“H” is for “Humiliate” @AprilA2Z @AtoZChallenge #AtoZChallenge

Apologetic phone calls.

Please forgive me texts.

Flower deliveries that almost melted my resolve…

Until I had flashbacks to how scared I had been during that last car ride with him. The only reason Dex hadn’t turned up at my door was because my condo building had security and Dex didn’t have a swipe card.

I refused to talk to him for an entire week before I finally agreed to meet him at a coffee shop around the corner after work. But then again, I really had no choice when he texted and said that he would turn up at my job if I didn’t see him.

I wasn’t looking forward to it but if we were going to break up, I preferred to pull that band-aid off quickly rather than slowly. Of course, I loved him but I couldn’t shake the pit in the bottom of my stomach that constantly sat there.

When I arrived at the coffee shop, Dex was already sitting at a table for two looking like he hadn’t slept in days. He had a cup of coffee in front of him and a mug of what looked like my favorite tea waiting for me. As he rose from his chair to greet me, I noticed the single red rose in his hand.

“Hey babe.”

When he leaned in for a kiss, my body bristled and I sat down to avoid his lips. He sighed, sat down and placed the rose in front of me. I didn’t touch it – I didn’t need to be pricked again.

“I’m sorry Cara. About everything. Making you leave the barbecue early, my behaviour in the car, scaring you like that…I’m sorry for all of it. You need to forgive and forget so that we can fix this and get back to being “us”.”

“Are you for real? How can I forget how you said that you were going to crash the car and then you almost did! What is so wrong with you that you would say and do something like that?! I let strangers drive me home!” ”

“I know, I know! I was drunk and a total asshole. I’m sorry. I can’t say it enough. You know how much I love you! And seeing you talking with your ex and ignoring me…”

“Jake is not my ex! We were nothing more than friends in high school…”

“I was jealous. I couldn’t help it. I felt so humiliated. It looked like you were enjoying his attention and that you were ignoring me on purpose.”

“That is utterly ridiculous! Not only was I not ignoring you, Jake was not flirting. He has a girlfriend.”

There was deathly long pause before either of us spoke. That’s when I saw the tears forming in Dex’s eyes.

“Cara, to be honest, being with you makes me feel like I’m not good enough for you.” His tears and his words totally confused me and it must have shown on my face. “You have your shit together. You’re gorgeous, you’re climbing the ladder in your career, you own your own condo, you travel to great places…You’ve got a great relationship with your family and good friends…I don’t have all of that. I sometimes wonder what you see in me and it scares me. But you love me and that’s all I need.”

And just like that…BAM! My heart melted, my eyes were tearing up too and the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach disappeared.

Yes, in our first weeks together, Dex had told me about how being adopted had always made him feel insecure. It didn’t help that his rocky relationship with his family was very strained and he rarely saw them. It was the reason why he didn’t have many friends and had a tendency to keep people at arm’s length…except me.

I couldn’t bear to see him hurting and before I knew it, I was holding his hand and he was kissing me.

“Hmm…” He growled into my mouth. “I almost forgot how fucking sweet you taste. Let’s take this home.”

The only thing cold between us was his cup of coffee and tea that we left untouched on that coffeeshop table before rushing back to my place.

Cara

Continuation: I is for “Isolation”

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. Graphic above created with Canva.

“G” is for “Gaslight” @AprilA2Z @AtoZChallenge #AtoZChallenge

I don’t remember how I managed to scream and hold my breath at the same time but I did.

At the last moment, Dex veered away from the median and slowed the car down to a more reasonable speed. But I was freaked out and all I wanted do was vomit.

“Stop the car! I’m going to be sick! Stop the car!”

Dex cursed at me under his breath, exited the highway and pulled off to the side of the road. I stumbled out and vomited all of the finger foods I had eaten into the grass, not even caring that I had soiled the front of my white blouse. I caught my breath, wiped my mouth against my sleeve and tried to take a deep breath to stop from heaving again.

As soon as the sensation passed, I grabbed my purse from the car and started storming away along the side of the road, the only thought going through my mind was that this entire incident couldn’t be happening.

“Cara! Get the fuck back here! Get in the car!”

Dex jogged up next to me and grabbed my arm.

“Let me go!” I yelled but he wouldn’t let me go and in my heels, I didn’t have much leverage against him.

