"No" is one of the first words we learn as children. I learned mine with my parents and my older siblings telling me "no". I learned the stinging feeling someone can have when saying "no". I adapted this quality, always never letting my voice quiver when I say something I mean.
There was loud music. I love music. Not specifically my type of music was playing, so I kept to myself. Couples were kissing, sneaking off into separate rooms. I also had no desire to fulfill the teenage girl roll people think we have of "hooking up" with a guy. He approached me, asking about my ex. What had we done? Why did it go bad? What kind of things was I "down to do?". Talking about my past relationship was not exactly what I wanted to do, I stated as I began to get up and grab a snack from the table filled with cheese puffs, pretzels, pop and cookies.
"You're really pretty. You have beautiful eyes." Thanks, I got them from my father. He persisted, sitting very close to me, and beginning to touch me. "Do you want to just mess around?" "No one else is up here, no one will know." "C'mon, do you know how hard it is to find a girl like you." After each of his sentences pounded in my head, I respond with a simple "no".
Nevertheless, it went on, into the night as nore people started to drift off into separate rooms, out of the main room, leaving me laying on the floor wrapped in a blanket, half sleeping. He was sitting across the room, until he got up and moved by me once again. This time he didn't ask. There were no questions. As he touched my body, a safe place for me with patchy scars and freckles scattered like the stars. He grabbed me, kissed me against my will, saying "If you didn't like it, you wouldn't be kissing me back."
If you didn't like it, you wouldn't be kissing me back.
My hundreds of thousands of "no's" floated away, with no meaning to them. They lost the sting I knew as a child, they lost the seriousness when I said it earlier that night. And as I sat there on the floor, still saying no, I realized no never had a meaning to him. It was an empty, bottomless word. I then realized he was an empty, bottomless person. Hollow, with no beating heart to feel compassion or regret.
I don't blame myself now. I know when I say no, I mean it. I sometimes get reminded of that night and the countless times I said "no". When I see someone that was at the same house, in a different room, I think about if they heard my all of the times I said "no". Did they know I was saying no? Did they see me get up and leave? Did they know what happened? Sometimes when I see him, dodging eye contact and going off to a separate room, I think about all of the times I said no. Does he think about it? What role does "no" serve in our society, if people don't have a universal definition?