I was fifteen the first time a stranger grabbed my penis. There was someone new standing with my friends. He looked up and made eye contact with me, walked over and grabbed my crotch with one hand. My friends all lost it. He winked and then walked back over to them. I didn’t say anything. I joined my laughing friends and positioned myself as far away from him as possible. I made a mental note that he was another person I would have to keep watch for. One of my friends ended up dating him.

I know this happened but I can’t remember where. It was in the cafeteria, it was in the hallway, it was outside, waiting for the bus. Was anyone there but us?

I can remember his name, and I can remember some things about his face, but I can’t quite put them all together in a way that feels right. Glasses with thin frames. Big teeth, a little sharp at the edges. Short dyed hair. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to find his cheeks.

I know he was taller than me, or at least it feels that way. I can’t remember looking up at him, it just feels like I should.

Some of my gears have missing teeth, broken teeth, the ghosts of teeth. I hear them sometimes, grinding and creaking against each other, opening and closing hinges at the edges of forgetting.

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