“Z” is for “Zen”

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Peaceful, relaxed and zen.

Those were three feelings that I never thought I would ever feel again. And you can’t blame me after everything that happened.

So…what did I tell Gaby and Becky?

Well, I told them exactly what YOU would have told them – that they didn’t kill Dex and that they shouldn’t feel guilty since he was such an awful monster. I convinced them that Dex had brought the entire situation onto himself.

If he hadn’t called Becky, she never would have gone to his apartment. If they hadn’t had that a ferocious argument, Becky would never have forgotten her take-out at his place. And no one had forced Dex to eat take-out that wasn’t even his.

“Ahogado el niño, tapando el pozo.”

Yeah, after a child drowns, they close the well, right? At least I managed to convince them to let sleeping dogs lie and in this case, leave a dead Dex alone and cold in the ground.

But of course, I couldn’t take my own advice and it didn’t help when Dex’s mother called me months later on the eve of his birthday to have dinner with her. I couldn’t refuse Abigail. She had always been a sweetheart to me but Dex had always made her out to be a witch.

I should probably give you a little more context. Dex’s parents were divorced soon after they adopted him, his siblings (the biological children) were much older than him and they lived out of the country and Dex had always complained about being unloved. I assumed that she wanted to have company with someone who was close to him on that day and the closest person was me. I had to suck it up and roll with it. When I asked how she was coping, she said that she was doing okay.

“You know, Dex was always a difficult child growing up. And he became a difficult man to be around. I want to thank you for putting up with him. It couldn’t have been easy for you. And I know that you were special to him because he only brought a few girlfriends to meet our family.”

I was surprised yet not surprised. Maybe all of his other girlfriends had known better to run faster and sooner than me. Unsure of what to say, I deflected the conversation.

“At what age did you realize that Dex had such a severe allergy to nuts?”

Abigail frowned at me as she poured me a glass of wine. “What are you talking about dear?”

“I’m talking about Dex’s allergy to nuts.”

She shook her head as if she was frustrated. “Oh! Don’t tell me that’s what he told you too! I don’t know why that boy keeps… I mean, why he kept telling everyone that.”

“What?! I…I… don’t understand! What are you saying?”

“Cara, I’m saying that Dex isn’t…I mean, he wasn’t allergic to nuts. He didn’t tell you the truth.”

I know what you’re thinking…WTF right?

Well, this is almost the end of getting this all off of my chest but I have to stop here.

Maybe, just maybe if I’m online later, I’ll tell you about it.


Bonus: There is a short epilogue to Zen” that I will likely post here..to wrap up a few loose ends in this little story.

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. 

“Y” is for “Yearning”


Imagine my shock when I saw Gaby and Becky in my lobby.

It was Gaby who had called out my name and Becky was standing at her side looking as white as a sheet. When Gaby asked if we all speak in private, I nodded to the security guard to let them through.

As the elevator took us up to my floor, we were silent but my thoughts raced.

What were they doing together? Were Gaby and Becky more than just acquaintances? If they were friends, what had Gaby told Becky about me? Had she told her about how we met at the clinic and what I had done? And what did they want to talk to me about? We had nothing in common except for Dex.

Abuela was right about keeping your personal shit to yourself – the world was too small place to take chances with your secrets. I was nervous, really nervous.

Before I knew it, they were both sitting on my living room sofa, in the exact spot that Dex loved. Gaby’s face was extremely tense but Becky looked like she hadn’t slept in a week and was about to jump out of her skin. Gaby saw the worry on my face and she started the conversation ball rolling.

“Yeah, this is about Dex. Becky came to see me a few days ago hysterical about…”

“I heard that you had left town,” I said to Becky and her eyes grew wide.

