What seems like ancient history now was once a fond period for us friends. We sat out on her balcony in a run-down area on the “nice side” of town. It really was pleasant around her way, though. She had a tiny beach nearby and you could smell the bay air from blocks away.
It was a warm spring day that was rapidly changing into summer. Do you ever notice when a season is about to change, the next one can almost be felt in the air? This is exactly how the day was – summer could be felt on our skin. We were so happy; carefree. We were just teenagers after all. What did we possibly have to worry about besides boys and clothes? Perhaps, I foresaw that wasn’t all we had to worry about.
As the day turned into night we still sat out there. The music was great that year, or at least we thought so. She had brought out her radio and we danced and laughed. After tiring ourselves out, we started sharing stories. Both of us felt the tone change. Our stories progressively got more serious. My dear friend suggested we lighten the mood. She snuck into her mother’s liquor cabinet and got us a bottle of vodka.
While we drank ourselves into a pretty decent buzz-land my dear friend suddenly became silent. I saw tears streaming down her face. What followed completely shocked me straight to my bones. She told me there was a secret she had to share. She told me how she’d been raped and how it was a family member that did it. It happened on way more than one occasion. While fighting through hysterical tears, she told me every heartbreaking and horrifying detail. I cried with her. I held her close in my arms and told her I was there and wasn’t going anywhere.
Apparently there was a time she tried to pursue pressing formal charges but it all got covered up. My friend was made to look like a liar. When she calmed down a bit, we remembered how lovely the day was and how quickly that changed when night fell. Our moods changed as rapidly as the season was changing. When I think of her now, I remember the happier part of that day. There was a song we both loved that came on the radio and we sang along and gossiped about boys. Now, every time I hear that song I think of her.