“Yes”. I couldn’t explain how much pain I was in but I knew he would make sure I was ok. Somehow, I trusted him, despite his strange behavior in the past. Just the care in his voice alone reminded me why I felt so strongly for him all those years. Then, without warning, he started to leave the room, but walked back. I figured he was leaving keys behind or something. Daniel came back and hovered over me and said ” I care about you a lot. I need you to know that.” He reached in and kissed me on the lips so softly. I was so confused. Was I dying? Wasn’t he married, or was it because I was vulnerable. I blacked out again.
Recoup and recover
I slowly began the path to recovery over the next few days, but it started becoming apparent to me that I was going to be facing more difficult times up ahead. I began taking advantage of each new day given to me, after a week in the hospital. I noticed things that I hadn’t seen before, and I appreciated things I hadn’t cared about before. Daniel’s presence was really great. He came to check on me everyday and asked me how I felt and told me what was going on with my attacker. His name was Clyde Simmons, and he was on the loose for about 3 years. I was the 18th woman he had attacked, and thankfully, the last. Had Daniel not been there, I could have wound up like many of the other women. Only 2 had survived before me, and 16 of the women had been sexually assaulted and raped. I was fortunate. Still, I had a big decision to make. I would have to decide if I wanted to press charges. It would hit the news and Daniel would have to be involved. This was a registered repeated sex offender that was loose and prowling around in the New York City area. I was so confused as to why I was going through this.
That wasn’t the only thing bothering me. After the kiss, I wasn’t sure how to feel or react around Daniel. It was something I had dreamt would happen for years, since we were kids playing together at school, but I never thought it would happen the way it did. I felt like I never really knew him before then, and all I had known was just an illusion. I couldn’t imagine if it was just an “I feel sorry for you kiss” or an ” I have feelings for you kiss”. We never spoke aout it again. The day I was being released from the hospital after a long week and half of prodding and testing and healing, Daniel came into my room as I was getting ready. My parents and some family had been there on good days to check on me, but Daniel had consistently taken over. I wasn’t sure if he was doing it because he felt he had to, or because he wanted to. He told me he would take me home. He was there that afternoon, and it looked like he had rushed there. “Maybe he was coming from work? I can’t imagine how he’s running back and forth and also managing to go to work and deal with clients”, I thought to myself.
The hospital had a minor speculation that the press would show up on the day I was leaving, but we left from a back exit and I was covered with Daniel’s blazer to shield my identity. I had no clue what was going on. I just wanted to feel safe. I wasn’t sure how I would finish the semester. I decided that maybe it was in my best interest to take some time off of school until everything was squared away. The drive back to my parents’ home was quiet until I asked ” how’s your wife? You haven’t spoken about her”.
“I’m not really sure. I haven’t really spoken to her.” He seemed to be really focused on his driving? “Did you decide yet if you’re going to go through with the charges. I mean this guy is sick and he deserves the maximum penalty.” He sound so angry.
“Daniel… I want you to know I really appreciate all you’ve done for me and alll you are doing. I don’t want to make any situation worst than…”
“Tara what the fuck are you really talking about? You haven’t done anything wrong. Everything has been my fault from the beginning.” I got really quiet. He was clearly upset, but I wasn’t too sure why, so I felt if I stayed quiet, we wouldn’t get into anything. I wanted to discuss the kiss, but I wasn’t getting from him that it was something he’d talk about.
When he pulled up at my gate, I said thanks and motioned to leave when he took my hand and drew it to his mouth. He kissed my left hand said “I’m sorry for putting you through so much. I fuck up a lot but I want to make things right by you, as a friend. A friend that cares a lot for a friend.” I didn’t look at him. I couldn’t bear the thought of of even a glimpse into the eyes that I adored but could not give me anything in return. I felt confused, but as I stepped out the car, I knew that there was a new voyage ahead; one of lies being uncovered, a dark past jealousy and misery coming to the light.
Courts In Session