Today is San Diego Momma’s PROMPTuesday #46: Humility.
Write a story about when you last were humbled, felt humbled by the presence of something/someone in your life, or lay prostrate at the feet of the universe and said “I don’t know what the hell I am doing. I will now relinquish control and let you take over.”
Over twenty years ago, I sat in a police station. I was alone. I had no parents to call. No safe place to go. I had two small children I was supposed to protect. I was terrified.
I’d been in that police station before. The reason was darker now.
When all of the necessary questions had been answered, words had been put to paper, and the story had been laid bare, a young officer looked into my eyes. With a voice as direct and as gentle as were his eyes, he simply said, “Don’t go back.”
I looked back at him, and for a long moment that has stayed fresh in my mind for over twenty years, our eyes held.
I thought, “Why is he telling me not to go back. Of course, I won’t go back.”
Then I remembered that I had gone back before. Over and over again. I’d gone back.
So, I thought, “I went back before, but now I have children. Of course, I won’t go back.”
Then I remembered that my mother had three children, and she went back. Over and over again. She went back. She’s still there, last I heard.
I told the officer that I wouldn’t go back. He’d probably heard that before, but he didn’t appear doubtful. I wondered later if he had been hopeful. I wondered if each time he said “Don’t go back” to a woman he still had hope.
I didn’t go back.
Over the next few years, I thought about that young officer. I remembered his name. I wondered if I should call him and tell him that his words had made an impact on me. I wondered. Over the next few years. From time to time.
Some more years went by. I graduated from law school and went to work for a downtown law firm. Another attorney at the firm became my friend. She’d graduated from the same law school that I had attended; I’d been in the full-time day program and she’d graduated one year ahead of me in the part-time evening program.
One day, I don’t remember why now, she mentioned that a friend of hers had graduated number one in their law school class. She told me that while some went to law school part time and did not have day jobs (considered an advantage among evening students), this guy had worked days as a police officer, and still graduated number one in their class.
I’d never forgotten that officer’s name, and, yes, he had graduated the year before I did from the same law school, number one in his class, while working full time.
I thought about the incredible odds that our paths had crossed again. Even if I hadn’t know it when they were crossing, I found out that our paths had crossed again.
It seemed to me that was a sign that it was time to let him know that he had an impact on my life, and on my daughters’ lives.
I tracked him down, and met with him in person. I told him that I did not go back. I told him all that he had communicated to me in that moment, and that I would remember it for the rest of my life.
I was given I gift. I thanked the man who gave it to me. Now I think it is time for me to pay it forward.
Rihanna, I understand why you went back. I did it too. I also know that if you don’t leave, you’ll be hurt again, no matter how sorry he seems to be now, no matter how much he seems to love you, and you him. Every woman who has been down that road knows this much is true. You are not alone. If you’re one of the lucky ones, like I was once, you’ll be able to leave again. And when you leave, don’t go back.
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