- 5 – Coming to Light
Previously… “I’ve said, ‘No, I didn’t.’ But no one believes me. I had thought Maggie did.” …Kim says, “No one is going to find you guilty. I’m sorry but I guess I just wanted it to be you. Did you remember when you said, ‘We both sought to do something good and got punished for it.’ That was when I thought your voice didn’t match the rapists. Can you ever forgive me?”
Cynthia, not sure what to believe, turns to Maggie to see if it’s true what she’s hearing. Maggie steps forward to catch Cynthia before she faints. She helps Cynthia to the floor without hurting herself. Cynthia’s eyes blink open, looking up trying to ask, “Is it really over?” …Maggie says, “Hopefully real soon.” Kim helps to put Cyndi’s skirt down. Cynthia reaches to hug Kim. They both cry, until security wants to assure themselves that there is not problems.
Sage and Mrs. Brock, her mom, now see Cynthia getting up from the floor and that Maggie and Kimberly are with her. They soon realize something good has transpired. Before Maggie could explain, they were called back into the court room.
Every one stood up when Judge Healy came in to take the bench and hammered court to order. The Judge then asked the different parties to rise. That meant Maggie Rush and Cynthia, as well as the Prosecutor and those with him. Judge Healy said, “Speak up now anyone! Hearing no one, I hereby declare that the charges against Chad Brock are not sustained by the evidence to warrant this case to continue…”
A voice from the back of the court room, “Your Honor, I might be in contempt, but I feel compelled to speak up.”
Judge Healy says, “I am delaying a decision on your being held in contempt. Identify yourself and you better have a powerfully good reason for interrupting me.”
She says, “I am Kim Hopkins, the rape victim and I want to speak for the defense your Honor.”
Judge Healy asks her, “Please come forward to speak and be sworn in.”
The Prosecutor says, “If you allow her to speak I will need to be able to ask her questions as well.” The Judge told both tables to be seated.
Having been sworn to tell the truth, she says, “I did not sign the Medical Examiners statement because I didn’t think it was very accurate; it was slanted unduly against Cynthia and for its own. I had told the Prosecutor I Chad’s voice was similar but not the same as the one rapist who spoke to me. With counseling I’ve remembered more, and Chad’s voice is familiar to the other voice that I heard that told me, “I was safe.” I would like to have the peace of having the rapists being caught. But I no longer believe Cynthia was one of them. I’m now afraid he was a Good Samaritan who ¬¬¬¬suffered from injustice.
She said, “Your statement sounded like it would stop short of finding Chad innocent. But that does not remove any and all clouds of suspicion that I think is needed. I’m from a small town and I think it will be hard for Cynthia to be able to go home.”
Judge Healy says, “Prosecutor, I don’t think you’ll want to ask her any questions. She should have been your best witness.” He paused long enough for the Prosecutor to respond.
The Judge says, “I thank you Kimberly for speaking up. The Court like you and your friends cannot go back and to undo all that has happened to you or Cynthia. I ask people to remain seated as I go out long enough to reword my decision.”
It wasn’t thirty minutes when the court rose for the judge to come back in. “I now declare that Chad, now presenting as Cynthia Brock, is exonerated of all charges against him. I declare Cynthia will be free to get on with her life.
“Mr. Prosecutor, I will send a letter to the legal board for lawyers that they should examine the credentials and behavior of the Assistant Attorney for Manhattan and to those who oversee the work of Medical Examiner. His part in relation to this case and if it is representative of his overall work for the city. Ms. Maggie Rush, I will not commend you for your good work in this case as it is what’s expected of a Public Defender. I now declare this trial to be finished.”
No sooner could Cynthia turn to hug her Lawyer Maggie Rush and her mother and sister were there embracing the two of them. The court room was emptying out when Cyndi looked for Kimberly as she was leaving. But Kimberly was standing in the aisle while others exited. Cynthia caught her eye and waved her to come. Cynthia was near tears again, as she hugged and thanked Kim for speaking up.
