Bringing Home a Stranger This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
     I play with the stitching on my shirt as you say, "Come on, this is your time to talk."

You think I don't want to talk. You think I don't want to scream about the horrifying memories that play over and over in my head. But I can't talk. I can't scream, I can't even open my mouth. All I can do is sit and listen and think.

He told me not to open my mouth. He told me not to say a word. He told me that even if I did, no one would believe me.

So I sit here in silence. I feel your stare on my forehead as I look at my feet. I pull my legs to my chest and your dead-cow couch makes a disturbing noise.

You let out a frustrating sigh. It's a sigh I have heard before. It's the same sigh as my frustrated mother's.

I forget where I am for a moment and look at the window. There are bars on it. It kind of looks like a prison. I laugh, imagining someone trying to get out. It's not so funny when I realize ... I want out, too.

You ask if I remember anything in particular about that night. Everything about that night was particular.

He picked me up from the curb. He didn't even ring the doorbell, He just honked. His car smelled like cheap cologne and alcohol. He took me to what I thought was my first high-school party. He fixed me a drink, then took me to a nearby bedroom to "talk." He kissed me. He asked me a question but didn't care what my answer was. Instead, He told me to shut up. Then He shoved His tongue down my throat.

"Sweetie, you are going to have to give me something," you say. I try to swallow the rock in my throat, as the agony of the night echoes in my mind.

I look up. I look past you. You have pictures of your family around your office. They look so happy, but doesn't everyone look content in snapshots of life? Why do we have to try to make believe that life is happy? I'm not happy.

"Child, what kind of burden is so heavy that you are too weak to take it off for a quick breather?"

I try to focus on your face. It seems imaginary, like a dream and I'm trying to focus on something that isn't there. I know what is so heavy.

He is on me. I woke up from what must have been a black out. Suddenly, I couldn't breathe. His heavy body was pushing down on my chest. I couldn't breathe. He was drinking every last drop of innocence from my soul. I tried to push Him off. He was too heavy. From out of nowhere I found the energy to shove Him away.

I don't mention this to you, though. Instead, I shrug like I know nothing. I still can't breathe and try my hardest not to cry. You let out another sigh. I sense your frustration. I must be shaking, because your dead-cow couch is making those noises again.

You sigh yet another perturbed sigh; I can feel your anger staring at me. I look up and see file cabinets with numbered labels. That must be the category of how crazy each person is ranked, from one to ten. I half smile at my joke.

Finally I work up the courage to look at you. You are writing on that stupid clipboard again. I hate that clipboard. I hate not knowing what you are writing about me. I hate it. You end your sentence with a period that you pop on the paper like you're trying to kill a bug.

You start asking dumb questions, "So, how is your home life?" I shrug. "Mmm, and school ... how did your grades turn out at the end of the term?" I shrug again. " ... had a good summer so far?" I shake my head no. I sense how your frustration grows as you say, "Well, okay, then ..." You pause. "Tell me about the night your mother is so worried about. The night you walked home." You said that last part like a child waiting to open a much-desired Christmas present.

I remember perfectly. After I pushed Him off, I saw the anger in His eyes as I leaped toward my pile of clothes in the corner. He started to yell and curse. "What the hell do you think you are doing?" He asked in a fit of rage. I pleaded with my eyes as I saw His hand coming toward my face. I hurriedly put on my pants and dodged His smack, and ran out the bedroom door. He ran after me wearing nothing but his boxers and a T-shirt. I looked around the crowded living room. Everyone just stared at me in disgust.

I burst for the front door as He yelled after me. I couldn't make out what He said because all my mind could focus on was the pain. My brain couldn't contemplate anything else.

I tried hard to remember where I lived. I was dizzy, and my head hurt. My pants were soaked in blood. And all I could feel was the throbbing soaring pains coming from my inner thighs. It hurt to walk. My wrists were bruised. Most of all, my heart hurt. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't cry; I didn't have enough energy. I couldn't talk; my lips were sealed. I couldn't feel my feet; I just walked. I think it was raining, but I'm not sure. My head was spinning.

"Hmm ...." You clear your throat and expect that will make me snap out of my daze. It works.

I look at you as you stare into my eyes like you are looking to find something. Don't you know there is nothing in here to see? I'm empty. Can't you understand that? Don't you know that you can never help me? You don't know me. You can never know me. I don't know me. That night I brought home a different person, a complete stranger, someone with an empty heart and a blank soul.

That day in the psychiatrist's office, I learned that I am the only one who can make my life better. I had two choices. One: live like I was dead and remain terrified for the rest of my life. Two: find God's purpose in this nightmare, and go on with my life. God is the only one who can make my life complete and full again. I am a survivor. That night, I thought my life was over. What I didn't know was that God put me through that to begin my life again, with a new outlook full of self worth, and acceptance of who I am.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback