My Problem Ch. 04

byDaiquiri Girl©

I do not remember moving to my bed. Kara who spent the night with me told me that I had fallen asleep in Tim's arms. He carried me with some difficulty to my bed where Kara loosened my clothing.

Tim returned early in the morning. How early I do not know as with aid as I did not awaken until well after 10 Sunday morning. When I finally awoke Tim served me breakfast in bed. On the tray was a pink rose. An array of carnations and pink roses were on my dresser and two side tables. The room smelled of flowers.

After breakfast Kara led me to my whirlpool tub filled with soothing warm water and bath oils. It too smelled of roses and flowers. The sounds of a canoe moving across a lake during a light rain wafted from the CD player. Kara settled behind me in the tub. Between the pulses from the jets and Kara's gentle washing, my body was soothed. Her touches and massaging of my beaten body was a cool balm upon me. After I dressed Kara and I found Tim sitting before a crackling fire.

Kara and Tim spent the day with me. They just sat with me, allowed me to talk and sleep as I so choose. Physically I was safe and secure even though my soul was still an open wound. When I said I was to blame for what happened Kara and Tim quickly but gently challenged such thoughts. I awoke sometime in the wee hours of the morning crying out as I was reliving my nightmare. Within seconds the door opened and I was being held by Tim. When I stopped crying and shaking he lay me down. As my comforter lay with me on top of the comforter my hand moved into his. Holding his hand I again rested.

The early light awoke me. As I exited my bedroom I almost stumbled across Tim. The dear man had not slept in either of the spare bedrooms at the end of the hall. With his head on a pillow and encased in blankets he slept at my door ready to rush to my side.

I left a voicemail with my supervisor saying I was ill but would be in Tuesday to complete the Katrina environmental status report due Thursday. Seeing a woman with child being interviewed on a noontide show caused me to rush to call the doctor. Three and half hours later with a prescription for Ovral I was on the way to the pharmacy. I breathed a sigh of relief. Life was going to be fine I reminded myself. I am strong and I will get through it. I was a chatter box that night as I talked with Kara about maybe going this summer to France and Italy or maybe traveling the Rockies from Colorado to Alberta. Thinking about the future was my escape, it was like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold winter night.

My dear friends were at my home each night that week. They listened to my ramblings and reflected back my statements in an effort to get me to vent and give voice to my anger, confusion, anxiety and ambivalence. Being accepted without condemnation was a ray of light into my darkened heart. One or the other stayed with me each night. Thursday night Kara was working late. I suddenly felt uncomfortable being alone with Tim even though I reminded myself he is not one of my abusers. Just the thought of being alone with a man was unsettling. He seemed to sense my need for space and spent most of the evening calmly doing little repair jobs around my home.

I later learned that though he demonstrated exterior calm and comfort Tim was seething inside. He was angry at my abuse. Through his secretary's brother who is a local police officer Tim tried to learn the identity of my abusers. He wanted to gather information so that I could have the option to press charges. As I had suspected that Saturday morning they had covered their trail. Nancy booked her room that Sunday evening with a generic Visa fee card under the name of Beth Hamilton at a fictitious Monroe Indiana address. The hotel would release the tapes only to police after a formal complaint had been filed. The internet email account was accessed by a Nancy Yarrow from four local public library computers. Another dead end. I knew the emails could be twisted to being an invitation for rough sex. Even further, Nancy was called Tina by one of the men. The trail was full of obfuscating information. Tim apologized that he had not turned up any viable information.

I am still somewhat relieved that he was not successful because I lack the fortitude to see them or to describe what happened that night to courtroom full of strangers. Needless to say, the fear of aggressive cross examination was also overwhelming. I feared how the defense could twist my emails and actions, and then to have their comments become part of the public record. I feared that if it went to court I would again loose control. I know most will not understand, but I just want to get on with my life. I wanted to make decisions and to control my life.

