Radhika George’s short story is a powerful take on sexual abuse from the perspective of a teenager who goes through this for years without understanding the gravity of what was happening to her.
She finds the lions repulsive. Flanking either side of the café entrance with their imposing stone bodies, their mouths wide open in a roar, revealing seven-centimeter-long ferocious canines. She thinks of the sharp fangs tearing at her flesh. Shuddering, she quickens her steps towards the revolving entry door of the café, thankful for the momentary safe solo spot inside a quadrant.
The coffee shop – white cups and black coffee, small jugs filled with cream, and the aroma of cinnamon and chocolate- give a fleeting ambience of warmth. She can have a seat and enjoy her solitude. Perfect.
She glances at the grey pegboard beside the counter with white letters and numbers listing down the menu. She hates coffee. Latte, Cappuccino, Espresso, Americano. She has tried them all. None ever sat well with her. She can’t imagine why anybody would enjoy the bitter, peculiar-tasting liquid, which to her is slightly worse than the idea of Xylophagia. Paper doesn’t taste half as bad.