Inside Being Brave Again.

July 20, 2014

When she got to the bathroom it was empty, she did a quick sweep making sure no one else was present before she walked into the stall in the middle. In addition to the self blame there was the shame that went with it. Shame was also connected to psychological problems, such as, eating disorders, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders as well as problematic moral behavior. It had been her father who put her in therapy after her first suicide attempt.


Washing her hands in the sink she looked at the faint scars on her wrist, vivid reminders of that time in her life. That dark spiral she been in, when the very function of breathing had become unbearable. She couldn’t take it. Her mother couldn’t look at her without crying, her father couldn’t look at her at all. The entire situation had torn her once picture perfect family into shreds. Looking back up into the mirror she was jerked from her thoughts by the reflection of a man behind her. His features were blurred and his face was covered with a mask. She was frozen with fear, trapped in place as her heart pounded inside her chest. Turning around she was presented with the empty bathroom. No one was there. No one had been there. Her breath echoed against the bathroom walls.


Looking down at her stomach she lifted her shirt to see the scars on her abdomen. They too were faint reminders now of an attack from so long ago. The jagged edges from where he ripped at her clothing. A knot formed in her throat and she covered her mouth to mute any sob that dare to come from her lips. Nausea rolled through her, tightening her stomach and making her mouth water. She gripped the counter of the sink. Any second now she was going to either throw up or wind up on her ass.


One hand pressed to her mouth, she raced back into the stall. She almost didn’t make it. The spasms hitting as she stepped over the toilet. Bracing her hands on her knees, her stomach released its contents.


For long moments afterwards, she remained where she was, knees weak, and a sour taste in her mouth. An emphatic reminder that her body had its limits and her mind was no different. For years she given into the feeling, that feeling of helplessness, of letting her body make the choices for her. She’d moved her for one reason and one reason only, to recover. She only wanted her life back. And she would do her damnedest to get it. 


Logan walked into the dorm with his cell phone pressed to his ear. "I don't know she just said she couldn't do it anymore," he said with shrug as he walked down the hall and listened to his mother on the other line doing her best to give him words of wisdom. "I know mom, it just sucks we would have been two full years next week. It just feels like I wasted a lot of time." He passed Rachel's door and felt the urge to knock. He should at least check in on her. Pausing he let out a sigh, "Hey mom I have to go, my RA duties are calling," he said into the phone. "Love you to mom." He hung up the phone and was about to knock when the sounds of violent coughing caught his attention.


His eyes shifted down the hall and he instinctively began walking towards the sound. The closer he got the more he could hear sobs mixed in with the cough and sounds of someone throwing up. He came to a stop in front of the girl's bathroom and pushed the door open just a little. "You alright?" he asked cautiously.


"I'm fine," a voice said. "Go away."


He recognized the voice as Rachel's. "You're not fine," he said walking into the bathroom and letting the door close behind him. He came up to the middle stall where she sat huddled on the floor using a towel to wipe some of the tears and snot away. "Jesus," Logan said taking in her pale features and trembling hands. "What's wrong?" Logan quickly shrugging off his bag tossing it off to the side of the stall so he could come closer.


"Please don't touch me," Rachel said quickly her body tense up at the sight of his extended hand and he froze.


"Alright, I'm not going to touch you," he assured her. "Just tell me what I can do."


There was silence for a long time as he watched her battle out the urge to speak or turn away from him. "Can I have some water?" she said in low voice finally.


"Yes," he said reaching back into his bag and taking out a water bottle. "Here it's still sealed I just got back from the student center." He held it out to her and then thought better of it placing it on the floor between them. "Would you like me to open it?"


"Yeah," she said throwing the tissue she'd been using into the toilet.


Logan twisted the cap off and then placed it back on the tile between them. He watched as she took the bottle and brought it up to her lips. After two long swigs she put the bottle down and used the back of her hand to wipe away more tears. Logan reached up to get more paper towels offering them to her the same way he did the water bottle. As she took them he took a moment to really look at her, try to assess the situation as best he could to figure out what was wrong. It was the first time he saw her without her super baggy clothes on. She was wearing a white t-shirt and pair of red running shorts, her hair pulled back into the same pony tail as always.


He noticed the tiny faint scar above her eye, and he then found another one on her arm that came down to her elbow. It was so unexpected he found himself staring. Clearly, something very serious had happened to her. Someone had done a number on her, someone hurt her and the thought of it made him feel sick. Whoever it was, it had been a man, a man who probably used his strength to beat her up and cut her down. The idea that someone would take advantage of her, that someone would even lay a hand on her. He felt himself get tense.


He became aware that Rachel had finished drying herself and lifted his gaze to look straight into her eyes. He was busted. Big-time. Heat singed his cheeks and he attempted to find words to explain why he’d been gawking like a five-year-old, but before he could open his mouth she turned away.


"Thank you," she said adjusting herself a little.


Logan relaxed a little trying to bring the tension in the air down to a comfortable lull. "Do you need anything else?"


"I'm alright," she said tilting her head so that she could see him full on.


Logan was quiet. They both were as they watched each other. Then as the moments ticked by he watched the color return to her face and her breathing slow down. "Are you sick?"




"Pregnant?" he had to ask as procedure.




Logan nodded. "Did you eat something?"


She hesitated. "Yeah," Rachel nodded with a forced smile pulling at her lips. It was well practiced smile and for a moment if he hadn’t known better it almost seemed real but the smile didn't reach her eyes.


"Alright," Logan nodded as he let out a sigh and then brought his hand up through his hair. "You're going to be okay?"


"I feel better already," she said making a move to get up, her joints and muscles protested the action, as they always did at first. She gritted her teeth and pushes herself to her feet anyway. If she waited till the pain stopped, she’d never get anything done.


Logan got to his feet as well picking up his back pack and keeping his eyes on her. "Are you going to be alright on your own?"


"Yes," she said with a frustrated tone. "Thank you for the water and your concern, but I'm fine," she said going to move past him when he didn't move she stopped and they stood there face to face. "Let me through.”


"I'm not going to hurt you," Logan said softly. "I don't know who did, and for whatever reason you don't want to tell me. I understand, I can live with that for now, but one day we're going to have to talk about what just happened,” he said pointing to where she'd just been.


"I already told you it was something I ate," she said looking at him with a clenched jaw her eyes darting around in the stall her breathing being coming a little more rapid. It was obvious, she didn't like small spaces. She didn't like being trapped and at this realization Logan held up both his hands and moved to the side letting her walk past him. He watched as she left the room and disappeared into the hallway leaving him alone in the girl’s bathroom.


You can follow me on Twitter @Punkpoet69 or keep check back here for updates on Being Brave Again.


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