“Get back in the car…”

I kicked off my heels to regain my balance and managed to wrench my arm free just as a car slowed down and pulled up behind us. An older women rolled her window down, looking alarmed, scared and with her cell at the ready.

“Miss! What’s going on? Do you need us to call the police?” the woman inquired. What looked like her husband sat n the driver’s seat and I could clearly see that his hand was firmly placed on her arm so that she couldn’t think about exiting the car into possible danger.

On the verge of crying, I couldn’t say a word until she looked at Dex and said, “I’m calling 911 and the police!”

The terrified look on Dex’s face jarred him into action. “Ma’am, there is no need for police or 911. We were just having a lover’s spat! Right Cara?” His eyes begged me to agree with him. Getting the police involved wasn’t going to help the situation. I still couldn’t find my words so I shook my head in agreement but she wasn’t satisfied.

“Sorry Miss but if you don’t get in the car and leave with us right now, I will call make those calls. I’m not kidding.”

This old lady was all business so I grabbed my heels and purse from the ground. Refusing to look at him as I slid into the back seat of their vehicle, I secretly breathed a sigh of relief. But she wasn’t finished with Dex.

“And you? Manhandling a woman like that is assault! I took a photo of your license plate as we pulled up so if I need to, I’m prepared to be give an official statement to the police if I need to. Let’s go!”

As the strangers pulled away from the side of the road, I finally looked at Dex standing and at a loss.

“Miss? Are you sure that you are okay? We can take you to the police station,” were the next words out the woman’s mouth.

“No. I just want to go home.”

The woman undid her seat belt to veer herself around, took a good look at me and then put her seat belt back on.

“Okay, fine. But I hope against hope that I don’t see your pretty face on the news one of these days.”

As I gave them the coordinates to my condo, I felt my cell vibrate and already knew who it was.

I’m drunk. I’m sorry. If you hadn’t spent all that time talking to that guy, I wouldn’t have gotten jealous. I’m sorry.

I reread his text a few times before texting him back – I don’t care.

I love you! I was mad. It won’t happen again!

The need to vomit came over me again but I had to hold out being in this stranger’s car.

I texted back – Leave me alone.

But I’ll never be able to do that. I love you too much to do it again Cara.

Was I crazy enough to believe him?

I think you know the answer to my question…

Cara

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. Graphic above created with Canva.

“C” is for “Charming” @AprilA2Z @AtoZChallenge #AtoZChallenge

I never believed in happily-ever-afters and fairytales but Dex changed my mind.

It was as if my life had begun the night we had met and all the immature men I had dated before were just a dress rehearsal for the real thing – finally finding my soulmate.

No more weak-ass, insecure, “Build-A-Bro” type of guys, no desire to become a “Bob the Builder” type of woman trying to fix a man into an ideal man. Dex was attentive and sweet like no other man I had ever been with. He said he had finally found the woman he had always wanted.

Me.

Dex vowed that he wanted to “court” me instead of “date” me and I felt like a real live princess who was the center of his universe.

We were like addicts, in constant contact with good morning calls, lunch time check-ins, talking for hours after work when we couldn’t get together. Dex sent loving texts several times a day and called to make sure that I got to and from where I was going safely. When they met him, my friends and family loved his loud, gregarious nature and how happy he made me smile. Sam was the only person who voiced a few doubts. She wondered how he was always “on” and how we could be so much into each other.

Though Dex pushed for us to “make love” and I felt myself falling hard and fast, my instincts told me to hold back. He teased me about being a prude and said he would try to be patient. But when he said that he was falling for me and that I was worth the wait, I caved and gave my mind, body and soul to him, completely and without regret. Unselfish and generous in bed, Dex was eager to please me in all the ways I needed, wanted and men oftentimes willfully neglected. I kicked myself for holding back and regretted the time I had allowed myself to waste.

I’m ashamed to say that I would have stopped breathing if Dex asked me to.

But when something is too good to be true, it usually is…or in the words of my Abuela:

“¡Cuidado Cara! El que es perico, donde quiera es verde. And the devil doesn’t come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns. He comes dressed as everything you secretly hope for like your grandfather.”

You know, this writing thing isn’t so crazy after all…The more I put my thoughts down on this blog, the more I realize that Abuela wasn’t so crazy after all with her sayings.

