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She would lie awake at night, wondering how something that had happened in less then ten minutes had the power to change her life so permanently.
People think that evil is something vague and faraway, something they read about in the newspapers or see on TV. Something that lurks in dark corners and creepy alleyways. But the truth is- it’s everywhere; behind the doors of so called ‘good’ homes and in the hearts of people called ‘reputable’ and ‘religious’.
For one girl her experience with evil began with a sandwich. All she wanted was an after school snack. Instead she had her life changed forever.
He cornered her by the kitchen door, grabbing her by the arms and pinning her against a wall. The plate in her hands crashed to the floor, the sound echoing loudly in the empty house. She could smell the alcohol on his breath as he leaned in towards her, his tongue alternately licking at her face and slurring crude compliments. One hand tangled in her hair as the other moved down toward her chest…
After the initial shock she fought like hell but it was no use. It wasn’t until, in desperation, she sank her teeth into his wrist and bit down hard that he let her go, leaving her trembling on the kitchen floor.
She covered up herself with shaking hands and made her way back to her room. She sat sat down at her desk and opened a math textbook.
Maybe… just maybe if she focused on the equations hard enough it would all just go away. The memory of his hands under her skirt, the smell of sweat and cheap cologne and the feelings… especially the feelings; shame, weakness, fear and inexplicably guilt.
It was one week later that she finally found the courage to tell her mother.
She was met with disbelief:
“But he’s such a good man… such a good friend of the family… so religious… so pious”
Instead of the comfort and reassurance she expected, she got one sentence: “Never tell anyone what happened.”
That night lying in bed, pretending to be asleep, she heard her parents talking. Their voices were low but she could hear snippets- words like ‘dishonor’ and ‘disgrace’ and the crown jewel: “but who will want to marry her now??”
And she cried herself to sleep
After that she gave up. Spent most of her time in her room listening to sad songs, fantasizing about revenge, and just watching the ceiling fan spin round and round. Sometimes she would wonder what would happen if she took the scarf around her neck, tied one end to the fan and pulled hard…
She still went to school of course where she gave an Oscar worthy performance. Her grades never dropped, her smile never wavered and not one person saw that she was slowly breaking into a million tiny pieces.
She would lie awake at night, wondering how something that had happened in less then ten minutes had the power to change her life so permanently. It was at these times that, with only the moon as her witness, she would pray to God for the strength to carry on for one more day.
Healing came. Not in the form of a dramatic epiphany or satisfying revenge but slowly through the gentle power of the greatest healer- time.
One morning she woke up early. The sun wasn’t up yet but the early birds were- filling the air with their song. There was something in the air- something that spoke of tranquility, peace and new beginnings.
She made her way to the washroom and turned on the tap.
The water was cold. She stuck one finger under it tentatively then her whole hand. It raised goosebumps on her skin but she didn’t care.
She took a moment to contemplate the girl in the mirror. She was thin and pale and there were heavy dark circles under her eyes but surprisingly she looked okay.
This is not the end of the story because, unlike movies and fairytales, our stories only end with the end of our lives.The road to recovery will be long, hard and sometimes painful. She will never forget what happened to her, nor does she want to. But she is sure she’ll survive, she’ll thrive and she will find happiness.
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