I lay on my bed reading Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. I’m was on chapter eight.
My dad’s homophobic so this was one of those books I had to hide.
But I didn’t hide it from the girl on the other side of the window. She was standing in a patch of pink peonies, carefully planted outside my bedroom, her bare feet intertwined with the blossoms.
Beautiful. Graceful. Sinful. Everything she was I wanted, locked inside my dad’s castle.
She placed her palm on the glass as I read.
My mother passed away five ago, so there were no mother/daughter talks, no locks, no knocks. It was whenever he wanted.
Days became weeks, months, and years. I was stuck in the castle with the rules. But I did have the window and my options, my life, my body, my soul.
He called me. “Mattie!”
He was sitting on his red chair watching football. He’s so close, but I’m so far.
Without looking at me, two fingers stroked my inner thigh.
“Grab me a beer. Will ya, babe?” I nodded. I fetched the cold can from the refrigerator. All the while, I kept thinking about the girl outside the window, her feet floating on flowers.
When I got back to my room, my cat was lying on my book, gnawing at the hardcover. The girl was still there, standing in the peonies. We were eye to eye. She raised a single hand and waved to me.
I heard my dad call, “What are you looking at, Sweetie?” I could hear him rising from his red chair, and my eyes remained on the girl on the other side of the window.
In the single hand raised to me, I saw a rock. I nodded and took one step back. My father was already behind me, and I felt my body against his.
Within moments glass was on the floor, and so was my dad. Her soft, gentle, calming hand, now empty, was waiting, waiting for me to step through the window.
My father reached into his back pocket and whipped out his long, silver pistol. It’s clean, extended muzzle pointed at her, I saw him cock the gun.
I could only dive in front of her.
And there I was, once again, lying on the grass.
The moment was frozen. I was staring down the barrel of his gun. This time I was outside, outside the window, outside my father’s castle, and outside the rules. Outside. Out.