Was a bad the one who was not right? Were all our actions comparable, measurable, always similarly perceptible? Does it really matter that one killed another one because of the trauma one has experienced? Because of pain which murmured caused to a murderer?

Everyone is a sinner. Everyone is a villain in someone else’s story. Perhaps everyone is a hero in someone else’s story too? If so, good and evil are only perspectives. So if so, she had no right to kill anybody no matter how traumatized she was.

In a favorite coffee mug in her hands, Elly stood in the kitchen for uncountable minutes. Half of the cup was coffee, another half – honey whiskey. She inhaled the smell of this precious drink. She tried it, winced, added stevia, and stirred three times right. With her eyes closed, the girl took another sip of this great-now coffee, then another sip, and one more. 

Exhaling air rich in alcohol, Elly opened her eyes slowly. The kitchen was still the same. The same kitchen appliances around her, the same surrounding, the same reality, so she closed her eyes because there was a possibility that everything could actually look better in the imagination.

Morning drinking was always a good help as it took only a few sips to feel the buzz in one’s head. One more sip, one more minute with closed eyes, and she felt tipsy already. The state made her feel a bit satisfied. Only a little bit, though. There’s no method to cure her fully right now. Not now. Not at this very moment. 

There’s no amount of alcohol one can consume that would make one feel well. No… not after the experience of this horrible night. 

How come would she feel good after what she just had encountered? Will it ever pass? Will she ever forget? Can she?

She shook her head as a “no” answer to all the questions. It was overwhelming. The reality was so… overwhelming. 

Being sober, hungover, at home when they get finally up was the last thing she wished for, but she couldn’t find enough energy inside herself to go out. To leave this place.

Maybe she should shower quickly, take her coffee to go, and… go? Perhaps it was a great idea, but…

When she woke up, all confused in her bed, she needed time to connect all the dots to get the picture of the night.

They went out. Elly drunk one or two shots too much. Was it that or one of her many drinks was spiked? No matter what, she had many drinks, and she blacked out. That was a fact. She couldn’t argue with facts, but was it also equivalent to being responsible for what had happened later on? For what took place in her apartment, in her bedroom, in her bed? Was there a safe place for her in this world anymore?  

The journey home was blurry, and then there was nothing until she opened her eyes in the morning. Her friends put her to bed, and then she fell in a deep, deep sleep. But in all those darkness of unconsciousness were a few fuzzy moments, she remembers. Even if she saw nothing, she felt it. 

Maybe too drunk to open her eyes but sober enough to be sure what she had felt.

Elly drunk her sweet and soothing drink in her favorite coffee mug. Although whiskey removed the tension from the body, it did not do it to her mind. She dropped her shoulders, raised her chin, inhaled air into her lungs.

This state of peace lasted about three seconds. A single teardrop run down her cheek. The lips started shaking, and the air came out of her mouth rapidly. She remembers, remembers herself begging him to stop.

There’s nothing more what a man can take away from a woman than her pride. Her dignity was the precious thing she had. Piece after piece, he stripped it away from her.

Elly’s hands started shaking, the mug became unbearably heavy, and spilled on her hands. She opened the eyes rapidly. The mug loudly touched the kitchen table’s artificial stone-like smooth surface as she put it down a little too firmly. She must leave now.

– Hey? Ohhhh, I would use some more sleep, babe – sleepy, yawning voice came from the opposite side of the living room. A voice she knew very well.

– Marion? – Elly leaned over the kitchen table to see if her friend is somewhere in the living room. 

– Yeeees, babe? How are you?

– G-good, g-good. Y-you? – Elly stuttered. She hated to lie. The girl took a deep breath to calm herself down, wiped out the tears, and came out of the kitchen, slowly, slowly stepping closer to the sofa where her friend was lying down on wrapped in a fluffy blanket.

– Coffee? – She sat down on the floor, stretched out her arm with the red mug towards Marion. She knew that her friend doesn’t drink coffee so she won’t try it. 

– Nooo, thank you. I will get some water later. – Marion stretched, picked up her smartphone from a coffee table nearby the sofa, and started scrolling through Instagram. – Giiiiiiiirl! What a night! 

– Mmmm, sure – Marion cleared her throat. – Crazy!

– The crazies! – Marion laughed, keeping her eyes fixed on the small screen of her iPhone. – It was dope, babe!

