by V.J. Knutson
“…he had always been popular and happy and things had always worked out.”
(Holly LeCraw, The Swimming Pool)
I close the book, feeling the rage shifting just below my sternum. It’s the second time this week that words have elicited this response. The first was an online post and the author had written something about how gently we come into this world; a man, of course, whose lack of birthing experience allowed him to think glibly about such beginnings – and, I know otherwise.
Flesh tears from flesh.
Pain builds and peaks and in a bloodied push of exasperation life emerges.
I’m not discrediting the miraculous. Birth is miraculous. And in time, joy overshadows the trauma, and we conceive again. This, too, is a miracle.
Maybe it is all this talk of he said/ she said dominating the news; women daring to call out their abusers. The ensuing backlash.
I named my assailant. Included his address, and full details of the abduction. Then buried the memory, and self, in a well so deep it wouldn’t emerge for fourteen years; knife-edged fragments butchering my complacency. Memory works that way.
No charges were laid, no subsequent trial; the judgment occurred on the spot the day that they found me, missing overnight, in a state of shock. I had asked for it; my clothes, the unfortunate choice to attend a bar underage, the willingness to get in a stranger’s car with friends. The defilement was my fault. How could I not bury it?
Happiness is desirable – no different for me – but I am also a realist/cynic; and life does not unfold in candy-wrapped sweetness. It stumbles along, meets with obstacles, and demands that we look within. To say that someone has lived an unmarred existence, as suggested in the quotation above, is just laziness on the part of the author. This is not truth, so why write it?
Life commands character.
Real life, that is.
The rage subsides. I’ve said my piece. I turn the page.
V.J.Knutson is a former educator, avid blogger, and grandmother. She and her husband are currently traveling cross-country in a 40-foot motorhome. Originally from Ontario, Canada, V.J. hopes this journey will provide healing for her ME/CFS, or at the very least, inspire further creativity. Find her online at One Woman’s Quest.