Sugar Free Page 58


I make a stack for stuff to keep and a stack to purge, dropping the things into neat piles without getting emotionally attached to what I’m throwing away.

I do pause momentarily when I pull out a white piece of paper that has Sophie’s handprint done in bright blue. I had had it hanging on the fridge for weeks and then somehow, it got taken down to make room for another piece of art and made it to this box.

It goes in the pile to save.

I discard mail flyers for various housing services we’ve received over the last few years, saving promo items for pressure washing and lawn care maintenance and the like. They all seemed like a good idea when I’d saved them, but now I put them in the purge pile. When I finally break down and get the house pressure-washed, I’ll Google a company like other modern people do.

The next item I pick up causes my heart to flutter for a brief moment before it stills into calmness. It’s a newspaper article from just about five months ago. The headline reads: PREVIOUSLY UNIDENTIFIED ASSAILANTS SENTENCED TO PRISON.

My eyes only skim the article because I know the details well. Almost seven months ago, two months before this article, I got a call from a detective in Los Angeles. He’d had a hit on the DNA from my rape case.

It had belonged to a man by the name of Boyd Martin, who had been arrested for raping a young woman he drugged in a nightclub. They sent a picture of him to me via email and I recognized him immediately, the way I had recognized JT on the TV all those years ago. Dark hair, tanned face…eyes with a slight Asian tilt. A tattoo of a red phoenix was on his wrist, which only further proved to me that this was one of my rapists from that night.

Things happened quickly thereafter. Because he was now up for two rapes, the DA had some room to offer him a reduced sentence on my case if he gave up the name of my third rapist. He jumped on the deal, gladly giving up the details of the crime, which included verification that JT had indeed raped me. I didn’t need that little bit of vindication, as I knew in my heart he had. I’d merely had a few things confused in my memory thinking it was JT’s DNA in my hair when it was Boyd Martin’s.

Best of all, Boyd Martin identified the pale blond ghost who assaulted me and he was arrested. His name was Lyman Porter. It was confirmed that while Boyd Martin was a member of Beck and JT’s fraternity, Lyman Porter was just a drunk college kid at that party who was easily roped in to committing a gang rape with JT and Boyd egging him on.

I never went back to California to face my attackers. They both pled guilty to my rape and were sentenced to fourteen years, with Martin’s reduced by two years for turning on Porter.

The closure on that part of my life felt wonderful, and Beck and I celebrated that night after Sophie went down with a bottle of wine and some wild monkey sex. I’m pretty sure that’s when we conceived Sebastian.

Who at this moment decides to give me a soccer kick, and I drop the article in surprise. Laughing at myself and putting a hand to the edge of the counter for balance, I stoop and pick it up from the floor.

The edges of it contrast starkly white against the yellowing of my linoleum floor. It makes me smile as I stand and scan the perimeter of our kitchen. Before Sophie was born, I had someone come in and finally fix the kitchen floor. But I couldn’t bear to part with the old, yellowed vinyl that had borne so many new footsteps from my life.

That flooring was worn, cracked, and peeled. It was curled on the edges and was a hazard. But I had found over the years I had come to cherish every nick and scar that was cut into the patterned linoleum.

So I had the floor guy merely cut out the curled and peeling edges and put in a tiled border, therefore keeping most of the old vinyl covering throughout most of the kitchen.

Beck thought I was crazy but he didn’t argue.

Because I was pregnant, and you don’t argue with that type of crazy.

I think the reason I wanted to keep it was because I liken this old linoleum to my soul. It’s been cracked and stained and hardened by years of rough use. It tells a story and it provides foundation. With care it’s been fixed and polished to a soft glow. It’s been revered and respected, because it held up to the toughest of times, and most important, it holds the memories of the footprints that have walked, trampled, and tiptoed across it.

It’s held up.

It’s persevered.

It’s faced what life had to throw at it and it held steady.

Just. Like. Me.

Source: www_Novel22_Net