While he reached up for the towel on the rack behind him, I slid out of his arm that contained me. My head collided with the floor. Hard. The fear I felt was gone.

50 seconds earlier

I glanced at my wrists as the blood gushed out. I never thought I could cut deep enough. The other cuts on my arms were bleeding in various directions. The cuts were slanted and curved. There were some short ones and some were long. Some were deep and some were very shallow. They were covering the inside of my forearms. I watched as the drying blood around the shallow cuts formed crusty scabs and as the deep cuts were saturating the white tile of the bathroom floor. The lower walls and the bowl of the toilet were smudged with my blood. All I saw was red. The thumping on the door had gotten quiet. I glimpsed the plunger handle barricading the door. Then the portal ruptured and sunlight from the room's blinds came to wallop me with its intensity.

He was crouching on the floor in front of me, his leg tattoo spelling some odd word upside down. He had me in his grasp, "Baby, what did you do?" His sounded so concerned, "Huh?" His voice began to break, "What did you do?"

25 minutes earlier

I admit this felt so good. We'd been doing it for twenty minutes or so. He had me on the mattress. He was behind me; I was wearing my black and white checkered shirt and my black cotton bikini underwear. He had taken it out awhile ago and he said he couldn't do it with his boxers on so he took them off. I just didn't want to see it. He kept repositioning me by pushing on my upper back till my front shoulders hit the mattress. It was so uncomfortable; he wouldn't let me stay up on my hands. He liked it better this way. He then took my right arm and pulled it behind my back. Now I was balancing on one shoulder and my chest. He had his hands on the side of my hips. He groaned with pleasure.

I didn't want him to stop. I was getting so wet, my panties were moist. He starting thrusting faster and then I felt him pulling my panties down. "What-" I fell down flat on the mattress as my arms reached for my underwear. I pulled them up.

"Come on. Let me in!" He grabbed at the front of my panties, dragging them to the middle of my thighs. He leaned forward and put his weight on me. He did it so fast.

"No!" I screamed. I squirmed away. I moved backward toward his pillow.

He seized the waistband of my underwear, ripping at it. "Come on." He stated casually.

"I said, 'No!' " I replied. He grasped my leg and yanked me down near him. He leaned on top of me and pulled the underwear off with his left hand. I shrieked.

He put his right hand on my mouth. He was on top of me. He put it in. I screamed louder. He pulled his hand away so he could support himself with both arms. I yelled, "Stop! Please! Please, stop! Stop!" He was thrusting hard and fast. He grunted and smiled at me. I struggled and tried to push him off. He was too strong. He kept going. He closed his eyes in pleasure and then tilted his head back.

I started to cry. It was starting to hurt. I felt it all the way up in my lower abdomen. I moved my left arm behind me toward the wall. I felt at the box next to his mattress. I felt at the radio speaker. I tried to clutch it with my hand. It was too big. Then my hand slid behind it. I felt the cord. I gripped it tightly and took it up in the air and swung around at his head. It smacked him hard. He groaned… in pain this time. I shifted my legs forward and hopped up to my feet. I ran for the bedroom door. I grabbed my pants that were thrown in front of the drawer. As I got outside of the room, and to the front door, my discomfiture of my partial nudity arrested me. I stopped in front of the door and thrashed about trying to get my pants on. I tried to put both legs on at the same time, but one leg was inside out. I finally shoved one leg in at a time and pulled them both up. I tugged up my zipper and put my hand on the doorknob.

I unlocked the deadlock, and opened the door. Then I felt him grip my shoulder. "NO!" I screamed. He grabbed my arm and yanked me back into the apartment. He slammed the door shut and shoved me toward the glass coffee table. My chest hit it with tremendous force. I couldn't breathe. He grabbed me again by the back of the hair and slammed my head down. I thought I heard my skull cracking. The room turned a static-y gray.

I felt him petting my hair. I tried to move a limb, or something. No part of my body was following any command I expressed. My legs were crumpled under me, my left arm was on my side, and my torso stayed on the table along with my right arm. He was crouched behind me and patting my back. He was shushing me very quietly. I very subtly inhaled some oxygen that had been immersed in tobacco smoke previously. I wanted to cough, but I wanted to breathe more. It was then I found my right arm that was lying motionless on top of the coffee table had regained sensation. My head hurt so much I didn't want to move it so I established connection with my perceptions. I realized my eyes were discerning again. I saw the room in its stilted monotonousness. I should've left before.

My view was of the length of my arm and the dirty plate on the glass. I lifted all my fingers and felt at the ceramic. My fingers clasped at the top and my thumb curved underneath. I had a grip.

