Another Nameless Person
By Lin Courtright
Sitting in the cold, drab examination room, I try to gather some warmth from the sheet the nurse had given me. But it doesn't help. I'm still cold, alone, and frightened.
They took my clothes from me shortly after I arrived, giving me a thin gown to wear. Nurses, doctors come to talk to me, yet they're not really talking to me, but more so at me. As if they're reading from a script. I'm just another patient on a busy Friday night who just happened to have a problem that's going to tie up their time and room space. I'm not really a person but a number on the plastic ID band around my wrist.
I try to look in their eyes, hoping I could see some compassion, a sign of comfort as they speak at me. But I can't. No one will make eye contact with me. Is it too much to ask? To even acknowledge that you care about me? About what happened to me?
I can only imagine what you're saying behind the closed door in the hallway for all to hear that pass by. The poor girl shouldn't have been there or Well, that's what happens when you let yourself get trapped. Even though you heard my story, do you believe it's my fault? I didn't ask for this to happen. I didn't ask to be violated not only once by him, but by you, too.
Pulling my knees to my chest, I wrap my arms around my legs. I'm still cold and alone. Pushing back my hair behind my ear, I can't help but laugh inside that I'm worried that I look a mess. Not that it really cares to any of you because you won't look at me. You won't talk to me.
I'm just another stupid woman who went to a club with some friends from work to have a couple of drinks. Normally I would refuse, making up some lame excuse to get out of it. But tonight I decided to go along. The one time I decide to go, I end up having my life ripped apart, shattered, and then placed on display.
Lifting my head, I hear a raised, angered voice. The door opens slightly and the voice becomes louder.
His voice is gentle even with the authoritative tone. I hear the nurse's voice, too, trying to make an excuse but the man won't let her. He told her that they've been negligent for abandoning someone that needed assistance. The door closes and the voices become muffled again.
Lowering my chin to rest my head on my knees, I close my eyes as I'm surrounded by silence. The sheet is no longer preventing me from shivering. I just want to go home.
I can hear the door open again and a flood of erratic noises fill the room, but I keep my eyes shut. There's no use in opening my eyes to look at someone who refuses to look at me.
Now I feel a warmth embrace me. I open my eyes to see a man who's boyish looks make him look much younger than his age. Gentle brown eyes stared into mine as he smiled at me. Not a forced smile like the others, but a genuine, friendly smile.
"Better?" he asks, pulling the warm blanket around my body.
I nodded silently as I watched him pick up a chair from the far side of the room, placing it beside the stretcher where I sat.
"I'm really sorry, Ms. Foster, for not getting here sooner. The hospital didn't -- " He stopped shaking his head. "I don't want to trouble you with that."
He turned his gaze from me briefly as he flipped pages of his notepad. Lifting his eyes, he said, "I'm Detective Cassidy. I'll be working your case, Ms. Foster."
"Jenna," I answered, barely audible.
He nodded. "Jenna. Is there anything you need or want?"
My mouth opened but I couldn't speak. Everything came back, sinking me lower into the pit. My eyes become blurred with tears.
His comforting hand touched my back as I wiped the tears from my cheek.
"Just...just talk to me, please. Don't leave me alone."
"I'll be right here. I'm not going anywhere."
His tone made me believe what he was saying was true. He wasn't like the others, he actually cared about me. About what happened.
He was a professional just like the nurses, the doctors. But he had a quality that the others didn't.