I was the crazy one and didn’t know that I was about to board the crazy train to hell…

Cara

Continuation: D is for “Defensive”

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. Graphic above created with Canva.

“B” is for “Bomb”

Hindsight is definitely 20/20, it’s oh-so clear that Dex was about to bomb me.

And by that, I mean, “love bomb”.

But I can’t blame myself for being such a fool. Dex was my first true love (or so I thought) and I didn’t know any better. Looking back, I saw every red flag that I needed to watch out but never knew about …after the fact.

I was with my co-worker and good friend Samantha, at a trendy Montreal resto bar where we often chilled after work on Thursdays – a place where all the hip and trendy professionals networked and hooked-up. I had broken up with my boyfriend six months earlier and was still 150% disinterested in meeting anyone new. To be honest, my only focus that evening was on ordering something to eat so I could avoid making dinner for one when I got home.

Samantha was the one who noticed Dex staring and pointed him out to me. He was tall, decent-looking enough and towered over the group of men he stood with at the bar.

But what truly caught my eye about him was his unflinching stare. He didn’t seem to care how obvious he was being so I gave him my “resting bitch face”. When he smiled and continued to stare, I rolled my eyes, gave him my back and dismissed him. I was in no mood to flirt or be coy. But before I knew it, he was towering next me, extending his hand and introducing himself to both of us.

I remember his exact words like it was yesterday, “Hi. I’m Dex. I apologize for staring but rolling your eyes at me would never stop me from coming over here and talking to you. I must say, you are beautiful. But you hear that all the time, right?”

His corny words made Samantha giggle and she quickly abandoned me by disappearing into the crowd. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes again and shake my head. Sure, I’d been told that a bunch of times in my adult life but having “grown up ugly”, I never believed it. Instead, I learned to rely on my brains, witty sarcasm and sometimes sharp words. The rest of our conversation kind of went like this:

“Actually yes, I do hear it all the time. Do women usually swoon and puddle at your feet with such corny lines?”

When I wanted, I could make most men run away but Dex stood his ground and smiled even wider.

“Actually they usually do. But my interest is always piqued by women who don’t – kind of like you.”

Not only did Dex have the guts to approach me unlike lots of other men (my friends often said that I was too pretty and that men probably assumed that I was already “taken”), I was impressed that he was confident and bold enough not to run for the hills. We both laughed and as we continued on with more witty friendly banter, I found myself smiling more than I wanted to.

When Sam reappeared, she invited him and his crew to join us for dinner. A good time was had by all and I wasn’t surprised when Dex offered me his cell number. Experience had long taught me that if a man is really interested in you, he will ask you for your number, not vice versa. Actually, that was another thing Abuela used to say in her profanity-laced Spanglish:

“¡No sea tonta Cara! El que nace para tamal, del cielo le caen las hojas…But remember, never chase or call a man. If you do, you’ll never know if he really wanted you in the first place, if you were his last choice or his only distraction.”

Dex must have read my thoughts because when I refused to take his number, he promptly asked me for mine. Though he had begun as an annoyance, there was an energy and charisma about Dex that I was drawn to and I gave him my number. He promised to call and I took his words with a large grain of salt. He insisted on paying for Sam’s dinner as well as mine even though I kept refusing. I gave up when Sam started pinching me under the table to let it go.

“Just because you’re being a gentleman now doesn’t mean that I’ll go out with you…”

Dex didn’t miss a beat. “I know. But I also haven’t asked you out yet, have I? Don’t get ahead yourself.”

I enjoyed how he could easily volleyball back the bombs I dropped at his feet. I thanked him for dinner and like a gentleman, he walked Sam and I to her car. I was barely home when my cell rang with a number I didn’t recognize. It was Dex asking me out for coffee for the next day. The fact that he had called instead of texting made me smile and I liked it. He had confidence and I liked that too.

I said yes. To this day, I wonder what would have happened if I had brushed him off.

Maybe if I had said no, one of us wouldn’t be dead right now…

Cara

Continuation: C is for “Charming”

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. Graphic above created with Canva.

“A” Is For “Afflicted”

“Two people can only keep a secret if one of them is dead.”

Out of all the crazy stuff my Dominican abuela (I mean, grandmother) used to say, that was the wisest and truest thing to ever come out of her big uncensored mouth.

