You’ve just got to laugh, they tell me. I stand there, and I can’t believe that in a group of them and only of one me I’m scared of the laughs that slip past their teeth.
It’s just banter, booze, and bad jokes. They’re only taking the piss. I’m being silly. No need to get my knickers in a twist. Yet my pulse pounds harder than hips that thrust aside noes in the darkest shards of shadows.
What is there to say? How do I react when my worst fear is to be trapped, attacked, ripped and stripped of clothes? I’ll shut my mouth and do anything but grin, because who the fuck made this funny, this invasion of skin?
The sniggers die down but my fear still lingers like vicious fingers over limp wrists. Pounding hips. Pounding hips. I won’t laugh at their jokes. I won’t, because all I can think of is my red dress, thigh-high more or less, my boobs exposed in clothes that flatter and flirt too much, as a group across the street chatter, shout, and piss about.
One thinks of chasing me for a laugh down the street to my house. Is it funny now?
You’ve just got to laugh. You’ve just got to.
E.S.A Brown is an undergraduate student of Creative Writing with English Literature at Bath Spa University. Brown specialises in writing short fiction, spoken word, and prose, which she often posts on her blog. She regularly performs spoken word in the Bath and Bristol poetry scene, and is soon to be a co-runner of Rhyme and Reason, a student-led poetry night. Brown's favourite poets are Carol Ann Duffy, Hollie McNish, and Leyla Josephine.