The next morning Suzy helped Nala get out of bed and into the shower, scrubbing herself as she tried to get clean. No matter how much soap she used or how much she scrubbed, Nala just could not wash the dirty feeling off herself. After the long, hot shower she slowly stepped out and Suzy held open the towel for her, wrapped her up in it and took her back into the bedroom. Suzy picked up the clothes Nala had been wearing the previous night and put them in the bin, she knew her friend would never want to wear them or even look at them again. Once she’d done that she picked out a nice warm and concealing outfit from Nala’s cupboard and offered the clothes to her friend who had finished drying herself off. Nala gratefully accepted the clothes and started getting dressed. The two friends had always been very open with each other and had no problem being nude in front of each other.
“Thank you for being so good about this, Suzy. I appreciate it.” Nala finally said. Her voice was croaky and shaky but Suzy didn’t focus on that, she just gave her friend a tight lipped smile and went to get changed into some fresh clothes herself. Nala watched her friend change and noticed a slight shake of her hand as she picked out the outfit.
“Suze, you know you can talk to me, right?” she asked quietly, and Suzy just nodded. “Okay, well uhm, can you not tell anyone about this, please?” she asked, concerned her friend of over 8 years would tell everyone. Suzy looked over at her and raised an eyebrow, Nala knew the look well.
“Okay, that was a stupid question, I know you wouldn’t do that.” With that Suzy turned back and continued getting changed. Once she was done the two girls wearily opened the door of the room and peeked down the hallway, seeing it was clear Nala stalked silently to her parents room and looked in, her Father was snoring away. She shut the door and walked downstairs with her best friend to grab themselves some breakfast.
“Hey Suzy.. Do you think I could stay at your house a few days?” Nala asked as she poured herself some cereal. Suzy nodded as she took the plate from her and poured some milk in, handing it back. “Cool, I don’t really want to stay here while Mum’s away.” She said, and Suzy completely understood.
Once they’d finished breakfast they walked quietly back upstairs and packed their bags, they would walk back to Suzy’s house. It was really early but they wanted to get out of the house, besides, it was only a few streets away. Nala packed for a week and Suzy just stuffed everything messily back into her backpack then they ran quickly down the stairs. Nala wrote a note to her Father and they left. On the way to Suzy’s Nala stopped and grabbed her friends arm.
“Hey, Suze, say something, please? Talk to me?” she asked nervously, she had just realized Suzy hadn’t said anything since last night. Suzy looked her in the eye, opened her mouth as if she was about to say something, but no noise came out. She shut her mouth again and shook her head. Nala sighed and gave her a hug. “It will be okay, I swear, it won’t happen again and everything will get better.” She promised her friend, Suzy nodded and started walking again, leaving Nala no choice but to follow.
Once they reached Suzy’s house it was about 9:30am and the door was locked, so Suzy just pulled out her spare key and let them both in, not bothering to lock the door behind them. Walking into the kitchen all her family was sitting around doing their morning thing. Her Mother locked up and smiled.
“Hey Suzy! How was your night? Hey Nala, are you staying?” she asked with a look of surprise on her freckled face.
“Ah, yea, if that’s okay with you? I just want to stay until my Mum gets home, Dad’s drinking again.” She said and saw Suzy cringe from the corner of her eye. Mrs. Golde, Suzy’s Mum frowned and nodded.
“Of course you can stay Nala, our home is your home. I really wish your Father would stop drinking.” She said and gave both girls a hug. “Well, if you two want to go put your stuff upstairs I will make you some pancakes.” She offered, not noticing Suzy hadn’t actually said a word. Nala smiled and thanked her and took Suzy’s hand as they ran down to her room. When she opened the door she chucked her bag on the bed that was brought into the room especially for her and shut the door behind them.
“Suzy, seriously, you have to say something or your parents will become suspicious!” Nala scolded her best friend. Suzy just plonked herself down on her bed and started unpacking her stuff and threw the dirty clothes into her wash basket. “Suzy! Say something!” Nala said, standing up and shaking her friend by the shoulders. Suzy just reached up and pushed Nala back, looking at her with sad, scared eyes and Nala realized it wasn’t that she wouldn’t say anything, it was that she couldn’t. “Oh, God. You actually can’t talk can you? At all?” she whispered, pulling Suzy into her arms. “I am so, so sorry you saw what happened, I am sorry it even happened! But you can’t let it affect you, I’m okay I swear.” She said and let go, sitting down on her bed. Suzy just shook her head and stood up, walking over to the door.
