Chapter 26: 1960: The Advent of Hitchcock's Psycho

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*Non consensual sexual scene*

It was a good night. Supposed to be a good night. The night of the ninth year school dance.

I had put on a red dress. Flipping through June's Teen Magazine beforehand told me that red was sexy and a turn on. And so I had proceeded to ask if I might borrow one of hers. It was too tight in the top, but the bottom flared out enough to not get me kicked out of the dance. I had brushed some perfume behind my ears and on my wrists (again following the advice of the teen magazine).

And for what?

Boys didn't really want to get to know me. I was a girl who couldn't like anyone, I suppose, without really getting to know them first. This meant by year nine I had about three friends: June, Danny Newsport, who still said hello to me, and the girl who asked for a pencil every English class. So I had put on this dress for what? Was it June, who got me all excited about this dance, about the opportunity to be a real teenager? Was it the hankering for the relationship between couples, seen clear as day in the hallways, the spaces between people crackling with potential energy? Was it just to feel wanted? To have what my mother never got?

I had brushed these thoughts out of my mind, standing with shaky legs on the edge of the dance floor. June was sitting on the bleachers, wearing a dark, lacy number. Some male teacher kept looking over at her, looking like he was either into her or he wanted to tell her she had to change.

"You gonna dance or what?" This dialogue had come from June. She sat there, face mushed into her hand, looking bored. A finished plate of chips lay next to her. A can of open orange soda sat beside the plate.

"With who?"

"With me, shilly." She picked up the can and took a long drink. "Now you."

"Me what?"

"Drink. It's good for you."

I took the can and took a long swig. It tasted unexpectedly like bathroom cleaner. Rather than spit it up and look like I had thrown up on the gym floor, I choked it down, feeling it burn like fire straight down to my stomach. Turning on June, I yelled through the throng of blasting sound waves in the air, "What was that for?"

"You shouldn't yell at me. You drank the last of my Tequila."

Wordless, I shook my head.

"Come dance," she repeated. I had never played this game: school dances, and I didn't know what to do. June looked experienced. I should follow her, I thought.

We were dancing for a while. Was it half an hour? I wasn't sure, but I was starting to drown in waves of sound and the rhythm of the 2000s dance music. A stranger appeared next to me. Tall, athletic. Blonde hair, a thin, elfish smile.

"My name is Robin. Fancy a dance?" he yelled, his eyes taking in the tightness of June's dress on my body. Because I was drunk, I said yes. I don't think I could have if I was sober.

And then flashes of events. Dancing, walking down the hallway of the darkly lit school, his hand on my waist, that familiar feeling of wanting to throw up, a janitor's closet, Robin unbuckling his pants, me too hazy to notice, me on my knees, me asking for June, me leaning forwards into something unexpected. Me being pressed against the wall. Robin, the strong, masculine athlete. Blur. An unexpected, salty taste. Me trying to get away, nails scratching helplessly on the aluminum floor. No exit. No exit. Me lying in the closet among rolls of toilet paper and bathroom cleaner, the door ajar, the footsteps of the athlete walking away like nothing had happened.

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