She sank into the depths of her memories and couldn’t stop the tears from raining down her face, her heart pulsating in her chest.
“I’m in the alley,” Marissa says. “On my way to school.”
Her heart starts beating faster and faster.
“I see something. A shadow,” she shrieks. “And now I can feel a pull on my arm!”
Tears start forming gray dots on her orange shirt.
“The grip on my arm gets tighter and tighter and soon I’m hauled into darkness.”
Marissa starts sobbing and trying to catch her breath.
“There’s a pull on my hair. My head is being snapped back.” Marissa moves her right hand to the back of her head atop her short hair. “He won’t let go of holding my hair and pulling my head back!”
She shakes her hand off of her head.
“I’m wearing a Hello Kitty dress. It’s my favorite, and it gets ripped off,” she says, tugging on her orange top. “And then I’m pushed onto the ground. It’s cold and kinda damp. And I feel his knees pin down my legs.”
Marissa jolts her body erect. Her eyes still closed, she places her elbows on her knees, fingers on her forehead as if to drum out a headache. Snot runs from her nose and adds to the discoloration of her orange shirt.
“I start screaming and crying louder and louder but nobody can hear, nobody can see what’s happening.”
Marissa starts rocking back and forth.
“The next thing I know,” she continued, dropping her hands into her lap and opening up her eyes for the first time since Dr. Axelrod started the session. “I’m alone—at least I think I’m alone,” she said to the cement floor. “—in this stinky, clammy darkness. I can feel my eyes trying to open and adjust to the darkness and that’s when I notice the thin yellow line to my right. I crawl toward it, every bit of me aching.”
Marissa grabs her stomach as she continues to rock.
“I realized the light was outside of the darkness. I was in a garage. The light was the alley. I tried lifting the garage door but… I just couldn’t.”
Marissa stops crying. She takes in a deep breath and wipes her face and nose with the tissues in her lap. Then with a deadpan look, she finds Dr. Axelrod’s eyes and says, “I was next door to the house I grew up in. I was nine years old. The fucker who raped me was never found, but I’m pretty sure it was my older brother’s best friend.”
“Did you tell anyone you thought it was the friend?”
“I didn’t know or think it was him until much later,” Marissa said, her lips forming a grin. “His best friend’s name was Stan.”
“Like your husband?”
Marissa smiles for the first time during the interview.