Unknown Truths

February 10, 2009
By
You would never suspect the surprisingly peppy librarian and volunteer at the 'Happy Home for
Elders' is actually a currently registered level 2 sex offender in Massachusetts. Yeah, I
wouldn't either. It's a good thing Melissa wasn't, right? Sitting through my lecture in
criminal psychology, I couldn't help myself; the only thing I could focus on was watching the
little ticks of skinny stick in my watch and wondering what would make that skinny stick of a
teacher tick. I couldn't even engage in reality enough to count the seconds until class would be
over, but I knew it was soon. I found myself reversing time in my mind and running through my summer
only two years ago. Two years ago, back when my biggest problem was probably whether I should get
triple chocolate chunk, signature strawberry or throw out the whole ice cream idea to lose the most
insignificant bit of weight. While trying to not-so-subtly flirt with the guy patiently waiting to
serve me and close up, I remember seeing Melissa out of the corner of my eye. I stopped mid-sentence
when I spotted her and realized that the guy had lost interest a long time ago. Something about her
caught my eyes so intensely; maybe it was the fact that she was pacing around nervously, seeming to
wait for me. I always liked her style, but would've never dared to wear the same dark blue, flared
jeans and bright green jacket with the provocative plunge-neck, beaded tank top underneath. I went
with my first two options, deciding I didn't really care as much about losing weight as my friends
always did and paid the cashier with a twenty for the extra change. The night wind was strong and
warm through my wet hair from a full day of swimming on my walk over to Melissa. She stopped pacing
as I neared and I stuck out both hands so I wouldn't have to choose which flavor I preferred. She
took the strawberry. We sat down on the boardwalk facing away from the neon lights of the ice cream
parlor and kept silent long enough for us to finish a third of our ice cream and she finally broke
the quiet. 'We're both juniors you know. Only, I'm in college.' 'Yeah? How's that going
for you? Didn't you only move here three months ago?' 'I tried to rape a couple guys before I
came here. Not at the same time though. It's weird because people think it's only the guys who
do that sort of thing, but it's not true. Are you scared?' I contemplated what she just told me
and found that I was actually more concerned with the fact that my ice cream drip was about to reach
my sleeve and if I moved in the wrong way, I would end up dropping the whole thing. 'No.'
'Good. I just had to tell someone. I'm leaving here soon. I'm getting help.' She got up and
left me to think some more and I did. Maybe it was the fact that no one had ever been so blunt and
honest with me, but I didn't feel like it was really that big of a deal. I bet by working at the
library and volunteering at a home for old people like the rest of the good girls, she was really
overcompensating for the fact that she was, in actuality, pretty messed up. That was the extent of
me thinking about the new information I had just obtained about Melissa and I got up to throw away
my cup and walked eight blocks home. The short but effective high-pitched bell pierced through my
daydream like a sharp arrow through a fresh, crisp apple. Robotically, I put my notebooks and pen
back into my bag and followed the rest outside. Once I reached the exterior walls of the school and the
cold air stung my nose, all the problems of the day came rushing back in my head and crowded my
thoughts. Need to return the shoes I bought, can't believe he treated me like he did, can't
believe I'm still thinking about it, still have to turn in my essay for Economy 101, can't
believe I tripped over that rock, can't believe I got fired on the same day, can't believe how
lame my life is turning out to be. When I finally looked up I realized I'd walked all the way to the
university's park and had time to kill before I needed to go anywhere else. Straight ahead of me was
a row of five or six benches lined up next to each other. I walked around the last one on my right.
There were six. I tool just one extra, unnecessary moment to look down each bench one by one to
figure out that Josh Sullivan occupied the fourth one and I took special care to pick the farthest
seat away from him. Honestly, he seemed more likely to be a sex offender than Melissa ever came off
as, although I don't know him any less than I knew Melissa. Josh is always so serious looking. The
only other time I was anywhere close to him was when he sat behind me in one of my classes and I
couldn't shake his powerful, heavy breaths that landed right on the back of my neck and almost
gave me permanent goose bumps. Accidentally, I began to stare at him and noticed how dark his eyes
were, especially compared to his plain white tee. I began to notice how he rarely blinks while
flipping through his river rafting brochure and how lonely he looks sitting there all by himself.
Without thinking, I found myself out of bench number six and walking toward bench number one. It's
at bench number four that I stopped. Josh's bench. I slowly bent my knees and sat on the bench so
close; my whole left side was touching his right. I turned and spread my legs out on the bench and
gently layed my head on his muscle-padded shoulder. I swallowed, unsure, but well aware of every single
move I made. There was a chuckle and I realized it was from Josh so I lifted my face toward his. He
looked back at me, not with a creepy smirk that you would expect a sex offender to have, but a full
on, mouth open wide smile. He faintly blushed. I felt the cozy comfort of human touch that was
Josh wrapping his arms around me like he can see into my harsh life and understand what a difficult
day it's been. 'Me too.' I think about Melissa one more time and wonder what secrets Josh
could be keeping from me. Secrets that I would wish other people knew. Secrets that told what an
amazing person he actually was. Secrets that would prove the whole world wrong. Secrets are not all
bad, just unknown.





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