Demure, quiet, she kept to herself as she walked down the road of life.
Wary, alert, carefully she kept her distance from people.
She hurried if she felt people approaching.
She hastened her steps when men asked her questions, quickening her pace, mouthing the same word over and over again, “No.”
She walked on too fast and too long, alone, the voices in her head keeping her company.
She stopped for breath, the voices ebbing, feeling lonely, struggling to breathe easy.
She wondered why she didn’t hesitate before saying, “No”, why she thought later but answered before.
She questioned herself for the first time. All the men she’d said “No” reappeared beside her, imploringly staring at her, waiting for her to say something. They demanded answers to the question she was asking her own self.
“No,” she said. Her mind kept repeating “No” until her legs took her far away. The voices came back stronger than ever.
“Don’t let men touch you.”
“Never talk to strangers.”
“Men cannot be trusted.”
“He won’t want to marry you.”
“Don’t heed to your body.”
“He doesn’t care.”
That is why she said, “No.” Because that is all she’d been taught!