Y Su Papá Tambien

On the door of the last stall in the guys' bathroom across from the gym, my name is infamous in red ink. My name follows a phrase. My name follows the phrase:  I fucked . . . Then a date: 8/19. Below are words in pencil and fingernail carvings.

Me too 9/4
me 2 9/24
& me 10/8

Someone tells me about the red ink. Someone tells me about the me toos. They laugh. Every couple of weeks there's a new one.

Hard in the ass
I cummed on her tits! & she screamed!
She sucked me while Jerry Temple fucked her cunt!
i fuked her & june cambell at da same fukin time!

I ask Roshawn to show me. I think he's lying. After school, before football practice. The last stall. One inscription reads her daddy fucked her too. I read it aloud. I'm in a box of cheap purple wood. Roshawn's taking a leak in the stall next to this one. The sound is just water on water and that's how the words hit me. Just water on water and as always, someone's pissing on me. I ask him over the sound of his urination if he's got a big marker kind of pen. He doesn't.

There's an art teacher's room down the hall. As I walk out of the bathroom, I notice the black half-globe of a security camera embedded in the hallway ceiling. Whoever's taping my entry and exit thinks I'm fucking the quarterback in there. Mr. Mason isn't in his classroom and there's a black permanent marker on his desk. Before I go back into the bathroom, I hold up the marker and look into the camera, my face stony and frozen and mad. This bathroom is a temple to my sexual escapades, both real and imagined. This stall is a confessional. These are documentations of other peoples' sins.

I ask Roshawn which one he wrote. He tells me none, but there's one a bit to the left of all the others and it says she fucked me. I cross out that one first, just to let him know I recognize his handwriting in dying blue ink. Well, at least one is true. I scribble over the "daddy" one next. Then the one that started it all. Then the rest. This is my temple. I'll forgive and I'll absolve.


He wasn't my father. He was my stepfather. If he goes to prison for incest and attempted murder, well, he has to be my father. If the man who rapes you is married to your mother, they call it incest.

I had a shrink for a while. She told me I was telling her stories; I wasn't telling her how I really felt. "How do you think you'd feel?" She either didn't have that kind of imagination or she just wanted me to say it. "Feel" is not a verb I like to use. "I came home and he fucked me." "Rape" is not a verb I like to use. "Incest" is a noun for courtroom usage.

"Legal guardian" is what you call the kind grandmother who takes you in, takes care of you. "Legal guardian" is a word for whoever signs forms requiring parental permission.

"Think about it." How I felt was black cloth in my mouth. How I felt was thumbprint bruises. How I felt was blood like motor oil.

How I felt was a living room abortion.

Did I want to kill him? "Yes." But then he died and he was even closer. He was in my scar tissue and behind the shower curtain and he always disappeared just before I looked. Did I want him to suffer what I had? "Yes." But in Huntsville, he was somebody's bitch and he was so fucked-up and he liked it. In a nightmare that was real, he bent over me and said, "I feel your pain."

What if some cop read about me, called me up, lied me this great lie, told me he was dead when he wasn't? This head-spinning case of deja vu as my mother opened the door to our apartment, asked me what was going on. "Another inmate killed him." Who? I said his name. "Oh. I guess that was bound to happen sometime." As though he'd preyed on both of us. As though he was no different from my father. As though my father had hurt somebody.


Can you feel this, Alex?

My fist is wrapped around the marker, just a thin cock that doesn't scream if I squeeze.


Angry stabs of wet ink. I'm forming a cartoon escape hole in the wall.

Take it like a man.

It shines like a giant's pupil. It shines like motor oil.

Don't cry now.

It shines like blood.

Swallow it.

It shines like my blood. In a puddle. Blood I gave to a baby. In wet streaks on the yellow fabric. Painted on the end of the hanger. Shining in moon or street light. Painted in hardening stripes on my cheeks.

Whatever gets you off, Alex. That's what God said when he watched me die. Whatever gets him off.


What if virgins conceived? What if virgins miscarried? What if breaking was birth and children were born innocent and the apple was created for consumption? Father, forgive me for everything I've done in your name. Satan's charging me with treason. My sentence is a lifetime of absolving my own sins.


Father, forgive me, it wasn't my fault.
© 2003 Maria Santos

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