The bus zoomed past the stop as I dashed up, panting.
“Oh no, now I have to wait a whole hour for the next one.”
My friends from drama class wished me luck as they headed home.
I found a bench and plunked myself down. Frustrated. Nervous. Trying to be invisible.
My first chance to take a course in the big city, all by myself. At night. My parents had decided I was old enough.
And now here I was.
Fourteen years old.
Shivering. Chilly. Anxious.
Avoiding eye contact.
Then he approached.
His brown hair was slicked back with some kind of grease, save for a small twist that hung down over his forehead. His eyes were piercing yet dull as he gazed at me. He wore an ill-fitting, crumpled suit. He might have been handsome in another time, at another place.
“My name is Gunther Kraus and I have been drinking.” A heavy German accent. Slurred.
My heart sank as he sat down beside me.
He reeked of cologne, cigarettes and rye.
He was too close.
I looked the other way. I looked at the other people waiting at the stop.
Why had I sat so far away from all of them? How stupid of me.
Why had I missed the bus? I was so careless.
Mom and Dad were gonna kill me.
This was my fault.
So for an hour, I sat frozen on that bench.
He wrapped his arm around my shoulder.
Took control of me.
Told me how beautiful I was.
How he wanted to take me home.
Stroked my cheek.
And kissed me.
Slobbery. Disgusting. Horrifying.
My first kiss.
Frozen on that bench. Tears welling up. Silent.
At long last, the bus arrived.
I flew from that cold hard seat. From that slimy man.
And on to the warm bus, where I frantically found a spot next to an older woman.
And then I started to sob. I cried and shook all the way home. She offered me some gum.
“This might help you feel better,” she said.
She meant well.
This is rape culture.
My first kiss.
©Conni Cartlidge, 2014