the book, there were three main types of touching: good touching, bad touching and secret touching. Everybody made yucky sounds when Andrew started reading the part about good touching. Andrew’s voice was smaller than usual and he was standing on ing on one foot, with the other foot twisting around on top of it. Billy thought he was going to fall over. Nobody was really paying a lot of attention, so it wasn’t that bad for Andrew to get through it. All the kids were making fun of hugs and kisses and other kinds of good touching. So when Anthony started laughing and turned around and looked right at him, Billy smiled as if he got the joke, but he didn’t get it and that made him even more uncomfortable. Billy wouldn’t have admitted it to the other kids, but he felt proud because his family had lots of good touching and he liked it.

Like when you were proud and Mom hugged you, or when you got tucked into bed at night. That was Billy’s favorite. He and Josh would get in bed and beg Mom to tell them a story. “What kind of story?” she’d ask. Billy’s Mom told different kinds of stories, some stories she just made up on the spur of the moment and others weren’t really stories at all, because they were about things that had really happened. Billy and Josh called them “real stories,” like the one about Josh’s first chocolate chip cookie, or how Billy wouldn’t go to Kindergarten when he was five. Every day during the first week of Kindergarten, Billy just left school and walked back home crying. By that Friday, Mom gave in and let him wait another year before starting school.

Billy loved to hear those stories, but he liked the ones Mom made up best. Like the story Mom told about baby teeth. The first time Billy lost a tooth, Mom told him to put it under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy. When Billy asked why, Mom kind of sat back on the bed and rested her head on the wall and she said, “Well let me try to remember. It’s been a long time since I thought about it.” Then she took a deep breath and sighed. “Okay, here’s what I remember from when I was little and my Mom explained it to me. You see, baby teeth are magic. In fact they’re the only thing in the world that can be made into fairy dust. Whenever a child loses a baby tooth, the fairies know and if the little boy or girl puts the tooth under their pillow, the Tooth Fairy comes and gets it.”

“But how do they know,?” Billy asked.

“I don’t know, sweetheart, but they always do. And it’s a good thing too, because it’s important that not a single baby tooth gets lost, because there’s never enough fairy dust to go around, even though the fairies work on it every night. Billy, have I ever told you what they do with the fairy dust? After they grind up the baby teeth into a powder?”

“Unh, unh,” Billy said, and he knew that meant the story wasn’t over, so he popped his thumb in his mouth and settled back on Mom’s pillow belly to hear the rest.

“Well,” Mom continued stroking his head, “fairy dust is what the Sandman sprinkles over the eyelids of sleeping children so they’ll have good dreams and won’t have nightmares.”

“But I sometimes have nightmares,” Billy had said.

“Yes I know,” Mom said, making a deliberate but not serious frown, “that’s why it’s so important not to lose any of your baby teeth. There isn’t enough fairy dust and the fairies need all the baby teeth they can get.”

“Oh,” Billy said with satisfaction. He popped his thumb out of his mouth and said with conviction, “I want to give all my teeth to the Tooth Fairy!” Then Mom placed Billy’s first baby tooth under his pillow and kissed him on the cheek. When Billy woke up in the morning, there was a quarter under his pillow and the tooth was gone. Wow, he thought, maybe Mom didn’t make up the Tooth Fairy story after all.

Mom knew a lot about dreams, because every night when she kissed him goodnight she said, “Have pleasant dreams.” That’s when he would grab her around the neck with both arms and hang on like it was life or death, yelling “Sticky hug, sticky hug!” Sometimes Mom would have to drag him halfway out of bed before he’d finally give up and let go. Sometimes she’d force him to let go by tickling him. Tickling was the ONLY thing that ALWAYS worked to get a sticky hug loose. When Billy thought about the good touching in his family, he knew what the book was talking about, but he kept it to himself because of the other kids.

Next Michael got called on to read from the part about bad touching. Everybody had experienced some kind of bad touching, the book said, and the main thing about bad touching was that it hurt. It was really a relief to talk about something they all knew about, even though they hated getting hit. All the boys started acting out saying, “Blam! Duush! Whap!” Mr. C had to ask them to settle down.

But when they got to the part about secret touching, Mr. C read it to them himself. As soon as Mr. C started to read, all the fooling around came to a halt, and none of them made fun of what came next.

“The difference between good touching and bad touching,” Mr. C read, “is that good touching feels good and a child always feels safe and cared about during good touching. Bad touching hurts and the grown-up doing it to a child is usually angry. So it’s easy to tell good touching and bad touching apart. But secret touching is harder to spot.” Most secret touching,” Mr. C read, “involves a child’s private parts in a way the child doesn’t understand. Secret touching feels bad, even when it doesn’t hurt. Most grown-ups who do secret touching to a child are people who the child knows. Often they are people the child likes. Grown-ups who do secret touching of a child’s private parts are not usually angry at the child, and the touching doesn’t always hurt. Sometimes it even feels good in a funny kind of way.”

Billy kept his head down and his eyes on the page, even though he wasn’t reading along. He was too busy swallowing hard and trying not to look at anybody.

