*Trigger Warning* – References to sexual abuse/ rape
This is more about my friend, but there is some of my story in there, so (relatives) please be careful, it’s not likely to be easy reading.
I slept pretty well last night, I don’t remember nightmares or dreams of the past, but when I woke this morning, someone from back then was on my mind. Not the abuser for once, but someone else. Someone I called family for a short time in my life.
She was 17 years old and beautiful. I had a bit of a “girl crush” on her, I guess.
She had dark hair, blue eyes and amazing pale, clear skin. She wore powder pink lipstick and loads of dark eye makeup. At 14 years old, I was awe struck by her. I loved the way she looked but she had an amazing personality to match too, she was so confident and strong. I was envious of her.
She had what I thought I wanted, she was living with the man I considered to be my boyfriend, he was her flat mate (along with her boyfriend) when I first met him. I wanted to live with them and be part of their group. And in the brief time I knew her, we became close. I considered the four of us to be a sort of family, we looked out for one another, or at least it seemed.
In short 6 weeks or so that I knew her, we saw each other every day and most nights too. She took care of me, when I didn’t know what to do. She was there as the abuse started. While he hid it well, she always seemed to know.
We would all hang out together and her and I would sit close, she would hold my hand, or put her arm around my shoulders. With the knowledge of what was to come, her presence was comforting. She was there after too, to clean me up and wipe away my tears.
I recall one time where I was shaking so hard and dangerously close to panicking. It was truly dangerous for me to show fear or panic while I was in that flat and she knew that. I remember her gently talking me down, until I regained control. Oh how I relied on her in those early days.
She wasn’t perfect by any means. Looking back now I see how broken, how hurt and oh how young she was. While seventeen seemed so much older than my fourteen years, she was barely more than a child herself. She was deeply damaged by her upbringing and the abuse she suffered as a teenager.
She told me that he had hurt her too, another of my abuser’s victims. In her own way she seemed to be warning me. I am not sure she was aware, I certainly didn’t pick up on it, but with hindsight I can see the signs were there.
Once she told me there were times after he (in her words) fucked her, where she was hurt so badly, she could barely crawl away. She laughed it off, but I can not forget the way she looked as she spoke those words.
I believed her, but I couldn’t take it in. The man I loved couldn’t have done that to anyone, surely?
Oh, how little did I know. I believed I could change him and that with me things would be different. I thought if I could love him enough, it would “fix” him somehow. I knew that he was hurting me, but at that point the abuse was in the early stages. I didn’t like it, but I had no idea how much worse it could and would get.
Her words were truthful, I found that out once she had left my life. What she revealed he did to her, was to be my future with him. With increasing brutality, there were many times that when he was done with me I could not make it to my feet. Like her before me, I too could barely crawl away.
And those were the times, where I needed her the most, but like everyone else, she too had gone.
I had to clean myself up, mop up my blood and wipe away my own tears. I had to get myself dressed and just like she taught me, I had to calm my own panic and plaster on a smile all while I was slowly dying inside.
I missed her so much once she had gone, but my need for her to be there to continue to pick up the pieces for me, was far too much to expect of a seventeen year old. I didn’t know that then, but I can see it now. Instead, I felt abandoned by her, betrayed even.
I will never forget her and what she did for me. She was there when it was all so new and I was in a state of shock. She was there to help me through the early days, she taught me what to do and how to cope. I will be forever grateful for her and for her brief presence in my life. Because without her at the start, I am not sure I would have made it through.
So where ever you are my sister, I hope you are safe now and I hope you are happy.
And I hope you know what you did for me, I wish I could tell you that you saved my life.
I will never forget you, my first true friend.