There was no escaping it, last week’s big story. Front page of the paper laying outside our hotel room door. Blaring from TVs in every waiting room. And by week’s end, with no words left that someone hadn’t already said or written, this memory seemed to be asking to be written. So I wrote it. But it’s taken me 3 days to hit the “publish” button, not because I mind sharing this story – I’ve told it before – but because there seemed no purpose, the telling of it here. I don’t always need to know a purpose, but in this case, I don’t want to just add to the noise. After hashing it out on a long car ride home last night, my husband supplied the last line, which seemed fitting and satisfied my need for a purpose.
* * *
WARNING: This post alludes to a child sexual predator and though the post is not overly graphic, readers deserve a warning.
about the 18-year-old brother of a friend,
about how I’d knocked on the door
and through the screen door
heard someone call from the far recesses of the house
asking what I wanted –
“Can So-and-So come out and play kickball?”
I said through the screen –
and how he said he couldn’t hear me
and I should come inside
and that he still couldn’t hear me
and I should come upstairs
and then that I should come further up the stairs
and how, in the end,
I ran down the stairs,
not so much because I was faster
but because I had the advantage
of being dressed,
which he wasn’t
(not a stitch)
and so certainly he would not be following me outside,
my friend said
“Did you tell anyone?”
I did not tell.
* * *
I RAN HOME and sat on the front steps
trying to make sense of what happened,
and failing that,
decided the best thing to do
was forget about kickball for the day,
“Why didn’t you tell?” my friend asked.
“I didn’t think anyone would believe me.”
Would you believe a child with a story like that?
* * *
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