“Who told you that?!!! Are people talking about me? What are they saying?” Becky was on the verge of being hysterical. That’s when she turned to Gaby. “Maybe we should go to the police or talk to his parents…explain what happened…”

“No Becky. We agreed that we would talk with Cara first before doing anything drastic that could ruin both of our lives…I mean, Dex is already dead…”

Gaby’s tone had such a “no nonsense” tone to it and I couldn’t take it any longer. I needed to know why they had come to see me.

“What’s going on? Why did you want to talk to me? I just came from Dex’s funeral…”

“You actually went after how horrible he was to you?” Becky was floored.

“I didn’t want to but his mother asked me.” Then Becky’s words hit me and my head spun around to Gaby. “You told Becky the details I confided in you?”

Oh. My. God…

Only about how badly he treated you and that car incident you shared with me. Those are the only things I told Becky.” From Gaby’s inflection, I knew that she said nothing about the abortion. “Becky, tell Cara was happened and then I’ll continue, okay?”

Becky nodded, took a deep breath but started crying softly as she spoke in bursts.

“I…I…I was waiting for my order at the vegetarian place…Gaby’s eatery…to get some take-out when Dex called asking me to go over to his place to talk things out. He was being so apologetic…and sweet that like a fool I stupidly agreed. Gaby knew that I had broken up with him so when she overheard my conversation, warned me not to go anywhere near him if I knew what was good for me…which I didn’t. That’s when she told about all the horrible things he said and did to you…all the things I never gave you a chance to tell me because I was being such a bitch to you…I’m so sorry Cara.”

“Did he hurt you when you went to his place?” I couldn’t help but interrupt her, thinking that maybe he had violated her too.

“Physically, no but we did get into a huge argument. He called me horrible names, threatened to spill certain things I told him in confidence and then he accused me of so many things that I had never done…That’s when I knew I deserved better than him. I stormed out his place so fast that I didn’t even realize that I had forgotten my take-out there…”

Then, it got so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop in my livingroom.

You know how in the movies there is a pregnant pause and the camera zooms in on the main character’s face, waiting for the light bulb in their head to go off? Well, that’s the way Becky was looking at me but I had no clue what “realization” I had missed. That’s when Gaby took up where Becky left off.

“Before Becky started dating Dex, she would always order the exact thing but then she stopped because of his peanut allergy. That day when Becky ordered the thai red curry with vegetables, I decided to give her complimentary order of her favorite Spicy Thai Peanut Veggie Burger with a side order of sweet potato fries and some dessert thrown in for a treat.”

Oh….that’s when I quickly started realizing what had happened. When I gasped with the realization, Becky started crying even more.

“I left my take-out at his place and I guess…I guess…Dex ate it and that’s how he went into anaphylactic shock!”

My brain couldn’t handle this information overload from these two women. Visions of Epipens kept dancing in my head.

“What you’re telling me is that Dex ate your burger and…but it was an accident…why would you go to the police?”

I can’t fool you, I was thinking about my own ass at that point.

Becky and Gaby gave each other a long look before looking back at me.

“When Becky came to tell me about his passing, we were honest with each other…very honest. Deep down, I was hoping that if Becky ate that burger and Dex happened to kiss her, he would suffer with a little allergic reaction. You know, get some hives, break out, whatever. But nothing that would kill him but…” Gaby explained.

“And…and when I realized that I had left my food there and that he might eat it being the pig that he always was, I didn’t tell him to not eat it. I could have called or texted to warn him about the burger having tons of peanuts in it…but I didn’t. I’m such a horrible person! I never thought that his allergy was that severe.”

My brain was exploding. “So you came to confess all of this to me? Why? Why me?”

“Because we don’t know what to do or if we should tell what we think happened. I mean, the two of us are partially responsible for his death. If you were in our shoes, what would you do? Would you tell?”

Their tired and stressed faces were yearning for my response. Little did they know that I was the last person to ask for proper advice when it came to Dex.

And little did they know that someone else had also been involved in Dex’s demise…me.

Their involvement had been accidental but my decision to hide his Epipen had been knowingly deliberate. I had sealed Dex’s coffin.

