Once the damage is done, it is done. There is no going back.
This is the biggest fear of many of us South Africans.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, I lived in Cape Town. I had two kindly-soul friends I will call Sweetie Friend and Big Hearted Husband. They had an impetuous little toddler boy, who I will call Mikey, who smelled of grass, rubber balls, pool chemicals and golden retriever. He played toddler games with my robust tomboy toddler, Jenna. He taught her to tackle in rugby, and whack a tiny ball with a plastic golf club. They vocally expressed their love for each other.
One day a "lesbian couple who adopted/ rescued a black street child" moved in next door to them. He had enormous eyes, a big head, and was small for his age. He was watchful and silent, peering through the bars of the 7 foot fence between the properties.
Sweetie Friend tried to draw him out of his shell, and invited him to play. He became less frightened. We moved. Halfway across the globe. Sweetie Friend and Big Hearted Husband were sad. Mikey even more so. He cried. Sweetie Friend encouraged a friendship with Big Eyed Street kid. Mikey cried more. He changed. Something had happened. And then she saw it one day. Big Eyed Kid was sodomizing her son as part of play. This is what he knew.
Everyone changed. Everyone cried. Lesbian parents cried. Halfway across the world, we cried.
One four and half year old from an ordinary suburb, with a dog and a pool, was being treated for AIDS.
Damage had been done, and there is no going back.