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VIDEO: Twenty Four Hours in Beijing Part I

I woke up on Friday in an incredible amount of pain. My ankle, which I injured the night before during a particularly vigorous game of trampoline-dodgeball, had swollen the point that it looked like a bruised potato with toes dangling off.

Even the slight pressure of my blankets sent rushes of pain through my foot. I tried to get out of bed, failed amid a cloud of expletives, and got back in bed where I tried to fight off the pain by gritting my teeth and growling.

This was the day I was supposed to go to Tokyo by way of Beijing, where I had a twenty-four hour layover. As much as I had been looking forward to this trip, it occurred to me that I might not be physically capable of making it to the airport.

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We both woke up to an empty bed. And as we looked into each other's eyes, she became wide eyed and blinked as if she were sleeping in a bed of onions. She took out her phone and pretended to send a text as I sat up and watched him collect his things and tell me he had to go. I walked him out the door and when I came back upstairs, she was sitting up in the bed with her hands on her forehead. I sat with her silently. We both didn't want to talk about it. So instead I asked her if she was hungry and when she nodded, we walked down to kitchen and made two bowls of cereal. She sat quietly and didn't eat much, and I filled every silence with nervous laughter and awkward conversation until she told me she had to leave.

And as I watched her leave through my kitchen window, I fell to the floor. I tried to cry, because maybe it would get rid of this feeling, but it never left and my eyes were like empty villages abandoned by tiny women that decided they needed to begin new lives. So the lonely village stayed put in my mind and in my eyes. And I touched my hair as I remember the terrifying thoughts that ran through my head as he grabbed me by my hair and pulled my face up so my lips touched his. And he kissed me over and over and as I remembered the scars he left among my face, I felt a tsunami coming of oceans filled of sea creatures and monsters that I have stored so deep in my memory, I had forgotten they existed. I remember Googling "How to get over sexual assault?" I remember typing in the words "sexual assault" and remembering a time when I told myself I'd be strong enough. That I would never fall a victim. And number one told me to seek help and talk about it, but I didn't even know where to begin. Because we had been friends for years that I knew him like the back of my hand, but as his hand moved up to my breasts, I couldn't recognize him any longer. He was just a stranger. And when I ask myself why I hadn't said anything, I hate myself for not coming up with a reason. And I worked so hard for years to make myself complete, but as he left in the morning, I noticed pieces of me still stuck on his palms, but I'm too scared to ask for them back. I will never be complete again. He carries parts of me I will never find in myself.

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