I just happened to glance at my phone as the text flashed across my screen.
"NEVER let anyone walk to their car alone. Sarah* was almost grabbed last night by a man in a ski mask. She got away but he exposed himself to her."
I sputtered. The girl on the other side of the Zoom call was waiting for me to speak, but whatever we had been discussing faded away like fog being burned by the sun.
After the call was finished, I re-read the text. My heart dropped. My hands felt clammy. I started to shake.
I called my best friend, the person we'd been celebrating. I sent her the screenshot.
I got off the phone and texted my mom back. Her only response: "That's how people end up dead."
My eyes brimmed with tears. Only a few months earlier, I'd told my mom how her best friend's son, my ex-boyfriend, sexually assaulted me numerous times.
She had dismissed me. "I don't want to know."
I wanted her to know. I wanted desperately to be heard.
Instead, I developed PTSD that haunts me to this day . . . especially when I learn about situations my friends are in.
Sarah, over the next few months you may think that no one knows.
It's not true.
We do. We know the pain and loss and sorrow, and we grieve with you. I grieve with you. Jesus weeps for you, Sarah. And He knows. He said, "Behold, I suffereth the pains of all men."
I don't know what words to use . . . but I know.
*Name changed for anonymity