Ma Brock hugs Kim saying, “Thanks, you gave her the best chance to go on with her life with a sense of normalcy. I am not sure how to help Cynthia in becoming a woman at the age of twenty.”
Kim says, “Do you really think she might try to stay around here to make her initial adjustments?”
Hearing several discussions, Maggie says, “I suggest you allow Cynthia and me to go sign some needed paperwork and get anything of hers here. Then maybe everyone should go get something to eat together.”
Kim looks back to three of her friends; Cynthia says, “I think it might be time for all of us to be together.”
Cyndi knew that Maggie had used the past month to identify many of those responsible for Chad’s changes. Maggie had conveyed a settlement was needed but a lawsuit and trials were not desired. The other women coming to eat was seen as a desire from them to offer an olive branch.
There were nine gathered around several joining tables. Interesting enough, Cynthia is seen taking part in the talking but also puzzled. It took her sister Sage speaking up, “Sis, what’s up you’re in the table talk, but strangely distant.”
Cyndi asks, “How many of us women are around the table?”
Sage and others know the number easily, nine. Cynthia says, “One of us isn’t quite what she appears to be. We’ve been talking about the trial, guys and fashion. And all of you use terms and slang that are not second nature to me.” She goes on, “My thinking and feelings are beginning to change. And most of you get uneasy when I talk about how I feel, you find other things to do.”
Mom says, “Honey, you need to give yourself time. It will take time but it will happen.”
Maggie says, “I have an open apartment, it is part of my house. But I can provide whatever privacy you might desire. You could stay there a few months to decide what to do and discover the new you. I wouldn’t suggest drastic changes nor making long term decisions quite yet, maybe for a year or so.”
Cynthia says, “I can’t afford to live here and I’m scared of going home.” Cynthia looks both to her Mom and Maggie. “We’ve already talked to each other sweetie. What’s she’s offering you is affordable and you’d have more resources here to make the adjustment. You have the trauma of the change and the support for your new life to consider.”
Kim asks, “Do you have any restless nights, nightmares or panic attacks?”
Cynthia says, “How is it that I think you already know?”
“You’re right, I know but it’s not because someone else told me. Even the good that comes with a bunch of other women around, can bring on a panic attack. You had one when you heard some good news and fainted at the courthouse.”
Kim says, “I had them the first times I thought of being your friend. We connected when your doctor brought you to visit me. It wasn’t like the Medical Examiner thought. If you were like me, you found the attraction odd.”
“How did you know about me though,” Cyndi asked?
Kim says, “You should have been scared as hell to be around me after that. You still cared, even though there was discomfort. Maybe you can walk away, but I think we connected when you hovered over me in the park.”
Cynthia gets out of her chair and walks around to Kim who stands to meet her. They embrace, Cynthia says, “I’m not use to crying like I do now.”
Kim whispers, “You have someone close to call and talk to if you want.” Cynthia looks to Sage, who has become Cyndi’s confidant.
No one has finished their meal but small fudge or strawberry sundaes are being passed around. Myrt another woman asks as they eat their desserts. Cyndi do you have feeling growing in your body as a girl… Um.”
Cynthia says, “Yes, my endocrinologist says you or someone did a marvelous job with my surgery. But how so is not your business. You left me there. You could have said more.”
Myrt says, “Sorry but back then I was terribly angry at you for raping Kim. Now I’m thankful, I did a good job. You can tell others and stop me from becoming a surgeon.”
Cyndi feels angry that they tempt her with revenge. Part of her would like to hold them accountable, and be punished. But there’s more to that which makes her sick to her stomach. “I need to live with myself. Somehow I need to move on and get passed this.”
The Brocks had enough time to look at Maggie’s apartment and get back to the hotel. The apartment has a bedroom, kitchen area, bathroom with shower and a living area. It’s partially furnished with a nice futon another cushioned chair, TV and kitchen table and chairs.
