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She didn’t know how she ended up alone with this guy—but she was. It wasn’t that she didn’t like Mexican guys who worked in Italian restaurants… but she knew this guy. He was the guy that always stared at her and her friends when they entered the pizza place-turned-hangout that he worked in. he was a creep at the minimum—but a pervert was more like it. This guy has once brushed his hand against her friend’s butt—and now she was in a situation that was similar, if not worse.
“Olivia…” spoke the man, while looking at her clear blue eyes instead of her chest, for a change.
Why had she told him her name? She hated how she always became quiet around adults. Her mother called it eager to please; the way she always gave adults what they wanted. The man had wanted her name, and so she gave it to him. Her quiet voice wasn’t loud enough to say or do anything other than what an adult wanted. They always seemed so intimidating to her and made her become meek.
He moved closer to her. Put his hand on her knee. His stare into her eyes broke as he looked at chest again. Olivia was frozen with fear, frigid as a winter night. No stranger had ever acted like this to her before. The man eyed her up and down as if she were his prey.
Olivia sat on the bench, eyes focused forward, at nothing. She did not want to meet the hungry look in the man’s eyes. Her breathing quickened as the man moved even closer to her. She could smell his garlicky breath on her face as she tried to budge her body to move; get away; escape. Fear had frozen her to the bench, and as much as she wanted to run as far away as she could from this man, she could not.
With every inch the man moved closer to her, her heartbeat quickened. The man out a rough, dry hand on Olivia’s face, and turned it to face himself. She shut her eyes in effort to shut the man and his poisoned presence out. It didn’t work. He pulled her face to his and forced her lips to meet his thin ones. Tears began to stream down Olivia’s cheeks.
She wanted to tell the man to stop, to leave her alone. But a mixture of fear and shyness would not let her voice come out. She was only 12 years old, much too young for something like this to happen to her. She opened her mouth as if she was going to speak, but no words came out, only desperate tears.
Even in the time of the most extreme fear she had ever felt in her life, she could not tell an adult how she felt. She wanted to scream STOP! But she could not. Her mind raced with crazy thoughts, her brain overwhelmed with the facts of what was happening.
“What a pretty chica,” said the man, using Spanish to replace the English he did not know. At least he isn’t touching me anymore, thought Olivia. Her heartbeat gradually slowed, now that the man seemed less intimidating. Then he spoke again…
“What is wrong, my pretty one? Something I did?” Oh, she could say a lot to that last question. But her voice still seemed stuck inside her fear, inside her throat. Instead, she wiped dried tears from her face. The man suddenly but both his hands on her shoulders and shoved her so that she was lying down on the bench. Panic rose through her body, not even wanting to think about what he would do next. She wiped her sweaty palms on her side of her size-one skinny jeans. Anger filled her thoughts. Not only was she angry at the man, for taking advantage of her quietness-turned-fear. She was also furious at herself, for not saying anything to the man. Stop—a one syllable, easy word to say. And yet she could not. She wanted the man to go away, more than anything in the world.
This man, who couldn’t be more than eight years older than her, had no right to take advantage of her the way he was! But if she didn’t say anything, he would continue to do so. If she wanted him to stop, she had to speak out. Olivia took a deep breath to ready herself for the task at hand. She took another breath, this time for luck. At the moment, the man took her hand and started to stroke it.
“STOP! Touching me, liking me, KISSING me! I don’t like it! I hate it! I HATE YOU!” shouted Olivia, surprised at the power in her voice as she sat up on the bench.
“But…” the man said solemnly. Suddenly anger rushed to his eyes. “No! You stay here! I want to touch you,” he said, his voice going soft at the last two words.
“I don’t care what you want!” screamed Olivia, who was suddenly standing up, taller than the man still sitting on the bench. With those final words, she ran. Farther and farther away, away from the man and his twisted ways. She didn’t care if she was running in the opposite direction of home. Any direction was fine as long as it was away from the man. She had let the man manipulate her, and fear has frozen her stiff because of it. She would let her feet would carry her to a new mindset, a new reality, a place where she would do what she wanted. Into the horizon she ran, knowing that she was free from the man’s poisoned grip.