“There’s no shame, you did nothing wrong.”
He held me close, stroking my hair as he spoke. I could feel his heartbeat through his shirt, comforting and familiar. I knew he believed what he said, and desperately wanted me to believe it too, but there was shame. Everyday there was shame. It didn’t matter that pragmatically I could agree with him. There was still a deep, abiding guilt and it was destroying me.
It felt as if there was a tattoo across my forehead advertising my disgrace to everyone I met. I could never escape it, never redeem myself from it. That only he knew the source of my humiliation was irrelevant, I was convinced that it was evident to the world, emanating from me like a foul odor.
“This is beyond anything I can do to help you. You need to talk to someone with experience in this.”
“I can’t tell anyone else! It took all that was within me to confess it to you.”
“And, look where you are,” he held me tighter, kissing the top of my head. “You can’t live like this.”
When my name was called, he squeezed my arm, but didn’t move to come with me. I was relieved. There were details even he didn’t know, and I wanted to spare him that.
As I entered the office, she extended a hand, indicating an overstuffed chair where I could sit. We exchanged common pleasantries, tiptoeing round why I was there.
Finally the question was spoken, floating in the air like a ghost.
“Five years ago I was raped.”
“That must have been very painful to say aloud. Thank you for sharing that with me.”
In that moment of acceptance, the weight began to lift.
Trifecta, a weekly one-word writing prompt, challenges writers to use that word in its third definition form, using no less than 33 words or no more than 333. The week’s prompt is: Shame [verb \ˈshām\] 3: to cause to feel shame.