My moods swung from day to day. One day melancholy. The next I was more outgoing than normal. There were moments when the feeling of helplessness would be overwhelming. Some days I felt shame and in my paranoia took innocent glances wrongly as I wondered if the person was thinking I was a slut. I went through self-blame of "if only I had...", the denial of "it was only a bad dream", and to feeling sorry for myself with "why me, what have I done" thoughts. I was angry at my abusers but my greatest anger was reserved for me, for allowing this all to happen to me. One day while in a meeting with one female and five male colleagues I found my heart racing and I began to perspire even though two days before I was fine with the same group.

In my head I knew I am the victim, but on the emotional level, I was clearly in turmoil. Tim drawing from his past life in college student services gently reminded me twice during a three period that images, sights and sounds would cause me to have flashbacks. He encouraged me to seek therapy but being stubborn I said I would be fine. I knew my soul was a festering wound but by remaining stubborn and self-reliant I was demonstrating that I was clearly my father's daughter.

Though in my mind I was blaming myself, I would not admit that to anyone. Tim sensed this. One night Tim said I needed to find away to forgive myself. I yelled at him. I did not want to hear it even though I knew he was right. I was being too harsh upon myself. I should be angry at my abusers, not myself. If their names are discovered I would want them prosecuted, but my anger was turned inward. Bitterness and vengeful emotions toward my abusers was allowing the negative aspects of my selfhood to eat away at my positive characteristics. Tim said I needed self reconciliation and to stop wallowing in self pity. I did not want to hear any of this and cursed at him and told him to get out. I only saw Kara for three days. I slowly came to realize that he was right. I needed to be reconciled with myself. I also knew he risked our friendship by telling me what I needed to hear.

Days later I concluded that forgiveness of self and also of my abusers will not devalue the crime. Rather it would allow me to move on with life and help free me of the burden upon my shoulders. I detested how my bitterness and hatred was killing my joy for life. Realizing the need to forgive myself and my abusers is one thing. Doing it within my heart was another matter. Kara and Tim kept urging me to go to a counselor but I refused. My suborn nature that helped me in so many ways was now my handicap.

Holding onto my anger was slowly eating at my soul. The negative anger needed to be relinquished while holding to the positive anger. Forgiveness of self was the prescription On the Sunday morning of the 12th the phone rang at 8:15. Tim and Kara were going to take me out for the morning and then to a Sunday brunch. When I inquired where he responded, "you will find out. Kara says it is something we all need. Put on a nice dress. We will be at your place at 10."

By ten Tim's Taurus pulled up. He came to the door and escorted me to the car. Within 20 minutes we were turning into the church which they attended from time to time. Other than for two funerals and a wedding I had not entered a church in years.

I cannot describe how it all affected me. I did not want to be there, but at the same time I wanted to be there. The quiet atmosphere and music before the service soothed and calmed my inner being. My eyes took in the symbols, the woodwork and the lighting. An engraved statement in a railing "all you who are heavy hearted come and find rest" arrested me. The hymns and prayers seemed to be meant for me. I remember going to church with my mother and father as a child. In my late teens I drifted away thinking that rationale thinking and scientific discovery held the answers to life. Sitting there with Kara by my side I started to question those assumptions.

The minister spoke about phrases associated with the cross. When she described Jesus saying "father forgive them" I focused upon every word. Neither the cry of a baby, nor the hacking cough of a man, nor the giggling of teens girls several rows broke my attention. She spoke of divine forgiveness bringing reconciliation to the soul. And when she spoke of forgiving others for sins and actions inflicted upon you as being liberation and freedom my heart leapt. I needed that freedom. My hand grasped Kara's hand. I looked at her and noticed a tear in her eyes.

In conclusion she spoke of prayer being a mystical healing moment between our soul and God. She invited her listeners to prayer quietly for a moment without any music being played. I was not religious but felt strangely compelled to pray. I did not know if there was a divine being and that is where I started my prayer. When I asked for the ability to forgive myself and my abusers, I felt at peace, at peace with all including myself. I had not suddenly become religious, nor do I claim to have become converted as I understood it from my younger days, but I knew I had let go of the bitterness and anger that was eating at me. I accepted I am a victim of rape, but one who was no longer going to allow what they did control my life. I was free of them. I had my life back and I was smiling at the music started up on my mother's favorite hymn, Amazing Grace. I sung with freedom.

