"What's the matter Cindy? Did I do something wrong? Is it the sequins?" Her face turns a ghostly white and she clenches her fingers as she looks away from me as if she's scared I wouldn't accept or understand what she is about to say to me.
She turns even paler, takes a deep breath and says, " It's not you. I don't know how to tell you this. I'm not even sure I should so soon. I don't want to ruin our relationship before it even gets started. It's not you. It's that bastard of a stepfather of mine. He sexually abused me from the time I was fourteen until I was sixteen and could leave and go to a group home. I'm so embarrassed. I know its not my fault, but I can't help feeling like I did something wrong. I feel guilty." Then the color starts to return to her face as if a giant weight has been lifted from her heart. Cindy has revealed her terrible secret.
I gently touch her hand and say, "You did nothing wrong. I don't know why adults feel it's okay to abuse us one way or another. We can take our time. We don't have to do anything until you're ready. As long as I can be with you and hold you. I can wait as long as you want." She sighs with relief.
Suddenly I feel myself turning red with rage at the thought of her bastard stepfather taking advantage of her. I ball my fists. Then I start to cry out of frustration because there is nothing I can do. We hold each other and cry together for the abuse we have both suffered, and for our lost innocence that has left us so inhibited we can't even enjoy doing what comes naturally. Eventually with the resiliency of youth we manage to comfort each other.
After a while I walk Cindy downstairs. I say, "Will you come back on Saturday?"
Cindy looks at me in surprise and flinches in my arms. "Don't you want to see me tomorrow?"
"I do, I do, but there is something important I have to take care of. Come back Saturday afternoon. I'm planning a surprise for you. I really care about you."
"Can't you tell me what the surprise is, Billy?"
"No I can't. Then it wouldn't be a surprise, but I think you'll be pleased. I'd do anything for you, Cindy."