Thursday, February 26, 2015

to those who had no reason to help, but did

to the mother living near the corner of maple grove and franklin approx. 23 years ago,
i won't bother you with the scene that had been taking place before except he had nearly ripped off my car door.   it wouldn't close.   it wouldn't even come close to closing, i couldn't escape that way.   i had already knocked on several doors.  i sometimes heard tvs or talking behind the door, but no one answered.   i was trying not to cry but i was afraid every second that he would return and the scene would commence again.   i admit, your door was open so i knew you couldn't pretend to not be home.   at the very least, i hoped you would call the police to report a girl crying at your door begging to come in.
i tried to knock calmly on your screen door but the terror and desperation in my eyes and actions betrayed me.   you were not happy about it.   who was this person that had come begging on the porch for protection?   whatever she was afraid of might follow her to you.   i knew that.   i was sorry to do it.   i tried to control my fear in front of your little girl as she happily colored her birthday party invitations.   she was so excited to be having a birthday party!   she invited me to come.   i saw the doubt in your eyes as you handed me the phone.   i thanked your little girl for the invitation but was sure to be working that day and would have to miss it.  
i dialed 911 and we waited.    i know i was the intruder, carefully watching across the street as he came out again, looking for me.   he searched my car, and up and down the street.   i want you to know that if he had crossed the street, i would have asked for the back door and lead him away from you and your little one.   i would have done anything to protect you from him.
it seemed like hours we waited for the officer  but time means nothing in those moments.   i was grateful that your daughter seemed only to realize she had someone else to talk to.   i hope she never knew and i hope that you never regretted.

to the responding officer,
you pulled up to my abandoned car.   i met you and told my story.  a story you had heard a million times and had grown completely abhorrent of.   the victim, the abuser.   it was just another beginning of a never ending cycle.   you told me so.   you told me that you didn't expect me to stay away, you didn't expect me to press charges and if i did, i would be back for more later.   you asked all the questions, talked to him, you filed a  report.  you told me how to file for a protection order that you never believed i would get, or even if i did, you were sure i would not report violations.   you expected to see me again in the same situation. you tied my car door shut so i could drive home.
you didn't hide anything from me.   you were blunt, and impatient, and 99% of the time, you were right.    i want to tell you that this time you were wrong.   i am sure that you would be happy to know, that at least this one time, you were wrong.

to the case officer
i filed for my protection order and you were assigned to be my contact.  you told me about the same thing as the responding officer did, but more gently.   you explained everything i should do.   you nearly pleaded with me to actually call if he came around.   you said that if i stuck with it, you would be there for me.
time passed.   he called.   i called you.
nothing threatening but i had proven myself, at least a little.   you proved yourself.   you watched out for me, you watched him.   you made sure he knew that you were watching him.   you made sure that i knew.
time passed.   i moved and felt like i might be actually alive again.   then one day, i came out to find my car had been tampered with.   i called you again.    this time, i didn't have to worry about him coming back for a long time.  you took care of me.    you took time to back me up and protect me even when you weren't on duty.   i was still scared and worried, but i knew you would do everything in your power to protect me.   it made a difference.

i don't remember your faces, or your names.   i know you don't remember mine.    more than 20 years have passed and i still think about you sometimes.   i think about you more than i think about him.   i want to thank you.    i want you to know that i never went back.    i want you to know that you made a difference in my life.   you helped me make a difference in my life.

to those still there.
it wasn't the first time it happened.   it was only the first time i called for help.   i was never a victim.  i allowed it to happen.   i chose to stay.   i chose to leave.   i am still ashamed that i let it happen, but i am proud that i made it stop.   everyday, i am the only one responsible for my decisions.   no matter what anyone does to me, i choose what i do.   i choose my actions.

to everyone else.
i can't explain it.

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