Cyndi was sure she wanted to say yes, but waited to get back to the hotel.
Maggie explained to them, “There is at least $205,000 so far if you settle without a trial. The insurance company for one has been holding out. The people involved in peaceful settlements just told them a lawsuit would be for $500,000. When all is said and down you will probably receive over $300,000. You won’t get rich, but you’ll be financially stable as you transition.”
Once back to the hotel, the Brock’s were exhausted but too wound up sleep. There was a message when they got back. Cynthia’s package was in, which meant her breast forms were ready. Cynthia was restless about the apartment or somewhere else to stay. She texts Maggie, “Thanks, can I move into the apartment by Sunday?” Maggie called saying, “Yes.”
Sage asked her mother to embarrass Cynthia, “Mother what gives, no one told me Cynthia has a sweet spot.” She turns to Cynthia, “Is it sensitive to even light caressing touches? …May be I can help you with your therapy yet tonight and in the morning.”
Cynthia replies, “You’re much too willing.” After the lights are out Sage and Cynthia talk. Sage asks, “After I have a boy with me, can you and I talk? I heard you say the idea of having a guy in you grosses you out. But you know it’s just a matter of time, with female hormones it is a matter of you wanting to be intimate with someone.”
Come morning Mom and Sage wanted to go sightseeing, but Cynthia was still too tired and stayed at the hotel. It was eleven when Cynthia received a call to go down to the lobby. A police woman had come to give Cyndi her new identification. She said, “We used Maggie Rush’s address, will that be okay with you?”
I told her, “Sargent Cortney that will be correct at least for the summer. I’ll be living in an apartment there.”
She told Cyndi, “I was asked by Kimberly Hopkins to give you her contact information if that is acceptable to you.”
When Cyndi said, “Yes.” Sargent Cortney Dowell introduced herself, “I’m Kimberly’s Cousin. I want to thank you for being so gracious in your response to what happened to you. My family lives out on the Island near Bethpage. Later this summer if you are comfortable with going to the beach, please know we’ll be inviting you to be out there with us. The extended family is contributing an additional $250,000 help you get on with your life. If you would decide to settle around here it is very costly.”
“You might want to be left on your own, but Kimberly is waiting for a call if you want to go shopping already.”
Cyndi asks, “Can you sit down for a moment. I wouldn’t mind going to the beach, but I don’t know any of you. I don’t have any neighbors, people I work with or another natural way other than a happy hour to get to know people.”
“Well our family usually gets together Fridays for a barbecue or an Italian night. I could come this week and take you and introduce you to the family. It’s not much but it would be a start. And it would give you another view of the five boroughs of the City.
Cyndi says, “That would be good as my mother and sister are leaving to go back to Indiana. I’d probably be feeling sorry for myself.”
Cortney says, “Friday it is then I can be here by 4:00 p.m.”
“I’ll be at my apartment as I’ll be moving it tomorrow. Do you know where that is?”
Cortney, “Yes, Maggie has trusted me with that information for the funds we will be getting to you. Have you received enough of the settlement that you’re free to get what you need?”
“It depends on what I do. Just for the apartment yes, but for counselling or if I decide to transfer to Fordham, I’m not sure? It’s like I’m a different person now and I’m not certain what I’d like to do.”
Cortney left and Mom and Sage are back and we go to eat, buying deli sandwiches and drink and finding a nice place to sit in Central Park. I giggle as I’m already use to nibbling on a sandwich instead of chomping down on it and soon being done. Sage shows things they purchased for the apartment, saying it would be delivered tomorrow.
Sage asks again, “Are you sure you don’t want me to stay with you a week or two?” It’s not a bad idea, but she’s young enough that our interests are different.
“I think it is time for me to spread my wings and fly solo. It was what I like about college and being on my own.”
To be continued...
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