“Did he ever get caught?”
“No. That’s where Gharith comes in.”
Across from me, her face was quite drained. She took a last sip of wine and continued with the story. After the rape, she couldn’t bear to be in the apartment and moved back in with her parents in Flatbush. She also couldn’t bear to continue with the same job or anything that reminded her of her life at the time of the rape and so she switched things around and started working for a financial company. Other than her family and one or two close friends and obviously the police, no one knew about what had happened to her. All she wanted to do was hide, bury herself away completely. “I changed my hair color, my style of dress. I even considered becoming Orthodox because I felt safe in that community.” She laughed and shook her head. “But I just couldn’t stand the constant gossip and scrutiny. The way they want to push you into marriage like the day before yesterday because I sure as shit wasn’t ready to let a guy anywhere near me, not even some shlumpy Jewish guy who worked in his parents’ haberdashery business.”
“So what did you do then?”
“Long story. I’ll tell you another time.” She stretched, holding onto Vincent with one hand so he couldn’t jump out of her lap. “I want you to tell me about this Gharith character. What does he do exactly?”
“He’s a psychic. He has this uncanny ability to see and hear things about people that no one else can.”
Across from me her face snapped closed as if a shade had been drawn across it. “I don’t believe in that stuff.”
“Well, what did he say to you the other night at the party?”
“That I’d come a long way since my ‘trauma.’ Just like that, out of the blue. I said, ‘Excuse me?’ and he said: ‘The guy’s still out there, but you’re safe from him.’ I mean, Nicole, how crazy is that?” She looked at me, her face open and vulnerable now. I saw she was close to tears.
“What else did he say?” Outside it was completely dark. The little lights wrapped around the tree branches on my deck had begun to sparkle.
“That the guy was somewhere in Missouri or Arkansas. That he had a pretty clear image of him and could probably find him.”
“It was really crowded at your party. Someone pulled me away from Gharith to talk about a painting and then it seemed like he was gone – I searched everywhere but didn’t see him.”
I looked at her closely. “Do you want his number? You could go talk to him.”
Alicia is an extremely self-possessed woman. She stared back at me as if I had answers to big life questions. It was a little shocking to see tears had begun sliding down her cheeks. “I’m not sure I want answers after all these years,” she whispered.
To be continued…
Cover photo ~ A Daughter Divided, Alyssa L. Miller, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/