– So… how did it end? I mean… I blacked out, I guess… – Elly chuckled awkwardly, but then her face turned into a poker face again. Marion didn’t say a word, and then she laughed at something she was watching. Noises of club music and muffled voices came out of a speaker on her phone.

– Girl, you have to see this! You acted so funnily! Hahaha. The video from last night I recorded. Sending to the group.

– Sure, will do but… Hey! By the way, why didn’t you sleep in my bed? You know… with me? – Elly’s eyes studied Marion’s face. Her voice cracked for a second what made the question sound accusingly. The girl glanced at her and put her cellphone down. Elly quickly looked down and drunk her coffee. 

– Because you slept funnily. When I came in to check on you, your head was where the feet supposed to be! Your arms and legs were spread all over the bed! – Marion chuckled at the memory, then got busy with her phone again.

– So… so you just came to sleep here, and Lily and Abad to hers?

– No, no. We stayed up longer – Marion replied softly, carelessly.

– How long?

– “How long” what, girl? Ahhh… I don’t know, Elly – Marion clacked with her tongue. – A couple of hours. Why? – The girl put her phone down again and looked at her friend. This time she was the one who’s eyes studied the other one’s face. – Are you okay?

“Am I okay?” Elly thought. “I think I need to think about it.” While thoughts were roaring in her head, her face disclosed none of the emotions. 

She sipped her coffee slowly. “What does it even mean? Being okay… Is there any guideline that tells what to do to be okay? Signs and symptoms of being okay…”

Was it “okay” to forget? Was it possible to forget? If not forget, to keep the secret forever, to take it with oneself to the grave? Was it “okay” to decide what’s right for beloved people? Was it “okay” to hide the ugly truth deeply in one’s heart? Was it “okay” to give up the battle knowing that there’s no chance to fight the monster? If all of this was “okay,” she was okay too.

There’s no need to scream, to argue, to attack, to defend when the silence was the best protection. Nothing could help. Only time can heal these wounds.

“What about the healing power of exoneration?” One might ask. “What about the relief that theoretically can be caused by honest conversation?” She had tried it. Oh, she had tried it all. She attempted to share her feelings and worries before. It had never worked like she heard it would.

She knew that she has friends on whom she can rely, but some stories were unsharable. Some stories should get buried in the heart and then six feet under the ground with this heart. Because some of these stories included an ultimatum: he or I, and no one has a right to demand things like that. 

In this case, her hands were tied. Elly couldn’t say anything. She couldn’t ask Lili to make her choice, although she had this idea a few times. 

The first time was when he touched her body, and she unwillingly participated in that. When she had to look at his and Lili’s faces afterward. When she had to accept his presence in her home – a place of her peacefulness. When she had to pretend that nothing had happened. When she had to listen to him saying, “Elly hates me during the day, but she loves me during the night,” what instantly made her feel sick. When he sat next to her, when he touched her, when he hugged her, when… when he was around. 

She bit her tongue because she could see them. She could see this radiant face of her best friend, mainly when everything was seemingly good… Lili blossomed when Abad was around, and when he was behaving, when Lili didn’t see, when she didn’t know… When Elly wasn’t talking.

Then Lili witnessed a similar situation when Abad did the same thing to another unconscious girl. It was identical to what he did to Elly with one exception. The girl wasn’t Lili’s friend. 

Afterward, Elly wanted to beg her friend to leave this discosting man for good. But… she couldn’t do it. Instead of interfering, she tried to show support. In her imagination, she hurt him several times in very sophisticated ways.

She didn’t have enough self-esteem to believe that someone would choose her. All those promises, verbal declarations were nothing more than sweet lies which she would like to believe in, yet couldn’t. From all of the different kinds of love she had experienced, none was the ultimate one.

Maybe she asked for it? Maybe she got exactly what she asked for? Maybe every action she took in her life brought her to this point? Maybe she was a drama queen like some of her friends called her, in her opinion, maliciously? Maybe she made everything up in her sick imagination?

Maybe every step she took, everything she did, every word she said, every thought she thought, every smile, every teardrop, every laughter, every cry, everything in her life she has done earned it to her. This shit, she was swimming in. In this situation, she was involved. The case she didn’t want to escalate.

She nodded her head. “I’m not a coward.” She convinced herself. This particular case wasn’t about her. It was all about Lili. 

– Elly? Are you okay? – Marion repeated the question. There’s a shadow of concern hiding in her voice. 

– Yes? – Elly looked up puzzled at first but then smiled. She has become so good at faking smiles. – Yes, I’m okay.


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