I thought long and hard before opening my mouth…

Becky and Gaby had been open enough to confide in me but could I take the chance of telling them what I had done? That I felt more than just guilty?

I’m seriously asking you to tell me, what you would have done.

Would you have told Gaby and Becky about the Epipen?


Continuation: Z is for “Zen”

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. 



“X” is for “eX – Files”

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I killed Dex. I hid his Epipen. It’s my fault. I killed Dex.

Like some kind of sick mantra, that’s all I could think about as I sat at the back of the church during his funeral.

I felt so guilty that I couldn’t see straight. Sam had insisted that I stay at her place and I had taken her up on the offer. The walls of my own condo contained way too many memories of Dex and I saw him everywhere – sitting on the couch watching tv with his dirty shoes perched on my antique coffee table just to upset me, standing at the fridge grabbing a beer and inspecting the left-overs in my fridge…

And the last time I had tried to sleep in my bed, I could have sworn that I felt him crawl in next to me…That was the night I called Sam telling her that he was haunting me in my own house. I was totally fucked up by the situation. I was in an episode of the X-Files. No, I was in my own episode of my “eX-Files”.

I know that you are asking yourself why I wasn’t happy that Dex was dead.

Besides being responsible for him dying with no Epipen in sight, there was a tiny sick part of me that still felt something for him. Don’t ask me what that something was. I mean, how was I supposed to feel about the death of the man I thought was the love of my life but never really was because he had made me fall in love with who he was pretending to be? Yeah, that’s a mouthful and still much too for my brain to process.

Of course I hated him. I couldn’t help it. I had wished him dead for so many things. The arguments. The bringing me down. The rape that led me to lay on my back while a doctor sucked life out of me at a clinic across town.

My emotions were all over the place but guilt reigned supreme.

You’re also asking yourself why I would ever go to the funeral of such a monster…

Well, I wasn’t going to attend but Dex’s mother called and personally asked me to. Yeah, she knew that we had broken up months before but she had always been sweet to me so I felt I had no choice. Tell me, what was I going to do? Tell her that her adopted son had violated me in the worst ways possible? No, I wouldn’t do that to a grieving mother. Dex was dead and the details no longer mattered to anyone but me. I would keep my mouth shut until the police realized what I had done. I didn’t want to think about how fast I would crack if they interrogated me about why my fingerprints were all over his Epipen when they eventually found it. Would they look for it? How deep would they dig in a case like his? Would I spend the rest of my day in jail?

I’m getting off topic….let me get back to the part about Sam and I sitting at the back of the church after I politely refused to sit with his parents in the front pew. Yeah, you know that I was staying clear of his casket. The last thing I wanted to do was take a final look at the man I had killed.

“Are you sure that you don’t want to slip out while no one is looking? We still have time to leave,” Sam said.

I shook my head at her. “No, I’ve got some praying to do.” Yeah…praying my own soul.

“You’re a better person that me Cara. Never in a million years would I have come here if I were in your shoes. But I guess that you did love him in the beginning…”

Little did she know that I wasn’t a “better person“.

Just before the service started, a trio of elderly ladies slipped into the pew directly in front of us. But instead of listening to the minister, they spent the entire time commenting and pointing out people they hadn’t seen in a while. Then they started gossiping as old ladies do. Sam and I gave each other looks as the three of them took turns whispering.

“Is his girlfriend sitting up front with the family? I don’t see her.”

My heart immediately flipped until I realized that they were talking about Becky, not me.

“No. That last girlfriend was just a casual thing. I heard that she left town a few days after it happened!”

“I heard that too! Someone told me that she was some kind of weird vegetarian and that he had an allergic reaction to a peanut burger they ate. What the heck is a peanut burger? Young people these days are so odd with this weird food!”

My mind flashed to the first time I met Becky and noticed her chickpea burger order that specifically said “No Nuts” in large writing. Becky would never have made that kind of mistake and besides that, the two of them had broken up.

