Continued from The Coffee Shop (Facing Giants Part 1)
The next day I showed up to the coffee shop. I saw his truck before I saw him. Chuck always drove an oversized red truck. And then there he was, sitting off to the left of the coffee shop surrounded by his friends, laughing and talking over their morning coffee.
I wanted to make sure. You have to understand, I hadn’t even really begun to talk about or process the idea of what happened in Eglon until my whirlwind touched down in my life five years earlier, when I happened into the office of someone who helped me dissect a lot of confusion. She helped me find my voice. I told her that there were some things that I couldn’t say out loud, but that I can write anything…and that’s what I’m going to do now. I’m going to write, anything and everything…I’m not right or wrong, I’m living and processing and trying to make sense of a very very confusing journey. I don’t even really know who I am anymore…I’m just a shadow and a has been, someone that once was realizing that I failed at suicide so I may as well keep at it…
I went inside and ordered my coffee, “Is that the man, out there that drives the red truck? Is that who you were talking about?”
The barista nodded.
“I’ll take care of it.” I said. And then I took my coffee outside in the frosty chill of the December morning and contemplated what I would say, and the strange series of events that had me there.
Chuck was an incident I had tried to leave in the past. But the story of Eglon and what had happened in Eglon is one that has been with me, tucked away in the back of my mind, an awareness I can’t ignore that has been documented and followed me through the empty pages of my journals and the pages that had been blacked out.
I’ve been a volcano. I’ve spurt little bits to this person, and vented a little to this confidant, but it wasn’t until I was able to speak freely in a Living Journal that I started to explode. I exploded. I’m exploding…
The first time Chuck began to take an interest in me I wasn’t but a few years into this life experience and my elementary school journal’s year of silence documented my confusion….in an absence of words. The second time Chuck entered into my story, it was in my junior high journal. I remember writing the words on paper and then promptly ripping them out for fear someone someday would read it, and Chuck was something I had been told to never speak about….I had tried to. I went to the adults in my life and told them…but…I don’t think we’re all born knowing how to handle some shocks. It’s hard to believe sometimes that our neighbor or someone we ventured to call a friend was really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
I remember what I had written…I seem to remember most everything when I take the time to form it into a story on paper, despite the fact I have deleted most anything with substance at one point or another over the years. His daughter was my best friend. She revealed to me someone was hurting her…and I told her I knew it was her father. She denied it and we never spoke about it again, but in my journal, the only friend that I had to speak of this to, I wrote, “I wasn’t the only one that
Chuck ….” but then I ripped it out.
The first time I journaled about Chuck without ripping the pages out, or blacking out the words with pen, I was twenty years old. The older I got, the more I was aware of other victims…but I wasn’t able to speak about it. I felt like part of the problem, because in all those growing up years, the silence I had ascribed to, the one I had been told to adhere to because “this man is a close family friend and we don’t want to get him into trouble seemed to be a shield designed to protect someone who was actively using human beings like toys.
From my journal 10/98 –
Why am I so haunted by so many different things? I wish I knew how to feel, and then I could just feel it, but I don’t know what to feel. I sure have a warped sense of father figures, though, don’t I? Between dad and grandpa…and what about Chuck? Chuck was a father figure…
How do I feel about Chuck? I don’t even know all there is to know or remember all there is to remember-but I don’t think I could forget even if I wanted to – that look on his face as he would walk down the hallway- that’s when I knew something would be coming- so I’d walk down into the kitchen or into the living room- but it wasn’t like there was anywhere I could go. That’s not the way a grown man should be looking at a little girl!!!
And it was a long time ago – why should it still bother me today? I just wish someone knew how I felt…When I look at him now…I don’t really feel anything – it reminds me of how I used to escape – even though I was trapped on his lap, if I just looked out the window long enough…if I just focussed on something else and focussed on it enough,
it would be like you were somewhere else….
I sat outside of the coffee shop. I thought of these journal entries. I thought about disassociating…that ever present coping mechanism in trauma I had explained and described perfectly in my journal entry back before I even knew such a thing was a thing… I thought about the others I had found out about in the last couple years when I had gained enough courage to start knocking on doors and asking questions. I thought about me…that little girl…I remember being her. I remember being that little girl thinking if I just kept walking…just kept moving…if I just didn’t stop…then he would never get a chance to get to me….but he would corral me and corner me…he would even go on to follow me outside the day I turned, saw him, and left….left….eight years old….just turned and walked away with no where to go but….there was no where to go…
This was my chance. To face the past that had kept me trapped in it. I saw Chuck get up from where he was surrounded by his friends and begin to say his goodbyes, and then right as he was about to walk past me to his truck, I stood up and blocked his path. I blocked his path much in the way he had blocked mine….
“Chuck! How the hell are ya?” I said. The last time we had spoken was back in 1998 slightly before I had written my journal entry. It was directly before I had left Eglon to adventure in the big wide world, and a chance meeting at the beach resulted in him giving me a hug while he observed how much I had grown….I had felt sick.
I didn’t feel sick this time. I stuck my hand out and shook his. His face had dropped and he stuttered out my name in shock. “E-e-emma….” He said. He looked like he had seen a ghost….he did, I suppose.
To be continued: You Know What You Taught Me? (Facing My Giant Part 3)