Joy decided to reach out for some reassurance for all the worry and anxiety she was experiencing. She gave Deanna a call and they talked briefly about Joy’s concerns. They decided to get together and talk things through. Joy invited Deanna to come to her house for a home cooked lunch. She was setting out the chicken pot pie she had made just as the doorbell rang.
Joy wiped her hands on a dish towel and quickly took off her apron. She opened the door to find Deanna looking as beautiful as always. She wore a blue blouse that matched her eyes with black slacks and heels.
“Hey Deanna. Come on in; it’s great to see you. Joy said as she smoothed her hands down her lightweight grey wool pants. She wore a three-quarter’s sleeve granite cashmere sweater with them.
“Oh Joy, you look so great. That shade of grey looks great on you. And what smells so wonderful; my stomach is growling already.”
“This fall-like weather had me craving homey food. I hope you like chicken pot pie.” They walked through the foyer as they talked.
“Joy, what a beautiful home you have; I love that staircase.” Deanna slowed to appreciate her surroundings.
“I know. When I saw that staircase I fell in love with the house. Come on back to the kitchen; I’ve got everything put out.” Joy said as she looked up to her staircase, remembering the first time she’d seen it.
As Deanna had a seat at the table, Joy heard her stomach growl for real and both women laughed. “You didn’t have to make a home cooked meal for just me; I usually just live on take-out.”
“I kind of thought that, which is why I wanted to cook for you. I’ve got Perrier with lime to drink, or would you care for something else?” Joy asked, very much the nervous host.
“That sound great. If you’d like, I can dish this out while you get the drinks.” Deanna offered, trying to appear helpful.
As they both sat down and dug into their lunch , Deanna moaned in appreciation.
“Joy, this is absolutely fabulous. I don’t know the last time I have had a ‘real’ home cooked meal.” Deanna ate with zest.
“Oh, I am so glad you like it.” Joy picked at her food.
They continued to eat in a sociable silence, Deanna much to busy to be making any small-talk. Joy busied herself around the kitchen, putting a healthy chuck of the pie in a plastic container for Deanna to take with her. Then she dished out two slices of cherry pie.
“Do you like ice cream on your pie? This pie is just still warm enough to make the ice cream melty.” Joy questioned with her hand on the freezer.
“But of course.” Deanna joked like it was a given conclusion.
As they sat back across from each other, Joy worked up her nerve to broach the subject of the trial.
“Deanna, do you mind if I ask how long it took for you to start to feel ‘normal’ again””
“Well, that’s a complicated question. I was raped by a former boyfriend who wouldn’t accept that I would not stay in an abusive relationship. It was a violent rape, and while he is serving time for it now, I had a hard time with the aftermath and the trial. I suffered with PTSD for over a year, and still three years later I have not had a relationship with another man. So I still fight with my own demons; don’t feel like you are all alone and that there’s no one who understands you. There are many of us out her and while you didn’t gel with the group, just knowing one other woman, like me, who has experienced a rape helps keep you grounded.” Deanna looked up to Joy with a fierce intensity in her eyes.
“Wow. Deanna. I has no idea you had been through such an ordeal. My own assault feels petty next to what you went through. It may not be much, but I am here for you if you need another friend.” Joy added hesitantly.
“Thanks Joy, but I already consider you a friend and a fellow sister. Right now, though, you need to deal with your own situation and work through you own issues. I’m here for you if you need any help with that.” Deanna said pointedly.
“Deanna, do you mind if I ask about your trial?”
“Not at all; what do you want to know?” She asked as she spooned pie and vanilla ice cream in her mouth.
“How were you treated as a witness? I mean by the defense?” Joy chased one last milk covered cherry around on her plate.
“That’s a really complicated answer. Being raped by an abusive ex-boyfriend, we had a sexual history, and it was fair game, along with all the other aspects of my life. I won’t lie to you, my trial was a nightmare. It is one of the reasons I have trouble letting men into my life still. What part of your trial are you concerned with?” Deanna sat back with her hand on her stomach like a pregnant woman cradling her baby.
“What the defense will try to pull to get that man off. He lied and denied the assault when he was arrested, but before the trial comes the DNA evidence will be back and prove that he raped me. How is he going to explain that? I am worried that I am so nervous about being in this trial that I won’t come off looking like a reliable witness.” Joy felt a film of perspiration all over her body just thinking about what can come out.
“Well, it’s true he will probably lie to try to cast reasonable doubt on your story. But there is so much forensic evidence, this was a stranger encounter, and you had actual physical harm that the jury won’t be easily swayed by his lies.” Deanna examined Joy closely as she spoke.
“But what if the lies are about me, and they make me look so bad that the jury questions my story and my character? What if their doubts about me cause them to disregard the evidence?” Joy busied herself in the kitchen, putting a fourth of the pie in a container for Deanna.
“Joy, is there some part of the story you withheld?” Deanna asked, continuing to closely study Joy.
“No, of course not. I’m just worried about what he will try to use for a defense.” Joy said as she avoided Deanna’s stare.
“Joy, you can’t control everything that is going to happen in that courtroom. All you can do is show up and tell the truth. Then you’ve got the leave the rest in the hands of the prosecutor. It’s his job to discredit the defense’s story.”
“I’m worried about Daniel too. He has never heard the entire story of the rape. We have just gotten to a great place in our marriage; I don’t want all that stuff to change how he looks at me.” Joy had a look of desperation on her face.
“You haven’t told Daniel about the rape yet? I’m surprised he hasn’t asked about it.” Deanna said with a not of incredulity in her voice.
“He tried at first, but I always shut him down. I just couldn’t bear the thought of him knowing those details; it is all so embarrassing and humiliating. After a while, he stopped asking. I love him so much; I don’t want him to have to sit in that courtroom and hear me recount the rape in minutiae.” Joy sat back down looking defeated.
“Joy, if things are as great as you say, hearing about your rape is not going to change how Daniel feels about you. You’ve got to have faith that things will turn out okay.” Deanna said as she reached across the table to grasp Joy’s hand in support.
“Thank you Deanna. Thank you for all your words of encouragement, and thank you for just being my friend.” Joy said as her eyes misted over.
“You don’t have to thank me, but you’re welcome. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you need an ear to listen to, or just a shoulder to lean on. That’s what friends are for.” She gave Joy’s had one last squeeze.
Deanna had to leave to get back to work, but left happy with her bounty of leftovers. Joy was thinking about what Deanna had said. It had a lot of merit, and it may have helped if Joy wasn’t sitting on this huge lie that could blow up in so many ways to destroy her life.