Or had they?

I gave Sam a look and she raised her eyebrows at me. She was thinking the same thing.

“No wonder Becky left town,” Sam whispered in my ear. “Didn’t she tell you that she would make Dex pay? What if she did?”

My mind raced. Becky wouldn’t have stooped that fatally low…would she? And even if she had, the fact remained that I had hid Dex’s Epipen, not her.

Now it was the third older woman’s turn to gossip.

“Well, I heard that the restaurant gave them the wrong order and that’s how he went into shock.”

“Whoa! No wonder that girl feels bad but if that’s what happened, it’s not her fault. Then again, he might still be alive if she ate normal food like normal people!”

“Aren’t people with severe allergies supposed to have medication on them or something?”

You know what I was thinking…

“Yeah, but his mother said that he didn’t because he was careful about his foods.”

I could have thrown up right then and there as I pictured Dex rushing to the bathroom and not being able to find his Epipen because of me. Sam sensed my discomfort because I felt her hand on mine. I managed to make it through the service but I was out of the church like a bat out of hell the minute it was over. Sam was going to take me to her place but I wanted time alone to process everything and insisted that she take me back to my place.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I need time to think,” I told her. When I walked into my lobby, I was so distracted by the thought of his ghost in my place again that I didn’t realize that someone was calling my name over and over again.

I turned and coming towards me at full speed was a sight that I never expected to see….


Continuation: Y is for “Yearning”

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. 

“W” is for “Wicked”


I don’t even know where to begin so I’ll start where it makes sense.

But to be honest, it was such a whirlwind – you may need to get yourself a box of wine and a few bags of chips. That’s what I have with me right now as I type this out…

Remember that girl Gaby, the one who drove me home from the clinic?

Well, from out of the blue, she called asking how I was doing and how I was coping. Since I was at work, I couldn’t talk freely but in a way, that was a good thing. I felt totally weird and embarrassed at how I had unloaded such heavy and personal issues on her that day – a total stranger. After our pleasantries, Gaby asked if I’d had any more issues with Dex. I told her that I hadn’t seen him since the incident and that he even had a new girlfriend. I was shocked when she asked me if his girlfriend was “Becky”. I was even more shocked when she said that Becky was a regular at her eatery and that she had personally witnessed the two of them in a huge public argument at her establishment.

I know what you are thinking. How did Gaby recognize Dex?

Like you, I didn’t remember that I had shown her a photo of Dex when I groggy after the clinic so she did know what he looked like. And when Gaby had left me her card, I had slipped it into my wallet without taking a good look at her credentials. As Gaby told how Becky had gone ballistic on Dex, I quickly fished it out of my wallet and lo and behold, Gaby’s card did list her as the owner of that pretentious vegan hangout I had met Becky at months before.

Was that a coincidence?

I don’t believe in coincidences anymore. No, it was more like fate.

Without even asking, Gaby told me blow by blow how Becky had accused Dex of lying and cheating on her. Then right before slapping him and storming, she had wished him dead. I was speechless. Gaby warned me to be on the lookout for Dex’s return from the dead because men like him were like vampires looking to feed again.

Vampire. That was the word she used, not mine. I never told anyone about my vampire dream. Like I said, no coincidences. Before we hung up, we promised to keep in touch.

I don’t need to tell you that I immediately wanted to tell Sam what I had heard but I couldn’t. She knew nothing about my visit to the clinic or meeting Gaby. I had to keep the information to myself.

But then the next crazy thing happened. A few days later, Becky reached out to me.

Can you imagine that?

At first, she emailed asking if we could meet and I gave her my one word response – NO. Been there, done that.

But she wasn’t taking no for an answer. Since we worked in the same building, she totally ambushed me at my desk so that I couldn’t ignore her. We took ourselves out into the hallway away from curious ears and this time around, I was the unpleasant bitch.

