Chapter 6 – Angelina
A gauze in between my thighs made me grimace. It felt moist, as if I had my period. My head drowsy from the alcohol last night, and the bedroom lights were dimmed. I fully opened my eyes, although my eye lids were stuck from tears as I looked around me. The small wooden sign facing me on the door said, "I Love You." A small round table with a collection of large pink and white feathers in a glass vase was next to the bed I slept on. I raised my body, and felt the downfeather comforter, with red satin covers and red satin sheets as if silk to my skin.
The gold trimmings of the wall felt Victorian with carvings of leaves all around the room. To the side of the bed was a round wooden table with white crocheted table mats with another glass vase filled with more pink and white feathers and there were two chairs with red heart pillows of terry cloth beside it.
"Where am I?" I wondered. The room made me felt a surge of love inside my heart, as if someone placed me inside this beautiful room insinuating love to me.
The door opened slowly, and a friendly face with tortoise shelled glasses peeked in.
"Oh, you're up, pretty girl. Let me check your vitals," said Bernadine, she swiftly came in and sat at the edge of the bed. "Did you sleep okay?"
"Where am I? I need to call my Papa," I said. Who was this woman? "I haven't told my Papa, yet."
"Let's check your vitals and we can go to the phone here. Won't take too long, dear," she said. Her pixie hair was brunette with blonde highlights and she looked normal, or so it seemed.
"My name is Bernadine, and I'm a SANE Nurse. SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. I heard you went to emergency department last night and passed out," she said. "They transferred you here because we don't want you to feel violated again in an emergency room. We have to make sure the victim is taken care of. Can you stick your finger into this thermometer, dear?" Bernadine gently placed my index finger into a plastic finger thermometer.
"What happened to me?" I asked Bernadine.
"Well, we're going to find out," Bernadine said. "101.3, you're a bit warm, but that's normal after a harsh night." She took out her iPad entering my vital signs and information.
"She's up, well good morning little angel," said Officer Fineman from outside of the room.
"How did you know my name is Angel?" I asked, sliding back on the bed. The large frame of the police officer frightened me.
"Oh, my goodness! Officer, maybe you can wait outside until she finishes her phone call to her father. Then we can get started with the procedure," Bernadine said.
"Oh right, I'll see you later, kiddo," Officer Fineman said. He waved his good-bye and walked outside.
"I need to make a quick call, and I never called the police," I told Bernadine.
Bernadine stood up, and took a cell phone from her scrubs pocket. "Here is a phone. Take your time, dear." Her pace was fast as she walked out and disappeared from the room.
The dial tone rang, and Papa picked up the phone.
"Angel, where are you? Are you okay?" Papa said. His voice trembled. I knew he cried all night.
"I'm okay. I don't know if I am still at the hospital, but I will be back. I promise," I told him.
"What hospital?" Papa asked me.
"The closest one near Silver Creek Estate," I answered. He hung up, and I was afraid. Afraid of my life, the future, the past, and the present. I didn't know what to believe about myself and what happened last night. All I wanted was to hear my Papa say, "Everything will be okay." I sat in silence. I felt it was the only thing I could do.
Bernadine walked in, this time, she slowly approached me. "This room is a safe place," she said. "You are safe now."
"What happened to me?" I asked Bernadine. Her eyes looked deep into mine, and she told me, "An accident."
"I was raped," I said. My face drooped and I felt my feather shaped eyes frowned. "I don't know who raped me."
Chapter 7 - Ichabod
Depression was never my choice. It chose me. When my father left me, I also left the world.
"Ichabod, must you be so agitated?" Mother asked me. My body often had a mind of its own, also Michael appeared upon entering our family car. He sat on top of my lap.
"Why couldn't you sit beside me?" I whispered to Michael.
"I must protect you in case of danger. It was my rule!" he replied. The depth of his voice so close to mine was a nuisance.
"Your breath! On my face!" I yelled.
"Ichabod! Whom are you speaking to?" Mother's angry voice startled me.
