She wipes her tears away with the back of her hand and reaches for the next piece. Her hand aches and throbs from the slice in it. Hesitating, she wonders if she really wants to look into the shard of glass, will she be able to handle the pain that may come from looking? Her fingers gingerly pick up the shinning, blood spotted fragment, she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath....... then looks.
Her breath hitches in her throat as she is drawn back to a night 11 years ago. It was pitch black that night, with no moon, the lights in the parking lot weren't working. She gave no thought to walking to her car, as she had walked this lot from the bar more times than she could count. She was enjoying her new found freedom after her divorce, meeting new friends, partying with them on the weekend. They usually met at this bar on the beach every weekend, and sometimes during the week on Salsa night.
Comfortable in her environment, she was relaxed and her guard was down, not paying attention, not looking around or between the cars as she normally does when going to her car in parking lots. He came out of no where and slammed her face first into a red sports car, knocking her senseless. Seeing stars and not yet fully comprehending what was happening he twirled her around and punched her in the face. Her knees buckled at the shock of the pain in her face and as she began to fall to the ground he grabbed her and laid her out on her back.
She tried to struggle against him, he only reared back his fist and hit her again. She could taste the blood in her mouth from the split lip and felt like she was going to pass out from his blows to her face. The just above the knee length sundress she was wearing made it easy for him to reach up and tear away her panties. She knew there was no use trying to fight as she didn't have the strength to over power him. As he forced himself inside of her, she resigned herself to lie still, and as tears ran out of her eyes, she stared at the stars in the sky and prayed that it would be over with quickly. The rocks and shells that made up the parking lot dug into her back and shoulders, but she didn't dare move to ease the pain and knew there would be cuts.
Her body stiffened when he finished and collapsed down on her, crushing her breath from her lungs. Smelling his sweat and feeling his heavy, alcohol laden breath on her neck made her want to vomit. She feared for her life when he raised his upper body off of her and grabbed her throat, squeezing so no air could escape. He leaned down and shoved his tongue in her mouth, she knew she was going to be sick for sure. He leaned down again, the weight forcing more pressure on her larynx, he says "Don't move when I'm gone. I will kill you." Then he got up and off of her and walked off.
She doesn't know how long she stayed there, afraid to move and barely able to breathe, body trembling. Her brain was blank, unable to grasp what had happened. Then the thoughts rushed at her like a title wave, or were they voices? "Miss, can you hear me?" "Are you okay?" "Can you tell us what happened?" "Who did this to you miss, did you recognise him?? Is he somebody you know, perhaps met tonight?"
No words would come, she could only stare at the mob of people that had somehow appeared around her. She was no longer lying on the ground, a blood pressure cuff on her arm, where'd that come from? "I'm going to be sick." were the only words she got out that night, then leaned over and threw up between her own legs.
The inside of the ambulance was bright, the lights a focal point to keep the thoughts at bay. Two days she spent in the hospital. 18 stitches total to her face. She hoped they wouldn't scar, then the ugliness inside of her might be able to stay hidden without showing on her face.
A few weeks later she sat on the edge of the bathtub in her bathroom, staring at the 8Th positive pregnancy test. She slid off the tub onto the floor, bringing her knees up and wrapping her arms around them and cried her heart out. Pregnant... this nightmare won't end. She cried harder as she made up her mind, and knew exactly what she was going to do. She hated herself for the decision and knew it would haunt her for the rest of her life.
The day came to have her abortion. The ride to the clinic was a quiet one, she glances to her father in the driver's seat, knowing he just can't say anything. He didn't hold this choice against her like her mother did. Supported her in fact. He was a strong man, but his heart was broken for everything that has happened. His baby girl was raped by some man they'd yet to find and now he was driving her to have his grandchild aborted. When they arrive he asks, "Do you want me to go in with you?" She shakes her head no and tries not to cry when she says , "I'll be okay, I love you Daddy." Getting out of the car, she doesn't look back because she knows he will be watching, crying for her.
Inside she signs her name on what is a very long list and is ushered to a room to change into a gown, then led to another room, dimly lit with faux leather bench seats lined along all the walls. There are at least a dozen other women waiting already, dressed in the same generic hospital gowns. Sitting, she looks around at everyone there, no one is saying anything. The young girl next to her starts to cry, she slides her hand over and grips the girls and squeezes gently. "It'll be okay," she says, knowing full well that it will not be okay, not for a very long time.
Hours go by as the women are herded through the door, being called out by first name only. She finally hears her name and an awful dread courses through her body, she stands weak kneed and tells herself to toughen up, it'll be okay. Laid up on the table, with feet in stir ups, she prepares herself to be violated again. The process is quick, ten minutes at most with a lot of pressure inside, then she is taken to a room with black leather recliners. The anesthesia wears off quickly, but she still has to wait one more hour to ensure there are no complications. She thinks this must be the cruelest part of the whole process as it gives time to think about the rape, and about where she is sitting. She can't wait to get home and curl up in her bed alone.
She walks out into the bright sunshine, resenting the feel of the warmth on her skin. It seems the day should be cold and rainy at the very least. This day that will surely be the worst day of her life. She sees her parents blue car parked in the front row and sees that her mother has come with her father to pick her up. The passenger door opens and her mother runs to her, crying and wraps arms around her. Something she really needed, to feel her mother's love. Unconditional and strong. They walk to the car and get in. Mother turns from the front seat and hands her a light brown teddy bear, wearing a blue sweater. "This is from your father."
She takes the bear and hugs it close to her, this representation of the child that will never be. A child she knows is in Jesus' care. A representation that has a permanent home in a small wooden rocking chair in her other children's bedroom today.
She sets this fragment next to the other one on the table, afraid to turn back to the mess strewn on the floor, but she knows she's got to get the pieces picked up...........