Saliva.

Trigger Warnings — Sexual Abuse, Harassment, Assault.

The sexual harassment and sexual assault news headlines have unearthed in me the stories I bury and dig up over and over and over again – just to make sure they are still dead. Just to make sure that I am safe, that I am no longer that little girl being abused. That I am no longer on a red-eye flight with a stranger’s hands on my body and tongue on my neck. Sometimes I wake up in the night and stumble my way through our dimly lit house and have to remind myself that I am not stumbling my way down the aisle of the airplane trying to get to safety. Safety can be hard to come by 39,000 feet in the air. Then again it was hard to come by when I only stood 4 feet 8 inches in the air.

Safety is hard to come by.

I want to process it. To hold the soil from the cemetery of my worst stories in my hand. To feel it. To sift through maggots and mud and try to discover the texture of hope.

And.

I am so tired. So tired of being in cemeteries full of women digging up the dirt that was never ours to touch. So tired of men touching what was never theirs to touch. Their hands are the ones that are supposed to be dirty. And yet. We are the ones with dirty hands. Digging. Sifting. Dirt becoming mud as our tears hit the ground. The cruel irony of digging in the dirt trying to convince ourselves that we are not dirty. If only saliva stained our skin like trauma stains our bones. Maybe then the world would notice. Maybe then the saliva in your mouth would match the stain on my skin and the world would notice; would know. Who among us is guilty. Even if their hands look clean.

My hands? Full of dirt, they hold his name on the tips of my fingers like a loaded gun ready to type, ready to fire, in the name of self-protection. And. I do not know his name. I have forgotten his hair color, and could only describe him as the middle aged man who smelled of alcohol and was the last to board the flight. The one who has a white fluffy puppy that he couldn’t wait to get home to. I know your name. And. I do not know your name.

If only saliva stained.
Like trauma stains our bones.
Like toxic-masculinity stains our divine femininity
Like mud stains our fingernails until they have grown long enough to be cut.
Like scars stain our skin where we have been cut.
By the knife of our worst stories.
They will call it self-harm but if saliva stained
They would know who did the harm.

One thought on “Saliva.

  1. Amy Bilger

    Noelle,
    Your words are truth, are raw, are ugly, beautiful, painfull, and healing. You rip open your wound for all of us to see and then you show us your wisdom and bravery. Thank you , thank you! Your words are a salve to my putrid memories and pain. I love you fellow survivor.

    Reply

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