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Fourth of July, 1980

Leslie Hill

It is late afternoon on a Friday, and almost everyone in our family is at a Fourth of July block party down the street. I came home from the party to get something and head right back, but have been delayed. I'm in the downstairs powder room. I stand in front of the toilet, facing the sink and the mirror above it. My shorts and panties are around my ankles. I feel a sensation that is new to me.

A warm, tingling buzz spreads out through my core, racing down my legs and up to my head. The buzz pulses, and so do I. My head feels heavy; I let it roll around on my shoulders. I’m wondering how to make this warm feeling last. Having never experienced it before, I'm not sure how it works. I see myself in the mirror and am caught in my own gaze for a moment. I am aware that this is me. In this same moment, I can’t believe that this is me.

As I'm considering how to keep this sensation going, I hear what sounds like a very loud kazoo coming from the front yard. I look out the window, pulling the curtain off to the side with my fingers. The neighborhood Fourth of July celebration is now fully underway, including a small parade of children, some in costumes, some riding bikes, some being pulled in wagons by their parents. As they pass by our house on their way to the block party, I can hear the kids laughing, having fun and being silly. The bikes and wagons are festooned with red, white, and blue pinwheels and bunting. I want the parade to move on so I can get back to concentrating on this sensation.

I look down at his face. His eyes are closed as he licks me. He uses his fingers to rub me warm. (I don’t know what grinding is as this is happening, but if I had known, I would have wanted to grind myself into his mouth.) I’m trying to stand with my legs bowed out, so his head can fit between my legs. I’m clutching the window sill for support as I try not to make any noise. This isn’t easy to do. I feel something that I don’t have words to describe at that time, but what I now know is a deep, guttural yowl, building deep in my body. As I stifle the yowl, I’m in such an awkward pose. My legs are twitching with fatigue and I fear that I’ll fall backward and land on the toilet. Speaking of the toilet, I need to pee and I'm not sure if I should interrupt what he is doing. I don’t want him to stop. I love this feeling. I love that he wants me. This is very exciting to me. The chance of him being caught somehow adds fuel to the warmth. At that moment, he looks up at me and seems to hear the Independence Day parade for the first time.

He wipes his mouth on the back of his hand and hurriedly stands up to look out the window from behind the curtain. The last of the parade goers is moving on down the street. He looks at me, stands back, and unlocks the powder room door. He walks out without saying a word to me. I pull up my panties and shorts, wash my face, and go back to the party.

I am 12 years old. He is my father.

This was not the first time he touched me, but this was the first orgasm of my life. That summer, I had a lot of dark thoughts and the beginning of what became a long journey of fear and anxiety. It would be a long time before the repercussions of these events became fully apparent to me. On that day, though, I liked the warm feeling and the attention. And, perhaps like every 12-year-old girl, I liked having a secret.


Leslie Hill

Leslie Hill is a writer, photographer, avid reader and traveler. She is becoming more comfortable with her identity as a survivor and continues to seek opportunities for joy, even during times of pain and transformation. Leslie survived a childhood that included domestic violence, sexual assault and conversion therapy. Leslie has found new ways to feel alive and is very grateful for what are now brighter days. In her professional life, Leslie is an attorney who assists survivors as they encounter the legal system. For 27 years, she has worked with adults experiencing domestic violence and assault, as well as children and teens who have been abused and neglected. She has been fortunate to learn from amazing clients of all ages.


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