he was like an older brother to me; my first best friend from birth, friendship formed from being neighbors. 4 years older than me. when i was 9 he wanted to play a game. he took me into a room away from his niece, younger than me and another close friend. he pulled down my clothes. denim shorts, i remember the feeling of them. once he got in, i had a gut feeling and ran. he let me, and when i went back to his niece, he took her back to the same room. i sat down and couldn’t move. i carry that guilt with me every single day, of not stopping him from taking her. i’ll never know what happened, but i know what he did to me. i would give up myself a thousand times over to go back and make sure she never feels that. i often feel as though i am more scared now than i was back then, as a child. i didn’t have words then for what it was, but now that i finally know what to call it, i can’t say the word without feeling like i’ll break. the more memories i gain, the more numb i become. i want to be a survivor; i want to feel like this isn’t destroying me inside and out. i want to survive.