Yellow is vulnerable. It's child-like, like the color of the buttercups placed
beneath my chin in the summer when I was a kid, like the faint shadows of their
petals reflecting off the pale of my skin. If your chin turns yellow, you like butter.
Yellow is as innocent as my unclothed shoulder, fifteen years old, newly tanned
and freckled from a June sun.
Like playing with weeds in the yard, a shoulder like this is considered to beckon,
draw him in and say yes without really saying anything at all. It's said the victim
is never the guilty; try telling that to groups of high school students in a cafeteria
the Monday after it all went wrong, explaining to a man who says, Well, she did
it to herself. She shouldn't have worn that.
It wrapped to one side, bared my left shoulder, hugged my upper body tight
in its threads. It met my denim at the hip. It gave him permission to not ask
permission. It's supposed to matter that I said no even after he was inside me,
that he didn't finish until he decided it was over, threw me on the ground and
picked me up after, holding me, making me question if I wanted it all along.
I know him. We watched a movie, exited out onto the pavement, didn't make
it out from a bush near the unloading dock until he took what he wanted. That
shoulder, it found me pushed against a concrete wall, jeans torn at the knee and
wet black puddles running through the foundation on my cheeks.
It didn't matter if my no was stuck in the bottom of my throat; his story was
first. It didn't matter if I was fifteen and alone or hanging with the wrong
crowd. It didn't matter if I was wearing a dress, a shirt, a towel, a pantsuit,
Superwoman's cape. I am a woman. I put it on and it was yellow.