You see, the secret I’ve been keeping has been eating away at me. And with each passing day, the story keeps bubbling up inside of me, trying to escape.

I’ve never told anyone about what happened, at least not all of it.

But I have to get this weight off of my chest and the only way I can do it is by writing it down. If I was really smart, I wouldn’t write it down at all, especially online where people could find it. But I need to tell my story and figure out how I ended up here in the first place.

This blog is really meant for me and my eyes only. I mean, who would even care about my incoherent ramblings?

But just in case someone does stumble across this blog (and if you are reading this, I mean YOU), please remember that I’m not a bad person. I had to take Abuela’s words to heart and I did what needed to be done to save myself.

Truth be told, a little part of me hopes that you do find this blog. I mean, maybe you’ll help me piece this all together and help me see where I went wrong, though I kind of already know.

And of course, I’m writing this anonymously so I won’t tell you my real name. But you can call me “Cara”, short for “Caramel”. That was Abuela’s nickname for me because she loved the color of my skin. She also said that I was like burnt sugar with a bitter aftertaste. Back then, I never knew what she meant by that and the only time I had the nerve to ask, she had simply shrugged her shoulders and said:

Mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo“.

Yes, the devil knows more from experience than from being the devil. Maybe Abuela saw something in me back then that I only discovered later and that I’m reconciling with now…who knows.

But I’m getting off topic. Maybe I’ll write about that later.

Right now, I need to start at the beginning and tell you how I met my abuser Dex…

Cara

Continuation: B is for “Bomb”

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. Graphic above created with Canva.

The 2020 A To Z Challenge Theme Reveal Was Yesterday!

Theme Reveal #AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

The A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal for 2020 is here!

Like most of you, I’m doing my part by self-quarantining myself and it’s a good thing.

Whenever you think about how bored you may be or how the kids are getting on your last nerve, remind yourself that you are being a good citizen and contributing to flattening the curve.

I was in England for 4 days last week and since I returned home this weekend, I’ve been busy “de-germing” myself and everything I took with me on my trip, as evidenced on my Instagram Stories.

Let’s just say that my Lysol-equivalent sprays and the “sanitize” function on my washing machine have been my best friends!

Being so busy with all of that, this morning, I realized that yesterday was the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal so here I am, making this post.

With all that is going on, the challenge may feel a bit trivial now but I’m going to do participate anyways. It will be a pleasant distraction, even if it’s to read what others are doing.

Like I said here before all this mess happened, I had already decided to repost an old A to Z Challenge.

So on that note, I’m announcing the theme for my 2020 A to Z Challenge as:

KARMA

My participation will be in the form of an ongoing little fiction story (I’m currently rewriting it under a different title name on Wattpad) and part of my personal challenge will be to make you forget that it is a fictional story.

This will be my fifth year participating (though last year I vowed my challenge days were over  🙂 ).

If you don’t know what the A to Z Challenge is, you can click here. There is still time for you to sign up and join in on the fun! It’s a great way to meet other writers, bloggers and readers.

Here is a quick teaser.

“Breaking The Mirror” (title subject to change)

Take care and stay safe,

M xoxo

a to z challenge

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

I’m going to drop this post like it’s hot before I change my mind…

I’m thinking about participating in the A to Z Challenge in April 2020.

No, no, no.

I WILL participate in the A to Z Challenge in April 2020.

I know, I know…It wasn’t that long ago that I DECLARED that I was DONE with writing challenges (even if you’re truly bored, please don’t scroll back through my old posts and say, “Yeah, you did say that!”)

So yeah, I’m in.

First, I was thinking about writing a series of 26 “background” posts through the eyes of one of the characters in one of my stories. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much work it would be for little personal gain and so I nixed it.

Then, I thought about writing to 26 reasons why I’m writing the Wattpad story I’m still working on. I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to be totally authentic and open with that approach and so I nixed that too.

And that’s when it hit me.

As far as I know, there is no rule that says I can’t repost a previous participation. And if there is such a rule, don’t bother correcting me because I’m going to do what I plan to do anyways.

So…

After all that debating with myself, I’ve decided that I will repost a previous A to Z project and then use it as a springboard to ….

well…

…I won’t tell you about that just yet.

I’m still hashing out those details in my head and my head is a crazy space these days.

Stay tuned.

Will you be doing the A to Z Challenge this year? If so, let me know!

Bisous xoxo