The Girl I Once Knew

Once upon a time many years ago I met a girl walking a beautiful collie. As we approached each other on the sidewalk I seen she couldn’t have been much older than me. I think the dog helped encourage me to shyly introduce myself and the girl was very friendly. She had reddish-brown hair, fair skin and freckles and a nice smile. If memory serves I believe I was about 9 years old and she was 10. I found out she was staying with her Grandparents which lived only a block away from where I lived and as we got to know each other we hit it off and would play at each others houses.

By summers end it was always bittersweet, I’d have to say good-bye to my best friend but we’d write letters to each other throughout the school year. That’s pretty much unheard of these days with email, cell phones and internet but when we were kids we didn’t have that. I always looked forward to summer and hanging out with her. She did occasionally come up for a holiday (Christmas) but mainly it was summer. One summer when we were teenagers I went up to where she lived and spent a couple of months there. That was the first time I rode a horse and very much enjoyed my time away. I also remember going to her graduation but keeping it a surprise was difficult because we always wrote each other during the school year. Then after graduation she came to live in Rhinelander with her grandparents until she found her own place. She went to work and school but we were together as often as both of our schedules seen fit.

One would think that these fair friends who wrote and spent pretty much every day of when they were in the same town that nothing would ever make the friendship fail… Or at least that was part of my naive nature at the time. I remember when she met him and she was so excited and I was happy for her and was looking forward to meeting him but he wasn’t as I expected. I don’t know still why she fell for him. I know she struggled with meeting guys because she was stubborn like me and very willful. She was also a bit insecure and no matter what I said I think she figured it was that I was just trying to make her feel better but it wasn’t. She was a very pretty girl and I don’t know why she couldn’t see it and I wonder if she does today. I never cared for him and it’s not that I didn’t give him an opportunity to show me he was a decent person and I’m not the only one to see through him, her closest family (her brother, step Father and others) also seen it. We all warned her but she didn’t listen and ended up marrying him.

I knew he was evil. At first I didn’t know how bad until she told me things he did to her…awful, unimaginable things. He was abusive in every way possible and also cheated on her but she stayed and I begged her when they had their down time to walk away. This caused many fights with her and I and I suppose that’s when I started to notice the crumble of our friendship. Little did I know that in a few years he would shatter it completely.

I married too but that’s a different story for a different time. This is about that girl I once knew that listened to Ozzy Osbourne and the Doors and we’d ride around in her car or just have campfires or go swimming. We always had fun until him. So as I said I married and moved away to Abilene, Texas and I remember coming home around Thanksgiving to visit and we did get together..we¬† had still wrote but that was becoming more scarce. We met at her Grandma’s and went to a bar and had a couple of drinks and talked. I could tell she wasn’t happy but she didn’t say… she just lied and said everything was fine and good but I knew better. We made the promise that we always did that we would write or call upon our good-bye.

I think by then both of us being adults and being so far away and having our own lives didn’t help keep the friendship either. I eventually divorced and moved to New York City (again another story for another time) and then eventually back home. She heard I was in town and contacted me and we were excited to see each other and it almost seemed like old times. She seemed happy and I was happy that she was or maybe it is what I wanted to believe. I didn’t know that those couple of times when I seen her about a week or so after getting home would be the last times I’d hear or see her but it was.

I shared in another post (July 4, 1998) which goes over the details of the events which changed our lives forever. I don’t exactly remember when her brother contacted me but I was living with Greg at the time because of him. Because he decided to stalk me by driving past my Dad’s house and sitting at the Ford dealership outside my job and following me. I wanted nothing to do with him.

Sometimes I wonder if it was a good or bad decision to not report him for what he did to me. I know at the time I wanted to protect my friend and I also had little faith in the justice system and their laws set up against sexual assault. I often still feel that as victims we often get the short end of the stick. We are exposed for the world to see and have to repeat the gruesome details of the events multiple times to the point where we feel dead inside. If it manages go to the next step and go to court then the other side tries to find every possible reason (excuses) for why or what happened to blame the victim to discredit them and make them look like dirty little whores. But I feel this part of the story needs to be elsewhere instead of in the story of my friend and I.

So getting back to when her brother contacted me… I want to say it was in the fall while I was living with Greg that I received a call from my Dad telling me he was there and I told him to put him on the phone so that I could confirm that it was really him. When I did I told him to stay there and that we needed to talk and so I met him and we talked. I told him everything and he was pissed and he knew we had to do something about it. He got a hold of my friend and told her that he needed to see her and went to her and told her what happened. I had hope that she’d open her eyes and really see him for all his evil. There was a glimmer of hope but of course when he came home and they confronted him he lied and kept lying and then told the worst lie of them all that we had slept together. There was no consent on my part. I said, screamed and fought no but it was unheard. But it didn’t matter. He still raped me and he lied and said it was something else and somehow even though she questioned him about the bite marks and bruises she somehow believed him. One thing she passed along to her brother to ask me is why I went to dinner with him. I question that still to myself but obviously cannot do anything about it.

What happened was not my fault. Then a few years later her step Father came to me at my job to inform me that he was no longer with us. I cannot say I was sad, in fact quite the opposite. I was glad he could no longer hurt her and he would never be able to do anything to me or to anyone else. But his last act of killing himself in front of her I fear has most likely scarred her for life. I cannot imagine what that was like for her and I know she felt pain. But I also hope in some way, maybe that there was some final relief, release from it all. I tried to call her when her step Father told me she was coming to visit I would call but every time I was rejected. She refused to speak to me. And every time it broke my heart a little more. So I sent her a sympathy card and a letter telling her that I hope she was well and the I really wanted to talk to her but I could no longer continue trying and that it was up to her.

That was until recently when I tried to contact her sister-in-law and a mutual friend. I don’t know how it will go and in conjunction with this story of course I do not know what will become of it. That of course isn’t preventing me from telling my stories. I do have hope but hope is fleeting in this case cause it has already been 18 years. I still wish the best for her and hope that she has found happiness. True happiness instead of what she had which was very much the opposite. And I hope she finds love.