"Breathe…," Michael told me, his face inches away from mine.
"Life is so difficult at this moment. So very difficult," I murmured. I didn't realize the guardians were real. My eyes probed Michael's hazel eyes, "You were supposed to remain in my dreams."
"I have dreams, Ichabod. I dream you won't talk to yourself," Mother sobbed. Her face was messy, tears gushing, mouth rambled on how depression was to be controlled with effort.
"You are inside my family car!" I yelled into Michael's ears. His face, as calm as the ocean, kept at peace as his eyes closed and I couldn't help but follow. Breathed in peace, breathe out love.
"I won't abandon you," Michael told me.
"I won't abandon you," Mother said. "I felt I needed to speak those words. Ichabod, I won't leave you."
Mine heart beat stronger and the words echoed into my ears, of my guardian and my own Mother. "I know," I replied. Tears welled inside my eyes as it felt the warmth of love.
Michael blew his hot breath onto my face, and my serenity went to blasphemy. "And breathe…," he said. My face fidgeted with my eyes closed. His hot breath felt like fire over my face. I tried to murder him with my eyes, piercing his.
"We're here. Ichabod please take your Effexor, immediately," Mother demanded. "Who is this Michael? Should I set a plate for him for Pesach?"
"No supper for Michael," I replied. The car parked and we struggled to step out of our Prius. Michael was effusive, pushing me out as I pushed him. His troubled soul might not help mine. "Why couldn't you leave?!"
Michael quickly jumped out of our family car as he pulled me by my arms. This stubborn guardian was never my plan.
Mother opened the door to our home, with a gust of wind as his entrance, Michael barged in. "I shall be here, as long as you are to help Sarah," he told me. He looked about our home, and commented, "Humble. Suitable for a temporary dwelling." He rushed to the stairs to survey the house.
Mother walked into the kitchen, and said, "Thank goodness for weekends. It's Passover, Ichabod, I think our life will be fine…"
I slumped on the sofa. My brain felt pressure beyond help. This life was not my choice, neither was depression. Escape was my next plan. What karma gave me this journey?
Chapter 8 - Angelina
"What are those little blue plastic boxes for? Are those razors?" I asked, intimidated.
My fingers fidget to my lips as I stood near Bernadine's table inside her office. A proper clean table with nothing but stapled papers about to form my destiny.
"It's a part of the 'Chain of Evidence' for the forensic exam," said Bernadine. There were plastic blue boxes with slides. The Sexual Assault Incident Form and the Release of Information to Law Enforcement were both before me on the table. I signed them both.
"Is the procedure intrusive?" I asked.
'Type of Assault,' I cheked 'other' and wrote, 'I was unconscious. Rape.'
'Type of Penetration,' I checked 'other,' and wrote, 'Vaginal. I was unconscious.'
'Did suspect ejaculate,' I checked 'other,' and wrote, 'I don't know. I was unconscious.'
'Did suspect wear a condom,' I sobbed as I wrote 'I don't know.'
The questions shattered me. I never wanted to be a rape victim. Who decided it so? My sobs suffocated me, as I screamed in silence.
"Angel, let me guide you," said Bernadine, as she quickly came to my aid. "You can check 'present' on Trauma, which meant you felt the effects of the trauma, right now, at this very moment," said Bernadine.
"I don't know if I can do anything, Bernadine," I said. My life was tattered overnight and I felt responsible for the tragedy.
"How difficult does your life feels at this moment?" Bernadine asked. She stood in front of me, beside a long computer desk.
"Very difficult," I replied. Tears rolled down my cheeks.
"We must work hard to recover from it," Bernadine said. She took several papers and sat on the chair next to me. The papers were titled, "Sexual Assault Recovery Program." Perhaps these papers were my recovery, and not the other signed documents. One could only hope.
"We work with Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and we've designed a program for every survivor," Bernadine said, placing the papers in front of me. "Here is our plan. Angel, you will recover. Time is our friend, and it will heal you thoroughly. Walk with me."
