Please be aware that this story contains harsh language and some sexual content.

I pressed my lips against his — his hands wandered up my torso, and I froze. The truth grabbed my hands and pushed him away.

“Don’t touch my boobs.”

He said “okay,” sincerely enough for me to naively believe him. But my hands found their way across his body and under his clothes, and his hands found their way back toward my chest.

My hands took a cold grip on his face, and I curled up in his sheets.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I’m sorry.”

“Why can’t I touch you? What’s wrong?”

I bit my lip. A growing fear gnawed at the base of my chest, in my heart, as if that was the real thing I didn’t want his hands to touch. I let go of my shame, and let the ridiculous story I’d planned cover me, artificially.

“When I was young, I wanted to be a ballerina. But my boobs were too big. I mean, that’s what my teacher told me.” I hesitated.

This was the part I hated to say. I’d thought about it, a little bit, but wasn’t sure if it would work.

“But I really wanted to be a ballerina. More than anything. So I tried to cut my boobs off.”

His eyes widened.

What was he supposed to say to that? It was weird and creepy and sort of fucked up. But then again, so was the truth. The only difference was that what really happened to me hurt a lot more than trying to cut off my breasts would have.

But there was no good response to what I told him — trust me, I tried to think of what he might say. He just said something like, “Well, I’m glad you didn’t. They’re nice.”

I was naïve to think that there was any response he could give that would’ve kept me from crying. I shut my eyes and felt hot tears drip down my cheeks, onto my neck, my shoulders, and my stupid breasts.

“You could’ve still been a ballerina,” he mumbled, uncomfortably. “I mean, you can still be a ballerina. If you want to.”

I didn’t know what to say or do. I just lay on his bed, curled naked into the wrinkled sheets.

I wove this lie for the same reason that most people lie — to place a layer of protection between yourself and the truth. I told this lie so that I didn’t have to tell anyone about what my brother did to me, or what he said to me, or where he put his hands.

Michael sat up, beside me. I could sense that he wanted to put his hands around me — not because he wanted to get laid, or because he wanted to touch me. He probably just wanted the naked girl on his bed to stop crying. But he kept his hands to himself, as if my pale skin would light his hands on fire.

I stopped crying, and told him the truth. The rotten, fucking, naked truth. Nobody besides my dad knew. My dad, my mom, and my brother.

“I’m sorry,” he said. I knew that he would say that. People always say that. I could tell he meant it, but only because he didn’t know what else to say. But neither did I.

“We can still talk.”

“Okay,” I said.

“We can go on another date.”

“No, It’d be too weird,” I said. I put my bra back on, then my pants, my shirt, and my shoes. He took me home, and said goodbye.

He texted me, three days later. I never responded.

Instead, I drove to the edge of downtown, where that ballet studio is. I walked inside.

“How can I help you?” the lady at the front desk asked.

I never tried to cut my breasts off. That was a lie that I made up to try to keep the truth from hurting. Instead, the lie seeped into my life and hurt me even more.

I stepped forward.

“Yes,” I said, “I’d like to take ballet lessons.”