They built a church on the land where my body was broken.
Parishioners come every Sunday morning believing it to be holy ground. Yet I know this to be the ground where my soul was desecrated one Thursday evening.
Prior to being bought by the church, this was the spot that “He” brought me every Thursday night. Our spot was an overgrown wooded lot, with a short gravel driveway that led to a clearing where a home once belonged. He worked for a construction company that helped demolish the house after a fire ravished it a year prior. He would pick me up from my dorm room so we could be alone without hearing all of the partying on my Hall. He would always get a to go order from TGI Fridays or Olive Garden before picking me up. When I got in the car, he would make me guess what he bought by sniffing the delicious aroma that enveloped his car. We would play this guessing game for the entirety of the 15-minute ride. I came to love this game and sincerely looked forward to it.
Once we arrived, we would sit on the trunk of his white Toyota Avalon to eat our food and talk. Our conversations were mainly centered around his life and how unhappy he was. He hated his job. He aspired to own his own construction company one day instead of working for “the man” all his life. His mom was sick and he was helping her out financially. His baby mama was always trippin’ and wouldn’t let him see his son.
He never asked much about me. But he would tell me he knew I was the one, even though he could tell I was “fast.” That he wished I was his baby mama because I was so smart and a good listener and had a fat ass. He told me I knew how a Black man deserved to be treated. And he loved me for that. It felt like he was all mine. Even if only on Thursday nights.
Our nights always had the same routine. After we finished our food, I would lay back against the window of the car. And like clockwork, he would always lay back with me. His massive dark chocolate hands would pull my face toward his thick lips for a kiss. I would attempt to channel every ounce of my desire for him into that kiss. Hoping the passion I felt for him would lift some of his burdens and make him feel whole in that moment. As a Black woman, I wanted to offer this Black man my body as a place of solace.
As a Black woman, I wanted to offer this Black man my body as a place of solace.
We made love every Thursday night. He said he needed it. He needed to be inside me in order to know that my feelings were real. He needed me to be as freaky as possible and not hold anything back. I complied. We always started on the back of his car, but we never finished there. We would make our way around every inch, one time even on the roof. Sometimes we would have sex inside the car. In the front passenger seat or backseat. But he said that was too regular. Occasionally, he would bring blankets and we would make love on the ground so he could get a better view of me. I gave him every part of me. Anything he wanted. However he wanted. This was our routine for nine Thursdays.
Until I found out I was pregnant.
And he told me he was married.
I told him I was keeping the baby, that I would have to drop out of school and would need his help. He replied by hanging up the phone. I didn’t hear from him for three weeks. Until he called one Thursday night, saying he was coming to pick me up.
I basked in the familiarity of him coming to my dorm. Walking to that white car, I cracked a slight smile wondering what he may have picked up. Only this time, there was no smell of food to greet me once I got in the car. No guessing game during the ride to our spot.
No laughter, no smiles. Just silence as he drove to that gravel driveway leading to the clearing. He looked at me for the first time that night and asked me to get out so we could talk. I got out and walked to the back of his car to get on top of his trunk. As I moved I felt a strange sensation around my throat. I couldn’t breathe. Though I was looking at him, my mind couldn’t grasp that he was choking me.
His mouth was moving but I couldn’t understand the words. I was too preoccupied with trying to find air. Then all at once, he released his hold on my neck and began to forcefully pull my pink sweatpants down. I fell to the ground and he began kicking my stomach. He unbuckled his pants and got on top of me. I was disoriented, yet trying to think of what I should do. An episode of Oprah that my mother made me watch when I was a child flashed across my mind. In it, they talked about what to do if you’re being sexually attacked. They said don’t fight because it will only make your attacker more upset.
An episode of Oprah that my mother made me watch when I was a child flashed across my mind.
So I didn’t fight.
I listened to the songs of the cicadas as they sang loudly to one another in the woods nearby. I focused on the twinkling stars in the clear night sky, wondering if this was the place where I would die. Then I attempted to count the rocks that I felt along my back as he pushed my body back and forth along the ground with his thrusting. Counting those rocks offered me a strange source of comfort. So focused on the comfort of the rocks, I hadn’t noticed that he had finished until he began yelling at me to get back in the car. He was out of breath and stumbling to get his pants on. I pulled up my pants and noticed something wet running down my legs. He threw his jacket at me and told me not to get blood on the seat of the car. I got in the backseat and rode back to my dorm.
He said nothing.
I said nothing.
Because fast girls don’t deserve words.
That was our last Thursday night.
Love stories by Black female writers? Check out our Books and Totes – Available now in our Store. Are you a writer? We’re looking for short stories and personal essays to feature on our digital and print platforms. Click HERE to find out how.
Photo credit: Eye for Ebony
rehshetta El-shea is a community researcher and organizer in Greensboro, NC. Her work has been presented at the United Nations and numerous conferences. She is a fat, Black, radical mother and partner who embraces her intersections.