The paper showed partnerships with several programs around Colorado. A homeless shelter, an animal shelter, a psychotherapy and psychiatric mental health facility and an equine center.
"Three months with the Silver Creek Animal Shelter, with play therapy with the puppies, and all types of animal friends. It would be a splendid joy of a time. Continue this as long as you would like," said Bernadine. "Health insurance will be the next application, and we will attempt for psychological therapy on alternate days from the shelters."
"I still attend high school," I told her. "What dedication will I need to submit to?"
"8-10 hours per month," Bernadine replied. "Equine therapy is next, with a monthly fee, not expensive. We shall arrange them through this office."
"What is equine therapy?" I asked her.
"Therapy with horses. Bailing hays for their feeding schedule, to slowly have the courage to make contact. The larger the heart of the animal, the more grounding you will feel in your soul and heart. It eases the mind," said Bernadine.
"All these together?" I asked her.
"Yes, and I presume some anti-psychotics for some form of Rape Trauma medicines will be prescribed," Bernadine replied.
Her face felt like sunshine on mine, with her endearing glasses that showed the beauty of her intelligence. She was a mother swan to this lost duckling. "Don't be scared. It's not everyday someone gets hurt at this level. It's a serious crime and it takes serious measures to solve it. Open your mouth, dear."
Bernadine held four cotton swabs together, and swabbed inside my mouth and along the gum areas. She smeared her cotton swabs onto a slide, and walked back to the table. A small black comb with fine bristles was next, as if it was for a baby.
"You have to comb your pubic hairs onto this paper, with this comb, and place the traces inside this envelope," Bernadine said. The process was swift, but I aged ten years as seconds went by.
Pubic Hair Control meant plucking twenty-five of my pubic hairs from all random places in the pubic area. Although the rape was not my fault, the exam made me feel guilty.
"I'm done, dear," said Bernadine, as I stood up from the last portions of the SANE process. The swabs air dried for a moment, and Bernadine dropped it into the "Anal Contents" evidence collection envelope. There were different steps to the process, but I felt honest, vulnerable and thorough. The truth was my responsibility, and it felt good to defend my human rights. I did not lie about the rape, and I supposed this was a courageous way to show it.
"I want to assure you, you are being kind to yourself," said Bernadine. "We will try to report with this statement." She handed me a Criminal Report for the police department.
"I'm scared," I said. My eyes dropped to the floor, with more tears. "I think it was racism."
"It is the violence, Angel," said Bernadine. "It might be a by-product of racism, but it is not the race. It is the violence. When people assault, their motivation is most likely, power. There must be something else than racism."
"Why would they hurt me so?" I asked. I realized I was a product of an unwanted family. My own mother did not want me, and now, someone did not want me to have a future.
"About the homeless shelter," Bernadine sat down near me. "You will meet others. Some were destroyed, to their very core. Trade stories with me and your therapists about them. All we need is for you to serve meals and be in the midst of the homeless. It's not to discourage you, rather, it is a look at life. Unfiltered."
A knock on the door, jolting us both. "A bit tense are we?" Bernadine said, as she stood up to open the door.
My father, Tom, stood in front of her. His face messy, sobbing, as he rushed to me.
"Angel," he walked inside. "Sorry, excuse me, I'm her father."
"Yes, yes, please come inside," Bernadine said.
My father hugged me, and we sat on the chair. His face tout as if he was chased by a million demons.
"What happened?" He asked, as his hand held my arm tight.
Bernadine closed the door as I realized my destiny was not on paper. It was in my every reaction to life.
Chapter 9 – Ichabod
There was a misfortune or scandal perhaps in my ancestry, and for such, I may have to repay it. Mother telephoned Leona, our family friend, a minstrel who dwelled at the edge of Silver Creek, atop her café, Elves Tavern.
Leona wore a long white layered skirt with a tight green bateau shirt. She was as fresh as the morning dew, and her oval face was young without wrinkles. As if time had no limits to her youth. Her long silky black hair framed her face perfectly with thick long layers.
