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A Time To Speak

A time to weep. . .

Ecclesiastes 3:4a


Chapter Twenty-Three

Win

I did go to work that next day, but I was so upset by what had happened that I called out sick at noon. I couldn't concentrate on teaching any more. I was sleep deprived from trying to reach Reg and Katrina the night before, my head was hurting, and my stomach was so knotted with anxiety that I couldn't eat. When I drove home I went right past my exit the first time and had to turn around a mile and a half later.

Katrina still didn't answer the phone, which I thought was strange, since she didn't work. Her anxiety had put her on disability years ago. I had never had a problem reaching her before, but she wasn't answering the phone now. I called Regina instead, and I was relieved when she answered immediately.

"Hi Win, what's up?" Reg's voice was short, distracted.

"About that post on Overcomers . . ." I began, and then hesitated, not sure what to say next.

"Yes, it was a good post, wasn't it? It's getting a lot of attention."

"Well, that's what I wanted to talk about . . ." I hesitated again.

"Go ahead, Win."

"I didn't know you were planning on publishing what I sent to you about Alecia."

"Oh? Katrina said you knew it was coming."

"No, I didn't, and it's just. . . I really wish you hadn't published it on Overcomers." For a moment Reg said nothing, and suddenly the conversation felt tense. I had never experienced that with Regina before. When she spoke, her voice was cool.

"I'm sorry, Win," she said, smoothly. "I wouldn't have done it if I had known, but Katrina seemed so certain of herself. It's not going to cause any problems, is it?" Her words were a question, but her tone made it seem more like a command.

"No. Yes. I mean no, not if I can fix it. Could you please take it down?"

"Take it down?" Reg repeated, as if she'd never heard of such a thing.

"Yes, take it down, please. Alecia is a friend of mine, we knew each other back in school, and I don't think those posts really show her in a good light." What a stupid thing to say. Of course they didn't show Alecia in a good light; that was why Katrina and Reg had posted it all. "I mean, she's a lot more than just what's in those posts. She really has a lot of empathy for people, and like I said, I think she really does believe Katrina. She's just taking awhile to absorb everything she's hearing, you know?"

"But she did say those things about Katrina, didn't she? They're accurate quotes?"

"They're accurate, as far as they go, it's just that they don't show all the other things she's said, things where she has felt really bad about things the school has done sometimes."

"We can't take it down," Reg said, her tone still icy. "If we do, it'll look like we made it up or something. People will think you faked it."

"But they don't even know it's from me! You blocked out my name. Only you, Katrina, Alecia and John know that it's me in those conversations with her."

A pause. "Well, these things do have a way of getting out, you know."

That should have meant something, but at the time, it didn't register with me. "Look, I don't want to do anything to hurt what we're fighting for here, but I also don't think it was really fair to Alecia to put those quotes of hers up without warning her, not giving her a chance to respond first."

"We can fix that," said Reg, sounding warmer, and suddenly the conversation became more relaxed. "I completely understand why you might be upset about those conversations being made public, and I can definitely fix it for you. We can't take the posts down, and it wouldn't work now anyway, since I'm sure somebody has already screenshot it all. But we can give Alecia the chance to give her side of the story."

"What do you mean?"

"I'll send her a message explaining what happened. I'll tell her that it was an innocent mistake, that you didn't want us to put those statements on our page but we didn't realize it, and that we want to be fair and ask her to comment there. Then I'll tag her in a thread on Overcomers so she can know where to come and explain what she meant, and she'll have a chance to have everyone hear her side of the story. Would that be okay with you?"

It wasn't great, but it would do. "OK, thanks. I appreciate it."

"Great, I'll l send her a message right now. I'll let you know when she responds."


Alecia

I never got a message from Regina, and there was a good reason for it. She blocked me, remember?

I didn't even think about it at the time, but the day after she blocked me, she and Katrina had both posted things about me on Overcomers. I had seen all of that. How could she make that visible, when I was blocked from her profile?

It took us awhile to figure it out, but eventually, by comparing what John and I could see, we realized that Regina had two Facebook accounts under her name. They both had the same profile picture. One account she used only for being an administrator on the Overcomers page, and the other one she used, as far as I could tell, whenever she wanted to be sneaky about something. So she had posted things about me on Overcomers as an administrator, where I could see them, but under her other profile, the one I couldn't see, she started a thread that said she wanted to hear my side of the story.

It made little difference. John read her challenge and passed it on to me, but I had to let it go. The school wouldn't allow me to respond or engage in any way, which Regina already knew, because she herself had posted the notes from the faculty staff meeting where Dr. Seth announced that rule. I realized where this was going. She was calling me out on a thread that I couldn't see, demanding that I respond when she knew that I couldn't, and would then criticize me on that same page for not answering her. And of course she was bound to criticize anything that I did answer. There was no way for me to win this.

I was right. Within a day, on that same thread, Katrina, Bonita, Stan, Neville, and Peter had all posted messages.

Katrina

It's been six hours and still Alecia doesn't want to answer us here.


Peter

She's a coward, just like everyone else at FU.


Neville

Oh dear. Let's all try to be compassionate, and give her a little more time. There might be a good reason she hasn't answered yet. But if she doesn't answer at all, then she IS a coward. I will be terribly disappointed. I thought all along that she was a good person, but maybe not.


Stan

Neville, you are so full of it. Alecia's nothing but shit.


Bonita

Alecia's never going to answer because she's more invested in protecting her employer, FCU, than she is in protecting abuse victims. She is an evil tool of Satan, and I repudiate her and everything she stands for!


Regina made a point of liking every comment on that thread. I know she did, because John took a screen shot of all of it. I was thankful that Win, at least, stayed out of it.

John wanted to get on that thread and blast everyone on it, but I wouldn't let him. It was better to just ignore it and let it die away on its own. If John started posting on there, saying half the things he was saying to me in private, it would just start a flame war. Besides, I told him, Christians don't believe in getting revenge.


John

Christians may not believe in revenge, but I'm not a Christian, remember?

What these idiots were doing to people around them, what they were willing to do to anyone, anywhere, was wrong. Wrong. And I decided I'd be damned if I let them get away with it any more, especially to any friends of mine. And God help them if they ever came after me.

I played around in my head, thinking of ways to get even, and maybe even get them to totally stop. Most of what I was thinking I couldn't repeat to Alecia.

I thought about asking Alecia to look up Regina and Katrina in ED and see what she could find out about them. People who like to destroy other people for the fun of it tend to have a lot of skeletons in their closet, and I was willing to bet that if Alecia looked hard enough, she'd find more than enough for me to bury them both.

I thought about it, but I didn't do it. There was no way Alecia would never go along with what I had in mind. She believed in turning the other cheek and going the second mile for your enemy and all that other crap. Digging around for dirt on her enemies wasn't her thing. She wouldn't do a thing to defend herself, partly because of the school's instructions, and partly because it was her own personality. She was too damn nice.

But I knew her weak spot—she was willing to protect other people. She had shown that when she was being attacked on Overcomers and I had told her to defriend everyone and change her security settings. She hadn't followed my instructions because she was worried about protecting herself. She had done it to protect other people, the people she knew for sure were her friends, including me.

Sooner or later, Regina and Katrina and all the others would turn on someone Alecia cared about. It might be one of her coworkers at FCU, or maybe somebody else from Victors, but it would happen. It would happen someday soon. All I had to do was sit back and wait.