Beautiful brown eyes. Heavy lids, struggling to stay open, too terrified to close. Bags under those big brown eyes and heavy lids, ugly, puffy, black and blue bags. The kind of eyes that haven’t rested in days, weeks, or years. Old eyes. Eyes that have seen too much. Wary eyes. Accusing, contemptuous. Hateful.
She clung to the woman taking care of her, afraid to let go. Glared at me when I got close, flinched when I got closer, cried when we touched.
This child will never trust a man. Will never know the unconditional love of a father, an uncle, a friend. Will never understand that there are good men in the world, men who will hold her, protect her, love her. She will never fully trust her boyfriend, her husband, her son. Men will forever be bringers of pain and humiliation, degradation and broken trust.
I watched the mist flow from the nebulizer I had just put together, anything to avoid those eyes. They bore into my soul, making me feel dirty, ashamed to be a man. That another man could do this to a four year old is incomprehensible to me, but I felt dirty nonetheless.
Not only did this molester steal this beautiful child’s innocence, he took mine as well, filling me with the desire to take a knife, hold it in my hand, feel the weight, run my thumb down the blade to make sure it’s good and sharp, and plunge it into his heart.
Some days it’s all I can do to get out of bed, put on the uniform and drag myself to work, and try not to feel.