Tag Archives: My #me too experience as a poem Mi

Johannah

I know it was a Thursday It is hard to be a teenage schoolgirl – to be – in navy pleated skirt and blazer, white knee socks, white shirt, red-house stripy tie – racing colours on a concrete estate You negotiate the safest route home. Risk the lift? Or take the several flights of hard stairs to the fifth floor – to your flat? You have to make decisions like that daily with your racing heart betting on safety first. The lobby is empty. You gamble on the lift; it shudders – a creaking silver metal cage; you sound-check behind you – all still clear- the thump of its landing – await the slow-sliding opening – impatient as a filly under starters orders at the gate – bolt inside and check outside. He is hard. You realise. You see that he speaks with a glassy eye. You take in the words but hope the lift door will keep on closing. You calculate he will not have time to step inside, holding his hard penis outside his unzipped trousers. He is not old but he’s older. You are glad you did not politely press the ‘Door Hold’ button to answer the query that issued from his mouth as sociable inanity. It was an eternity until you willed – you urged the lift door to shut out – to shoot off (not cut off his penis) while you answered ‘No. Sorry. I don’t know what floor Susie lives on.’ And stood still shuddering alone in Benny Hill territory: the world of chubby, bespectacled men squinting and lolling their protruding tongues. We should be laughing. The lift bears you up and away. What if the door had slammed and sliced it in half? And you would now be in this metal box with something bigger, thicker than a dismembered white finger bloodied on the silver floor. A buckle on your black school shoe gleams up as you figure the number of inches and feet to cover the flit from lift to front door; he can’t beat you and the lift to the fifth floor, can he? The lift judders. You’re easy meat. It opens on two flat doors. No spying eye except on number eight- a drilled hole in the door to invigilate against strangers’ claims to entrance. Feet float in trance on concrete ground; your house key blinks about the lock. You dwell in silence. Enter your front door. You tell no-one. You and your sister go to Sainsbury’s to do the weekly shop – stock up on cans and meat near Stockwell tube. (That’s how you know it happened on a Thursday.) We giggle, swopping prices on pork chops to get the cheapest deal; and later, laden with weighty jars in plastic carrier bags, thin, red bands strip raw our small, white fingers. Back to Clapham from the shop, it’s a trudge: we are not flying steeds but burdened beasts under a winter-navy, silver sky. ‘Let’s hope,’ says Mary, ‘the lift is working.’