It doesn’t come to mind, not anymore, unless I think of it purposely. Once those memories come though, it's like striking a match. It starts with a spark, strong and intense. After they burn for a while, they become less dense, lingering still like smoke, evaporating into darkness and then they are gone - until the next time. The night it happened sits in the back of my mind, like a musical score in a movie, the background music of my life. Everything changed that one night in September, when the summer was going away for a rest and the fall was slowly creeping in and every night had an eerie glow, waiting to be put to bed over the long winter months. Those are the nights when the air is filled with the aroma of a wood burning stove, a crispness of fresh, cool air and a quiet confidence that comes from the balance fall nights bring.
That night, after the repeated pleas of stop and don’t and shouts of help, no and cries of why, he stole from me not innocence, but hope. As I lay there, having no more control and reciting Psalms 77 in my head until he decided he was done, I remembered something that my mother had said. She was a big believer in hope and said without it, there is nothing left but the dark. That hope was stolen, ripped out of me like he tore me in his fight for control, his demonstration of masculinity, his search for power. He took it all – everything that I was and hoped to be, the sparkle that once lived inside my pale blue eyes – all of it was gone.
It is those same pale blue eyes that I look into for reassurance and promise, the eyes that we share. She is what he bartered, unknowingly, in exchange for violating me. She is my trade off, my consolation prize for being his victim. He took away my hope, but he left her. Late at night, when slumber evades, I lie next to her, knowing that if not for her; I would have died, wilted away from his poison. Without her and that hope that was taken from me but lives inside of her, there would be nothing left but the dark. She is what saved me - a miracle unasked for, a prayer unanswered, redemption unseen.
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