Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Heroes (Without Capes or Masks)

Yesterday I got a phone call from an out of state number. It was around dinner time and I wasn't inclined to answer a number I didn't know.

Today, I decided to call that number back. Afterall, it seemed to be the polite thing to do. And the area code was for the same part of New England as my college (and work and physical therapy place etc.) so who knows? The call may have been important.

Of all the voices I expected to hear on the other end of the phone, this was not the one. Low and strong with a vague massachusetts accent. It was a man's voice and familiar but not quite placable. Until he said his name - Officer Mark* from the Police Department.

And then I knew his voice. It was one of two voices that had questioned me the day after my assault: calms, soothing, but formal and insistent. I had stayed so calm under the hours of questions and follow up questions and scribbled notes, until finally I looked at the time. Discovering I was late for rehearsal was more than I could stand (mess with my body, my mind, my heart, my time if you must. But Do. Not. Violate. My. Art.) and suddenly tears hot and fast came pouring down my cheeks. That voice had quietly asked for tissues, and spoke gentle kindnesses as I sobbed, broken and frightened and somehow guilty, shaken and alone and exhausted past my very bones into my soul.

And here was the voice again. My throat swelled close around my heart where it had leapt from my chest. Calmly I stated my name while my mind went so blank it buzzed. Had there been a DNA match? Had my assailant been found? Was there any news? Was I maybe going to court?

No. The reason for the call did not wing with justice: rather, it sighed with compassion. Officer Mark had simply called to check on me. It was not formal, no police business at all - aside from wanting me to know that to him and the other officer who questioned me that day, I was "not a file," but a "person still," very much in their minds. That they wanted to be sure I was ok: mending. Safe. That I knew there were people out there still trying to catch the bad guy . . .

I felt the knot in my stomach loosen and for the second time listening to that voice, tears filled my eyes. This time they were gentler, sweeter, tasting less of salt and pain and more of sheer emotion. I assured the officer I was doing well and that I understood why I had to go through so many interviews and such exhausting questioning. I promised him my prayers and assured him of my gratitude and when I hung up the phone - only a few minutes had past, though it seemed like years - inlet those years fall.

There are heroes in the world, and they aren't all dark haired strong jawed blue eyed patriots in tights, or angsty teens with strange powers. There are some who are men just shy of middle age, in crisp blue uniforms with voices that will press themselves into your heart.

May God bless them.

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