As we sang the hymn Tim and Kara were holding hands. As we got toward the end of the penultimate verse Kara put the hymnal back in the rack. But they kept singing the last verse looking into each other's eyes. As they sang "And when we have been there ten thousand years" tears flowed from each of their eyes. Pure love for his bride shone in Tim's eyes. Taking place between husband and wife was the expression of healing, forgiveness, loving support and the relinquishing of each other into the hands of what remained of their life together. No one other than myself knew what was being communicated in that moment between them. I feel honored to have witnessed their most intimate moment where their hand holding, eyes, quivering lips, shaking voices and tears were communicating volumes.

As I type this I am extremely happy that the turmoil in their relationship has been healed. Forgiveness and love discovered. I long to be a recipient of a man's loving gaze like I saw in Tim's eyes. One day, may be one day, a man will come into my life who will look upon me with such love and joy. I also want a man who will not seek to control or manipulate me but with whom I will be an equal partner. I will await a man who would be willing to put my interests and profession above his if necessary.

I now see that Kara and Tim functioned as my healing circle that my father described when he talked about the elders of his community. They sat with me, allowed me to vent, to gaze into the smoke to see my life and to gain insight. Then they used a formal sacred ceremony to bring release and to restore my soul.

When I first started this reflection in January my problem was clear though complicated. It resolved itself at least for me in what I thought was an exciting manner only to have another problem come in its place. That night when I started on this reflection I thought it would end here. Yet life rarely gives us a story book ending, especially after a horrendous experience.

The wife of one of my colleagues unknowingly triggered a panic attack eleven days later. Shivers ran through me, my hands fidgeted as they became clammy while my heart and breathing raced. Seeing this woman 6 months pregnant forced to the front of my mind that I was late. Not a little late, very late. I just collapsed into my chair. I recalled that I had been urinating a little more frequently, not a good sign.

I must have looked pail as Jen, one of my office mates, asked if I was ill. Within the half hour I was on my way to a pharmacy and then home. I drove as if I was autopilot. The next thing I knew with a collapsed airbag around me I was having a close look at the front passenger side of a Ford Expedition. I would have easily slowed to miss or swing behind the vehicle rushing to left turn through a tight hole, but the black mass did not register with my thoughts elsewhere.

Other than lacerations on my legs, arms and face, bruises, two broken fingers and a pounding headache, I was in much better shape than what my eyes saw of my blue Mita. They ran various tests at the hospital. When the doctor gave me a prescription before releasing me he noted that as I was pregnant he would not give me the standard prescription. It was confirmed.

Taking a cab home I spent that night and the next day mindlessly watching television. Actually the television was on and I was sitting before it, but I still could not recall what shows I watched. The only thing that was accomplished the next day was to talk with my insurance agent, a friend of my departed father. Fortunately the police report showed that the teenage boy was at fault for making an unsafe turn. Unfortunately, my little car was classified as being totaled. Ryan arranged for a rental firm to deliver a car with the paper work for me to sign at home rather than having me go to their office. Ryan convinced the rental firm to do this because I had been hurt. The insurance company would pay for a rental for ten days, enough time for me to purchase a new vehicle.

Kara was alone and still in her flannel gown when I arrived at her home late Saturday morning with luggage in tow. I had agreed to stay with her for the week as promised as Tim was leaving late that afternoon for a training conference in Atlanta. From just looking at my face she knew something was wrong.

I told Kara about the accident and the tests results. She were crying and holding each other when Tim arrived with grocery bags in hand. He set them down before moving to the side chair in the living room. As I wiped my eyes and blew my nose I noticed he had a strange look. Walking toward the kitchen Kara stopped briefly before him, touched his hand, nodded and then went to put the perishable groceries away.

Swiftly Tim moved to the sofa, sat down and drew me into his arms. He knew without being told. He assured me that they would be with me and support me in whatever decision I make. He or Kara would go with me to a clinic if I wished to have an abortion. Across the kitchen counter Kara affirmed her husband's commitment.

