“Shelby” Chapter 2- Untitled Book
by Mya Taylor/April 18, 2019
I have always liked my people a bit damaged. A bit rough around the edges. A bit difficult to stereotype. A bit stranger than the normal crowd. I like people whose eyes tell stories and whose smiles have fought through wars. If you’re perfect, chances are, we aren’t going to get on. If you’re one of the cool kids, chances are, you won’t like me. You see, what I want is authentic. What I want is your purity, I want to see the way you wear your scars, I want to see how brave you are with your vulnerability, how emotionally naked do you let the world see you. Your damage may not be beautiful, but it has made you exquisite. It makes you original, different — and one of my kind of people because people like you are the most incredible things about this world.
— Nikita Gill
My abuser sent me a friend request. Say it out loud if you need to and let those words squirm their way into that medulla oblongata of yours. Cringing? Mouth agape? Gagging? Cause I did all of those and then an onslaught of tears came. Like, for hours. My body refused to hold itself up and insisted on laying down. Unable to argue, I gave in and allowed her the reprieve that she so desperately needed. I couldn’t call anyone and rant because I hadn’t even shared the fact that it had happened with anyone currently in my life, and the person that I had confided in so many years ago, well, she was somewhere else battling her own shit-show of demons. Honestly, she was a great sounding board and for that I would always be grateful, but being her friend was hard work. It was easier to wish her the best from a distance; I couldn’t fix myself and her as well. Trust me, I’d tried. So, it was just me and the unmitigated gall of the entire situation.
You have to consider the probability that this request was made (on their part) to gauge my
memory reaction, right? That no sane individual could think that this was acceptable. That any sane individual with a shred of decency would never…Did he honestly believe that I’d forgotten what he’d done to me, all of those years ago? Whenever I would accidentally bump into him at work-related events (we both worked in the marketing field, in the same city) it was all he could do not to turn and bolt out of the door. He could barely make eye contact and that was fine with me. I kept pleasantries to a minimum and usually only when we were both around family. You know, so it wouldn’t seem SO obvious that something malicious and soul-eating had transpired between us.
I knew I wasn’t overreacting, though. I saw something shift in my therapist’s eyes when I told her. She physically sank back into her chair and for the briefest moment, I swear she looked like she was going to be sick. Bitch is good though, (lord forgive me) she recovered quicker than Usain crossing that finish line at the IAAF World Championship back in 09′. If I’d blinked, I would have missed it. “Shelby, what did you think when you read that notification?”she asked. I looked out of the large, bay window and focused on the largest of the white swans in the lake behind her family’s estate home. Closing my eyes, I imagined myself as the swan, Bella, and how soothing the water must feel on her underside as she glided across it. A few minutes later, I opened my eyes and turned to her. “I accepted the request.”