For the rest of the month, each day excerpts will be featured from The Coming of Grace. The book is on sale on Amazon.
On returning home, Winifred did not notice anything wrong with Rebekah even though she could hardly walk, and her eyes were red from crying. Rebekah’s long and unpleasant history with her mother prevented her from telling her. Although she had wished otherwise, she felt Winifred would not believe her and instead saw it as her fault. However, one of the neighbors later noticed something was wrong with her, how she walked.
“Rebekah, come here!” Ms. Lucille called out to her.
“What’s wrong with you? Why are you walking like that?” The older woman’s authoritative tone made her uneasy but unsure what to do; she avoided her gaze.
Filled with embarrassment, Rebekah stood in front of the older woman with her head down, looking at her feet, afraid of answering; she recalled what the man had said and contemplated what if she told her the truth? What then?
“Rebekah, I am going to ask you once more. I expect an answer, and I want the truth. I know something terrible happened to you and I want to help…! Now, did someone molest you?”
At that moment, Rebekah rushed towards the older woman throwing her arms around her waist, nestling her head against her chest, crying uncontrollably. In response, the woman wrapped her arms around her, offered comfort. “I am so sorry, my child. Who did this to you?!”
Rebekah was inaudible; it was as if she was choking on her words. Her thoughts were a chaos of all she had borne to that point. Then, gently extricating herself from Rebekah’s hold, Ms. Lucille held her hand and led her into her house.
“Come, my child. I can see that you are in pain from the way you walk! Come, let me see what I can do to help you. After that, we will deal with who did this to you!”
Ms. Lucille quickly went into a protective mode administering assistance to Rebekah in an attempt she would not become infected. She applied natural medicines that she had after cleaning the area.
“Rebekah, now, who did this to you?!”
Frantically Rebekah once again explained as she trembled with fright. “I cannot tell! He told me if I do, he will come back and hurt mama and me!”
Ms. Lucille placed her hand on Rebekah’s. “Baby, listen to me. He told you that to scare you, but he cannot harm you. All of us will make sure of that. Now, please tell me, who was it that did this awful thing to you?”
“It’s mama’s boyfriend!”
“Oh God, no?!” Ms. Lucille’s voice echoed through her house as she cried out in disgust. “Have you told your mother?!”
“No, I’m afraid she isn’t going to believe me anyway!”
“If you won’t tell her, I will!”
“Please don’t tell her; I am going to get into trouble if you do. She is going to think it was my fault!”
Rebekah pleaded to Ms. Lucille, but as she had feared, Ms. Lucille told Winifred. As expected, Winifred went ballistic.
“You liar…! You’re trying to break up my relationship. You’re nothing but trouble!” She shouted angrily at her.
This incident was the first among many that began years of abuse and close calls. Those around Rebekah helped where and when they could. Still, Winifred became oblivious to her child’s plight as she sunk deeper into depression and denial. Sadly, Winifred was in relationships not because they were good to her but because they were her self-inflicted hell. As a result, she never really escaped dulling the pain she felt, having lacked the treatment she so needed. And her child had become the casualty.