I think I surprised them by saying I would not abort the baby. I was against taking a life, whether it be through a death penalty or the life of the unborn. I can not in good conscience be against the death penalty by claiming life is precious while contradicting and compromising my position by thinking I could take the life that was within me even. To me, even in its early stage it was still a life. What about my right to be in control of my body Tim asked. Looking him in the eye I gave him my but firm reply. My right to control my body and life ends when it harms the life of another. It is like free speech; my freedom to speak ends when I use that freedom to knowingly impinge upon the rights of another, slander them or brings them undue harm.

As I now reflect upon the unwavering decision to carry the baby to term I realize I also need this baby. Being taken and abused was outside my control. I was drawn into a trap and victimized. Besides being contrary to my intellectual views, in my heart aborting the child growing within me would further my victimization. By having the child, loving it and protecting the child I was in a sense, at least to my way of thinking, taking back control. The biological father would have no right to this child whatsoever. He got his thrill and walked away after inseminating me. This is my child, not his. He will not share it the joy of seeing his child grow.

Tim's offer to not attend the conference was refused by both Kara and I. I would be fine. When Tim went upstairs to finish packing I asked why she was grinning. She only said "we will have time to talk later."

After dropping Tim off at the airport Kara and I stopped for dinner. Noting it was later, she said she smiled because Tim's offer was showing concern for me. Though he did not support abortions, he was not thrusting his view upon me. His focus was upon me, "just like a husband should" she smiled. I felt uncomfortable and quickly changed subjects.

Sunday morning over breakfast I asked Kara if she was going to church. If I was asking then it meant I needed to go, so yes she was going. She was right, I sensed I needed to go. Again the minister's message spoke to me. It may have been her words alone but I also suspect that it was because she was talking upon one of my mother's favorite passages on love.

As the reverend spoke it was as if my mother was speaking to me. Though love is expressed in different ways, regardless of how it is expressed, its highest form is when love is given freely without condition for the benefit recipient. It puts the wellbeing of the other above self. It is slow to anger and quick to forgive. As she was speaking, I grasped for Kara's hand grasped mine. I looked at her. She merely nodded. I agree love sacrifices freely for the other and helps the other to achieve their highest goals and desires. Love does not impose its will. Such love seeks the best in self and for others.

Kara whispered in my ear, "I needed this. I have not lived this love as I should for far too long." My spirit was calm and content. "I am going to be a mother," I joyously cried out within. At that moment my heart and mind were soundly and clearly settled, this was my baby and I will love and raise it. Yes, how I became a mother was tragic and horrible, but this is MY CHILD, not their child. They provided merely the seed. I held my abdomen and spoke my first motherly vow, to love this child with all my heart, to protect it from all harm, to guide and direct his or her life.

Kara must have noticed something different, "I see your eye's are aglow with motherhood." I nodded with tears of joy in the corner of my eye.

That afternoon as Kara rested I looked at Jeff moving around his home with new eyes. I smiled quietly as I watched him work on his homework and IMing his girlfriend. When my friend awoke I prepared a simple meal of baked chicken and rice. Jeff devoured the meal while Kara just nibbled. She kept looking as if she was about to say something but stopped each time.

After eating Kara and I returned to her room where we had a long honest conversation that lasted nearly two hours. While somewhat guarded with Jeff moving about the house, we tried to be frank and honest with each other. We shared our desires, dreams, disappointments, angers, frustrations and loves, sometimes using euphemisms. We cried together and laughed together.

I asked the burning question running in the back of my mind since that beginning of year when she encouraged me to draw the affections of her husband. Why and why me?

With tears in eyes she said that other than these last "years of stubborn stupidity" her life with Tim has been fulfilling and joyous. Tim would either seek out someone to love or he would become a walking lonely shell. At first she saw me as a way to keep him from being with "that bitch". Her mind shifted as she wants this for Tim's and my sake. When cancer was discovered her husband felt guilt, as if he was in some way responsible. In her state of mind and anger, she allowed his misplaced guilt to deepen and to drive him to drink. He was looking into an abyss of emptiness that started to swallow him just as cancer was swallowing her.

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