He continued to pet me. I wondered if my voice could work. It came out as a whisper. "Stop." I shifted weight onto my right hip elevating my left arm trying to push him away. He leaned in toward my cheek and kissed me. As he was so adjacent, I realized he wouldn't be watching my other arm. I lifted my right arm up. His hot breath attempted to blend with mine. He was coming in for a kiss. I rotated my torso and hurled the plate at him. It smacked him in the cheek. He held his face with his palm, and then I struck him again remorselessly. He groaned softly. It took him a few seconds, but at last he straightened up and tottered over to the door. Then he collapsed to the carpet in a large mound of accumulated flesh. He was still naked.

I harvested my vigor and rose to my feet. I could feel small rocks underneath my bare feet. I stumbled over to the door. His body was too heavy and was obstructing my egress. I grunted trying to open it, but it wouldn't go past his shoulder. It battered his shoulder repeatedly, a soft thump occurring as I did so. Then I got it far enough open that it reached down his arm but it wasn't enough, his body was still prohibiting my escape from this horror. He was coming to consciousness. He groaned and opened his eyes. He made a grab for my leg. I screamed.

He reached for my hand. I smacked him away. I kicked at his torso and he kicked right at the back of my shins which knocked me down to my knees. I crawled away. I headed for the bedroom. I slammed the door shut but there was no lock. I darted for the window. I threw aside the blinds. The panes were painted shut! The door gaped. I ran to the bathroom. I put my back against it. There was no lock on this door either!

I began to sob. There was no escape.

The doorknob rattled and I felt the door being pushed in. I reached for the plunger next to the sink and put it in front of the door. I wedged it against the cabinet under the sink and it managed to keep the door shut. I listened to the violent tremulous movements of the door and watched as the plunger prevented its opening. I moved myself backwards till I had reached the tub with my back. I sobbed. My chest heaved and at last I felt all the pain inside my body.

Blood vessels in my head pulsated, like enormous veins the size of tree branches were positioned inside my body. My arms were hurting so bad, it was vibrating. My legs were stinging. My torso was so sore. And my genital area… it was burning so bad, like lemon juice as it licks at open slits and cuts. Cuts.

Cuts.

I veered behind me to see his razor on the tub edge. I picked it up. I stroked the top of the blade lengthwise. I took his metal toothbrush cup and smashed at the razor. It disintegrated

into itself. On the side, the little tabs that had kept the blades in place were broken. I lifted up the thin black plastic and pulled it back. The blades were liberated. I pulled them out.

I gave the little horizontal silver metal a fixated stare and then held it over my forearm. I lacerated the skin that he had touched; the pure unscathed, unscarred flesh that had once been an inspiration for his compliments. The supple flesh that had guarded God's temple; the exterior of the shrine that had once thwarted Satan. The altar that once banished evil that preserved good and kept me within grasp of the heavenly angels. The object of his love. Now, I was objectified merely as refuse. The absurdity of the vandalism. The destruction of uncorrupted, unblemished innocence. I carved at the veins, and as the blood speckled the epidermis, I raised the blade over my wrist… Up… not across. Cut.

I screamed.

1 hour earlier

"Did you like it?" I turned to him next to me. He was smiling.

"Yeah," he stood up and went to the television. He took out the DVD and then put it back in the case. "What do you want to see next?" He looked through his DVDs, he didn't have that many. I smoothed my hair down and leaned back onto the sofa. I smirked. I didn't really like any of his movies.

"Are you hungry?" I asked.

"I could eat." He smiled and turned off the TV. He came over to the sofa and down. We were quiet for awhile and then he veered to me, "What do you want to eat?"

I closed my eyes, I couldn't get over the overwhelming feelings that I had for him again. "I don't know." I sighed, "What do you have?"

He got up and went to the kitchen. I heard the fridge opening and some cabinets creaking. "I got spaghetti and some tomato soup."

"I don't want that." I let the couch absorb me. He came into the living room.

"That's all I have." He stood next to me. He walked around the coffee table and sat back down next to me. He took my hand in his. He cleared his throat, "I'm glad you came." I bent my fingers allowing his to interlock with mine. He edged closer to me and used his free hand and placed it on my face. He closed his eyes and he leaned forward. I let his lips touch mine. He pulled back. I opened my eyes. "I still love you," he said.

Everything inside of me seemed to be flickering. It was bright and exploding. All these emotions stirred inside me. He stood up and led me to his bedroom.