This is how the conversation went:

“What do you want?”

“So…yeah…Dex is cheating on me. Is he back with you?” I folded my arms and refused to dignify her question with an answer. “Uh, yeah…I’ll take that as a no. It’s what I thought.” Then she got quiet for a moment and folded her own arms. “You were right about him. He’s a fucking liar.”

Yeah, maybe Becky had smartened up but I wasn’t about to start commiserating with her. Her entire personality and vibe as a person just wreaked of toxicity.

“If you stay with him, you’ll realize that he’s more than just a liar – if you haven’t figure it out already.” I wasn’t about to say anything more than that. “If that’s all you wanted to say Becky, I have work to do.” I started to walk away and she held me back by my arm.

“Uh…sorry about how I acted… you know…before. But I swear to God, I’m going to make him pay…”

I walked away without accepting her apology and not interested in her dreams about payback. I was done. Done with Dex, done with her, done with anything and anyone associated to his sick world.

But just like Gaby had warned, Dex wasn’t done with me.

Texts from him started blowing up my cell a few days after Becky’s chat with me. It started with a “Hey” to “Hope you are ok” and quickly progressed to “Still thinking of you” to “We loved each other once, we could still at least be civil, can’t we?”…none of which I ever responded to.

I had the “No Contact” rule on full blast and would never slip again. I had finally broken the mirror and left him with seven years of bad luck. Or so I thought…

Dex resorted to calling and eventually left me a voice message that I ignored. I left that message notification hanging on my cell screen for days, not interested enough to even access it for deletion. To be honest, I actually forgot about it until a hysterical and crying Becky called to break the news to me.

“Oh my God Cara! Dex is dead! They found him dead in his apartment!”

All of my breath left my body. The office walls started to close in on me and the room started to spin. Before blackness took over my sight, I managed to ask her how.

And the two words I heard her whisper before I fainted were these:

“Anaphylactic shock…”

Yeah, I know what you were thinking because so was I.

But I swear to God, it wasn’t my fault. It really wasn’t.

Wicked is as wicked does…


Continuation: X is for “eX-files”

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. a.

“V” is for “Vampire”

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I had a dream last night.

I was being chased by a chupacabra, a vampire and Dex. I was running away from all three of them with all my might until I hit a dead end and had no choice but to stop.

Of course you know what vampires are but I’m almost certain that you’ve never heard about chupacabras. I won’t get into the folklore of it all but they are said to be small fast moving bat-like evil creatures spotted on the roadsides and in fields that get frightened when hit by the light beams of a car or a flashlight. They supposedly suck the blood from goats and are said to prey on sleeping humans too.

Go ahead and Google it – I’m not kidding. See for yourself just how ugly they are.

In my dream, I couldn’t escape them so I gave up. I turned to face all three of them and opened my arms as if to embrace whatever it was they were about to do to me. But instead of what I expected, they lost interest and ambled away. As I stood there alone in that dark corner of my dream, a calm sense of freedom washed over me.


As a kid, I remembered Abuela saying that my grandfather was just like a chupacabra because he had sucked the life right out of her. I’d heard all of the stories about his charming ways, manipulative nature and the cheating around their village. I’m not one for folklore so I wouldn’t call Dex a chupacabra but he was a sort of vampire which is basically the same thing. I mean, they both survive by feeding off of whatever they can prey on, if you let your guard down.

Maybe it’s some generational curse – my grandmother, my mother and then me? Well, if it is, I’m going to find a way to break the cycle. But I wonder if I’ll ever be able to trust a man again. I think that one of my feet will always be outside the door, ready to run. That’s probably why Abuela was bitter until the day that she died. That’s also why she had so many pieces of advice to pass onto in her ramblings.

Why am I telling you about a crazy dream? Because I think it’s the universe telling me that I’m no longer afraid to speak the truth. Whether it be dreams of vampires, chupacabras and Dex, I was moving on and refused to run.

