There was a young girl who went to college, bright-eyed and naïve, having never experienced love or affection in a way she would learn to know ignited her.
She was a cute girl, very bright, not as sure of herself as she let on. She was very judgmental and closed off, mostly from her own feelings, and from strictly following her parents' rules.
When she smiled, it was a half smile, a fake smile that didn't come from within.
She was surprised by the attention she received from boys and couldn’t understand why anyone would be attracted to or like her in “that way.”
She got by, focusing on her intelligence alone, following the course. She met one boy and they kissed like she had only kissed once when she was 16.
She liked it and he liked it, and they kissed all over campus, but she didn’t feel anything.
He felt something, but she was oblivious to it because it was not a concept she could understand.
She didn't think someone could have, or would have, emotion toward her. So she, casually, hurtfully, walked away. She broke his heart, completely unaware, and her heart was untouched.
Shortly after, she met another boy. He was interesting and different. He wore an earring before it was a fad; he rode a skateboard and wore Billabong shorts.
He had a broad smile; he was smart, and he was interested in her. Again, she was surprised. She wore her red plaid skirt and wondered what he could possibly be interested in.
They became friends and classmates, and he started to touch her physically and emotionally, one leading to the other.
He touched her constantly, being naturally affectionate, and it annoyed her, somewhat. She didn't know how to feel about any of it. It was new and different.
Somehow, the annoyance grew into a yearning, and her skin begged -- her body begged -- for more. She longed to open like a flower taking its first breath, blooming pink and bright and smiling.
He opened her, exposed her to a growing field, and her body responded like the ocean with waves of delight coming from her depths. She could not explain this, and yet, he had not been inside.
One day, wearing her grey winter coat, her flowered pants, black boots and a mint green sweater, they laid on his bed and somehow that evening, he entered her fully.
They lived in this college bliss, studying, kissing and loving, pretending to be adults.
Really they were children cloaked in adult wares, with no responsibilities other than learning and being. Her parents wondered and worried in the background, useless from afar.
That second year of university, her true journey began. He was loving her, hard, and the latex wore thin, exploding in her body. It broke the spell, the notion that everything was okay.
That vision collapsed and she knew instantly that something, someone, was growing inside her. There was no conversation, no consideration, no alternate scenario and no choice.
To this, she was already accustomed.
Wearing a yellow- and white-striped sweater with silver snaps, a white t-shirt and dark Levi’s jeans, she went with him to the place he selected.
It was covered in flowered wallpaper. It made her sick, made her head spin and it was hot. She was nauseous, and she spilled all of her hopes and dreams in a tiny bathroom in that designated office.
Everything she had, she heaved and flushed and it was gone. They took her to the back room, these sterile strangers.
She was naked, fully exposed, on the coldest table.
The doctor was at her feet, the nurse at her head and they were talking, laughing, smiling, and he commented on my age, joking as if I wasn’t there.
It was as if I was just some thing on a slab and then he took it, him or her, from my body.
The doctor killed it, him or her, and left me empty, dying and crying like I’m crying right now.
They went “home” and she cried every day. She cried in the shower, letting the water pour over her as long as she could, sitting on the tile, so she could pretend they were not tears. S
he saw the world anew, and all judgment was gone except for the judgment of self.
She was sick with herself, knowing she was nothing she ever thought she was, or what anyone told her she was.
She was no better than anyone she had ever come across, thought of, or not thought of. She was nothing. She was broken.
The two proceeded with their relationship, their life, though she had destroyed another. She went to her follow up visit alone, while he took a math exam, and she knew somehow, at that point she was alone.
She healed on the surface. She told no one of her disgust, of what she had done, of the life she had taken.
The next summer, she worked at CVS. She loved that job, her high school job.
It gave her a sense of freedom, it got her out of her house, it took her away from the expectations of her parents for just for a few hours at a time.
She pulled up to her parents’ house after work. Her little sister and mother were home, but something was not right.
Her mother was in her bedroom with her door closed and she was crying, sobbing. She received a phone call that day.
A woman, anonymous, calmly, sweetly, asked her if she was aware her daughter had received an abortion.
She, we, I, never knew who that woman was or how she found my mother or why. She did not ask what I felt, nor did I disclose it.
I was ashamed, and my 16-year-old sister listened on from the hall.
We never discussed it again.
Many years later, long after the end of that first love, and the end of her second, long after her wounds were somewhat healed, she met another boy.
This time she was lost, she sought affection, she wondered about love, she lost her sense of what it was. She lost her sense of self, but she was evolving and he admired her.
He wanted something from her, he wanted to take her, to take something from her. He wanted to prove to others he had her, he owned her and he smiled like the sun.
He sought to control her and he threatened her with lack of love, with leaving. She was afraid, not knowing, yet, her own power and strength.
And one day he came inside her; he commanded her on purpose. She didn’t want him there, not that part of him, not that seed that he was planting in her.
Just like the first time, she knew, and he knew. He was happy, beaming.
He had her trapped.
He succeeded in his conquest, in his journey to own and control her for life, to always know where she was, to trust her through a human bond that would grow and evolve.
He knew her well, he thought. He knew her strengths, the lack thereof, her limitations. He was wrong.
When that moment came, with pain beyond control, she knew what she had to do if she were ever going to become the person she was meant to be.
It's the person it would be impossible for her to become with his light consuming hers, shadowing her.
Would she be trapped, captured like a slave, her life changed forever, being linked to this thing? An evil that lurked in his eyes and his actions?
This time, she went alone, at least she thinks she did, and it was done. She does not remember what she was wearing that day or the pattern on the walls or the smell of the office.
She remembers providing her name and that is all.
She remembers — she feels — what she did, what she lost, what she killed. Those special parts of her that disappeared and will never be will always keep a sadness that lives in her.
She had so much to give, she has so much to give now and they will never receive it or know it or know her.
She sacrificed them, him or her, so she could live. She does live, she lives with that, and she is strong. She is sad, and she is sweet. She still believes.
She believes in the love she was introduced to, a love that lives within her spirit now.
It has permitted her to make those most difficult decisions, and she’s that little girl again, the one who made those choices.
She's the one whose image is not shattered, the one who is hopeful and smiling on both sides.