*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those who don’t deserve it.
For as much time as I spent reporting to my school, talking to my school’s police department, and meeting with the local police department’s special victim’s unit, I didn’t really talk about what happened that night all that much. In initial meetings, sure, but investigations take time. I told myself I didn’t have to think about that night as long as I was focused on the status of the investigations. But as the investigations closed, there was no escaping the fact that what happened that night kept inching closer and closer to the forefront of my mind.
In the time between that night and the investigations closing, my life had changed completely. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I had lost almost all of my friends. I rarely ever went to class anymore. My parents’ marriage was falling apart. I was scared to go out at night. I barely recognized the girl looking back at me in the mirror.
Forgetting. To fail to remember. To inadvertently neglect to do, bring, or mention something. To put out of one’s mind. To cease to think of or consider. To stop thinking about one’s own problems or feelings. To act improperly or unbecomingly.
How do you forget a night that’s etched into your memory?
You destroy yourself. You drink too much alcohol. You start doing drugs. Then you move onto more serious drugs. Then you combine the alcohol and the drugs. You start sleeping around. Then you start drinking and doing drugs before you sleep around. Then you start sleeping around with strangers. Then you blackout on a mixture of drugs and alcohol before you even meet the eventual stranger you’ll wake up next to in the morning. You destroy yourself as you try to rewrite what happened that night with Chuck*. You think that, if you can rewrite that night, then maybe the flashbacks will stop. Maybe the trauma will disappear.
You’ll learn that you can’t rewrite that night.
That doesn’t mean you won’t spend months trying to.