(Names changed so google can’t hurt anyone. If you know the story, you’ll know the story, if you don’t, then you’ll only know my story … which is as it should be.)

I grew up in a town called Craigville. My mom went to the college 45 minutes away and Martinburg.

When I was 8 years old, a Craigville graduate was raped in a Martinburg parking lot. It was brutal, and violent and all the things we are taught to fear.

This is when I learned what rape was.

Her name was Sally Bourne.

I’ve known her name for three decades.

Eventually life brought us to Martinburg to live. I ended up getting to meet her brother Edison who is somewhat of a local character here.

I knew her name. Her brother.

And the worst thing that had ever happened to her.

I hated that I knew that about her. She was violated and her privacy was still shattered 31 years later because I carried this memory … this information. It felt unfair to her that this was something I knew … all I knew.

Last fall I ended up in Craigville on a temporary contract. In her building where she teaches.

I still hated knowing “THE THING” about her, but I’m grateful now that I know what her voice sounds like, how she sings with her 1st graders as she walks them to lunch …

I kept thinking about telling her … but that would be all about me … and selfish … it’s certainly not her job to take away my discomfort about knowing things about her. Why would I trigger her by telling her?

So I write the story here, getting it off my chest at last. Putting it on my turf where it is okay for it to be about me. Hoping that I don’t offend, but also really understanding why it is important to take care of privacy of anyone in her shoes … some 8 year old might have some long memory and always know something about her that she’d rather keep private.