I was lying in my bed, trying to hide, pushing my face between the mattress and the wall, trying to make my body my small body as small as it could possibly be. I could hear his footfalls, casually, determinedly, coming up the stairs. My body became frozen, my mind started drifting, I was barely still in the room. Trying to be as small as I could, trying to disappear between the mattress and the wall. I’m on my stomach hoping to protect, my cock, from his large, rough hands. I lay there. Still. Barely breathing. Heart pounding. I could hear him going into the bathroom, which was at the top of the stairs and shared the wall with my bedroom, the wall that I was trying to jam myself into, between it and the mattress. I could hear him urinating in the toilet, the splashing, the force echoing in the small room on the other side of the wall. Then I heard the toilet flush and I knew that he was coming for me next. The tap in the bathroom ran for a moment and I heard the silence resulting from the light switch being flicked to down, shutting off the bathroom fan. A couple of footsteps, the turn of my doorknob, a peak of light hitting my downward cast tightly closed eyelids. I knew what was about to happen. My shallow breath was almost non-existent. My body felt rigid with fear. As he entered the room there was a palpable smell in the air, of him, I don’t remember if it was a subtle aftershave, applied hours earlier or the scent of the soap he had just used to wash his hands, but there was a smell which followed him in, that I both longed for and feared, simultaneously. With a click the door was closed again, shutting off the momentary glow from the hallway, plunging the room back into darkness. He walked a few deliberate steps to the edge of my bed. I was on the bottom bunk in the room I shared with my older brother, who was somewhere else in the townhouse as this was happening. I could feel the mattress sigh, as he sat down on the edge on the bed. I lay frozen, pretending to be asleep. Somehow I hoped that if I was asleep, he would just leave me alone. I could feel the covers come off my shoulders, rolling silently down my back, all the way to the midpoint of my legs. I wasn’t cold. I wasn’t feeling, anything really. I was numb and my desperate mind was starting to go somewhere else. I was still trying to jam myself between the mattress and the wall. The fresh air from under the bed flowed into my flared nostrils. I was starting to breath harder, as I knew what was going to happen next. Then I felt his heavy, damp, cool hand, lightly rubbing my back, midpoint just beneath my shoulder blades, slowly in counter clockwise circles, his large hand ran across my slightly framed back, down my lower back, all the while an intense fear gripped me, a feeling of horror a feeling of no control. I did not want this. This is not what I wanted. Yet I still confusedly thought this man was looking out for me. I thought that this man had my best intensions at heart. I thought that this man could be trusted. I thought this man loved me. I thought I loved this man. The attention and affection he showed me, was missing from anywhere else in my life. My father, god knows where, drinking, fighting, writing. Bouncing from one freelance reporting gig to the next, one Annex rooming house to the next. Spending the rest of his time in dank watering holes in downtown Toronto, at war with his various landlords, at war with the demons from his past. My mother, she cared for me, she looked after me, she made sure I was clothed and bathed and fed, but she left me with this man. She turned a blind eye to what should have been obvious. Herself lost in grief and unspoken trauma. She didn’t see my distress. My distress when I pleaded with her not to go out and he sat on the living room couch with my brother. “Oh don’t worry about it”, he’d say, “he’ll be fine, he’s always fine after you leave, he just misses his Mommy, when she’s gone“. But that wasn’t it. And I had no words, I had no way, I did not know how to say what was really going on. I had no frame of reference for this experience. I was o afraid of losing the benefits of this relationship. I was so confused about the feelings in my body, the feelings in my heart, the way it made my head feel. I was so confused about the price I was paying for his attention. There were so many mixed messages from this prick, so much attention, so much affection, so much “but if you don’t”, “then maybe I won’t come around anymore”, “maybe we won’t do all those other fun things”. “You know, if you don’t, if you won’t, I guess you won’t need me as a babysitter anymore”.” “I guess you won’t need to go out, to the movies, to the playgrounds, to the parks, the pools, the gyms, on the boat, all those things that you enjoy so much”. And he showed me, what no one else in my life was showing me. That I mattered. That I was considered. That I was cared for. That I wasn’t just some piece of shit that no one really gave a fuck about. But even then I knew this wasn’t right, I knew that this shouldn’t be happening. And I could feel my pajama bottoms, slowly being pulled down. I could feel the cool air on my ass as I tried, still in my mind to disappear between the mattress and the wall . And I was gone.