He Smelled Like Peppermint

By: Hanna Haitham

Trigger Warning: mentions of + allusions to rape.

2006
there was a boy
he lived next door
he always had a smile on his face
and he smelled like peppermint
he comes over and asks me to play
i quickly think to ask my mother
but then i remember
she has her boyfriend over
she won’t care

2007
i rush home from school
to look for the boy
who quickly became
my bestfriend
i can’t recall how many times i stained his shirt with my tears
while he held me
and i remember his scent surrounding me
making me feel safe
he smelled like peppermint

2008
he starts looking at me differently
and i don’t like it
i feel him lingering in our hugs
finding excuses to touch me
and as i look for an escape
he moves close
i start to panic
his scent traps me
he smells like peppermint

he apologizes when i complain
but he doesn’t stop
and one day
he held me down
as i slept
and when i screamed
he held me harder
hurt me faster
and as i tried to escape
and my tear drops lined his sheets
i wanted to throw up
i wanted to die
and before i black out
i smell it
he smells like peppermint

2009
i stay here in bed
with a notebook writing jaded love songs
slowly starting to trust again
i met a new friend
it’s been a years since i had friends
my friend notices i’m off all the time
how i’m reserved and closed off
he constantly asks me
one day while we were sitting
i broke down and told him about a boy
who killed my spirit
who shattered my ability to trust
who crushed my heart with his fingers as he crushed every other part of me
i tell him about the nights i lay awake crying to myself
and i can distinctly recall that night
his eyes
his scent
he smelled like peppermint

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