shattered glass

As I was leaving the mall today, slightly lost in my own thoughts i caught in my peripheral vision a man entering the mall. He was tall, with glasses and an unusual goatee thing. He was carrying a young boy. Although there was nothing obviously untoward about him I immediately felt uncomfortable. I avoided him and speeded up to my car outside. There was an undertone of fear and anxiety and that sense of something gripping my throat. Once in my car, doors locked, the familiarity, the sanctuary of what is mine, what is safe, I was able to breathe through the panic, deconstruct my thoughts a little better.

When I was raped, that fragment of time broke like glass. Painfully sitting in my soul, I remain that 14 year old girl. I can see her, I can feel her feelings. Her fears, her insecurities, her anger, her confusion, her sadness, her shame, her loneliness. Even her appearance is captured. Of that night, the clothes, the body, the pain, the disgust, etc. and in that shard of glass comes the image of him. Timeless and ageless. The words. The eyes.

In fact when I first saw an image of him older on social media I didn’t recognise him. I thought I would know instantly, but I didn’t. I had this frozen image of a night so embedded in me that my brain wasn’t able to see changes brought by time. Not major changes. Just not the captured image.

But with time, men grow lines, hair colour changes, facial hair style changes, glass frame changes. But in this case eyes remain dead and soul less.

And the man that raped me so many years ago is married with children. 

So when I saw this man with a slight semblance I was unfortunately reminded of a fleeting image I’d seen on social media. Which then got me thinking about how he would be out shopping (in a different country thank god), with his children, not a care in the world. Being in a mall, not suffering crowds, not tiring easily, not relying on medication, not suffering anxiety or fearing the dark. Telling his children that monsters don’t exist.

The very realistic notion of this fills my heart with such terrible sadness. How one human being can destroy another and not give it another thought.

So the random man carrying his child wouldn’t have seen the panic in my eyes as he reminded me of a shard of glass from my past. As the man from my past can may well smile the devil’s smile at people in another mall somewhere and they will be none the wiser of the glass that is in place of his heart.


6 thoughts on “shattered glass

  1. I’m so sorry. I do understand your fear and your pain. (Scrolling thru a friend’s Facebook page is where I saw the man who raped me in college 23 years ago. He looked happy with his family in his vaca pictures & I couldn’t help but wonder if his wife knew who he really was.) I’m so sorry that seeing this man sparked such difficult memories in you or that it’s even something you should have to worry about! I hate that you were so young and he “got away”… You are a strong woman, a survivor and a beautiful spirit and he could change that. I’m send you hugs & prayers of peace. Know I’m thinking of you–

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I relate, but through my daughter’s eyes. It’s so sad that the aftermath is largely ignored by the perpetrators…


  3. My “him” is married, has a child and is a respected member of the community. I’ll never understand how one person can have two faces that are so incredibly different. I’m so sorry this man triggered you, and I’m sorry that your “him” never was punished for all the pain he caused. Sending you lots of hugs.


  4. So well written, your pain put on paper so powerfully. You may feel destroyed yet there’s a spark he can’t touch and never can. I’m sorry for all you went through, you’re writing made me feel it.
    He has to live with what he did….


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