He opened the door, silently stood aside and I walked in. I dropped my bag on the small table in the hall. I was clenching my jaw, refusing to look up. i unzipped my jacket, and put it on top of my bag. I was staring at the ground. His feet, in white cotton socks. The dark grey cotton of his trousers reached to the back of his heels. He closed the door. The wood floor was a dark, glossy brown. He slid his hands in his pockets, and stood straight. I knew he was looking at me, but I wouldn’t look back. his white T-shirt strained across his shoulders, and he walked past me down the hall, and turned off into the kitchen. I stayed where I was. he opened some cupboards. A drawer. Got out a spoon maybe, then I heard cups sliding on counters. Water boiling. Spoons again. I put my hand on my jacket, and brushed my thumb over the fabric. It was bobbling at the elbows. I wanted to put it back on, zip it back up and bury my hands in the pocket. I wanted to grab my bag, sling it over my shoulder and run back. but where would I go? I had no home. I knew no one. I took my hand away and walked the same way he’d gone, and I stayed stood in the doorway to the small but modern kitchen. The floor tiles were black, with little squares of pearlescent white sparkling up at me. The rest was all white and stainless steel, some glass. there was nothing to make the place feel warm. I didn’t lean against the door frame, I just stood there, even as he brushed past me, leaving one cup on the counter. I left it there. I went into the livingroom the TV was quietly playing in the corner. He was standing by the window looking out to the street, and across to the park. I wanted to say something, but I had no idea what. I’d said I wouldn’t come back here, i didn’t want to do this anymore. Yet here I was. He had one hand in his pocket, the other was holding his drink. He took a sip, and then lowered his head, and set his drink down. He turned around and looked at me again. I took a step back, and felt the edge of a table just behind me. I put my hand on it, to steady myself. I was thinking of what I could say, but there was nothing. I didn’t know how I felt. I didn’t know what to do. he took his hand out of his pocket and walked over, he stopped right in front of me. I pressed the palms of my hands onto my sides and slid them down. I stopped below my pockets, and caught my nails on the side seams of my denim skirt. He took in a breath, and his body was no longer so rigid. the shirt he was wearing creased when he drew his arms forward, and one arm slid around my waist, and one hand form my cheek into my hair. He pulled me close to him, tilted my head up and kissed me. Not tenderly, with love or kindness. It was hostile, and I wanted to draw back but his grip was too tight, as my back bent, and he pushed me against the table, my head towards the wall. I pushed against the table with my hands, to stop myself from sliding on the floor. Just as I thought my arms were about to give way he ran his hand from my back, down to my thigh and lifted me up onto the table. In one swift move, he’d come and stood between my legs, and his hand now rested against my throat, still pushing me back against the wall. His lips were pushing hard against mine, and it was becoming harder to breathe. With his free hand, he was starting to unbutton my blouse, then pushing up my skirt. By now I was kissing him back, and he never moved his hand from my neck, but only pushed harder if I tried to move. Pinned to the wall, I just breathed as his lips and hands went everywhere. My hands gripped onto the edges of the table when he yanked my hips forward, and I gasped. There was a second of clarity, and then everything went numb again. I saw the ceiling. The little round lights. The pictures on the wall. The windows outside. My skin felt hot but I knew it was cold. I lifted my arms and gripped onto his shoulder. The lights. They kept moving. Light streaks, like the water to the shore, they came in, and washed back out. Maybe the room was shaking, or swaying, back and forth. Maybe it was the table. I pressed my eyes shut, and I didn’t want to be there. My shoulders and the top of my spine were rubbing against the wall, I could feel the rough pattern of the wallpaper behind me. This isn’t what it was meant for. It was for your eyes only. Not to scratch your skin sore. And my breathing. I felt like. Like maybe I’d stop breathing. My head felt hot, my shoulders burned, I wanted to move, squirm away, something was building in the pit of my stomach. I dug my nails into his shoulder, and he bit mine. I let go. And the feeling in my stomach dropped, and rose, and for a moment, I held my breath and arched my back. Everything stopped, I opened my eyes and the lights were so bright, I think it was the first time I’d ever seen them. I was grabbing at the table, pressing my fingers hard against the polished wood. I shut my eyes again, let out a deep breath. the world had stopped, there was no more movement. The blood flooded out of my head, and the lights dimmed down. He took his hands off me, and stepped back. He looked directly at me, sweat was beading on his forehead. I sat up straight, slid off the table and pulled my skirt back down. I turned around and did up the buttons of my shirt. I shook my head, as if to clear it, ran my fingers into my hair and dropped my hands back down again. I turned around and looked at him. He wasn’t a boy. He was a man by all of society’s standards. His chest was lifting up and down, and I could see the outline of his torso against the fabric. I don’t know what he was to me. He terrified me, and yet I kept coming back here. Something inside me wanted to go up to him, and fall into his arms. I know he’d shown no tenderness, but he just looked at me as if he knew. As if he was watching a shy forest creature, not moving in hopes of not scaring it away. I looked up at him, and for a moment I met his gaze. There was pity in it, and in a second I knew that everything I’d feared was true. This wasn’t easy, this wasn’t meaningless. He saw me, and yet he still loved me. This was why I always came back. I hated myself, and him for loving me, and for knowing how scared I was, but never backing down. But at the same time, I felt safer when I was here than I did anywhere else. I stepped backwards, and the back of my arm was touching the door frame. My heart started to race again, and the room suddenly seemed a lot smaller. I had to leave now, I was scared he’d come and put his arms around me, and I would no longer have the strength to go. He was still looking at me, and I remembered how the first time he met me, he’d been so sweet. How I wished that that had been enough. But he soon figured out that I didn’t want that. I didn’t know what to do with sweet. I didn’t know how to laugh, or fall asleep next to someone. I didn’t know how to show affection, or how to let my guard down. Not with sweetness. And now he knew. He knew I’d always come back, and he cocked his head to the side, as if asking me. I fumbled with the door way, and took another step back. It was still too soon, and I knew it was time to go.