APRIL, 1975 -- It didn’t matter if this stranger intended to kill me. Death would have swept away the shattered remnants of Heather Montgomery – an identity I no longer wanted.
Without questioning his motives, I had traded the sleet pelting my face for the sting I felt between my legs while sitting in the passenger seat of his car.
I nodded when he asked, "Are you okay?"
But it was a lie. The bruises on my face screamed the truth.
I shrouded myself in silence as we drove, as we entered his apartment, even as he draped a blanket around my shivering frame.
“Is there someone you should call? You know, your mom? Maybe just let her know where you are?” His voice sounded foreign in my ears.
I shook my head and cocooned myself in the quilt.
Resting a hand on my belly, I worried, doubted.
The trembling wouldn’t cease, neither would the scenes – painful, frantic – reeling inside my mind.
Icy fingers at my throat.
The stench of whisky so heavy I tasted it.
The blur of darkness above me.
You ain’t nothin’ but a dirty little …
“What about your dad?”
My stomach lurched.
Tossing the blanket from around me, I rushed to the bathroom before becoming ill, but the frightened girl on the other side of the mirror replaced the nausea with tears.
"I didn’t mean to make you cry," he said from the doorway.
“It’s not your fault,” I whispered, but not to him.