Something We All Share


This is in response to the Daily Prompt: Safety First

My first day of Kindergarten.
My mom disappeared and I was surrounded,
by children speaking,
a language that I didn’t understand.
I hide under the table,
hoping no one will notice me.
I felt unsafe.

I told him that I didn’t like his threats,
that he couldn’t use them to control me.
He yelled at me, telling me this was
his house.
He told me to get out. I ran out.
I was ten, and running outside,
with a jacket that was too light
for winter;
and a pair of shoes that were too big.
My teeth chattered and I shivered.
I kept running, not to get away,
but to keep warm.
I felt unsafe.

It was late, and I was walking back home.
I had finished a late night choir rehearsal.
I cross the street and notice a couple.
I notice a man, he’s following them.
They’re ignoring him. I tuck my head down,
hoping not to draw attention.
He notices me, and staggers over.
He says, “Ni hao,” but I know,
that he doesn’t speak Chinese.
I return his greeting and keep walking,
He follows after me, but when he knows,
that I won’t be stopping anytime soon, he says,
“Gwai lo.”
I felt unsafe.

The probation period was coming to an end,
I look at my logbook and feel anxious.
Research progress was slow,
the result of tedious testing every day,
looking for a “wonder mutation”,
finding sad examples of said,
“wonder mutation”.
My variants were nothing spectacular,
days passed where work,
yielded no results.
They’re looking for results,
not efforts and invested time.
This is when I find out if I go on,
or am cut off. I gather up my progress notes.
I felt unsafe.

I was skiing on a school trip.
I love to ski.
Even though I could hold my own,
I was no pro.
“Follow me!” he exclaimed.
He took off, while I was left,
looking at tracks left by his skis.
I laughed–it was exhilarating!
I followed him down the slope,
around the corner.
I saw his form fly up suddenly.
I was still smiling when I registered,
too late,
that he had gone off a big jump.
Before I knew it, I was airborne.
Shock was replaced with terror when,
I realized that the ground was closing in,
increasingly fast. Impact.
I felt unsafe.

Ever since we were little kids,
we would cuddle together at night during
visits to each other and go to sleep.
Sometimes, he would forget to take off his glasses,
I would smile and remove them for him,
whenever he did. I thought of him like,
a brother.
I guess one day, we got too old for that.
It was late, and he must have thought I had,
fallen asleep.
I felt his hand grabbing my butt and,
reaching into my shirt to feel my breasts.
I was terrified but couldn’t say anything,
what would happen to the relationship,
between our families?
It’d be better if I pretended I really was asleep.
His hands were still moving,
now, there were travelling down my belly,
towards my genitals.
I smoothly brought my legs together,
feelings of disgust erupted when I felt,
his hands digging and moving in and out.
I felt the bed and blankets shaking a little,
then stillness.
I ignored my thoughts, emptied my mind.
The next day, he asked me,
“You sleep well last night?”
I felt unsafe.

When I look back at these instances, I realize some of them are silly, some of them serious. That feeling of fear, of not feeling safe, is something we all share. Thankfully, we are all here today and these incidences are things of the past.



2 thoughts on “Something We All Share

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