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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
2007 - Fall - The Rainy Day Entry

Somehow, Someway - 1. Somehow, Someway

The silence that filled the house was eerie. One glance to my right, over at the glowing red LED display on my nightstand, told me that a new calendar day was upon us, but it was of little consolation to me. My mind was racing back, trying to reconcile what happened and how we would move forward. Sleep would have been a friend to me, but I couldn’t get it this night. To the left of me was my wife, who had somehow managed to settle into a comfortable slumber.

Oh how I envied her.

 The fact that I could hear the steady sound of raindrops falling outside couldn’t take away from the fact that I was now able to concentrate on the events of the day that had expired at the stroke of midnight. Somehow, I figured that no matter what happened in our lives, we would never relive a Thursday like the one we’d just been through. A Thursday that had taken our entire family to a fork in the road of our life’s journey. We’d gone to bed with so many things unresolved, so many questions unanswered.

I finally gave up on sleep and sat up on the edge of my bed, putting my weary head down in my hands and rubbing my temples with the tips of my fingers. I had to think, I had to make a plan. Not just for me. Not just for my wife, or my daughter. But for us, for our family. I had to do the right thing because our very existence depended on it. Not our physical lives, but our emotional well being and the fiber that we’d woven over the years which kept our family together.

When my daughter was born, I remember holding her in my arms and promising her that I’d always protect her. The tears I cried that day were a product of my love for her, as well as an understanding of the commitment I was making. She was my little girl, and no one was allowed to bring harm her way. I was willing to fight to the death to keep her safe and warm, away from the ravages of a world that can be cruel and unforgiving.

My wife Sarah and I struggled when we were young. We met in college and I knew we’d always be together. We both stayed in school, and I worked two jobs to keep us afloat. With a lot of prayer, luck and help from our parents, we made it through graduate school and got good jobs. We were buried in student debt, but over the years, we were able to repay all of it and save enough to buy a nice house once we were ready.

Four years after we bought our home, Michelle was born and I knew that the quality of our lives had just gone from great to as good as it gets. If someone had told me at the time that my wife and I would be poor and had to work three full time jobs a piece to provide for our daughter, I still would have considered myself the richest man in America. My wife and my daughter make me whole. They give me a sense of purpose that I can’t begin to describe, but I can say that just thinking about how much I love them makes me want to tear up.

As the years went by, we watched our little girl turn into a young woman. She made it through elementary, middle and high school, and at the end of the summer, she was leaving for college. I couldn’t believe what I was doing when we drove her three hundred miles away from home to meet with the admissions counselor and get everything ready so her transition would be as smooth as possible. Aside from sleepovers, camp and her senior trip to Mexico, this was going to be her first time away from home. It was definitely going to be an adjustment for my wife and I, but the confidence I had in the woman my daughter had grown into was enough to ease us into it.

I suppose the one thing always missing from Michelle’s life was a boyfriend, but I never complained about that. In fact, I dreaded the day that I would come home and find out that a scheming teenage boy with raging hormones had stolen my little girl’s heart and made her his. I secretly prayed that the day would never come, but I understood that at some point it would be here. The posters on her wall of Lil’ Bow Wow, Chris brown and Robin Thicke told me that she was very much interested in boys. It was just a matter of time.

I got up from my bed and lightly crept out into the hallway. Her door was opened, so I put my head in the door to watch her sleep. She was curled up in a ball, hanging on tightly to her pillow, but there wasn’t a trace of sound coming from her. I could see the movement in her stomach that told me she was sleeping soundly, and I had to wonder how. I leaned down and pressed my lips to her cheek, then I walked out of her room, stepping as lightly as I had when I came in. As I walked down the hallway of the house we raised our little girl in, I looked at the pictures lining the hallway. So many happy memories were staring at me, and I couldn’t help but reach out and trace my fingers over the walnut frame of one picture in particular.

