A number of rape cases in the country have been in the spotlight in recent years.
Those stories are frightening, but even more disturbing is the number of cases that go unreported, that get overlooked…that become buried.
Seattle Central Community College student under pseudonym Mila Francis is brave enough to trust New City Collegian with the darker and hazier part of her past titled “Bind My Bones” below.
I listened to this audio file the first time a few days ago and thought of all the Mila Francises in the world. Standing tall, Mila’s story serves as proof that some flowers can weather even the most violent of storms.
Hear Mila’s story: click the play button above and read along with her below.
Bind My Bones
Slowly pressing the brass colored tip of my pen into the deepest veins in my forearm; trying to gather enough warm blood to authentically and truthfully unravel my story. Over the years I have carefully created this into a ball of glimmering string which I have crafted into a web tucked away, trying to be forgotten. Occasionally it catches just enough wind to shake my entire content of self. Rattling like the vast trees in the back yard of my childhood home would when caught in a storm.
My house was located in the middle of a flower that had once been beautiful, but now lays wilted by an abundance of isms. My dad helped build the foundation for the walls that would help keep us safe, but it was in the safety of these walls in which my bones would start to fracture by the thread of a forgotten memory.
Delicately dancing on the line of innocence. Occasionally dipping my toes into a sea of trouble, cracking a Corona and feeling the bubbles stroke every part of my lips in a fond embrace. Laying in bed, lost in the depths of a seventh grade truth or dare. My fingers delicately caressed each bump on the wall that had been claimed ours with spray paint and multicolored sharpies. His voice crept into my head and echoed “Let’s play boyfriend and girlfriend” fuzzy broken memories. “Go Hide under the bed, I’ll meet you there.”
Knees huddled close, I waited in anticipation for this new game. Cut. My heart racing, I know this isn’t right. Cut. I feel myself being touched, palms sweating. I don’t know what to do. Cut. The pressure of him on top of me is too much. I look at the wooden planks above. Nailing me into this coffin. Under the bed hid the secret. I see my innocence sail out from under me. Never to be seen again. Cut. Repeat. I know this is wrong.
Jolted out of a dream. I see my five year old self across the room as I was, alone, scared, silenced. My fingers grasped for my cream colored sheets clinging on tightly. Desperately trying to hold onto my former memory of truth. Unwilling to be sucked into this new dimension of reality. I was infected by a truth that ran through my veins and once rediscovered it couldn’t be washed away.
It’s ironic that the touch of alcohol to my lips conjured this memory because ever since then I have been chasing the bottle to try to out run reality. This in turn has run me right into the ground and deeper into that web. Ivy has sprouted from my fingertips and it rapidly wraps the cool glass that holds my fiery escape.
I sit in the safety of the car taking me away from the distorted lies that had become my life. The pain of a lover’s betrayal drunkenly swirls and slurs through the air and I feel safe, with you, my neighbor, my friend, my temporary confidant. The misery pours out of my throat and onto my lap, burning just as the vodka had done earlier. You shake your head in careful understanding. My body limp and poisoned from the liquid remorse. We stop a block or so from the refuge of my house, but I keep spinning.
You reach over and sweetly press your lips against mine. “No… no” I say, “I don’t want this” and you forcefully kiss me in attempts of building a wall that will muddle my cries of protest. “Stop.” The clicking of the seat belt penetrates my ears as you release the grey seat handle, making more room for your body on top of mine. Gazing at the familiar fence of a childhood sanctuary as your thumb fumbles to undue my brass jean button. I float into the sky as you violate my words and my body. Paralyzed.
The car door opens and with legs of a newborn deer, stumble out in disbelief as the car violently speeds off. And I am stuck, dry heaving shame, shock and treason through the green blades of grass at my feet. The streets that had once been so familiar were blurred, distorted, gnarled. My fingertips pressed against my temple; shaking trying to figure out whether or not this had all been a dream. Trying to force my eyes to focus, frantically gasping for sips of air. I could feel it wrap around my bones, so tight that they began to crack. Time seemed to lag and suddenly race wildly to the present. Unaware of how I got to the safety of my sheets I pressed my face into my pillow, hoping I could force myself to dream back into reality.
My eyelashes seemed to grow with every racing detail of these memories, intertwining, twisting my eyes, and cocooning around my body. I kept in silence. I put on my mask of constant smiles and ripped off my skin every night. But words are like water, and I sprung a leak. I desperately tried to keep the wall from cracking, but the whispers turned into a flood that had
become unmanageable and fueled by the fury of teenage denial. I was a slut, I had been silent. Why would I be silent if I hadn’t wanted it? I was alone.
I know the feeling of the safety behind a locked door. Pressing myself against the sides of cool porcelain walls of the bath tub that cradles my body. Head between both knees and the rapid rising and falling of my incomplete lungs feels like a knife, stabbing. Knowing the walls and the water and that white door and that brass knob will hold me the way my mom used to hold my baby feel between her strong but gentle hands. Immobilized.
Listen, now I know you can hear me but, just listen. Because I am a ball of string. I have been taken from, my joy has been stolen and all I can tell you is no.
No, don’t make this a big deal
No, don’t put a price on his head
No, just leave it alone
No, don’t look at me like that
My experience doesn’t give you the right to disregard my words. Because I am a ball of string. The slightest movement or tug and my whole being will disintegrate into a lump on the floor.
But I feel, I feel your pain like I have been deprived of water and am getting the sweet taste in my lips for the first time in days. I feel with every cell of my body, like there is a great willow growing out of my heart. The roots spread cracking my body like concrete on a forgotten sidewalk. I take my thread from my palm and connect it to yours as our hands fit perfectly together, warm and safe. I take in your story, because it is mine and my story is yours as well. And our bones bind.