She held still for at least five minutes, taking slow, deep breaths, trying to imagine that she would feel clarity. It did not work. She got up and paced around her bedroom, wishing that she had taken her chance to leave last year with Tara. The walls were closing in and she would not be responsible for what might happen next.

The memory of what she’d done wasn’t going to magically evaporate. It was devastating and degrading and she was reminded of it every time she looked in the mirror. She had to learn how to process the trauma so she could function, if not normally, then at least well enough to make it through each day.

She tried therapy for a while, but every time she got close to revealing the truth, something inside shut her down. It felt like a betrayal and she couldn’t work out how to talk about it safely. She turned to her friends when she got desperate but they had condemnation in their eyes when she detailed the events. She expected support, not judgement, and this only made her feel more isolated.

She hoped that reconnecting with her faith might be thing that finally helped. Her father would be thrilled that she was going to shul. When she thought about the last time she really felt good about herself it was those times she sat as a kid between her parents and grandparents listening to the Cantor intone on Saturday mornings. Going back to synagogue seemed like the best chance she had at becoming whole again.

© 2021 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

By jebrownwriter

Houston, TX-based Writer and Photographer. Proud pet rescuer who spends nearly all his money on them.

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