I didn’t tell a soul about what Dex did to me until the day I met that stranger at the clinic.
But I’ll get back to that in a minute.
The day after it happened, I called in sick, cried the entire weekend and then on Monday, I went to work like nothing happened. Sam noticed how quiet I was but I brushed it off on being tired from my running schedule. I blocked that night out of my mind for days, weeks and months. Until I could no longer ignore that my clothes were feeling tighter, no matter how much running and careful eating I was doing.
Dex had finally done what he had tried to do months before when I realized he had hidden my birth control pills – what he wanted was to keep me tied to him forever knowing my stance on abortion. You know, I never thought I would find myself in that position but there I was between a rock and a hard place.
Call me a hypocrite but I didn’t even blink an eye when I made an appointment at a clinic across town. I was so anxious that I didn’t sleep the entire night and showed up hours early for my scheduled time. I just needed it done and over with. As I sat and waited to be called, I was nervous as hell. The slightest of noises had me jumping out of my seat.
“It’s going to be fine,” a voice came from a few seats down. The woman speaking to me had long dark hair, the most gorgeous features I had ever seen and her crossed legs seemed to go on for miles. “Where is your person?”
“Uh, my person?”
“Yeah, they won’t let you leave here unless you have someone to drive you home.”
Having decided to keep things quiet, I hadn’t thought it would be a strict rule.
“Oh, I can drive myself home.”
The woman cocked her head to the side and shook it. “They won’t let you. I’m here to drive a friend home for that very reason.” She gave me a thoughtful look before she turned her full attention to her friend who appeared back in the waiting room. She took her by the arm and they disappeared through the exit.
I’m not going to get into the details of what went on when the nurse finally called on me an hour later. I did what I had to do and when the nurse asked me who was driving me home, I lied and said that I had a friend in the waiting room. Back in the waiting room, I sat and gathered my thoughts. My options were limited – either I would have to take a taxi (which I preferred not doing with my grogginess) or I would have to call Sam (which would require spilling the beans about everything).
That is, until I looked up and saw that dark haired woman floating through the doors towards me.
“I kept picturing you sitting here alone so I came back to offer you a ride. Don’t worry, I’m not an axe murderer or anything like that.” She was quiet for a moment and when she asked my name and exactly where I lived across town, I told her.
“Wait, how did you know I lived across town?”
“It was a good guess.” When she extended her hand, I got up from my seat “I’m Gabriella but you can call me Gaby. Let’s jet.”
I was dead silent thinking about how this had been the second time in a year that I had let a stranger drive me home. But this time around, I was bawling by the time she pulled up to my building. “I get that you may want to do this alone but you should call a friend. You really should.” I knew this stranger was right but I just couldn’t do it. “Do you want me to follow you up to your place?”
I nodded. When I look back now, I realize just how distraught I was to not only let a stranger into my home but also into my deepest thoughts. Once inside and behind closed doors, I spilled the tea on everything, except the Epipen thing. All she did was nod and I could tell she knew exactly what I was going through.
“Don’t feel bad. Believe me, I have met my share of pricks who have done me wrong. Arrieros somos y en el camino andamos.”
I was floored that she had used the same saying Abuela used to say.
“My grandmother used to say that all the time!”
“Well, until my mother took off and left us high and dry, she used to be full of those sayings too.”
When Gaby asked to see a picture of Dex, I fished out one of my deleted photos and showed her the stupid smug look he always had. This total stranger listened until I could no longer talk and then she insisted that I get some rest. “This is my business card. If you ever want to talk again, give me a call okay?” Gaby left it on the coffee table and headed for the door. Before I could even thank her properly, she was gone.
Was I crazy to share all that had happened to me with a total stranger?
Yeah, it was crazy and quite foolish.
But in getting so much off of my chest with her, I realized that I needed to get professional therapy, something I should have done a long time before.
I know that you’re wondering what this stranger has to do with anything, right?
Have some patience. They say it’s a virtue. Let’s see if they are right.
Continuation: U is for “Unpack”
All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. Graphic above created with Canva.