There is only one saving grace involving everything that went down with my attack. One thing that reminds me that there are decent people in the world. Someone saved me that night. Someone interrupted the attack right before I was raped and the next thing I remember was waking up in the hospital. I hear his voice sometimes too. He has a deep, gentle voice with a slight accent. I think it’s Irish. Maybe. I wasn’t exactly lucid when he came to my rescue so I can’t be sure. But I remember how his voice was calming, almost melodic and how when he said, “Don’t worry. You’re safe. Everything is going to be okay.” I believed him. Felt safe when I heard him tell me that.
I wish I knew who he was. I wish I could properly thank him because if it wasn’t for that random guy, I’d be Randall Mason’s fourth victim and maybe…just maybe…I would have ended up not only raped, but murdered as well.
There’s a sliver of a portion of me that wishes that my savior didn’t actually save me. It’s a morbid thought, I know, but somehow I think dying would have been easier than living through my life with the haunting images of the past year. Do you how many times I’ve woken up in the middle of the night screaming? Or how I couldn’t go anywhere by myself. Couldn’t bring myself to leave my apartment at night. And let’s not even mention dating. I didn’t have much of a dating life before the attacker, but I still had casual dates and one relationship that lasted six months. Now my life involving the opposite sex is pretty much non-existent.
Satines’s dark eyes are locked on mine and I want to roll mine, but refrain. Sometimes she gets on my damn nerves. You know some people say they know how you feel, but they really don’t. Satine does that. I know she’s only trying to help and that’s why I pay her, but even after I leave our sessions I feel like I’ll be emotionally scarred forever.
Sealed tightly and closed off.
I wonder if I’ll ever be the girl I used to be. The one who was outgoing. The one who was happy. The one who embraced each new day like she was embarking on an epic journey. Satine’s words fill my head, “You’ll get better with time.” Sometimes I wonder if more than anything that’s just a crock of shit therapists feed people like me. The people with issues.
Time doesn’t heal pain.
And I just can’t seem to flip that switch.
Dr. Satine Moreau couldn’t possibly understand what I'm going through, or just how difficult it is to put the past behind me and start over again. Satine was never nearly beaten to death or seconds away from being raped. Well that I know of anyway. And if she did go through something like I did she doesn’t show any signs of past trauma so that’s where I base my assumption.
She sits across from me, tan legs crossed, hazel eyes narrowed. She shakes her head, her short ebony bob swishing back and forth. Then she jots something down on her notepad and I look out the window. Lush green leaves are starting to color the trees, and spots of yellow dandelions are sprouting up along the sidewalk.
“How have you been sleeping?” she inquires.
“Great,” I mutter. Thanks to a beautiful drug called Ambien that she prescribed me a few months ago. With the Ambien I get at least six hours of sleep and that's more than I was getting before she put me on it. Before she put me on sleeping pills I was lucky if I got two hours of sleep. The drug is like a cement barrier that blocks out everything.
The violent nightmares I used to have wouldn't let me rest. I could practically feel hands on my throat strangling the life out of me the further and further I dipped into my slumber. In result, my grades plummeted and I nearly flunked out of my sophomore year of college.
I glance down at my hands. My fingers are trembling and I feel like there's a giant weight pressing on my chest. I clasp my hands together and exhale. Papers rustle against the quiet in the room and I stare at Satine, who now has her hands folded in her lap. “And exactly how long has it been since you've had a nightmare?” Her soft matronly voice is laced with concern.
“Almost four months.”
She takes in a deep breath, purses h
er lips, and leans back in her chair. Placing her palms flat against each other, she brings the tip of her fingers to her lips. “How have you been feeling as a whole?”
My chin quivers and I can feel all of the pent up emotion inside of me rising to the surface. I close my eyes, swallow hard, and clear my throat. “Weak.”
Satine leans forward the slightest bit and her hazel eyes penetrate my jade green ones. I break away from her gaze and stare at the floor. This is what bothers me the most about everything—that I'm weak. Before, I never used to be. I was bold. Always ready to try anything the world thrust at me, always ready to stand up for what I believed in, and I'd never backed down to anyone or anything.
I lift my eyes from the floor as Satine gets up from her chair and moves around to the front of her desk. The massive, cherry wood organizer is stacked with heaped over stacks of papers and I watch Satine intensely as she rummages through the top drawer. “Ahh, here it is,” she sighs and walks back to her seat. She sits back down, crosses her long legs, and extends her hand to me. There's a white business-like card tucked between her forefinger and middle finger. “Here,” she urges, “take it.”
I hesitate, keeping my eyes on her perfectly manicured fingernails. She thrusts the card toward me again with insistent eyes. “Whhh—” I stutter, then clear my throat. “What is that for?”
When I take the card from Satine's fingertips she leans back in her seat. “That woman is a good friend of mine. And I think what she has to offer will help you tremendously.”
Scanning the card, the name burns my eyes. “Melissa Thorpe.” Then my eyes roll down to the description under the name. “Self-defense instructor.”
“She teaches at classes over at the Joe’s Gym. Several of my clients who have been through something traumatic just like you have found her classes immensely helpful.”
I'm not sure if I would. A class means a room full of people. I don't do people. At least not since the attack. I have a hard enough time during lectures. Even though I distance myself from the other people in the hall, sitting in the very back, there are still times where I feel like the whole room is closing in around me and I have to call my roommate, Lara, so she can come pick me up.
“I don't know, Satine,” I whisper as I tuck the card into my purse. “I don't know if I'll be able to handle it.”
Satine stands, positions herself in front of me, and places both of her hands on my shoulders. I wince and take in a deep breath at the feel of her touch, then exhale. It's just Satine. My therapist. She's not going to do anything. She's not going to hurt me. “Hadley, look at me.” Her voice is low yet feminine and nurturing. My eyes meet hers and she nods. “I have faith in you. Not just as your doctor, but as your friend. You can do this. You will get through this difficult time. Believe me, Hadley.”
I nod. I want to believe her, but after everything I've been through sometimes it feels like moving past everything that's happened is only wishful thinking.