“Secret touching is the worst kind of touching to do to a child.” By now, Mr. C was reading really slow and careful. “It is bad touching,” Mr. C said, “pretending to be good touching and it confuses and frightens children. Because it is hard to talk about, and because children are afraid to get a grown-up in trouble, or to get the grown-up angry at them a lot of secret touching can happen without anybody else knowing about it. Some grown-ups will even try to frighten a child into keeping the touching secret.”

Billy could feel a blush come all the way from the middle of his back and chest and flow like lava up onto his neck. It set fire to his ears. He knew he was blushing and that everybody could see. Usually you got teased in the school yard for blushing, even though it wasn’t quite as bad as crying in class, for which you got tortured. Right now, he was having trouble breathing. It was like talking about what had happened to him, except he’d never talked about it before and it made him feel naked. It was like every kid in the class could see what happened to him, he was blushing so hard.

Even after Mr. C stopped reading and sat down, Billy could still feel his heart pounding in his ears. They burned. He knew they were bright red. He wanted to reach up and cover them with his hands, but he was afraid to move. It took a few minutes before the pounding in his head finally stopped and he chanced a look around. He was very careful not to look anybody in the eyes, not even his best friend Raymond. But nobody was looking at him. He signed with relief and slumped in his seat, letting his forehead rest in his hand. When the bell rang, Billy didn’t look around for his friends. He bolted straight for the door, trying to look like he had to go to the bathroom and couldn’t wait another second. But Mr. C stopped him about two steps from escape and asked if he would stay after school for a few minutes.

“Okay,” Billy said and he felt so scared he was afraid he really would wet his pants.

“Good,” Mr. C said. “I’ll see you later then.”

“Yes sir,” Billy nodded. Then he turned and ran out.

The Diary Of A Child Molester


It was a small American town, the kind of town where people smile easily at one another, the kind of town where people feel safe, where they go to raise their kids, and where the news from the city is as alien as the city itself…a small, dusty western town, with little to distinguish it from dozens of others. It could be debated whether the livestock sale or the county court employed the most people. But nobody did debate it.Everyone knew it was ranching and farming gave the town life. All the buying and selling, recording and disputing conducted day to day in the town were connected, branch to limb and limb to trunk directly and inevitably to the great root system of the farms. They lined the river and carpeted the valley floor. Over the low foothills that framed the valley like a mother’s arms cradle her baby, sprawled the ranches, their stock in precise ratios roaming fenced desert grassland to horizons unseeable by the human eye. In this orderly and economical universe all things fit. If they did not fit, they did not last. People who didn’t fit eventually left. It was an economy of “just enough.” The people who occupied each essential slot in the eco-system were for the most part satisfied just to belong. So if a few greedy and powerful men controlled the buying and selling of livestock, or the trade in dry goods or real estate, it added a sense of security, stability, and strength to an economy of individuals, most of whom had little to spare. The impermanence of human endeavor was daily visible in abandoned homesteads and rutted roads, in miles and miles of imperfect fence and in the ever-changing winding way the river cut its banks through last year’s fields.

Greenfield, Oregon, population 1,700 was Billy’s hometown, but he did not feel safe.

You’re Okay

When I was a little boy of 3, I had a habit of throwing a fit when anything happened I didn’t like. Most of the time it was because I wanted to do something myself and a grownup did it and didn’t let me. So I’d throw my hands up and start crying loud as I could and I’d run down the hall and find a corner somewhere to go and cry.

So this one time I was running flat out down the hall, and my grandma stepped out of her room and scooped me up in her arms. My arms and legs kept running in the air, and grandma just held onto me tight. She didn’t let me wiggle away. The whole time she kept saying “You’re okay, you’re okay.”

Pretty soon I stopped screaming and kicking and thrashing around. She held onto me and it turned into a hug. And then she said it again, and it was good news, and it was true.

Reiki Reset

I got really off base with my Reiki practice this last year or two. I got the idea that I should heal Richard’s Alzheimer’s. Like that’s what I could do if I’m a real true Reiki Master. I fell into one of the traps I always warn my students about: I got personally invested in a desired outcome.

Directing energy specifically to produce any certain outcome isn’t Reiki. It’s energy healing. But you have to wonder if we are always and only meant to heal. In order not to interfere in a person’s life path, healing the ailment may not be an ethically defensible goal.

In Reiki we are trained to recognize our personal wishes for the outcome of a Reiki treatment, and then release them before we engage with our client.

The daunting task of curing Richard’s Alzheimer’s was weighing on me. It was also interfering with my ability to channel a strong energy flow. Upon releasing myself from this unfortunate lapse in practice, my energy flow rebounded.

Thanks to May Cotton for seeing the problem and pointing it out to me.

The Death Trap

My first car was a 1972 Ford Pinto. The one that became famous for the gas tank that exploded on impact. It was lemon yellow. I paid $600 for it in 1980.

The second time I drove it, I was headed home on Sunset Blvd. and it was raining. I turned left on Bundy Drive and headed down the hill. Almost immediately the motor home in front of me stopped at an intersection. I pressed my brake pedal … nothing. I pumped the brake pedal … nothing. And then I hit the motor home.