"Let us pick our daily card for the day," Leona took a stack of cards from inside her bag. She shuffled the stack, and offered them for me to pick out. I chose a center card, how I felt my soul lived, thus far. In the midst of chaos.
"Dreams," Leona read to me. She turned the card over, revealing a woman in between the sun and the moon in the midst of stars and the clouds. "The angel card believes you are to give attention to your dreams, as they reveal a path or desire foretelling in life."
My eyes rolled, and I turned to Michael, who stood near the door. I stayed silent, as Michael's face showed anger as he held on to his sword. "Don't speak to her about me," he said.
"Leona, my depression is getting worse," I told her. "I have visions. Is this called psychotic features?"
Mother came to me, from the kitchen. Her face concerned with her lips tightly pressed together. "Is this about Michael?"
"I saw guardians and I was to help a young girl," I told Mother and Leona.
"Often apparitions come as a form of revelations, and often it appears in dreams, visions or forms of energy," Leona said, placing the stacks away inside her purse. "They are not always a sign of misfortune. I will meditate on this phenomena. I've read all of the sacred books, and the spirits will reveal to me, what we need to do."
Mother sat on the table across from Leona, her knees touched mine. "Ichabod, keep taking your medicine."
"I saw familiar faces, and a crime," I confessed to Leona. "Perhaps,…it was my calling, even just for a season."
Leona came closer to my chair, as I began to tear up. Her hand touched mine, as she wrapped my hands with hers, closing her eyes. A soft fuzz entered my spirit, as if I had a kitten in my palms. I felt a comfort and warmth about me.
What rational explanations could untame my soul? I felt displaced from the norm and my head spun during times of the day. With the dreams, and Michael who stood by the door with his sword, I yearned to hear a voice of logic.
"I am a mystic, and I believe you felt those sensations," Leona said. "It might be a form of warfare, between the worlds and between spirits." Her voice soft in tone and maternal, lifting my heart. At least someone believed me, although Leona was not scientific, rather, she was a friend.
"Shabat meal was last night, and we missed lunch. We deserved a good meal tonight," Mother said. "Let us sit this time, and enjoy."
Michael briskly walked towards me as he whispered, "Leona is a hypocrite, I forbid you to take her words over mine." He held his sword tight. His hard face and sharp nose as fierce as a lynchman, and I thought all angels wore halos. "It is my duty to protect you from heathens and false prophets who are threats to our missions."
I felt my breath constricted and Leona noticed, as she walked towards the door, and left it ajar. "There is some form of hot air in this room," she said. Michael looked to her, but Leona couldn't possibly know of his presence.
Michael stepped to the back of the room, as he summoned for Raphael. "My brother, please come," Michael spoke, as I looked to the door and the mist from the cold air outside came into the room, yet no one noticed. The mist rose to the ceiling and whisped around the front door, as Raphael came into form.
"She is a friend," Raphael said. "They called her Zalmunna, the hypocrite amongst clerics, but she is none of the sort."
"Leona, please guide me. As I will need your help," I said to Leona.
"I have something small and discreet, for you to carry. It should help in times of confusion." Leona said. She came close to me and hugged me. My stocky body felt whole as her arms encased me in love.
Michael stood still, his eyes moistened. "She knows we're here?" He asked Raphael.
Raphael walked to Michael, and uttered, "Yes,… that is the gift of a Zalmunna. But her powers are bright, she is a light."
Michael nodded. I could finally breathe in easily.
"Ichabod, Gabriel witnessed some changes, before you arrived," Raphael told me. "We will find out soon enough." I said nothing, afraid of any responses that will be heard by Mother and Leona.
Mother finished setting the table, and we sat around the small round wooden table with our roasted potatoes from two days ago and green beans with garlic.
"It's Saturday Passover meal, let us rest for the moment, and help ourselves to a time of restoration and communion," Mother said her prayers, for our family meal long overdue.
To be continued, ....Just write.