1 day earlier

I lay there on my bed staring at the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling. Of course it was morning and they were not glowing but it was nice to imagine that they could be. I felt the wind rattling the windows. I rolled over onto my side and stared at my open drawers spilling out clothes. I had the urge to go and pick them up but for some reason I couldn't get up. I felt so alone. "Why didn't he come?" I asked God. It was quiet.

I lay there for another fifteen minutes and then I heard soft knocking on the door. I sat up groggily and pulled the curtain back. I couldn't really see past the bushes, but I saw a tall figure at the door. It was him! I rushed to the living room.

I opened the door. He stood there, staring at me, "Hey." He said quietly.

"Hey," I tried to hide the excitement I harbored. Then the anger washed over me. "Where were you yesterday?"

"I'm sorry, Babe, I fell asleep." He hung his head, "Can I come in?" I was mad, but I beckoned him inside. He entered and went to the sofa, "Can I sit down?"

I nodded. He took off his messenger bag and sat down. "What happened?"

"I just got so tired. It was like 4 o'clock and I was waiting so I could come over, I just dozed off."

I grimaced and turned away. I paced a bit, and then ended up sitting on the opposite couch. "Why do you do this?" I asked, "You always do this! You always say you're going to do something and then you don't. You lie so much! I can't take it anymore!" I shook my head and buried my face in my hands.

I felt him putting his hand on my back and his overwhelming warmth as he had to be crouching in front of the couch, "Let me make it up to you. I'll do anything."

I lifted my head. He was crouching in front of me, "You always say that! Everything you say is a lie! You said you were coming yesterday! I waited! I waited for you! You don't call! Nothing! And you're always doing this! I'm tired of it!"

"No, Baby, don't be like that. I'm always here for you. I wanna be with you. All I want is you." He began to rub my back.

I sat up, he looked at me. He seated himself next to me on the couch, placing his hand on my leg. His hand was so warm and I felt shivers all the way up to my neck. I leaned toward him and I wrapped my arms around his torso. He held me too.

I felt like I couldn't let go. I just felt so much tenderness. I was close to another human being. My skin was tingling. There was so much sensation that I couldn't even describe the feelings I had. There was real physical sensitivity in my skin to his touch. Every pore in my skin awoke to an ambiance of prickling electricity. His caress brought a bond which consolidated my every blood cell and muscle, my skin and bones. It was as if I had been many different pieces of flesh until he came along. I felt like my body would all come apart; that my skin and blood would splash upon the carpet if he released his grip.

"When does your roommate come back?" he asked.

I pulled back out of the embrace, but continued to keep my hand on top of his. I glanced at my watch, "In forty five minutes."

"We can go to my place." He stared deep into my eyes. "We'll have more privacy."

I really wanted to be alone with him.

"Come spend the night."

I smiled.

1 week earlier

"Hello?" I answered my cell. I stared at the red light ahead of me.

"Hey." His voice was soft and quiet. "Can I talk to you?"

I sighed and rolled my eyes. "Yeah, whatever."

"I've been thinking about you. A lot. I really wanna see you."

I sighed heavily. "Why?"

"I think that we should get together again. I think we should be a couple again."

"Why? What's going to change?"

"Everything. It's gonna be different this time. I'm gonna change."

I scoffed. I shook my head. I frowned even though I knew he couldn't see me. I heard a lot of traffic in the background. "Where are you anyway?"

"I'm taking a walk."

I was angry. "You couldn't even find a quiet spot to call me?"

"I've been busy. I just got off work."

"That's what you always do! You just call me when you can cram in a five second conversation somewhere between your smoke breaks and when you go to your brother's house! You're so inconsiderate." I heard honking behind me and realized the light was now green. I let go of the brake and pressed on the accelerator.

"Look, I've been thinking."

"What?! About what?"

"How I can change. I'm gonna go to church with you, okay? And I'll read the bible. I'll talk to your pastor too. Okay? We can pray together and we can sing your church songs. Okay? We can do all kinds of stuff together."

I reached another red light. I leaned back against the headrest.

"What are you doing right now?" he asked.

"I'm meeting a friend for lunch."

"How is work going?"

"Fine." I was getting annoyed with him.

"I need you."

I took a deep breath. I watched the light turn green and waited for the cars ahead of me to start moving. "But you never-"

"I know what you said. I remember. Just please. It'll be perfect. You and me. Remember?"

Oh, I remembered. I recollected his touch and the way he made me feel. It was astonishing to be in his embrace. The things he did to me made me feel completely hypnotized. I was always entranced with him. "I missed you." The confession slipped out in whisper.

"Me, too." He took a deep breath, "Let's be together again."

I turned my right signal on and checked the mirrors. I looked over my shoulder and then changed lanes. "You'll really come to church with me?"

