You Can't Put That In There

This non-fiction piece appeared in Issue 2 of Rabble Lit.

 Creative Commons photo by Jeremy Brooks

Creative Commons photo by Jeremy Brooks

When I was 37, my partner came into the room with a handful of sticks. He had pulled them out of the garbage disposal. “You can’t put that in there,” he said. He thought it was I who had done it, rather than my 8-year-old. 

When I was 8, I was alone in the house and the phone rang. A man started asking me questions. Questions that made me feel uncomfortable. I thought it was my dad’s friend Ken, who ended up in prison. Maybe it was. He asked, “Would you like it if I licked your toes?” I laughed politely. “How about if I put my tongue in your pussy?” 

You can’t put that in there.

When I was 16, my brother’s friend Jeff came into my room while I slept. He laid on top of me and forced his tongue into my mouth. I fought him for several minutes. I fought him with my body. I fought him for my body. I said no. I said stop.

You can’t put that in there. 

My partner thought I had put the sticks in the garbage disposal. What would and would not go down? How big could the sticks be? I cut some flower stems and put them in. A couple hours later, the machinery stopped working. I told my partner that the garbage disposal was broken. I had a puzzled look on my face. He took it apart and then brought me the flower stems he’d found inside. “I think it’s from these,” he said. 

You can’t put that in there.

When I was 24 and working at Home Depot, my coworker Angelo asked me to go out. I went out with him on New Year’s Eve. He made us drinks. He pulled down his Murphy bed, and kissed me there. I wanted to leave, but he wouldn’t let me. He got on top of me. He removed my pants. He raped me. I said no and Angelo raped me. I said no

You can’t put that in there.

Ken. Jeff. Angelo.

I said no.

And I would feel guilty if I said their last names. 

You can’t put that in there.