I was close to tears as I listened to her story. I even imagined I could feel each one of those sixteen blows. Nobody should have to endure that much humiliation just because they made a mistake. I wondered what kind of religious upbringing her parents had had that would have given them such a twisted view of God and His love.
Dan, having made his call, had come back with Minerva Drew. Minerva was one of the people who had given me so much grief at the previous night’s meeting. I hoped we weren’t going to have more trouble between us. They glided into the room and quietly sat in the corner.
I knew I should make them leave; this was, after all, a private moment for Abby, and even though we weren’t in an official counseling session, I was certain this would fall under the privacy guidelines. I didn’t make them leave. For some reason their presence was giving me focus. Anyway, they could only hear one side of the conversation.
The social worker still had not arrived, but then I hadn’t expected it so soon. I knew there were a lot of people in crisis and, while Abby’s suicidal presence in my parking lot constituted an emergency to me, Social Services had their own set of emergencies. I strongly felt if I kept Abby talking, the urge to end her life might pass.
“How bad was the beating,” I asked.
“Bad enough to send me to bed for two days,” she said, “and to need an ice pack for six. Strangely, though, the pain wasn’t nearly as bad as the name calling. I knew I wasn’t a whore.”
She sat in silence a few moments. I began to sweat around the collar and readied myself to dash to the parking lot for a last minute save—and then she went on.
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