The front of my Pinto crumpled. Smoking and grinding all the way, I drove it home. I told my boyfriend and my mother that the brakes had failed. My boyfriend went out and checked. He said the brakes were fine. My mother opined that I was just going too fast for the conditions, a typical new driver mistake.

We fixed the car, sort of. It needed a new hood and a new right fender. We found a blue fender and a white hood at the junkyard and bolted them on. And there you go! Get back in and drive the car.

But I was terrified. I still insisted the brakes had failed, but nobody believed me. I kept putting off driving my Pinto, and the more I resisted the more abuse I had to endure. Finally I had to drive the lemon yellow death trap.

It was going okay at first but as I came to a red light and depressed the brake pedal … right to the floor! And I’m pumping and nothing, no brakes. I rolled across the eight-lane intersection holding my breath. It was eerily still as no other cars moved. They all waited and watched as I glided out into no-man’s land.

This time I didn’t plow into an obstacle in my path. I was sailing free. So I kept driving. I moved two lanes to the right and aimed for the first driveway I saw. I turned in, set my emergency brake and came to a soft landing in the most perfect and improbable place I could find myself, a Midas Muffler Shop. When I looked up the first thing I saw was the words, “We do BRAKES.”

It took the Midas guy just a few minutes to find the problem. My master cylinder was drained dry, no brake fluid.

I never painted that car. I sold it for $650 with its blue fender and white hood.

I only care about the kids

There’s a lot of debating going on about who’s responsible for the cruelty to the children coming to our borders. It seems like the bullies are running the yard. They’ve brought the Bible into the argument, further emotionalizing it. This the fevered pitch. Jeff Sessions looks apoplectic! So it seems most of the oxygen is being taken up in the blame game. But I only care about the kids.

When I was five years old, I was abruptly separated from my family. In my case it was due to Polio. Nobody would breathe freely or speak more than absolutely necessary in my isolation room. I remember those three weeks better than I wish I did. I cried and threw tantrums the whole time. I was terrified of one of the nurses and she got so she disliked me. There was an incident where she deliberately handled me roughly. When I got out of there I expected to be reunited with my family. I wanted my Mommy. It was my constant refrain. But even when I got to the polio ward, I still wasn’t reunited with my family for weeks. I cried so much I was punished for crying too much. I tried to stop but I couldn’t. So I was punished.

It was horrible.

So speaking just for myself, I only care about the kids. And I remember what it was like to be separated suddenly from my family.

So I’m probably having a bit of PTSD right now. But I think what it really is, is I have a heightened state of awareness about this issue. Fight later you idiots. Stand up for those kids first.

The Real 10 Commandments 

… the ones I grew up with and maybe you did too.

1. Thou shalt always agree with your parents (and pseudo-parents like daycare teachers, baby sitters, teachers, other kid’s parents and baby sitters, adults in uniform, adults not in uniform, priests, police, nice ladies, nice men, ADULTS). You shall maintain a pleasant outward demeanor no matter how much you hate doing what you are told to do.

2. Thou shalt not tell.

3. Thou shalt be good boys and good girls. Beyond obedience to adults and to the accepted rules of behavior, all girls will know their place and all boys will prove themselves.

4. Thou shalt not get caught. You must find ways to outsmart the system. The notion of achieving on merit alone is a quaint notion, but unfortunately it is the current social ideal. You must work around it.

5. Thou shalt always have an alibi or plausible deniability.

6. Sex is love.

7. Money is power. There is never enough.

8. Winners look like winners. Thou shalt spare no expense for the sake of appearance.

9.  Good guys finish last. Take with both hands.

10. Do as I say, not as I do.

The Summer Of Sam

It takes me a minute to figure out what’s happening, and then I’m pushing him away. I’m getting up, but he grabs my wrists. I’m pinned down on his sofa. I can’t move at all, not even a little. Can’t even twist, nor pull, nor push. I squeal with frustration. “No! Stop! You’re hurting me!”
He raises up like he’s stopping to think. Then a crooked smile turns up one corner of his mouth. His eyes stay cold and flat. “I can hurt you more,” he says with calm certainty. His certainty of his power over me tightens around my throat like a vice. Then a sharp stab of pain like an exclamation point. I gasp.

I dangle above an abyss. Lightless black presses around me like a wave. Like a sound wave without sound, like a bear hug without a bear, but close and suffocating. Nausea.

My cue to disappear. My body has to stay here, but my nerves withdraw. And then I’m numb. I’m not sure but I think I’m holding my breath, my hands are fists. And my heart, it’s pounding from somewhere far away and only an echo remains for him.

Him. Disgust boils up in my gut, in my chest, behind my eyes. In a voice that spits venom I tell him to, “Hurry the fuck up.”

But I do not fight him. I do not resist. I’m focussed on damage control, I’m all about harm reduction. Holding on.

I’m a ticking bomb. I will him to hurry. He seems to be complying. He’s really going at it.

And then, amen, he slimes me. Ugh, I want to throw up. “Get the fuck off me!” I command. He leans away and I slide out, out from under. Some independent agency in my brain scans for weapons. Pulling up my pants. He heads for the john. Out the door fast. I’m gone.

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