How She Carried On
"No!" Lydia cried out as she was taken out of dreamland.
"It's okay, Lydia. It's just me. I'm sorry if I woke you." Roni moved her wheelchair an inch closer to the girl.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scream." Lydia said softly as she sat up on her bed.
"It's okay." Roni replied with a smile. "If I were you, I'd scream at the top of my lungs."
Lydia made no comment, she just gave Roni a look, saying, 'I wish I could,' and then quickly turned her eyes to her opening bedroom door.
"Lydia?" Jed's voice was quiet, as he wasn't sure if the girl was awake or asleep.
"In here, Dad." Roni replied as she realized Lydia did not hear her name being called out.
Stepping into the room, with the female police officer from earlier, Jed said, "Lydia," once more, this time gaining her attention.
"I'm sorry, what?" Came Lydia.
"The officer, here, needs you to sign these papers, before we can move on to the next step."
Lydia took the papers from the officer and as she closed her eyes, she pressed the pen to the piece of paper. Pulling the pen away, without signing, Lydia looked up and said, "I'm sorry, but... I can't. He's my uncle."
"Lydia?" Abbey entered the room and crossed over to the 16-year-old girl sitting on the bed.
"I'm sorry, Abbey. I tried. I tried to sign it... but I couldn't... I can't."
"Jed," Abbey turned to her husband. "Can you give me a minute alone with Lydia?"
Jed gave his wife a soft, knowing look, as he silently exited the room, along with his youngest daughter and the female police officer.
"I tried," Lydia cried.
"Shh. Shh. It's okay. You'll be able to do it in time, when you are ready. Not before."
"I just want everything to be okay, Abbey. I want to forget what happened to me. I want to pretend it will all be okay. How does signing those papers make it okay? Tell me, please, and I'll sign."
"They may not make things okay. In fact, they will make things harder, for now. But if you don't sign, then your uncle will not get what he deserves. He will not go to jail, where he belongs."
"So I should sign?"
"Not if you aren't ready, baby. You have to be ready. And when you are, I'll be here for you, to help you. We all will be... Jed, Roni, Zoey... we're all here for you. No matter what you decide."
After a long pause filled with the two hugging each other, Lydia asked, "Why does it seem that no matter what choice I make, I'm only hurting myself?"
"Because it's life. And because you're looking at this from a short-term prospective. In the long run, I believe you know what choice is better, cause you're a smart young woman."
"Okay." Lydia moved out of her room and in to the living room area of the residence. "I'm ready to sign."
The three people occupying the room ceased their conversation, and provided their undivided attention to the two people who just entered the room. But more importantly, to the one person who just took a giant step for herself, and any future would-be victims of this rapist.
"Are you sure?" Jed asked as he stood up.
"No, I'm not sure. But I am determined. I do not want this to ruin me. I don't want him to ruin me, or anyone else."
"Good for you, Lydia. Good for you." Roni chanted from her wheelchair.
Taking the few steps that stood between her and the papers, Lydia bent over, and signed the papers with the blind faith that her future will only be better. A single tear falling from her eye as she did.