They sat at the end of the couch. He was actually on the couch and she sat on his lap facing him. They were making small talk. Goofing around, Exploring each other. Having fun.
He had already found out how ticklish she was. Every now and again he would grab her sides just above her hips and that would make her spasm with laughter. He did so love to hear her giggle. He loved to see her face light up and that beautiful smile cross her face.
One of those times as her body convulsed from the tickling her right foot kicked and went underneath the cushion behind him and found a staple that happened to be sticking out from the frame of the couch. The staple ripped her skin and she yelped in pain.
Not sure exactly what was happening, he rose from the couch and took her with him. He sat her down on the opposite side of the sectional while he sat down on the floor before her. She began to examine her foot and he began to feel horrible about it. He profusely apologized to her repeatedly.
She acknowledged his apology, accepted it, and told him it was okay. She knew it was an accident.
The outside of her foot was quite scraped up. A layer of skin had been haphazardly shaved off, but there was no blood. It was, however, already bruising. He continued to apologize.
She rose from the couch and sat back down in his lap, again facing him. She kissed him, hugged him, and then buried her face in his shoulder. When she pulled away there were tears in her eyes.
“Are you crying?” he asked, still feeling terrible about what had happened.
She explained to him that nobody had apologized to her in a long time. Years. Her last relationship had been an abusive one, she explained, and she would have been blamed for an accident such as the one which had just occurred. It would have been her fault somehow. There would not have been concern for her well-being, nor any apologies.
After she had explained all of this to him she buried her face in his shoulder again, wrapped her arms around him, and continued to weep. In return, he wrapped his arms around her and held her as tightly as he could, unsure what to say.
He felt extreme sadness for her. Sadness that she had been treated so horribly. Sadness that she had been so mistreated that a simple kindness brought her to tears. He could not comprehend it. He could not wrap his mind around it. Why do people treat others thusly? How can humans be so cruel to each other? He can they be so vile as to beat a person down so far that they’re taken aback by an apology for a harmless accident? What is wrong with people?
He just continued to hold her, all the while wishing that he could somehow heal her. Somehow erase all of the torment she had endured. Somehow make it better. But he couldn’t. So he just continued to hold her.