The house is a war zone; minefields of clothing piles on the floor. Food left on the table, gathering flies. The smell reminds me of the town-dump. When we would drive past, I’d have to roll up my windows just to stop my eyes from watering.
She takes off my jacket and hangs it over the couch.
“Why don’t you and your brother go upstairs to play,” she says more than asks.
I hesitate; I watch her pull up a chair with her friend to the kitchen table.
They hold those red and white cans that make her breath smell weird. She smiles and encourages me to join the others. I’d rather stay by her side, but I walk to the stairs to join the boys in their bedroom.
The bunk beds are trashed with action figures and video game cases. I sit on the floor in the corner.
When the oldest one notices me, he points at me.
He explains how I would be perfect because I am so small and light. He gestures for me to stand.
I cringe but I stand up and join them. W.W.E is on the TV and they are demonstrating the wrestling moves with a pillow.
But now they want to use me instead.
After what feels like hours of the Choke slam, The RKO and the Last Ride, I sit on the bed to watch the two boys and my little brother play a wrestling video game.
My arms are red and raw from being lifted and pulled. I’m tired and there is nothing for me to play with…so I decide to go downstairs.
As I walk down the stairs, I hear laughter.
I turn the corner into the kitchen and I see her head down on the table. Her eyes are closed and she doesn’t wake when I shake her. I see the white powder on her nose and the rest is covering the table. I look up and her friend is now laughing with what looks like her boyfriend who just got home from work.
He smiles at me. “She is taking a nap,” he says.
I tell them I want to go home; I want to go to bed.
He leads me into the living room and grabs a blanket off of the couch. He tells me to lie down before covering me with the blanket. The couch smells musty and old, bathed in cigarette smoke.
It’s hard to fall asleep at first because of the sounds coming from the kitchen.
But then I give into my tired eyes and drift off to sleep.
When I wake up, it’s still dark in the house.
There is a coldness running down my spine. It’s so quiet that it takes me a moment to realize that the coldness I feel is someone’s hand.
He is behind me. Lying with me on the couch, he has his hand up my shirt. He is rubbing my back. My breath quickens; I don’t know what to do. He is now stroking my hair, breathing it in. I decide to stay quiet.
This isn’t my home, maybe this is how it is here?
He isn’t hurting me, so I let it go. Now he is breathing hard and I feel something pushing up against my back. I feel the tears in my eyes but I hold them back. I just want to go home.
I decide that I will pretend to be sleeping beauty. As one of my favorite Disney movies I have seen it many times. The fair beauty with the yellow hair and red lips sleeps until she is awakened by true love’s kiss. I tell myself that I can sleep like her, too. I ignore the hand that is once again creeping up my back and I try to fall asleep.
Suddenly the lights are on and I hear yelling coming from the kitchen.
She runs over to the couch with a knife and tells him to get off of me.
“I swear to God that I will kill you if you ever touch her again!” she screams.
She pulls me off of the couch and grabs my jacket. After collecting my sleeping brother, we walk out into the cold night and drive home. That was the last time we ever went to that house and it was the last time it was ever spoken about.
Melissa Libbey is a recent graduate with her MA in English and Writing Studies. She is also the first intern for Sick Lit Magazine. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found drinking wine while petting her dog. She has also been published on Thought Catalog, Kean Xchange and find her on Twitter: @Miss_Libbey16
*Featured artwork courtesy of the brilliance that is: Toby Penney*
2 Replies to “Sleeping Beauty – by MELISSA LIBBEY”
Thank you so much Sebnem!
Very poignant, Melissa. 🙂