A Betrayed and Broken World
I've always written in real time. I write about my life as it unfolds, pages and pages and pages of what happened and who said what and how it all made me feel. Near the end of every month, I find myself with thousands of words and so I begin to take out little snippets and sew them together to post on here. Yet, the bigger this journal has become the harder it is for me to be as honest and raw as I wish I could be, as I used to be. When moments are too personal I hold onto them for longer, afraid to share them too soon. The thing about recording the stories of my life for the world to digest, is that there are some events that we never think we'll ever have to write about. Not even in the deepest, darkest depths of my imagination did I ever see this story turning out like it has.
Two feelings have fought within me since I found out. One is the feeling of betrayal; an utterly unbearable darkness where every time I think of what happened it hurts in places I’ve never before been hurt. The other is the feeling of grief. Grief for the way I was convinced the story would end, and grief for what was.
I am ashamed to say that I didn't want to write about this, but now, I am talking about this openly in hope it can help others. Often the hardest things to say are the things that need to be spoken about the most. This is a story that affects many, many people, who have been more significantly affected by this than I will ever be - this is only my side.
He was my friend. You have to understand that. Just before everything unravelled, I considered him to be one of my best friends. We were inside jokes and whispers in ears and conversations that only existed between us. From the moment his life path intertwined with mine, I considered him a friend. For all the time we knew each other, I had nothing but good memories. I was so close with him and that's what makes this so hard. He was my friend.
We are miles apart when it happens. When my friends say they have something to tell me, my first thought is that there has been an accident. I know something terrible has happened, but of all the scenarios that flash across my mind, the truth is so much worse. In the sleepless nights that follow, there is a tiny part of me who wishes there had been a terrible accident because that would maybe hurt less. It's a terrible thing to think, I know that, but it remains with me none-the-less.
The story is told across telephone lines, in three languages, and at first I pray that something, somehow, has been lost in translation. That I am misunderstanding what I think I'm hearing. Yet, I hear her voice telling me what has happened loud and clear and I feel sick. He was my friend and he sexually assaulted a girl. He sexually assaulted a girl who had trusted him. Another girl who had considered him a friend. We don't have the whole story, but none of the grey areas make it any less likely for him to be not guilty. I am praying that it's not true, but in some deep part of me, I know it is.
The anger comes in waves. First disbelief, then denial, then anger, then sadness. I feel so, so incredibly foolish. How did I not see this side of him? As a group we are torn. Here is this boy we've trusted for ages, this boy we've all relied on, and in our heads it's hard to separate the kind, sweet friend we knew from the disgusting monster he had secretly been. He was both, and nothing can distract us from that knowledge. In the days that follow, the conversation always ends up being about what he's done. A cloud of shock hangs over us. I am torn between never wanting to see him again and needing to here it from him. I need to know the whole story, no matter how hard it might be to hear. Everything has fallen apart and each time I think about it I feel sick to my stomach.
As the days pass, memories play like films on repeat in my head. Late night drives with my head on his shoulder, a cigarette dangling out of his mouth and our favourite songs playing too loudly on the radio. Dancing together. How protective he had been. Staying up past midnight eating pizza and too many sweets and watching the movies I’d loaded online. Laughing about the inside jokes only we understood. I scroll through my camera roll and there he is, smiling, joking, laughing. All those memories are tainted now and it tears me apart.
Finally, I speak to a mutual friend. He is surprised that I know, but he tells me, despite what we were expecting that the girl he abused has apparently forgiven him. She has chosen not to report what happened. The sadness nearly drowns me. That night he likes my photo on instagram and I have never been so angry. Angry that he is out there, liking photos on instagram and pretending like he's done nothing wrong, like he hasn't fucked everything up. Like everything is as it was. I am acutely aware of not knowing everything, but it doesn't do anything to stop how angry I am. I want to scream at him for being such a prick. The trust I once had in him lies like a broken mirror at my feet. I can see it, in photos in memories, in old conversations; but the picture is distorted now. The glass scratches me every time I try to walk away from it.
As much as I wish I could, I can't pretend like it didn't happen. I have to face it. So, that's where I've been. I've not spoken to him since I found out, and I don't know if I ever will again. I just couldn't find the words to write anything else until I had written this down, and now it's written I wanted to share it as a way of offering some kind of explanation for the lack of posts on here. I don't regret that I trusted him once, that I once considered him a friend because I didn't know then all that I know now. I hope that it will make sense someday. I think that's the price you have to pay for true happiness anyway - you have to let go of your safe haven and sail into a world of the unknown. You can never know what people are truly like, but you can trust and hope that they are good. We have to keep hoping that our friends will do good and play a wonderful role in our stories, but it doesn't mean they always will. So, until I figure out what all of these lessons mean, I just have to keep going, one step at a time. I'll focus on the good things, on the kind souls, on the moments that make me honest and happy and vulnerable as I navigate this broken little world of mine.