One Silver Lining

(Based on true events* – Trigger Warning for possible distress)

bed blanket female girl

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

 

Susan is about to leave her daughter’s bedroom after bringing in a load of clean laundry when Chrissie speaks. Her voice trembles.

“Mom, can I tell you something important?”

Susan turns. Chrissie has been quieter than usual. She resisted going to basketball practice and tried to stay home from school. “Sure, Chrissie. You know you can tell me anything.”

“Coach Kevin hurt me.”

Susan frowns in confusion. “Hurt you how?”

“He cornered me in the locker room and he pushed me onto the ground and he tried to get my clothes off and I told him no but he didn’t listen and when I tried to scream he put his hand over my mouth and nose and I couldn’t breathe and I thought I was going to die.” The words tumble out and Chrissie begins to sob.

Her mother remains standing as if rooted to the floor. “When?”

“Last week.”

“Last week?!” Susan crosses her arms over her chest. “How come you didn’t say something right away?”

“I was scared. I was confused. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to think about it. I…I didn’t want it to be true.”

“Did you call the police?”

“No.”

“Did you tell the principal?”

“No.”

“Did you tell anyone?”

“I told my friend, Hannah, yesterday.” Chrissie’s voice shakes. “She told me to tell you.”

“You didn’t even tell your best friend right away?!” Susan raises an eyebrow.

“No.”

“Well,” Susan shakes her head, “so maybe it didn’t happen.”

Chrissie wraps her blanket tightly around herself. “It did happen! I’m telling you it did!”

“Coach Kevin is a nice man. Are you sure it was him?”

“Mom! I know him. His face was two inches from mine. Of course I’m sure it was him!”

“I don’t know. I’ve seen Coach Kevin many times and he never tried to do this to me. I never heard anyone say anything like this about him. Also, he goes to church.” Susan pulls her phone out of her pocket. She swipes her finger over the small screen. “Kevin? Susan. Got a minute?” She walks out of the room and returns a couple of minutes later. “Well, Chrissie, I don’t know what’s going on here, but I just talked to Coach Kevin and he says he didn’t do anything of the sort. Are you trying to destroy him? It is nasty to make things up this way.”

Chrissie sobs. “I’m not making it up, Mom. It really happened. It is why I didn’t want to go to school. I didn’t want … to see him and he does the carpool …”

Susan eyes linger on her daughter. “Well, maybe something happened, but I don’t believe it was him.”

“It was him! I’m telling you it was him.”

Susan narrows her eyes. “How can you be sure it was him?”

“I am a 100% sure. I saw him like I’m seeing you.”

“Hmm. I think you’re wrong.”

Chrissie pulls the covers over her head. The blankets shake.

“No need for hysterics. As you can see, I am believing you that something happened. I just don’t think it was him. Actually, I think you should apologize to Coach Kevin for saying he did this to you. He says he didn’t do it and I believe him.”

Chrissie freezes. She turns slowly toward her mother. “Apologize to him?! Mom, he’s lying!”

“I don’t know. You have proof it was him?”

Chrissie starts to shake her head but then sits up. She looks up at her mother. “Maybe. There are cameras in the hallway by the locker rooms. Can we ask the school to get the cameras from outside the locker room? They’ll show him going into the girls’ locker room when I was there by myself. They’ll show me leaving in tears and him leaving after me.”

Chrissie’s mother rolls her eyes. “That’s not necessary. He said he didn’t do it. That’s all I need to know.”

Chrissie stares incredulously before turning away from her mother and facing the wall.

Susan shrugs. “Well, that settles it. I’ll tell Kevin you are sorry. He’s up for promotion, you know. Head coach. There’s a party at his place on Sunday. We’ll stop by. You should write a card. The one silver lining that can come out of this is that if someone assaults you, you now know you can come and tell me about it.”

§ § §

 

*a link to a ‘one silver lining‘ statement that ‘inspired’ this piece.

 

Pink Strong

Pink AtaraKatz

Photo: Atara Katz

 

Underneath the soft plumage

And pretty colors

Afield,

Resides a strength to protect

From those who violence

Wield.

Underneath the pink top

The hat of power

Revealed,

Live truths of how both

Softness and thorns

Are required

To be healed.

 

 

For the Sunday Stills Challenge: Make mine pink

 

 

The Service


PHOTO PROMPT © Yvette Prior

 

All was set for the service.

Programs lounged on chairs in the next room. The adequately melancholy music played. Discrete tissue boxes rested at either end of the first row.

She waited as heels clicked on marble and black fabrics swished and the somber faces of acquaintances, rearranged for the occasion, nodded at her. She endured the hugs and shoulder pats and too-long handshakes. She breathed through the words.

The room quieted.

She rose and stared at the ornate urn on the dais before turning to face the living.

“You should know,” she began, “that Dad was not a good man.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Be Heartened

heartened NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Take heart

Even when reality

Would bleed it dry

With injustice

And stale pride.

Be heartened

By the strength

Of those who wait out

The belligerent

And will not see

Truth and decency

Denied.

 

 

For Cee’s Black & White Photo challenge

 

Heart View

Belize4 InbarASif

Photo: Inbar Asif

 

As we hold endless heartache

Of scandal, war, crime, abuse

May we also remember

Gentler waves, kinder views;

So the holes rent by hardship

Will not make us refuse

To let pain become a window

To the good we can profuse.

 

 

For the Pink September Squares

 

 

It’ll Do

three line tales, week 137: an abandoned asylum

Photo: Nathan Wright via Unsplash

 

Never mind the mildew and dirt, the echoes in corridors of sad stories they knew.

There’ll be roof over heads and a shelter for those who lost all yet pulled through.

We will clean it all up. Make a home for these kids. It’ll do.

 

 

For Three Line Tales, Week 137

 

Bedtime for Luna


PHOTO PROMPT © Gah Learner

 

“So, remember,” her hand on the door’s handle. “Bedtime at 9, only one treat, brush your teeth.”

“And no opening the door for anyone,” he intoned.

At least it got him a smile. There weren’t many of them of late.

She tucked an errant lock of hair behind an ear and suddenly he couldn’t stand it.

“When will you be back?” He knew. He had to ask.

She glanced at the window. The court-order weighed heavy on her mind.

“When Luna goes to bed behind the mountain, I’ll be home.”

For the last time.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

May We Be the Adults Kids Need

The link below is to an article by Dawn Haney (thank you, Jenny, for sending it to me). It is very well done and immensely relevant.

Take a moment to read it, and perhaps a few more to allow your realities and reactions to have the room they require and deserve. If you are so inclined, leave a comment below and share your thoughts about the article, of the things you’ve found to be helpful, and the realities of balancing activism with self-care.

In these times of rampant overwhelm and maddening injustice — especially if you carry your own wounds and trauma history — may you find the support you need, the awareness you seek, and the way to provide aid to the vulnerable in the pace and manner you can manage.

And may we all, indeed, be the adults kids need.

May We Be the Adults Kids Need: Healing practices to avoid burnout

From the article. Photo by Brooke Anderson.

 

Rows of Woe

Never Again3 OfirAsif

Photo: Ofir Asif

 

For we owe

Them to know

How rows of woe

Not long ago

Came to show

What can grow

If we do not forgo

Those who kowtow

To the lowest of low.

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Row