Erica Camden, The Woman (Contact Information Removed)

Our team loved this piece but it was submitted at almost three times the length maximum for our publications. It was just beautiful though, and here’s a chunk that we swooned over for days: 

It was never meant to be like that, the woman thought as she gained consciousness. She was a girl when she passed out, when that man passed her out, and she awoke knowing she was not a woman before even checking her anatomy. He had wanted it this way, he lead her down the long hallway, made a point of closing the door behind him (as though that made him a gentleman) and he was gentle and sween with her for many minutes. She was giddy and excited to have his attention, sharing the occasional girlish tone and giggle that he received as consent.  

She was comfortable with the kissing, the touching, the rubbing. It was new to her but she saw its appeal almost immediately. Every little moan that escaped her advanced his moves. By the time he was removing her shirt, she stopped moaning realizing it was his go-ahead.  

She didn’t start actively pushing back until he was trying, unsuccessfully, to unhook her bra. And it’s the last thing she, now a woman awaking, remembered. Her bra was discarded across the room as though it had been rodeo swinged above the man’s head before he let it fly. Her jeans too. She was nude, the door was ajar, and she ached.  

She walked out of the party to applause, her broken bra in her canvas tote bag. She walked home a woman. She walked home knowing she had two choices moving forward: accept that she was a woman now and how it had happened, or make a scene, lose her entire social life, be a martyr for sexual assault at a school that pretends it doesn’t exist, and let it dominate the remaining high school years, her relationship with her parents, her relationship with any men in the future. 

She was a woman now. And the hardest thing to admit was that she was not ready to be.