ENOUGH is a Rumpus series devoted to creating a dedicated space for essays, poetry, fiction, comics, and artwork by women, trans, and nonbinary people that engage with rape culture, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
The ghost ship would never be out to sea. Its vague outline, the memory of its sticky hardware, clung, a film on her skin. In the thickness of brine, stinging and cold, she saw the rocking hulk of it, felt the stench of the pier’s decay.
He was a predator at 17, a loaded gun seeking a target. He had counted on that black space, where land and boat slap at each other, the gap there widening then narrow, confusing and distracting her. Jump, he had said, don’t look. And so she did. And didn’t.
In the hold below, a six pack on ice; she drank her first beer, and her second. Loud music from the deck above, like his hand on her mouth, smothered any other sound. In the shadow of rustling seagulls, devoid of human witnesses, water and darkness carved pain into flesh.
Afterwards, the night harbor held her briefly, then let her go. Home, she locked her breath outside, examined her rotted core, her mother’s blistering, disgusted voice in her head, your fault, asking for it, and her own, tell no one.
Is forgetting the same as not remembering? She saw again the wreckage she had once scoured of salt stains and shame, the ghost ship heaving against its moorings, heard again its slap and call.