Invisible Girl

After you got released from prison, you still weren’t allowed to see me due to the nature of your crimes. I was just fourteen, only two years older than that girl when it happened. But we came up with a solution, that we would go to the same church and at least get to see each other on Sundays. I bet Mom was happy I was starting to go to church again, even if it was for ulterior motives.

It was the same church I had gone to as a child, one we quickly left after everything happened. You were running late one day, and your parents (who offered to pick me up each week) were for whatever reason talking about praying for you in this very church back during your trial.

The thing that stuck with me is what they said about my sister, who was eight at the time. She asked if she could pray for the girl, too. They were proud of her for thinking about this girl.

Through all my traumatic memories, I never really stopped to think about her. That there was a victim at the center of this unspeakable thing. I had shut the whole situation away, only ever focusing on not thinking about it when it popped up.

I know nothing about her – her family moved away almost immediately.

My perception of this event has changed so much with time. She has gone from older than me, to the same age, and now so much younger. I don’t think I fully comprehended the horror of what had happened until becoming an adult myself, understanding the vulnerability of youth that you can’t recognize while young. Of course I’m not older than her – she would be in her mid-30s now – but she’s forever stuck as this child, a perpetual victim in my mind.

With how much this still hangs over me, I can’t begin to imagine how this has affected her. We’ll never know each other, but our childhoods became so tainted by the same person. But if she met me today, she’d have every reason to assume I’m an enemy.

After all, it’s not like you have ever admitted to your actions. And who would I be to question my own father? I think an assumption has been made that I believe you, that I could never believe you would do such a horrible thing.

In fact, I find it so painfully easy to believe, to the point that I disgust myself to think I’ve let other people talk me into trying to maintain a relationship with you simply due to our familial connection.

Every moment we spend together leaves me feeling ashamed of myself. But, hey – at least one of us is capable of feeling shame.

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