Section I

There he is in the kitchen, the man Oren pressing your most beautiful daughter against the counter. You can see her face reflected in the window, a mixture of you and your true love, and what breaks your heart the most is how much you miss that man, her father, who would never hurt her like this, would never hurt you like this, and you wish so deeply that things had been different, so you wouldn’t be here now, in this moment, watching your beautiful daughter suffer something she doesn’t want.

Let me correct myself: what hurts the most in this moment is that you’re thinking of someone other than your daughter.

Her eyes are closed in fear, and if she opened them—just once, just a flutter—she would see you and there would be no turning back. (Does this frighten you? Do you feel you’re off the hook?) But this isn’t her story, and we can’t make her open her eyes, and as much as you want to shout something, smack this man Oren across the head, you are still so afraid of losing him. Remember when you were sixteen and your first boyfriend asked if you were ready? You weren’t, but you said you were. Maybe things would be different if we returned to that day and said no (go to section J). Maybe then you could be brave.

Go to section O.