I Hope She Knows
I found her that day wandering without a sense of purpose. She had tears in her eyes and what was going through her mind was a total mystery to me. I took her by the hand and asked her what was wrong as I led her to a quieter place. She said nothing.
That silence spoke louder than any word she could have possibly said to me.
I took her into an empty meeting room, closed the door, and asked her again. By the look in her eyes, I could tell she had been harmed more deeply than I have ever seen anyone in my entire life. She opened her lips as she was about to speak, blinked a tear from her eyes, and closed her lips again. She was had a wall up that would not come down on its own.
Even in hindsight, I could not in a million years have predicted what she then told me.
“…I can’t,” she mumbled and turned her watering eyes away from me.
What hurt the most then and what hurts the most now are very different from one another.
In that moment, my emotions verged on almost annoyed. She was my best friend. I could help. She wouldn’t tell me what was wrong.
What shattered me for the remainder of my freshman year came in three words.
“I was raped.”
What do you do when you hear that from a 15 year old girl with bloodshot eyes and cuts on her wrist? What do you say?
The answer to that question was absolutely nothing. I looked at her, began to cry and wrapped my arms around her more tightly than I thought possible. I pressed my lips together, racking my mind for any words of comfort, for her or for me.
At that point, details and the who, what, when, and where were completely irrelevant. “Why?” was my question of choice.
Unfortunately, I have come to know the remaining details to all the questions I didn’t need to know, and have not yet found out why, and probably never will. It’s unimportant, don’t you think? Knowing why won’t justify any of his actions, nor mine, nor hers.
What happened, happened. It was not something that should happen to any individual, and certainly not a fifteen year old girl, not my best friend. Unfortunately it is not something you can forget. Every time I see her, I can’t help but notice the scars on her forearm that spell out “I deserve it.”
I hope she knows that she doesn’t. I hope she knows.