"I'm sorry sweetie."
On Sunday I don’t ride back with Frank. I stay with Gerard wanting a little more time to work on my project. On Wednesday I ride the ferry home with him. Although he doesn’t say anything I know Gerard knows something is wrong.
On Thursday I don’t get out of bed. The memories flood back, washing over my like waves. The wounds reopen as the images flash before my eyes. It’s been a year since Garry raped me. I thought I was better. I thought keeping busy with school and Frank would make this easier. I guess I will never forget. Maybe I’ll never fully heal.
Donna comes up around ten. She stands in the door way for a very long time before saying anything, “Amber, sweetheart, what’s wrong.”
I let out a sob before pointing towards the calendar hanging on the wall above my desk. Instead of lifting my head I just continue to cry, feeling very alone without anyone here to comfort me.
“I’m sorry sweetie,” Donna says coming over to stroke my hair. “It will get better.”
I just sniff, burying myself further in the covers. I don’t want to talk. I just want to lie here and sleep. Then again that doesn’t really help. Images of Garry play in my dreams, the hurt, broken feeling taking over.
Around one I hear footsteps on the stairs. Assuming its Donna with lunch I shut my eyes tightly, more tears leaking out. I simply hug Frank’s turtle and Mikey's dog closer to my chest, hoping she’ll just disappear.
“Amber,” a voice not belonging to Donna says quietly.
I just ignore it burying my face in my covers and sobbing. I don’t want him to see me this way. Last time I was like this he was hurting. I’d hate myself if I did that to him again.
After a few minutes I feel weight on my bed. Frank wraps his arms tightly around me. He doesn’t say a word, just holding me and rubbing my back, occasionally kissing my shoulder. We don’t move the entire day, only once so he can go to the bathroom and then again when Donna brings us dinner. Just like last year the smell of food makes me nauseous. I don’t have the stomach to eat. Frank doesn’t touch his food either.
I fight off the images and the feelings by sleeping. I wake up a few times, finally falling completely asleep when the sun sets. I still cry though. Over the course of the day I’ve come to realize that no matter how healed I seem I will never forget…the memories will always be there.
In the morning I wake up feeling no different than the day before. I just wrap my arms around Frank and rest my head on his chest. I cry some more while he twirls my hair around his fingers.
“You’re missing class,” I say after a while feeling guilty for needing him this much. I should be strong enough to take care of myself.
“I’m not going to class,” Frank replies.
“I’m sorry for making you miss it.”
“Don’t be. There are more important things to me than meaningless classes.”
“Thank you for staying with me,” I whisper.
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
I hold Frank tighter, brushing my nose against his neck, “I love you.”
“I love you too, Ambo.”
“Will you stay with me again today?”
“Of course,” Frank answer. “You have to do something for me in exchange though.”
“You have to eat today, okay?”
I nod and snuggle up closer to Frank, “I will.”