I tell this to you now from a body of old, but this rape happened to me in a body of new. Something precious has been taken away from me, and those who have taken it will never be able to give it back, or erase the horrid and detestable memory that it has left finely itched within me. Oh, how I cherished those quiet nights of new, when all of us were together, sleeping in the same bed, breathing the same air, breathing. But my life givers are gone now, and without them, it is difficult to appreciate the beautiful radiance of the sun and the gifts in which it brings. But to show that I have not the falls of man force me down the hill of hatred as well, I keep living; I will not let them have anymore of me.
That night is still as vivid as ever in my mind. The smell of my papà’s ink pens in the pocket over the breast of his dress shirt is what I was thinking as I sat in his favorite chair, wondering what he had taught today at the university. It was always the first thing I smelled on him when I ran into his arms and burred my head into his chest, and then there was the smell of chalk in his hair; like always, for tonight seemed to be no different. Had I have known that it was the last time I’d be able to associate these smells with his presences, I would have never let him go.
Then, the sounds of his heavy feet walking up the porch stairs and the clumsy way he tried to find the house key, jingling them this way and that; why did he even bother? It only took me a matter of seconds to reach the door. Suit case on the ground, keys barely gripped in his hand, while he held me in his arms. He rubbed my back with his free hand, and said to me what he always said, “ Don’t open the door before asking, “who is it”!”
Then I’d raise my head to look into his deep brown eyes and smile at him knowingly, “I know when it’s my papa.”
He’d put me down, and we’d walk to the kitchen, where my mom was, preparing dinner. He’d go to her and squeeze her as if he hadn’t seen her in such a long while, and she’d sigh into his arms as if she’d never let go. Seeing them together was everything to me, never could I imagine them being apart. But the heavy footsteps that came in the night made the picture of them holding each other in the kitchen fade away.
I’d always be tucked in my bed, read my bedtime story in my bed and my glass of water was even next to my bed, but at night, with only the moon to guide me, I found my way to my mama and papa’s bedroom, and snuggled in between them. They always left room for me. I took a deep breath, inhaling my mama’s perfume, and the smell of my papa’s strong soap, I sunk deeper and deeper into sleep’s arms, becoming closer and closer to the beginning of a sweet dream, but then there were the heavy footsteps. They could not have belonged to my papa.
The thunder that boomed against the front door almost made me jump outside of myself. I immediately went to grab my papa, but he was already out of bed, stumbling to find his house-shoes in the starlight. He held his fingers up to his lips and whispered, “ go to sleep, mi amor.”
I laid my head down into my mom’s lap, who had awoken as well at the thunderous banging at the door. She ran her fingers through my hair and smiled at me, “Dream, mi amor.”
“Get out of here! Maria!”, cried my father in terror to my mother, I can only imagine that his facial expression as matching hers’ when the men stormed through the bedroom door. She looked utterly terrified, as she grabbed me up into her arms tightly, almost making it impossible for me to breath.
“Papà?” I called to him. But he did not answer.
One of the men, tall and slender grabbed my mother from out of bed. He’s dark dead face looked so out of place here in the sanctity of my parents’ bedroom. The faces of the others were all the same, though most were hidden behind black masks.
“Who are you?”, my mother demanded.
“Put down the child.”, the heavier masked men told her matter-of-factly; as if releasing her child to strange men who had just stormed into her home was something she’d do without contest.
“What do you want?”, she said with a sob. I absorbed her fear. I was soon consumed by emotion and I fought hard to hold back the tears. I didn’t want my mom to see me crying. It always upset her to see me cry.
“Put her down!” , roared the beastly man, as he brought the end of his gun clashing down onto the side of her head. She crashed to the floor limply, like a wilting flower. I fell from her arms onto the bed, as her body hit the floor with a thud.
“Mamà!”, I screamed at the top on my lungs. I dropped down on to the floor to help her. “Papa! They’re killing her!”
Blood was all over her, and she faintly whispered my name, “Helena, mi amor.”
This sent me into hysterics. The men picked up my mom and dragged her by her arms into the living room, towards the front door. Most of the other men followed, two remained behind.
“Mamà!”, I screamed to her, not knowing she was soon to pass into a place where not even the screams of her terrified child would be able to awaken her.
“Shut her up! I’m going to search the house.”, said the heavy masked man.
The slender dark faced man held me by my arm with one arm, and smacked me across the face with the other, breaking my nose. I continued to holler for my papà.
He threw me onto the bed and pinned me down. His stench was thick. A smell I could only describe as the smell of Death. With his free hand, he ripped my pajamas and panties from my body, and took away my innocence with the ripping and tearing of everything else. He held my mouth closed now, but I could still hear my own muffled screams through his deep, dark breaths.
When he was done, he pulled out his gun, and held it to my head. He stared down blankly at me. I guess his black heart wouldn’t permit him to shoot a child in the head, but it did allow him to beat me unconscious. And when I awoke, I was in a house alone, naked in the glow of the sun on the bed my parents’, my rapist and I had shared.