I remember what he smelled like.
Cigarettes and dirt. Kind of metallic, too.
He was a construction worker and he smoked. You can’t really wash those smells off.
My family was close. I used to sleep over at relatives’ houses all the time. He lived in one of the houses I slept at the most. There was a big couch in the living room and a smaller loveseat under a window that looked out on the front lawn. I’d stay up late, watching TV on the couch after everyone went to sleep. That’s also where I slept — there wasn’t a guest bed or bedroom. I was a shy nine-year-old, with a long, lanky body and a head that felt too big. I didn’t fit on the loveseat.
I’d flip through the channels, wide-awake, under a big blanket.
I wasn’t always alone. Sometimes there’d be someone else asleep on the loveseat. But I was always the only one awake when it happened.
I’d hear his footsteps coming down the stairs.
He’d sit down next to me, pretending to watch TV. Sometimes, he never went upstairs to sleep and just waited on the couch.
I knew what was coming next.
I don’t know how to say this part. I haven’t told many people. I’m not the most vulnerable person — I don’t talk about my feelings much — so this is uncomfortable.
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