Heart of the Jaguar”




Without a word she dropped to the ground.

Stunned, Trish tries to open her eyes. Her vision spins in a whirlpool of bright light. She sees the swirling of red, yellow and blue-green leaves but is blinded to anything else.  Blood trickles down around her cheek and into the valley of her neck as she lay in the mushy, cold mud along the path of a Central Park jogging trail. Her hand touches the side of her face and she winces. Her jaw is broken.  The pain intensifies as she slips, again, into unconsciousness.

The day began with such beauty as the sun rose in Central Park. An inveterate jogger, Trish knew she had no time that morning. She would look forward to her jaunt later that evening as a welcome relief from the stress of her job at the investment firm.

Momentarily, the fog clears but she cannot believe her vision. It appears she is again in her beloved Zimbabwe and remembers her student days at the Embassy. A jaguar is climbing a tree nearby. Could this be? Why does he seem frozen in position? Nothing seems real anymore. And everything appears halted, jammed like the progress of a movie film as it sticks in its path through the sprockets.  She tries to move but her body is paralyzed as in a dream.

Perhaps, this is  a dream, she thought, as she slips into coma.

The medics reach her 4 and a half hours later. Brutally raped, beaten and left for dead, she suffers a fractured skull and facial fractures and loses three-fourths of her blood. The doctors at Metropolitan Hospital expect her to die. They later attribute her survival to the cold weather and the cold mud in which she lay for hours which reduced the internal swelling.

“I was bruised on every part of my body but the soles of my feet. Why did I survive? I’m not sure. I think healing is as much a function of the heart as it is of medicine”, she said.

(This short based on a true story. Trisha Meili later wrote a book about the rape and her survival: “I Am the Central Park Jogger: A Story of Hope and Possibility”.)


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4 Comments on “Heart of the Jaguar””

  1. jannatwrites
    April 3, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    Surviving something like that would lead one to wonder ‘why?’ I’m glad the tragic story had a better ending!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jacquelinecaseypoetry
      April 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

      Actually the complicated court proceedings that went on for years would test even the most courageous victim. First, there were 5 teenage boys who wandered Central Park at night to experience something they called a “wilding”. Then, there was a later inmate confession from a more mature man; something totally unrelated to the first group of offenders tried!


  2. Suzanne
    April 3, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    Wow. This is so intense. A great tribute to a woman who survived a nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jstansfeld
    April 3, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    Thank you for bringing this heart wrenching true story to us. Jane

    Liked by 1 person

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Hannah Spuler

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