When you learn that someone you love has been raped.

160 days later.

When you learn that someone you love has been raped, you feel your heart sink. When you discover that you know the rapist, your world goes dark. Your mind begins an infinite loop, asking questions, seeking answers, wanting justice where there is none. You debate what to do, who to tell, and, in the beginning, you tell no one, live with it, letting it rot you from the inside, poison you, lost somewhere between rage and despair. And then, when you do, if you do, decide to share, it is never adequate. You are seeking a peace that never comes. And your mind watches the responses, very carefully, for clues on who you can trust. Categorizing, recategorizing, everyone in your world, one by one, based on this and nothing else.

When you learn that someone you love has been raped your world forever changes, and you learn that it will never assume the same shape again. Permanently disfigured, stripped of some of the joy and wonder that was there before, that joy replaced with a dull ache that is always there if you go looking for it, which you don’t dare to do, but sometimes, at the worst times, it finds you.