She was about ten years old when I snapped it, and she was grinning up at the camera from the pavement of the driveway, where she was kneeling down to dip a large sponge in a bucket of soapy water. She was washing my car for me, trying to earn some extra money on top of her allowance. Not that I wouldn’t have just given it to her. I was willing to give her anything she wanted. All she had to do was point.

But that was never her nature. She worked for everything she wanted, even though my wife and I never put conditions on the things we gave her. She had it in her, though, and never seemed to give it a second thought that she would contribute to the household by doing chores. From the time she was two, she wanted to push the vacuum cleaner around the house and would actually throw herself on the floor in a fit of rage if we didn’t let her. When she was seven, she thought doing dishes was a fun part of living in our house. When she was nine she went around the neighborhood with a lawnmower and charged five dollars for her services.

She’s the light of my life, but now things weren’t okay. Not because she did anything wrong. Not at all. In fact, she did the right thing. Sarah and I were there with her, too, on that rainy Thursday when the path our family had been on all these years became muddy, perhaps by the rain that fell that day.

I knew something was wrong on Wednesday night when I got home from work and my wife greeted me with a worried expression.

“Michelle’s been in her room asleep all afternoon,” she said. “Go check on her, honey. I can’t get her to come downstairs.”

“Is she sick?” I asked, and she shook her head.

“I felt her forehead,” she told me. “She’s depressed about something.”

“Maybe she’s thinking about college,” I said dismissively, but my wife wasn’t so sure.

“Go up and check on her Bob,” she urged, and that’s what I did. When I knocked at her door, I didn’t hear anything, so I tried the knob. It was unlocked, so I let myself in. Sure enough, she was asleep face down, her blankets heaped up in the corner of her bed. I didn’t think she looked so good, especially when I sat on the edge of her bed and shook her awake.

“Are you feeling okay Sunshine?” I asked gently. She lifted her head and looked around, then over at her alarm clock before her head fell back to her pillow and she drowsily answered, “Yes.”

“Why don’t you get up and come downstairs?” I suggested, but she shook her head silently.

“I just want to get some rest,” she said with a long yawn, then she turned her back to me and put her head back down. She didn’t come out of her room that night, and my wife and I worriedly went in her room one more time before we went to bed to make sure she was okay.

The next morning I was up at my normal hour, 5AM, and after my shower, I went downstairs to start my coffee and fetch the morning paper from the porch. The rain was falling at a steady rate, and I inwardly groaned at the prospect of fighting the morning commute with so much precipitation to potentially complicate things. Sarah wasn’t far behind, dressed in a sharp blue skirt and a top that made her look professional and sexy at the same time. In our twenty two years of marriage, my wife has always taken good care of her body and the results are clear. She’s definitely the most beautiful woman I know, along with my daughter.

The coffee finished brewing and Sarah was in the refrigerator, digging out some fresh fruit. That was pretty much what we did for breakfast during the spring and summer months because it’s rare to find a good variety of any kind of fruit in the fall and winter months in our part of the country. I was just starting to unfold the paper when out of the corner of my eye, Michelle rounded the corner into the dining room. I smiled when I saw her, but my smile faded when I saw her red, puffy eyes and the wet streaks on her cheeks.

“Baby what’s wrong?” Sarah asked before I could get a word out, leaving the fridge open and making a beeline for Michelle. As soon as she wrapped her in a hug, my daughter let out a long, loud cry that shook me to the core.

“Mommy,” she sobbed sadly. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

By this time, I was a nervous wreck. I got up from my chair and walked over to where my wife and daughter were standing and wrapped my arms around the two of them. Michelle seemed desperate to touch us, as if it would be the last time she’d get to do so. She kept pawing my face and neck, then she kissed me on the cheek.

“Honey what’s the matter?” I asked worriedly. “You’re scaring me.”

I didn’t get an answer right away. Instead I got more tears and more crying from my precious little girl, and it scared me to death. Somehow we moved from the dining room to the couch, where we sat in a cluster and held each other tightly. Finally, I knew I had to do something.

