A Dark Hole

“Will the pain ever go away?” she asked.

She was beautiful . . . sitting straight up, cross-legged, wild curly hair, bold eyebrows, captivating brown eyes with a hint of green.
But what intrigued me most, was her mesmerizing tears. 
They were picture perfect: glazing over her eyes, filling the corners to overflowing until they broke the surface tension and ran in narrow rivulets down her cheeks, falling off her chin on her tensed hands lying in her lap.
She felt them splash on her skin, reached up, quickly wiped her cheeks and mastered her emotions, looking at me for an answer.
I hesitated.
She spoke again before I was able to respond, “I feel like I have lived five life-times . . .” I interrupted and finished the sentence for her, “. . . and you are only 27.”
She pointed at her heart, “There is a dark hole in here.”

It had absorbed all the pain and it lived there, embodied as torturous memories:
The blaming, “No wonder they rape you, look at you!”
The naming, “Whore.”
The shaming, “You are playing the victim; you just need to choose to overcome.”
The aiming, “You are a scapegoat and always will be.”
The defaming, “I cannot hang out with someone like you.”
The framing, “They took my money and ran.”
The claiming, “I am just a thing to be fucked.”
The taming, “There were so many, maybe this is who I am . . .”
The maiming, “The countless memories, nightmares—reliving the past.”
The laming, “I tried to kill myself, not because I don’t want to live—I love life—but I don’t know how.”

“Will the pain ever go away?”

She sat in silence and waited.
I weighed my words, “I don’t know . . .” and looked into her tear-filled eyes, afraid to give her an answer I could not believe in myself.
“I am hoping for a miracle,” she said.
She had answered her own question and I had listened and understood. 
It was enough.