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I Am Santo

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May 18

The day is marked forever in equal measures of forgiveness and fright, a night that brought a darkness as unimaginable as the pain, odds and measure of brutality she fought against. She found the comfort of first position and knew there was a chance she’d exit these days as she had started them in the womb, her body not honoring with knees to chest but her spirit sinking tightly within as if a balled fist; not curled tight to strike back against her attacker, but closed off to any other violation to locate the warmth and strength she’d always known, a glowing ember of lifefire that refused to diminish in intensity despite a horrific reality now pushing from all corners with searing pain and ferocious inhumanity.

She had healed many, seen hurt and triumph in equal measure, but this violence seemed an impossible affliction and the climb back from unconsciousness alone had been among the steepest she’d known. To even consider moving was a barefoot summit across a shattered glass path up Everest, so she pushed her senses to focus on anything and discovered her ragged breathing.
She next found the roaring of cars and trucks as they careened through this stretch of unremarkable highway, their engines’ echoing off the green tiles of this sickeningly sweet smelling latrine where the grime of the floor now mixed to mud with the spill of her injuries. She could feel the wide open spaces beyond where she was trapped, embarrassingly prone but uncaring, and in fact hopeful for discovery. Even at full strength her voice would be lost against the din of indifferent progress and the revolutions of lives continuing on outside, thankfully ignorant to the horror in this desolate hole.
If she had to she would lay there for hours, focused on breathing and taking inventory of everything her eyes allowed her to see. Just as long as she could fight off the inky blackness of comfort that swelled from within rather than blanketing her. It frightened her more than the relentless assault for she’d given in to it once already, at the point where pain had overpowered her so thoroughly that she had no choice but full retreat. And in those moments, behind her fall she wondered under her bleats for mercy if she would ever see light again.
The sight of green ceramic was a surprise, but she needed to fight again even though the worst was over – the boots and sweat stink of him finally gone. The encroaching weakness of light fluttered around the edges of her vision and threatened permanent absence. So she clung to whatever rational center there could be to this; the cold of the floor against her face, the corroded gleam of the plumbing under the sink, the color of rust not as dark as her blood.
It was not enough.
She saw the kind, round face of her niece, a daughter by all measure minus the ache of birth, as well as the smile of her mother, always twinged with a smirk of mock disapproval and propriety, but then she was in rapid transit although she didn’t know if it was physical or spiritual.
She asked God to see her to where she should go, not for any real help but just to ensure she was where she was supposed to be, hoping it would be between her bookends. It grew black then, and when she next could sense the world it had turned on its ear for she knew not where she was nor how she’d gotten there. Yet it didn’t matter because she drew breath, painful as it was, and had been allowed to awake again. Her thankfulness would inform every action from then on.

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