“Cecile?” he said. She looked up as she recognized his voice. He froze. She sat curled up against a wall, as if somebody had thrown and forgotten about her. “Shit! Cecile! Where is he!” he yelled, his lungs were on fire, he fought back tears. She sobbed. “No, shit!” he yelled, his voice suddenly losing strength. She buried her face in her arms. He then kneeled next to her, carefully. He hardly dared to touch her, he feared he would make things worse. He could now see bruises on her arms, drying blood on her clothes. His heart skipped a beat. “You need to see a doctor!” he said trying to help her on her feet. But she slipped out of his arms, “No!” she shouted with a week breath. He stared. “I don’t want anybody to touch me.” And fresh tears filled her eyes. Those wonderful, bright eyes. “But, those bruises, somebody should have a look at them...” he insisted, yet his voice trailed off. “No.” she cried again. She looked at him, her eyes pleading, “I want to go home.” She whispered. His heart ached. He gazed at her face, into her eyes. He still could see the beauty under the sea of bruises. It ailed him to see her broken. “I… I need to know…” he began. She had hidden her face again, shame invading her body. He noticed her tremble. But he had to ask. “How far did he go? Did he…” the question hang between them like a heavy curtain. She suddenly didn’t make any noise; she was holding her breath for a long moment. Too long. He nearly wished he could undo those words, but then his chest felt a small relief, “No.” she whispered. He felt the whole weight of his body drag him closer to the ground. “I fought as hard as I could.” She continued. “Something suddenly scared him.” Her voice was clearer now. Her hand suddenly reached out for his. She even had bruises on her smooth, gentle hand. Her eyes now held his gaze. He felt the urge to kiss her, and drew closer. He gently pressed his lips on her forehead; still afraid he might hurt her. He swore at the one who had so violently raped their souls. The one who had taken the light from her face, but he could still see the spark somewhere, deep in her eyes. Would it come back? Would he ever see it again shimmering on her lips? He didn’t know. He heard her breathing, and was endlessly grateful for this bittersweet sound. Suddenly her gentle hand held his much tighter. He closed his eyes in pain. “Thank you.” Her voice was suddenly calm and had nearly no sound. He looked up at her. Her lips didn’t move, but her face begged again. He nodded. “Let’s go home.” He said.
- Isabel Meine F. Vigil