"Saturday, right?"

"5 o'clock."

1 month earlier

"A small vanilla iced coffee with soy milk, please." I pulled my debit card out of my wallet. The cashier took my card and swiped it. She handed it back to me. I went to the closest empty table and hopped up on the stool. My legs hung uncomfortably. I noticed the time on my watch and compared it with that of the establishment's.

I slid my debit card back into my wallet. I tapped the leather with my fingertips and then placed it inside my purse. I stared ahead at the bright red bird paintings on the wall. My phone buzzed. I looked down to see I had a text message. I opened it. I begin typing my reply. I watched the message send then observed the time on my phone. It'd been around seven minutes. I sighed heavily.

"Small vanilla iced coffee with soy milk!" the cashier called.

I jumped off the stool and swung my purse on my shoulder. I pushed by some waiting customers and grabbed my coffee off the counter. I reached for a straw and napkin. I turned around and stopped moving.

"Hey!" he said.

I was so shocked. I thought I was saying words, but I realized I wasn't. Then it came out as a whisper, "Hey."

"Excuse me!" A young girl said sarcastically. I moved to the side. "Thank you!" She said just as acerbically. He put his arm on my shoulder and gently urged me out of the incoming traffic away from the door.

"So, how you been?" he asked.

I stammered before an answer actually emerged from my mouth, "Good." It was a squeaky whisper. "Everything's good." My voice was louder this time.

He ended up leading me to the same table I had been at. "We should catch up."

This was entirely discomfiting. I absently complied with his directing my movements. I sat across from him.

"You look so good," he said.

I was entirely enraptured by his statement. I hadn't heard anything like it in so long. "You, too." My rejoinder was mechanical as if I were so accustomed to receiving regular compliments again. Like when we had been together. It was an inundation of memoirs that began to fall off shelves and flutter to the ground. The room was filling so fast, there were so many words and sentences- everything he had said to me was chronicled and I felt loved again. Then I remembered our physical activities, I wanted to moan in contentment just at the pleasant reminiscences. I knew it had been wrong. I hadn't been married to him, but he really did make me feel good.

"Did you get new eyeliner?" he asked.

I touched my cheekbone under my right eye, "Yes, actually, waterproof." I giggled, "It doesn't smear anymore."

"I remember." He said.

I looked down at the table. "Are you still with the same company?"

"Yeah." He nodded. "And you?"

"Yes."

He smiled nervously. "Still in the same apartment?"

"Yes. New roommate though. She works all the time except Sundays so I don't really see her."

"Oh. But she's okay?"

"Yes. She's alright."

"I moved actually. It's just a few street lights away from your apartment."

"Oh?" I answered. He was near me? I felt kind of frightened.

"How's church?"

"A few new parishioners. I got to give them tours." I sighed, "But I get to teach a new Saturday school class for the kids. I remember Saturday school. It was really-"

"I went to a church." He said.

"Oh, how was it?"

"Different."

"It usually is." I swallowed. I suddenly felt the cold plastic cup in my hand. Recognizing that I hadn't yet taken one sip of it, I put in the straw and brought it to my lips. Cold caffeine rushed past my tongue and seemed to instantaneously awaken me.

"Have you been seeing anyone?" He gazed into my eyes. I wanted to pull away but I was locked as if he were clutching the sides of my head with his hands and forcing me to stare into those brown eyes.

I felt awkward. "No. Nobody."

He sighed heavily. "Oh, thank God!" he laughed.

"Please don't take the Lord's name in vain." I told him.

"I'm sorry." It was quiet between us. In those moments the chatter became a roar of raucous conversation. Then it all seemed to swirl until it was just him talking to me. "I miss you. I've been nothing without you in my life."

"I have to go." I jumped off the stool recalling my previous commitment.

"Can I call you?" He grasped my arm.

I yanked myself away from him, "I don't know."

1 year earlier

"Did the two of engage in sexual intercourse?" the pastor asked me. He stared into my eyes until I had to veer away and escape his stare.

"No." I shook my head. I look down at my sweaty hands in my lap, "But there was… touching." I felt so embarrassed talking about this with a man.

"Well, the church teaches that there is to be no sexual activity between a man and woman who are not married. That includes viewing pornography, masturbation, and sexually stimulating activity of any kind. You are not married and you not joined in the holy covenant with the Lord."

I nodded.

"How long ago did you last "see" this boy?"

I thought about the word "Boy". He wasn't a boy, he was an adult and I was one too. However, the pastor was correct, I wasn't married and I shouldn't have let him go that far. Oh, I was lying to myself, I wanted it too. "A few weeks."

