The Journey

by: Dawn Helmrich


It was that day, the air was crisp
My favorite time of year, fall,
I remember feeling so good
Walking, smelling the air
I was in such a happy place…
All at once it was over
I felt them, their presence moved me to walk on the other side of the street
My heart began to race, I knew, instinct told me
They began to run, I began to run
I wasn’t fast enough
I had been caught…
Unbelievable fear…
The cold metal against my bare skin
Feeling naked, being naked out in the open, but no one saw, no one came
The concrete, cold under my skin
The smell that changed from fall to silt and sand
“Don’t cry” they said or your dead
How can that be, how do you stop yourself from that?
I did, it was out of body for me
Standing before myself, witnessing the violence
Breath deep, don’t cry…
They shot, they left, I was alone
Naked, but alive, I was blessed…
I approached the back door, there she was my angel
She took me in, a robe, a glass of water…
Police sirens in the background
My mother laughing at the sight of me out of pure joy that I was alive
My journey was only several hour old
I was changed forever
No more innocence
No more security
No more sanity…
The nurses were kind, each step explained
A white sheet for evidence
A q’tip
A needle
A pill to prevent
Years of worry, AID, STDS…
My journey was several days old
I was forever changed
A child, only 13 told the truth
Thank you – they were caught
Months of court rooms
Trials, facing over and over my new reality
Hiding under a pillow, but knowing I must emerge to face them again
The stand
I talk
With emotion, my darkness revealed, the fate unfolded
A lifetime for one, not long enough to ease my pain
The others were too young for all that punishment
They would be free, I never would…
A man
What would I ever do again with a man?
Trust, not a part of me
Who do I tell, why should I tell
Panic, every day to this day about something
Triggers, many different triggers
A television program, a street corner, the smell of fall
My journey was several years old
I was forever changed
I was beginning, again, a different beginning, a survivors beginning
A new angel many years later
My soul mate
Understanding, compassion, no pity
Those are things I longed for, those are things I strived for.
He gave me that, still does, everyday…
My journey 15 years later
I am forever changed
Two children, beautiful, vulnerable, remarkable
What I have always wanted
A good life
A happy life
Wounded, scared forever, maybe not on the outside but from within
Everyday, something, everyday a reminder
It will never leave my world
I am thankful
I am a survivor…