Authors: Tessa Escalera
After a moment, I heard an angry growl from dad. “I'm gonna kill that bastard. Just let me get my hands on him. To touch our daughter...”
“Arthur!” Mom exclaimed. “Don't talk like that!”
“Amelia, I think even God would support killing a man like this. Look at what he's done to our little girl. Don't tell me you don't want to see him safely in the ground.”
“God calls us to forgive, Arthur.”
Dad's voice shook with anger. “Don't talk to me about forgiveness! There are some things that cannot be forgiven. I want to see that man burn, Amelia. I want him to hurt like he's hurt my little girl.”
When I was finally able to muster the strength to open my eyes, it was dark. Monitors beeped softly behind my head, wires and tubes leading to my body. There was an IV dripping fluids into my arm. The blinds were closed, and the only light was a little bulb somewhere behind my hospital bed.
Dad was sleeping propped in what looked like a very uncomfortable hospital chair. Mom was curled up asleep on a loveseat, a blanket draped over her.
The next thing I noticed was how much my body hurt. Like all of my bruises and my ribs had to remind me that they hadn't gone away yet. I felt like my entire body was covered in injuries.
I must have made a sound, because mom's eyes opened and she was at my bedside in an instant. Dad was a little slower to wake, but once he saw Mom, he quickly joined her at my side.
“Sarah? Sarah honey, can you hear me?”
Now I was finally able to cry. Tears burned on my cheeks as I reached a shaking hand to touch Mom's face, half afraid the two of them would dissolve into a dream as soon as I touched them.
Mom took my hand and pressed it to her face, sobbing and kissing my palm over and over. “Oh, Sarah. Sarah, we thought you were gone.”
I licked my cracked lips and smiled at her through my tears. “Mama.” I reached my other hand out to Dad, and he grasped it in his. My thin fingers were completely engulfed in his large, rough ones. “Daddy.”
Now Dad was crying too. I could count on one hand the number of times I'd seen him cry.
As I lay in that hospital bed, I knew this part of my journey was over. I had escaped. I was with my family.
I was loved, and I was free.
I was home.