by Lisa Kwan
Written for: The Writer's Tower
Theme: Paradox (July)
I need help! It’s an emergency!!! Get over here, STAT!!!!!
Ok. On my way.
I wanted to take my time, going over to Christy’s place. She tends to be…overly dramatic, sometimes. But then again, I didn’t want to be responsible if it were really some emergency. Granted, it probably wouldn’t be her house burning down, or an axe murderer breaking down her front door, but…you can never be sure with Christy.
I sped through a yellow light, hastily overtook a white Peugeot whose driver actually rolled down the window to angrily wave a bright yellow steering lock at me, and finally arrived in front of Christy’s small single-storey terrace in record time, accidentally knocking over a trash bin, spilling its contents—last night’s dinner debris and, oddly, a deflated football.
Half-running, half-jogging, I went up to her door and rang the doorbell.
Christy appeared at the door, her hair disheveled, her eyes sunken, her lipstick smudged, and the shoulder of her blouse had slipped, revealing her smooth cream-coloured skin. My heart sank to the floor. Had something happened?
She pulled me in after her and shut the door, leaving me confused. Her house was in darkness, even though it was mid-afternoon. When my eyes had adjusted to the dim lighting, I noticed her living room looked like she had been robbed. It was a complete mess! Broken glass, things tossed and thrown around. An uneasy feeling settled on my chest.
Christy was mumbling to herself, ambling towards the back of the house, almost as if she had forgotten I was here. I was frankly freaked out. What the hell happened in here? I grabbed her hand and swung her to face me. “Christy, talk to me babe! Are you alright? Are you hurt? Did somebody hurt you?” My voice was rising in panic.
Her eyes were empty, almost unseeing. As I watched, her eyes seemed to clear and she finally looked at me. Really looked at me. “Kel,” she whispered.
“Yes, babe, I’m here.” I pulled her into a tight embrace, gripping her hunched shoulders. I felt a tiny sigh escape her lips, warming a small part of my neck. She’s going to be alright, I think.
I hold her so she is staring right at me, and I made sure she saw me when I said, “Tell me what happened. Everything.”
She silently nodded, but slowly turned around and wandered towards her room. Not knowing what to do, I silently followed.
I found Christy slumped over, sitting on the edge of her bed, which was also strewn with clothes, her bedroom in various disarray; and my head ran through every possible worst case scenario. She was robbed. She was blackmailed. It was the mafia.
“His eyes reminded me of melted chocolate, the kind you’d dip into and savour as you lick it off, you know?” she said.
She was raped.
“He enrolled into my class only this semester, a late-entry student. He was handsome, oh so handsome. All the girls were talking about him, wondering if he was attached, searching his hands for a ring or, even a trace of a ring. But there was none.” Here, she paused, and looked upwards at the ceiling, smiling. Was that a tear in her eye?
Honestly, she was scaring me more and more by the minute, these crazy mood swings. “Uh-huh,” I said, inching slowly towards her door, ready to bolt at a moment’s notice.
Well, she didn’t notice.
“Out of all the girls in our class, including Mindy, this long-legged skinny bitch, he picked me. I can’t understand why.” Her eyes found mine, shining with obvious tears.
“We weren’t even in the same group for the assignment, but he walked up to us, in the midst of discussion, and, with everyone watching—especially that cow, Mindy—he asked me out. For coffee. On Saturday. Me.”
When she crouched over once more and dissolved into hysterical sobs, I braced myself for the worst. Oh no. The jerk. What had he done?
There were so many questions running through my head. When? How? Why? But, did it matter now? Did it matter at all?
I tentatively maneuvered my way through the mess of clothes on the floor and sat beside her, the bed creaking a little as I did so. Christy sobbed even louder, if that were possible. Watching her brokenness, I vowed I would be the best friend a friend could ever have.
I remembered reading: 60% of rape cases in the last five years were never reported. Even when it is reported, it is unlikely to lead to arrest and prosecution. Only 3% of rapists ever serve a day in prison.
I’ll help her get through this. I’ll get her the legal aid she needed, the money. We’ll prosecute the hell outta that son of a bitch. We’ll make sure he rots in jail. He’ll never see the light of day again.
My mind was whirling with the enormity of what was to come, a fight that was only just beginning. How do we even begin? Who should we talk to? Where do we go?
“I don’t know what to do,” Christy said, hiccupping, her tears streaming down her face. Me neither, I thought. But I realized that, from this point onward, I had to be her female knight in shining armour. I had to put on a brave face, so that she would have the courage to stand up. To fight. To win.
I clasped her hands in mine, took a deep breath. “You’re going to be fine,” I said to her, but it seemed more to myself.
We sat in silence for a while, except for Christy’s subdued hiccups.
“Um, I hate to rush you, Kel," she hiccuped, "but I’m meeting him in like, an hour.”
I turned to look at her then, almost in slow motion. “What?” I spluttered.
“Yeah, so, I need your help to choose what to wear.”
It took me several seconds to acknowledge what she was saying. What to wear. I need your help to choose what to wear.
I looked around me once more, at the messy bedroom, the variety of clothes chucked all over, the chaos outside in the living room. And it dawned on me what the true emergency was.
“I have nothing to wear!” Christy wailed.
I glared murderously at her.
I thought about who would call 911 emergency now.