Something terrible happened 20 years ago. It’s the kind of terrible thing that requires a trip to the ER where they take DNA scrapings from your body, followed by a trip to the police department after that.
At the police station, a lineup of photos was presented for me to sift through to see if I recognized anyone.
The police officers didn’t believe me when I told them what happened, how I’d obtained those bruises. They sort of went through the motions of taking the report, and told me they’d be in touch.
Well, they finally were.
20 years later.
I was sitting in my office, working away, when my phone rang. The caller ID said “Unknown”. Thinking it was one of my clients, I answered.
“This is Officer So-and-So with the blankety-blank Police Department. May I please speak to Mrs. CMac?”
“Speaking” I reply, startled.
“You reported an incident to us back in 1997. We have developed new evidence in this case and would like to discuss that with you.”
Turns out, the statute of limitations is going to run out in a few months on that terrible thing I reported to the police 20 years ago. They decided to run the DNA evidence they had on hand before that happens, and guess what?
They got a hit.
Now they know who did it, and they know I am not a liar. I didn’t make that terrible thing up, even though they were sure I had. This man, the man who now has a name, is a convicted felon. It’s possible his crime against me was his first trip to the rodeo, but it certainly wasn’t his last.
The police department would like to know if I want to pursue the case – even though I now live over 750 miles away, and that terrible thing happened two decades ago.
No thank you. After all this time, there’s no way.
My initial reaction, after hanging up the phone, despite the fact that it was only noon, was to drown myself in a bottle of vodka.
I didn’t, though.
Instead, I went back to work, almost like nothing happened. Later, I took a nap and ordered a pizza.
Now, I sit here, numb but sober. I don’t know what to think. I feel like I should partake in some mood altering substance, not because I want to, but because it’s all I know how to do in circumstances like this.
This terrible thing that happened all those years ago… I had gotten to a place where I no longer obsessed over it. In fact, I didn’t even think about it as often as once a month anymore. No one who knows me today was even aware that this thing had once happened.
Even my own husband didn’t know until the police department called me today and I had to yell for him to “Get in here right now! I need you!” I put the phone on speaker and tried to ignore the look on his face as it started to dawn on him what the police officer was referencing, and that it was a thing his wife had dealt with 20 years ago, but had never shared.
This terrible thing.
Tonight is a night I’ll need to take things minute-by-minute. I am going to work hard to stumble my way through this naturally and authentically. So far, I’ve battled the urge to drink for seven straight hours, and have not given in.
Eventually, I hope to just go to sleep.