A Dream

Oct. 28th, 2011 12:50 am
thulcandran: (Default)
We were at a camp sort of place, somewhere between a school event, a summer camp, and a military post. Half my summers, basically. It was dark - evening, fading rapidly to night, you know the dusk that New England woods are so famous for. But we were fifty feet or so from the woods, in an open hut: two walls, longer than wide, a roof, open at both ends. There were picnic tables scattered on the end nearest the woods, they overlapped with the area outside the tent, which was in a low fence, open-- more a boundary than a barrier. We milled around, our overseer lounging at the end of the tables under the roof, watching not-too-closely, but watching. Two of the police came up, with the girl. I'd known her. My brother, passing through the building, stopped. There was a look on his face. I didn't see too closely.

They asked him, had he touched her? Had he, with all of his friends, sexually molested her? It wasn't rape, but it was far from innocent. She was crying, now. She'd liked my brother. He sat down on the ground, hard. Started crying. He hadn't wanted to, he said, he didn't know what he was doing, his friends were all laughing and they just got carried away, and he was so, so, sorry, talking to her, not them, and they pulled him up by the wrists and led him and her away, her crying still, him crying, and I did not know what to do.

I stood, leaning against the wall, tears on my face, shame and fear in my heart, what happened to him, what would happen to him? The night had fallen in earnest, now, and daylight was a distant memory. When I could think straight, I walked away, out of the fence - there was a red light, I spat in it. The spray of light was warm, on my face, and I ran, around and back, before things began to happen. Gasping, panting, the tears dried on my face and hot and boiling in my heart, I sat on the ground, against the wall, and waited.

Gruff in appearance, with kind eyes that, most often, were more searching and deciding and commanding; he walked over. One arm around my shoulders, words, reassuring, spoken low and quiet.

There was more, of course; there always is. There was a huge, well-lit building, in which all of us were out of place and unprepared and the polished tiles themselves knew it. There was getting lost, trying to find your way back to the familiar hallway, and not sure if you would know it if you saw it. There was hoping, against hope, to find a friendly face, or comfort, somewhere, in the cold and inanimate luxury. There was the knowledge, sure and hard and painful, that you could not-- maybe in the colder, darker night, if you could ever reach it-- which you could not.

But that, that will stay with me. The arm around my shoulders; the words, it does not matter what they are. A moment of empathy, in a dark world; it may last.

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thulcandran

May 2013

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