"Are you still in a relationship with him?"

I was quiet, "Sort of."

"You should end it. If the two of you continue to date, you will eventually go far enough to sin. You must ask the Lord to forgive you for your transgressions and you must not do it again."

I nodded. I got up and left his office. I exited the building and went to my car. I got inside and looked at my scriptures on the passenger seat. I picked them up and turned to a familiar passage. I read it to myself and then put it down. I started the car and headed to his apartment.

I felt really sad and empty. I knocked on his door. He answered really quickly. He let me in then hugged me after he closed the door.

"I've been trying to call you," he said with his arms around me, and then he pulled back.

"I've just had stuff to think about." I told him, in reality, I had been avoiding him since the last time. He'd been on top of me for half an hour and I kept praying that he would pull off my dress and put it in. I knew when I had beseeched God for it, it had been wrong. Why did it have to feel so good?

He looked at me and then leaned in for a kiss. I let him kiss me. His hands were on my lower back and I put my hands on the back of his shoulders. He slid his tongue in my mouth, I could taste his cigarettes and I pulled away from him.

"Oh, sorry," he said. "I'll brush my teeth."

He started for the bathroom when I said, "Wait!" He stopped and turned. "I have to tell you something."

He approached me and then looked down with a mystified expression on his face.

"I don't think I should be your girlfriend anymore."

He was quiet for awhile and then he asked, "Why?"

I shook out my hands and I tilted my head back, I calmed myself and then readjusted my stare to see only his face. "Because of what we do."

"What did we do?"

"What we did…. In bed. We can't- we can't do that stuff. We're not married."

"Dryhumping? That's not even sex. It's not wrong. We're dating."

"Yes, it was! It was wrong! It was wrong! I can't do that stuff with you!"

"I don't get you." He turned around and then he looked back, "You were totally into it. You wanted me to do it. You liked it."

I did like it, but I couldn't do it anymore. He was giving me this temporal satisfaction and heaven was forever. I couldn't risk my salvation for half an hour of carnal contentment. "You don't understand!" I yelled and I never raised my voice before, "You don't get it. You don't go to church. You don't read the bible. You don't know what we're in for if we just be good and wait in this life. God will give us more fulfillment than sex ever could."
"You've obviously never gotten laid." He said cruelly.

"Goodbye." I stated and walked past him.

"Don't go."
I opened the door and as I closed it, I stated, "It's over." I walked down the stairs and I turned back, I saw him looking down at me from the balcony. I turned away. "We're done," I told myself.

1 decade earlier

"You can NEVER enter the kingdom of heaven if you give yourself to sexual gratification before marriage. Once you have given your body to another human being whom you are not married to, you have lost your one and ONLY opportunity to enter the Kingdom. The Lord sent his only son down to die for our sins- including the sexual urges you will all feel. Satan gives us these pleasures making us believe if we experience sex before we are married; it is worth it to experience this pleasure. I can tell you it NOT worth it, by any means. You will lose your virginity, the respect that your partner would have given to you by waiting, and your chance to enter God's Kingdom. God will NEVER forgive you once you have given up something so precious. You can only lose it once. No amount of surgery can replace your first time. The first time that another human being will experience your body should be after you have entered the holy covenant with our Lord.

"You should NEVER touch yourself. This excites feelings in which you will want to seek out another to satisfy this. Once you are UNPURE, your chance of entering Heaven has vanished. It is gone! Forever! You will never be forgiven once you allow another person to touch you and excite sexual pleasure. That pleasure shall be reserved only for MARRIAGE; ONLY for your partner and only for ONE person. So pick your partner wisely. You will receive only one chance to give away your virginity. It is not an occasion to approach lightly. Our God in Heaven will not allow your transgressions to escape him once you enter the Kingdom. Your transgressions are forever, so think of that when you want to have sex. Will an hour of pleasure get you into heaven? You better believe it will NOT!" the teacher had a mean look on her face.

I think everyone was too embarrassed to say anything. Nobody could even look at her. I glanced at her but I felt really scared to make eye contact. A girl in the front raised her hand.

"Yes?" the teacher pointed at the girl.

"What if you get raped?" She asked.

"Rape is only what happens to girls with loose morals. They allow themselves to be in situations where it can occur. Those girls permitted themselves to be sullied and God will see them for what they are: whores. They let a boy fornicate with them by not fighting back and stopping it. God will not allow unwanted sexual contact with a person if the person doesn't really want it."

I felt afraid. I wanted to go to heaven. I wanted to be with God. I straightened up. I love God and I was sure I could avoid all temptation and go to Heaven. I don't think any boy could ever make me as happy as God did.