“I’m going to call in,” I said, letting go so I could stand up. I walked to the phone and called the firm. I got the night operator, so I left a message with her saying I wouldn’t be there. When I was finished, I went back to the couch to take my wife’s place so she could do the same, then we spent the morning with our daughter.

At first it was just a lot of crying, which made us cry too. She was so frightened, and she looked like she was under so much stress. I didn’t know what to do for her but reassure her that no matter the problem, we’d fix it.

“You can’t fix it,” she cried pitifully. “It’s too late. There’s no way to fix this.”

She was right about that.

 I had no idea at the time, but we were about to learn something so disturbing that I actually had to break away from the embrace, leave the room, and get my emotions under control. Looking back, though, I know I’ll always regret that I did that. She took it as rejection, that I was mad at her and that I didn’t want her anymore. Nothing could have been further from the truth, though. I just dealt with it the wrong way. But how in the hell was I supposed to react when the light of my life told me that she was raped?

I wanted to kill the son of a bitch. When she told me who it was, a million thoughts raced through my mind. All of them were about revenge, and at one point, I even went upstairs and opened my safe to find my gun. I pulled it out and held it in my hands for a good ten minutes, feeling the cold steel against my palms. If nothing else, I told myself, I was going to pistol whip the bastard. Nobody, and I mean nobody, was going to bring that kind of horror onto my baby girl and not feel the flames of my fury.

But like the angel that sits on my shoulder, keeping me on the straight and narrow, Sarah walked in and found me there.

“Bob, you have murder in your eyes,” she warned me. “I want you to put that gun away right now.”

“He raped my baby,” I said slowly, still processing the fact in my mind that what I was saying was true.

“He’s going to pay,” she said matter of factly. “Right now, we have to get her to the hospital. She’s hurting, and we have to report this. Now put that gun away and let’s go.”

I knew she was right, but I didn’t want to accept it. I wanted to hunt him down and dish out my own brand of punishment. In all my life, I’d never had an urge to be violent. Sure, I was willing to fight to protect my wife and daughter, but I wasn’t someone who looked for trouble. I bought a gun for protection, but never dreamt of the day I’d actually have the inclination to use it. Now that the moment was upon me, my wife was the voice of reason, and I hated her for it.

I loved her for it, too.

When our day was over, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. They picked her attacker up and charged him with third degree rape and sexual assault, but things were far from over. Never mind the fact that there would be a trial and my daughter was going to have to face her attacker when she took the stand. There was much more than that in store for her. For us.

I knew she was going to need counseling and it broke my heart. She was still innocent, my Michelle. She had a beautiful body that she worked hard to keep in shape, and a pretty face, and all of that was supposed to be for someone special. She finally agreed to go on a date, and it turned into a nightmare for her that she’d never completely be set free from. Those thoughts consumed me as I listened to the raindrops hit the ceiling long after my wife and daughter had fallen asleep.

I moved from the picture on the wall to the staircase, where I sat down at the top and collected my thoughts. A barrage of questions were swirling in my head, and I didn’t have the answers.  Where would we go from here? How would we pick up the pieces? Would she still leave for college? Was that such a bright idea anymore?

“Daddy?” I heard from behind me. I looked up and there was my Michelle, looking at me with the warmest smile, and I welcomed it, especially from her. She sat down next to me and wrapped her arms around me, and I couldn’t help but break down.

“I’m so sorry for what you went through,” I wept. “I promise to keep you safe from now on, Sunshine.”

“We’ll be okay,” she said, a little weepy herself. “I love you.”

“I love you too,”  I said, collecting myself as I held onto her for dear life, realizing that I needed her support at that moment as much as she needed mine.  “I’m so proud of you, Michelle. I can’t believe the woman you’ve turned out to be.”

That was the extent of our conversation that night. I can’t honestly say how long we sat at the top of the stairs, but it was long enough for me to realize that in spite of the pain she was in, my daughter was an amazing young lady, and that somehow, someway, we were going to be okay.

 

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©2007 Nickolas Taylor Web Publishing
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
2007 - Fall - The Rainy Day Entry
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