By: May Hong
You remember calling him Watermelon Head when he got a bad haircut in the second grade.
Him scribbling your Chinese name on a piece of scrap paper and you
vigorously crossing it out,
until you were both kicked out of the classroom.
Smoking your first cigarettes together at 13, behind the 7-Eleven where you threw up
and he laughed a little but also
held your hair.
Your grandparents comment on how much he has grown over the summer.
His mother asks you to tutor his little sisters in math.
It becomes trendy to list friends as siblings on Facebook so you do: brother, sister.
Brink of 15, him cross-legged on the floor of your room and you
on the bed, reading—a familiar scene.
You do not see him lunge but you feel
the sudden shock of his shoulder ramming into your jaw, the blur
of his shirt—a deep red—and then the smell
of lavender detergent as he pushes your face into the pillow. Confused
at first, then light-headed, you grapple for your phone but he snatches it
out of your hand and flings it
across the room.
You feel him through your shorts.
Fighting but staying
quiet, sour eyes, tearing
at the sheets for some whimpering semblance of why when abruptly
he pushes himself off of you and says
You get in the shower.
You scrub yourself with soap, twice.
You go downstairs, tell your older sister. She says, sometimes when boys do this,
we have to forgive them.
So you try to unknot your insides.
The next morning
on the school bus,
he hands you a bottle of iced tea and says sorry and you say what you think is right.