General Fiction posted March 28, 2018

Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
People show who they really are, not tell.

Believe Him

by Beck Fenton

Advice from a well known friend Contest Winner 

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.
I really don't know how much sleep I got last night. I had checked into the battered women's shelter directly from the hospital emergency room. I was in a tremendous amount of pain from a broken jaw, two broken ribs and eyes that would hardly open. My back hurt from the bruises and I couldn't move without pain grabbing me with fingers like his. I can hardly remember being brought to the shelter and checking in. I know they gave me my pain medication and left me in a tiny room.

I needed some pain meds but I wondered if and how I was going to get up from the bed. I opened my half-swollen eyes to see a black woman sitting in a rocking chair by my bed. I glanced around the room and I must have been moved somehow because this wasn't the room at the shelter. This room was full of light and felt peaceful somehow with a clock slowly ticking the time away.

"Are you ready to wake up"? She asked.

I tried to nod but stopped at the flash of pain. A tear slid down my face into my ear and I wanted to give up everything right then and there.

"I'm here to help you a little before you start your recovery journey." She touched my arm and the pain completely vanished as if almost being murdered had been a dream.

I slowly sat up, enjoying the freedom of movement that came from this marvelous miracle. I felt so alive. What a strange feeling! I couldn't remember the last time I felt like this. Shortly after my wedding, I guess. My eyes flew open as I looked around for Marc. He might have already tracked me down!

"Calm down, Honey," this beautiful woman said. "My name is Marguerite, but everyone calls me Maya. Now, why don't you just sit here for a minute and get your bearings? Tell me a little about yourself."

We switched places and I sat in her rocking chair relaxing as I started the age-old motion of rocking and self-soothing. She sat on the bed and her eyes crinkled up as she grinned, and said, "Tell me about your man."

"Marcus was a wonderful guy when I met him," I began. He was just a little taller than me, but he was really strong and toughened by working out at the gym every day. He kept bouncing around from job to job because nothing quite fit him. His bosses were mostly stupid higher-ups who didn't know anything about how the job was supposed to be. I always believed him and helped him find something else more suited to him.

"I fell in love with him so fast I didn't know what hit me." I grimaced. Bad choice of words. "He was such a gentleman. I loved having my door opened and getting my chair pulled out for me when we ate at a restaurant. It made me feel so respected. Like I was a queen!"

Maya nodded as if she knew what I meant. That feeling of being cherished and taken care of by a man who says you are the most important thing in his life and he wants to spend forever with you. I believed him when he said he would love me forever. I said yes to the ring.

"And when did things change?" she asked.

"I remember the first time he hurt me was at the rehearsal dinner. I didn't want to dance again as my feet hurt in my new shoes, but Marcus squeezed my hand until I put my arm around him and we waltzed together for everyone to watch us shine in the spotlight. He whispered he loved me and wanted everyone to know how fantastic we looked together. I believed him when he said that because he looked right into my eyes and said he'd never do that again. Never hurt me again."

I hung my head in shame. "He did hurt me again. I know it was my fault most of the time. He would always explain what I did wrong, or what I didn't do. Stupid me. I tried so hard to figure out how to make him happy like I did at first. Nothing I could do made much of a difference."

"You are a phenomenal woman. Did you ever think maybe he was what was wrong in your world?" Maya asked me with such gentleness I couldn't be upset with her.

"It took me this last beating to really figure that out," I said. "And, honestly, I probably could have done more of what he wanted me to do and get it right. But, it seemed like the more I tried the more he found wrong."

"I'm going to tell you something, Honey, she said patting my shoulder like my mama used to when I was working through tough times. "Believe him when he shows you what kind of a man he is. It ain't the words he says as much as what he does."

I nodded and let her words sink into me. I believed the wrong part. I believed his words, his kisses, his claiming of me as his prize possession. I loved him as God must love us. No matter how much he hurt me I forgave him. Isn't that what we're supposed to do?

"You are a child of God," she said. "Stand up straight."

I felt Maya kiss me on my head and I found myself back at the shelter on the narrow cot. My body was still in horrible pain and I wondered if I could sit up by myself. I managed to sit upright just as the social worker from the hospital knocked on the door.

"Ready for some medication for the physical pains and some conversation about your emotional pains?" She asked with such compassion toward me I found myself crying tears. Again. But this time they were tears that someone saw me as a woman. A phenomenal woman!

Advice from a well known friend
Contest Winner

Maya Angelou said, "When people show you who they are, believe them the first time." and "You are a child of God. Stand straight." Good advice in any instance.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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