Most of the time it’s easiest for her to think of it as an isolated, unexpected event—one evening when he got a little carried away—instead of a long history feeling his hands where she didn’t want them, her hands where she didn’t want them: his voice coaxing her, past curfew, to keep going, please, if she really cared she would stay a little longer, she would not leave him wanting. It’s almost easiest to remember the night he finally pushed himself into her because there were times before that when his fingers were as sharp, times she bled, so many times he pressed her hands around him. She would wait for his mouth to stop kissing her, to slacken, for his body to sink into his bed, the wet spot widening on the comforter and slick across her fingers. Books had taught her that being with someone made you feel beautiful but she didn’t feel beautiful. She felt ugly.
He told her what they were doing wasn’t wrong because they were in love, but she would drive home over the speed limit through the fog of Foothills Blvd, her skin crawling with the tiny bacteria she knew were living there, the dead skin cells shifting off her shoulders she worried belonged to him. Most of dust is human skin; she was cobwebs, filthy, balled up, drifting into the corners no one could reach to clean.