If I Could

If I could
I would sit quietly outside a café and finish the last few chapters of my book. Distraction would come only when birds land on the ground in search of crumbs or when I feel the sun’s heat pressed firmly against my right side.

If I could
I would look down at the phone a stranger set in front of me, and instead of an erect penis, I would see puppies playfully run through a field pulling at the ear, or flowerbeds in full bloom as each stem tramples the other toward sunlight, or better yet – nothing.

If I could
I would appreciate the muffled sounds of laughter during happy hour while keeping productive on my laptop. There would be no one pressuring me to take them home for the night, shoving their phone number at me, demanding my attention. Instead of intrusive thoughts of dating a seventy-four year old who constantly thinks about sex, I would simply tend to my work and enjoy an evening out.

If I could
I would sleep for a few hours on the sofa before returning a friend to the airport, without being woken up by them assaulting me.

If I could
I would wear my favorite top to work – the one that rests on my back like butterfly wings with white lace hugging the neck-line, and little green flowers prancing across fabric. There would be no one cornering me in the back of the building to tell me all the things they would do to me if they weren’t married. I would interact with customers and co-workers without fear of being undressed by lurking middle-aged eyes. I would transition myself into a social butterfly.

If I could
I would attend church services without fear of being chased through a parking lot and told things about my own body and posture and touch that others decided would make me a great girlfriend. I would worship freely without fear that my movement was being transcribed into human sexuality. 

If I could
I would walk at night through bowing forest on glistening sidewalks
I would go up into the mountains
I would hang my hammock and read or nap cocooned in peace
I would visit state parks and wander in the woods for hours
I would bring coffee to watch the sunrise at West Palm Beach
I would board a plane to explore unknown places
I would lay in the grass past sunset and watch stars crawl out of a dark sky
I would walk with my head down through the parking garage
I would play guitar in the park
I would make eye contact and smile at strangers
I would attend church
I would leave my knife in a tote with outdoor gear rather than carry it with me

And if I had to tell stories about the things done to me, the response would not be to blame me. Where I was. What I did. What I said. How I showed too much interest. How I should have never gone there. Never fallen asleep. Worn something different. Not asked him questions. Not smiled so much. Not seemed as though I enjoyed it.

If I could
I would

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