What’s done in the dark, always come to light and being the vampire that Dex was, it was just a matter of time before he truly got what he deserved…


Continuation: W is for “Wicked”

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. 



“U” is for “Unpack”

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I was doing quite fine until Dex’s blonde (let’s call her “Becky”) emailed me from out of the blue asking if we could talk.

Yeah, you heard me right. She wanted to “talk“. We had nothing in common except for him and I had no interest in that topic. Sam suggested that I ignore her but the more I thought about it, the more curious I became.

Was she reaching out because Dex was starting to unravel early into their “courtship”? Had he begun mistreating her too?

Becky might have been a catty bitch the first time we had seen her at the coffee shop but at that point, she wouldn’t have known better, right? I was torn but I gave her the benefit of the doubt and agreed to meet her after work at a trendy vegan-style eatery she suggested around the corner. You know the kind of hipster joint where you feel a bit out of place because you’re not a “hardcore” vegan and recognize nothing on the menu? Well, let’s just say that Becky must have been a regular by the way that the staff greeted her as she sauntered twenty minutes late for our meeting. Yeah, twenty minutes late.

Becky acknowledged my presence as she headed straight to the counter and ordered something “to go” before sitting down at my table. From the moment I locked eyes with her, I knew that she hadn’t called me to commiserate over diabolical Dex. She meant business and wasn’t about to be friendly.

“Thank you for meeting me,” Becky said very formally. “I’m surprised that you came.”

“So am I,” I admitted. “Why did you want to meet me?”

Becky raked back in her chair and folded her arms. “You need to stop chasing Dex.”

“What? Excuse me?” I was totally confused. “Me? Chasing Dex?”

“Don’t play stupid Cara! He told me how you want him back and how you threw yourself at him after I started dating him.”

I was almost speechless. “Is that what he told you?!”

“Yes, he came clean and told me everything. I forgave him for sleeping with you because it was basically pity sex. And we had only just started dating so I can’t hold it against him. But I have a problem with you trying to get him back when he is with me now!”

The more she talked, the more Becky’s face reddened with anger. This girl had only wanted to put me on notice based on a bold faced lie from an abuser and rapist! She wanted to unpack her luggage of insecurities onto me. Can you believe that?

Becky stared me down, expecting some kind of bitchy response and I was just about to oblige when one of the waitreses placed a brown paper bag with Becky’s order between us. I couldn’t help but notice the scrawled writing on the bag next to her name – “Spicy Thai Chickpea Veggie Burger x 2 NO NUTS!!!” Those burgers were obviously for her and Dex and it was clear from the “NO NUTS” that Becky was looking out for her man’s safety. I know it was a stupid thought but wondered how macho non- fruit eating Dex had embraced vegan anything…it had to be for show. Becky handed the girl some cash as she quickly gave her change, obviously not wanting to present for a cat fight.

“Dex is lying to you Becky. Not only do I never want to see him ever again, we definitely did not have sex! He…”

Realizing that I was about to say something I didn’t want to, I stopped myself. Becky didn’t need to know my business and she wouldn’t have believed me anyways.

I got up from my chair. “I feel really sorry for. If you knew better, you would get out now and never look back.”

“I don’t scare that easily Cara…”

“Sorry to hear that! I guess that he’s all yours then…”

I made my way back onto the street and headed home, pulling out my cell to tell Sam what had happened. Little did poor Becky know that she was head over heels in love with a ticking time bomb.

Should I have insisted on warning her? Was there more I could have done?

I don’t know.

What I did know was that I had absolutely no remorse about taking the Epipen from his medicine cabinet and “misplacing” it at the bottom of his bathroom vanity drawer like what he had done with my birth control pills, keys and cell when I thought that I was going crazy.

As I walked away, I wished that I had simply thrown it away.

Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it?


Continuation: V is for “Vampire”

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. 

“T” is for “Therapy”

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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”

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