A man tried to kill me when I was fifteen. I am proud of the battle scars carved onto my body, due to the countless surgeries since that night. I endured much pain, and countless nightmares. I felt like the trauma had placed an indelible wedge between me and the people I knew. I didn’t crave sympathy, and pitying looks. Empathy was more to my liking. It comes from the soul, and says, ‘I can’t understand exactly where you’ve been, but I can try to put myself in your place, and treat you as I would like to be treated.’ Instead, gossip occurred. The peculiarity of humanity, wherein we glean enjoyment from other’s misfortune. The gossip and their compatriots are aboard a trawler ship, scanning the oceans of despair for a worthy subject. Hobbling into a local café soon after being released from hospital, never had I felt frailer or more exposed. The monster I’d encountered that bitter night was predictable. He was psychopathic and wanted to kill me. I hadn’t anticipated being destroyed all over again by the lady who taught me at Sunday school, the lady who cut my hair as a child, those I’d grown up with, who had nursed me on their lap’s. “I heard she has gone mad,” they whispered from their corner booth. “She’ll never be the same.” “Was he her boyfriend?” These people left me alone for three long years. I escaped into my schoolwork, and pretended that it didn’t hurt that they considered me an enigmatic pariah. I left my home town at eighteen, never to return. I refuse to indulge in gossip. Others should never be fodder, nor used to entertain our circle. If I learn of someone’s pain, I let them know that I empathise. Those folks were right. I wasn’t the same after all I endured. I was more sensitive, empathetic, kind and loving. I was better.