She refused to do anything about the rape. After that day, she didn’t want to talk about it. J is much like me in her ability to bury things deep inside. It kills me to see her do that, because I know what burying secrets does to you. The secrets come out at night and haunt your dreams. They creep up randomly in the middle of the day and make you unable to breathe. Secrets that you keep buried eat away at your soul, swallowing it bit by bit. Trust me, I know.
But burying secrets is a way to survive and keep living. It is a coping skill; a bad one, but a coping skill nonetheless. I was once gang raped by a group of guys who I thought were my friends. I was drunk and high on drugs, so the next morning I buried it away. After all, I put myself in that position. It was my fault. Those were the thoughts I had at the time, so I pretended it didn’t happen. Even when I saw them later in the week, I pretended nothing was different. Inside, I felt dead. I continued doing drugs and drinking heavily for a few more years. I attempted suicide several times. When I wasn’t attempting suicide, I lived as recklessly as I could. Dying seemed better than living. I was in a bad place for a long time. It was years before I could grieve and even admit to myself that I was raped.
I worry so much about J. She carries so many wounds and she is not tough like I am. She feels every little jab deep in her heart. She is so trusting, yet she keeps getting hurt. J is a good, loyal person with a heart of gold. She trusted that when she said no, he would listen. It wasn’t a playful, ambiguous no. She was crying. She meant it.
My anger is still boiling. She begged me not to tell anyone, not even her dad or sister. So I have another secret that I must carry, because when I make a promise I keep it. I do not know what will happen if I run into him somewhere. In this small town, it is bound to happen. I know where he works. I could easily find out where he lives. I lay in bed at night and dream up scenarios of what I would do to him if I could. I will not share with you what my twisted mind concocts because it frightens me to think I can even dream of such terrible things. But she is my baby, no matter her age. She is handicapped mentally and he took advantage of that. To me, that is more inhumane than the horrors my mind creates.
I am here, drinking my coffee and beginning my day. J spent the night with a friend and is planning her best friend’s wedding. The birds are chirping and the sun is rising. Life goes on.