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At the age of fourteen, she had told her mother with excitement that a fellow student had asked her to be his girlfriend. He was a rather quiet, harmless boy. She was sheltered and said she had to ask her parents if it was all right. He was the first boy to show interest in her beyond being someone from whom to get help on school assignments. She was excited and sought to share this new adventurous step with her mother.
“I guess you’re not as innocent as I thought,” her mother had said at the news.
The response threw her, confused her in its bluntness. Her mother didn’t show happiness over her child growing up or asked for details, her mother- with one sentence- stripped the joy over the event. With one sentence, her mother made her question her own purity even though she had done nothing except exist in this boy’s presence.
With that, the next day she declined the boy’s request of being his girlfriend.
Soon she can’t stop the flinch when the rare man approaches her. She doesn’t wear a purity ring but she might as well have “KEEP AWAY” on her forehead. She equates men with a loss of innocence, a scary path she shouldn’t cross. She becomes almost fearful of interaction and tries to fake an ease but they always notice and go away.
She is obsessed with being clean, showering and washing and washing and washing, refusing to accept just a spot of dirt, nothing will mar her.
Years past and her fearful innocence stays even when harsh realities hit. Less optimistic but still innocent. She gets older and wonders how long she will have to stay innocent, when will she get to grow up.
She gets older and still collects dolls, no longer playing with them but still smoothing their dresses and combing their hair. Her excitement for things is still childlike but the harshness of disappointment and sadness begins to wear away at her eyes. She stays frozen at that fourteen year old level of fearful innocence as to not receive her mother’s judgement, convinced anything else is dark and unacceptable. She stays as frozen as her dolls even if she ages as they remain the same.
Her hands get dirty when she experiments with the dark and she hates that she enjoys it. When she curses for the first time, quietly and swiftly and alone. When she has her first solo orgasm and immediately feels guilty after, biting through her lip until it bleeds out. When she has a sudden moment of anger that terrifies her and she quickly replaces the mirror she has broken. When she strikes her first and only lover, enraged that he took her innocence after too many tender words, too many alluring touches, too many drinks.
She struggles to wash her hands clean of such dirtiness and hopes the guilt disappears like the blood that had stained her hands and dress. She tells herself it was all his fault and she is still innocent and clean. Those words don’t stop her from taking the red nail polish she hid from sight and pouring some on the skirts of her dolls so they matched her dress perfectly.
When she bathes, it is like a baptism, the water ridding her of her darkness and it is like her tape is rewinding. Soon, she’s forgotten her darkness and the man who took her innocence, she dresses nicely again and fixes her hair and looks just like her dolls and when her mother comes to visit, she smiles.