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Not me, her

In 1987, I found myself trying to write about a high school girlfriend that had been molested by her father when she was a child. I was 19 years old, struggling to find my way through a screenwriting assignment about delivering character. The idea was to describe messy young love between two Sid and Nancy want-to-be's. But that failed, as I could not stomach oversimplifying her complicated past, events that shaped her life as a 16 year old with a mohawk, a smart mouth, a lingering stare. I understood that I had to start at the very beginning.

No one wanted to hear the story. When it was my turn to read in class, it even came to be that some of the other students asked to stand in the hallway before they heard another description of what happened in that lonely little house in the middle of nowhere. I was trying, and failing, and trying again to get things right, to explain how this happened, how it could happen to this girl, how this man found his way to acts of selfishness and d…

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The door to a shed yawns open, empty inside. It stays this way when it rains, when the sky is crammed with clouds. I check every time I pass it. There were some plastic bins in the grass that someone took, tossed aside like a child's toys. A man hole cover rests, a crescent shadow on one side that leads down beneath the street, maybe to wires, maybe to pipes or maybe to nothing.

A pile of bricks stand, a makeshift babel, a marker. Is a family pet buried here? Is this just a balancing act? I take pictures of it once, and then again. The weeds are growing tall here. It is a minor miracle, that no one has knocked it down. Not even the fresh hurricane that swept through the city last week could topple it. Black clouds swirling above buildings like a comic book's last act, rain smacking against windows, streets flooding and these bricks remain.

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