You wouldn't know it by a simple glance, because bleeding isn't exclusively physical.
I remember her slight frame, her delightful, if rare, smile. As she peered at me from behind large glasses, I could feel her measuring me, looking through me.
I remember brushing against her accidentally, later on, and I also remember seeing rigidity seize her body. The simplest brush triggering a defense mechanism, deep within.
I knew then, that something had happened. I didn't know what, but something had transformed this beautiful girl. A secret in the past. A haunting presence to this day.
I have the privilege to know the girl who bled.
She's smart, witty, sarcastic. She is passionate about things, if not people. She collects. She creates, and she's quite good at it.
It's hard sometimes. I desperately want to show her that I mean her no harm. That we, men, aren't all like the ones that have shaped her perceptions in the past. I want to slip past the armored, spikey exterior. I want her to know she's loved, and valued for the person she is, and gifts she has. Gifts that can be used to make the world a more colorful, hopeful place.
But broken trust takes days, months, years, even decades to build.
Physical wounds heal, but emotional wounds continue to bleed. Our souls have the endless capacity for joy, but they can also harbor sorrow deeper than oceans. We can actually find ourselves trapped, within ourselves, until a savior can pull us back to the surface. If not properly attended, these wounds, though they seem to have stopped, can become a safe haven for infection.
Healing requires love and trust.
Love begins a day at a time, and that's what I've resolved to do.
Perhaps, someday, the girl who bled will become the girl who healed.
But more importantly, perhaps, is that the girl who healed can also become the girl who lived, and lived like no other... in freedom.