The day our secrets came to the open was a day like any other. The Texas heat was scorching hot without a cloud in the sky to aid us. I walked from class to class, the minutes seemed to travel slower than usual. I walked into my classroom and was, about to sit down until my name was summoned by the assistant principal. I was an outcast within my class, so there were no “Ohhh, she’s in trouble” comments. I just felt heavy eyes around me as I walked towards the office. My assistant principal guided me to her office and gestured me to sit down. She sat across from me, behind her desk and a stern but gentle expression formed on her face. My vision was becoming blurry, I could feel my anxiety trying to crawl out. I hated being put in a position where I was (am) the attention.
She didn’t take long to inform me of the situation that was occurring. My sister had revealed that she was being sexually abused by a family member. CPS was immediately contacted and an investigation was taking place. The AP waited until I gave her some sort of response, but I couldn’t. I locked my hands together in front of me and started sweating and shaking. I was nervous. I was in a panic. I was confused on what to say or what not to say. I thought I was the only was being abused. The news that my sister was going through the same thing filled me with guilt and disappointment.
I couldn’t protect her.
Why didn’t I notice?
The questions rambled on.
Within minutes my voice broke free for the first time in a very long time. I told my truth to the Vice Principal. She listened and wrote things down, asked a few questions here and there. I told her about my two uncles and my father. I gave her details, but I couldn’t speak the whole truth. If it was too difficult for myself then the person in front of me would not be able to withstand such truth. I was in that room for over an hour, I think; I felt like I was there forever. CPS was contacted immediately after that. The teacher escorted me to the main entrance and a black vehicle waited for me. I hesitated. I didn’t feel comfortable getting into an unknown vehicle, but they persuaded me by saying that my mother was going to meet me at our location. So I got in and sat quietly in the back of the car. I looked around; the seat, the windows, the floor, the leather, even the odor, everything smelled clean. What was I doing contaminating such a nice car? I felt my insides twisting, turning, and rotting. I stayed quiet the entire trip until we arrived at a building.
The woman who was driving the car guided me inside to a small, enclosed room. The walls were empty except for a large, rectangular mirror that reflected half the portion of the room. There was a small, black table with four chairs and the lady asked me to sit down. They offered me a drink and snack which I accepted since I wasn’t able to eat lunch at school. She waited until I finished eating, then she began with the questions:
What do you like to do on your free time?
Do you get a long with you brother and sisters?
Do your parents fights?
Do you have friends?
I stayed quiet most of the time. I didn’t want to talk anymore. I felt this piercing feeling that I had done something wrong and I didn’t want to make things worse. We didn’t last long in that room. She helped me find the lobby where my mother was waiting for me. Her expression gave me chills. I knew she was mad. I knew I had done something wrong. I knew it. My mother grabbed my arm, giving a stern look at the woman, “You will hear from my lawyer.”
We left. The car ride back to the house was quiet. I began to flick each one of my fingers together and bite the inside of my mouth. I was nervous. I looked outside. The sun was setting, a flock of birds formed shapes in the sky, the tree dances with the wind, I knew the beauty out there was real, but I could not see it or feel it.
I spoke my truth that day and I still felt trapped. My voice broke free, but my chains were still attached.
Is this the consequence for speaking my truth or is it a punishment for allowing a taboo to become reality?