I'm sure nobody's awake yet. Nobody. It's too quiet out here. The sun has barely kissed the clouds, and every car on this street is parked outside its respective home. Windows still dewy and all of the curtains are still drawn. I can see his window from here. It's almost 7:30 am, and he should be getting up in a minute or two. I told myself last night, as I lay my muddled head down on my fluffy, mint green pillow that I wouldn't be afraid this time. I told myself again this morning in the mirror as soon as I observed a tiny, glimmer of fear begin to weigh on my eyebrows then push them down towards the tiny black mole on my nose. Can't do fear today... I'm saving my life today.
He's up! His navy curtains have finally been drawn, and the nets are motioning me towards No. 22. He won't see me though, sitting across, on the old, wooden bench. I'm not hidden. I'm in plain sight, but he's old now. His eyesight has gone to shit. Not to mention the fact that, he's really not the "take a moment and smell the roses" type of guy. Ironic really, considering the pink rose bush is still there, draped over the splintering fence. He lives in his own world. Where he's the king of everything, and morality doesn't apply to this world.
As I walk over towards his house, my heart skips several beats, and I notice for the first time that it's freezing cold out. I should've worn a jacket, but in my haste, I reach for my olive cardigan which is incredibly comfortable but no match for this chill. But right now at this moment, I need the comfort far more than I need the protection.
I carefully, lift up the rickety gate, hanging on for dear life from its solitary hinge, tip toe through and gently close it. I do not want to be caught off guard. I want to face him when I ready and not a minute before.
So why am I here? Why am I here on this bitterly cold morning, staring at his terra colored doorway with butterflies in my stomach. Wait. Perhaps not butterflies. I feel nauseous. Sick. I want to curl up right here on these steps and puke out all of the hues of the past two decades. The grays. The blues. The browns and the reds. I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't have to be here. But the thought of him living his life, unblemished despite utterly demolishing mine is something I just cannot allow to happen. My suffering matters. I matter, too.
I want him to HEAR me.
I want to tell him that I'm broken. More broken than the day I left his cursed abode. I want to say to him that even on the hottest day of summer, I can't sleep without a comforter, a security blanket and that on some nights, I ask my husband to stop what he's doing and watch over me as I drift off to sleep. I want to show him all of the times I've imagined his death. How slowly he's died in every single one of these imaginings and the immense feelings of relief I've felt each and every time. I don't want him to be here. Even though I live miles away, across the side of the earth would still be far too close for me. Why? Why me? What did an eleven-year-old girl who loved bike rides and watch Saturday morning cartoons ever do to deserve this life? To deserve him? Him and his tainted touch. Tainted hands. Skulking through the darkness, infecting everything he touches, shying away from the light like a dirty roach. I matter.
I already know what people would say if I ever said this out loud. That I'm "full of hate." That I'm "older now" and I should "move on" and focus on my family. I guess. But to label it as hatred would be far too simple. Nah. They won't ever truly get it. I want him gone so that my soul can bloom. I want it because I have to know that the God I believe in doesn't reward child molesters immortality and a life filled with joy. I need it because I want to stop being afraid of closing my eyes and seeing him surrounded by my baby girls... grinning at me. My suffering matters. I matter, too.
I realize that I'm no longer at his door. At No. 22. I'm now outside his gate. Hyperventilating. Weepy eyed. Nails digging into the old gate so hard that two of my perfectly polished claws are now broken. I did it again. I'm here. Outside his door and I'm still not ready. Still. Not. Ready. But, how easy is it to stare into the eyes of a monster? I tell myself that it's ok to walk away, again. It's ok because I'm doing alright. I have a home. A family. A career and I have happy moments. I wake up to safe children who are healthy with smiles on their faces and who have no idea how deep the well runs. No broken pieces in their eyes. Not even a hint any glue... in THEIR eyes. Just Mommy.
I tell myself that perhaps we are never meant to cross paths again. That comforters are comfortable, and sleep is overrated anyways...
I tell his modern house, his terracotta door and his flimsy gate that I'll see them again next year, again.