I entered the doctor's office with my mother, blood test results in hand. I had no idea what the doctor's assessment would be, but I recall how hard I had prayed for it to be something serious, a life threatening disease. It all started with a full year of joint pain, fever and general fatigue. I gave him the test results, my heart was racing. His face wasn't as serious as I wanted it to be, but he said :
"You, Little Miss, are going to skip classes for 10 days. We'll have to remove your tonsils. How about booking a hospital room for next Monday?"
I could hardly mask my joy!! what good news!! Of course it would have been much better had he said I was suffering from cancer, but it was still OK since I would be spending a few days in hospital and my mother would have to stay with me.
The night prior to the surgery, I packed my little bag, and left home for my happy adventure. I was so excited, smiling and loving the idea of having her next to my bed, holding my hand just as I had seen in all those movies on TV. The thought of it was enough to give me goosebumps and fill me with a happiness I hadn't known before.
The surgery went well. I remember her big smile when they brought me back to my room. I remember my dad arriving with a lovely bouquet of red roses, and kissing me on the forehead. I remember her sitting on the armchair doing crosswords. I was staring at her hoping she would read my mind and come closer to ease my pain. I also remember what she said to the nurse who asked her if she needed an extra bed for the night:
"Of course not! She's a big girl and in good hands".
She left me alone in my hospital room, alone with my tears.
The days after didn't go as well as expected, and my stay in hospital was extended. I only went back home on Friday afternoon, 5 days later. The BEST surprise was that I was allowed to occupy my mother's bed for few days. It wasn't a good idea to receive visitors while sleeping on the mattress on the balcony floor which was my usual bedroom.
I wasn't able to speak. I couldn't eat or drink. The wound was not healing properly. My little sister gave me paper and a pen so that I could write down what I needed, but no one was even passing by the room to check whether I had written anything.
On Saturday morning, he arrived. He came especially for me. He came to see me and stay with me. He sat on the bed next to me. He held my hand, talking to me, encouraging me to eat or sleep. He tried to feed me watermelon. I couldn't swallow it. I remember him going to put it in a blender so that I could at least drink the juice. He made me a cup of tea and gave it all to me using a teaspoon like you would feed a baby.
My mother came to the bedroom and said:
I'm taking your sisters and your cousin to the movies. They are showing a great movie which I love, "West Side Story". Don't take that sad look!! You'll watch it when you get better!"
I will never forget the movie's name and I never watched it.
They all went to the movies and I stayed in bed with a big smile. He showed me love. He cared and took care of me. He is aunt H's son, that same cousin who had been sexually abusing me since I was 6.
Whenever I talk to someone who has been through the same experiences, and I compare myself and wonder how come I don't hate my abusers, I know that the answer is just that I made the choice so long ago to look at the good in everyone. People are all good, and when they do bad things, it's just that they don't know how to do better.
I will never forget what that particular cousin did to me. I can't forget, but when I think of my cousin, I think of that Saturday afternoon, when he held my hand and made me a cup of tea.
He is living in peace with his wife and 3 boys. Remembering his abuse will not affect him in any way, but it would upset me. He won't even know about it. It won't bother him nor make him feel guilty. It will only make me sick. There is no positive outcome of remembering the abuse and getting upset.
I can still smile when I remember that cup of tea.