The windows again seem cold to the touch. There are tons of trees outside but all I can see is the face of a little angel who sat in front of me this week to tell me about how the boy had touched her. Her words are spoken in a soft and reserved voice but with the vocabulary and mannerisms of a nine year old, yet describing an act that some adults cannot describe.
These are the times you have to be supportive and keep the rage inside. You are here for this child, here to make sure she is okay and that she feels less victimized because someone is listening and going to help her. While she talks, her eyes only occasionally look up. Usually they are pasted to the tops of her white scuffed up tennis shoes as if there were some magical jewel adorning the top that she could stare at to avoid recalling what happened.
While I listen my eyes look past her as well and out the window into the cold and into the world and I wonder where the boy is and if he has ever thought about what he had done? Does he relive the experience as she does? Did he “move on” and forget about it? Since the police never knocked on his door, does he think that the storm passed and that he will never answer for the harm that he had done? What was he thinking that day looking at this innocent angel and making her do things that the devil would be ashamed of?
Once again sorrow creeps into the room. I sit down now to write, just to try to get it off my chest and to forget. I know that no matter how many times I write about it, no matter how many times I shake and the tears come that I try to hide from my colleagues and my family, these things take a toll. Part of my soul crumbles like the leaves that stay on the branch in winter, just withering yet barely hanging on.
One of the reasons that I started to write about my thoughts as I look out these windows is the hope that I will remember there are days when the sun is bright and there is hope. There are days when someone does something good and helps another person, that I look out and restore my belief in the general goodness of humanity.
Not today, I look down yet again and see her staring hopelessly at her shoes. Having seen it before in adults, I am not terribly surprised that even such a poor innocent child could begin to find ways to blame herself for the conduct of an indecent animal. He belongs in jail, I calmly remind her, and you did nothing to ever deserve this. I try to smile reassuringly and hope that my eyes don’t betray my thoughts. As she hugs me and begins to walk away, I stare at her and again think about what will happen in her future. I don’t want to tell her about the years of self-doubt and emotional issues that she will experience. That she may never have a strong positive relationship with a man. I don’t want to tell her because some part of me hopes that somehow there is some miracle that makes her forget that it happened. That makes her feel safe and secure in who she is. That takes away her pain, her fears and her memories. Something that will cure the cracks before the whole girl just shatters emotionally.
Then I turn back toward the window and my mind returns to the horrible things that I wish I could watch happen to this boy. How I wish I could simply take him to her father’s house and hand him over as they used to do in the “old country.” He will have his day in court but that is a clean and sterile place that simply applies the law and issues punishment. There are no miracles in court; there is no machine that the judge could order that the entire event simply never took place. None of that can happen. It is not revenge nor is it vengeance. It would even be a horrible disservice to say that you could even attempt to offer some type of restitution because there is no amount of money that can make up for what has occurred.
I am alone now looking out the window and waiting for the darkness to fall over the world. I want to take a shower but experience tells me that it doesn’t help and I will still feel the filth clinging to my skin as if it were permanent. I need a drink and peace and quiet so that I can try to fall asleep. I want another day to come just so that today can be over.
I need to see the sunrise and believe again. I need another day to remember that there is hope and light and goodness. Mostly right now, I just need to sleep and to try to forget one more time. Some day when this career is over and I don’t have to feel like this I will move somewhere that is full of beautiful and bright windows, never darkened by the evil of man. For today, I am closing the blinds and saying goodnight to the world. Please let it feel differently in the morning.