“Wait, what will I say to your parents?” Nala asked her. Suzy looked around and found a half empty notepad and scribbled something on it then handed it to Nala.
Tell them I’ve got a bad throat?
Nala handed her back the notepad and shook her head. “That won’t do, you would still be able to talk, it’d just be croaky.” She lay back and thought for a bit, but couldn’t come up with anything. She bumped her head on the wall when the notepad landed on her stomach, giving her a scare. She glared at Suzy. “Don’t do that!” she sneered, rubbing her head where she’d hit it. She picked up the notepad and read the next idea.
Tell them we have made a challenge and I’m trying not to talk for a whole week.
Nala gave the notepad back and nodded. “That would work. Do you think you’ll be talking again by next week then?” she asked, Suzy just shrugged and opened the door, letting the smell of pancakes and syrup drift in, drawing them both out to the kitchen to eat.
“Hey girls, I was just about to call you! Breakfast is ready.” Mrs. Golde said, setting plates stacked with hot, steaming pancakes in front of both the girls, and poured a generous amount of syrup over the stacks.
“Thanks so much, Mum!” Nala said and dug in. She was over at the Golde’s so often she just called them Mum and Dad when she couldn’t be bothered being formal. Mrs. Golde smiled at her and looked at Suzy.
“What do you say, Suzy?” she asked, as her daughter took her first bite. Nala quickly swallowed what she’d just barely chewed and spoke up.
“Oh uh, we have a challenge going on at the moment Mum, I told Suzy if she didn’t talk for a week I’d buy her a dress for the end of year formal.” She said and grinned. “I don’t think she can do it.” Mrs. Golde laughed and nodded.
“I think you’re right Nala, my girl can’t keep her mouth shut for more than ten minutes, a week will be torture for her.” Nala gave her a tight lipped smile and glanced over at Suzy. She was quickly realizing how big a problem this was. Once the two finished breakfast they cleaned up and went back to their room. Nala instantly jumped on her bed and got out Margret and her special pen. She began writing.
Last night my Father was really drunk, more so than usual, and while Suzy was in the toilet he came into my room and raped me. It was my first time, and it really hurt, but I was brave. I feel really embarrassed and ashamed that it happened in front of my friend though; it was such a shitty thing for him to do. I am coping with it okay, I’m still pretty sore but I managed to get out of the house and I am staying at Suzy’s for a while. She’s not coping with it so well though, she seems really messed up by it, she has stopped talking altogether, I had to tell her Mum that we have a challenge that she won’t speak for an entire week! I just hope she manages to pull herself together and talk again soon, because she never shuts up and her Mum is already a little worried. Why did this have to happen to me??
Suzy watched her friend write to Margret. She used to be confused as to why she called her diary Margret and why she said she wrote to her rather than in her, but it all made sense when Nala actually explained it all those years ago. She has a different name for each diary she owns, which she writes in the front inside cover in tiny letters in the top left corner. They were normally old people names as she felt like she was actually writing to someone who would listen and not judge, someone who would understand and try and help. Suzy liked the idea but she never was one for keeping a journal, however she could easily name all the diaries Nala had owned over the past five years. She was pulled from her thoughts when Nala spoke to her.
“Okay, how can we get you to talk again? We both know you need to, your Mum is already worried.” She said, moving over to sit next to Suzy. Suzy just shrugged and kept her eyes fixed on the floor. “Oh come on, you need to help me to help you, okay? Really, Suzy, you weren’t the one who was used last night, if anything I should be the silent one, but I’m coping which means you can too.” Suzy looked up into her friends’ eyes and saw the sadness, betrayal and pain behind them, she knew it was only a matter of time before Nala broke down herself, but there was nothing she could say. Partly because she couldn’t talk, but mostly because she didn’t know what to say, seeing as she’d never been through it herself she really didn’t know how to help. Nala handed her the notepad.
“You can write to me, say whatever you’re thinking, whatever you would say if you could talk.” She said. Suzy looked down at the notepad and scribbled something in it then handed it back to Nala.
You need to tell someone.
Nala shook her head, adamant that nobody would find out about this. “You know as well as I do that I can’t do that, Suze.” She said, passing the notebook back to her. Suzy sighed and shut it, clipping her pen over the thin paper back of it. “Oh Suzy.. We need to get you talking again, this is not okay, this isn’t you at all.” Nala sighed and lay back, starring at the ceiling, hoping it would give her inspiration on how to help her friend.