“What did you take?” the nurse asked. “He didn’t say.” And that was that; my mind trailed off, lost and removed from a sentence I couldn’t finish. I couldn’t make sense of what was happening. I drowsily let my eyes roll back, I couldn’t remember what I meant or even just said.
I was seventeen. This was the night I was date raped. The first thing I clearly remember seeing was my mom shaking me. She was screaming and crying, “Why did you have to do this again?” All the former moments of hospital visits replayed through my head. I knew what she was thinking; I knew who she was blaming.
I couldn’t tell her what had happened to me. I felt guilty.
In complete silence have you ever been screaming? This is where I shook my fist and determined that my body was at fault entirely.
“Do you think you have trust issues?” she laughed, sarcastically. Her large, dark brown eyes peered over her tiny square glasses.
“No. I think I’m good.” I laughed too.
Metal tins of Altoids littered the tiny offices of the building. That spicy cinnamon scent was so heavy, it lingered on me long after I left.
If I see or smell Altoids to this day, I go back immediately. Each time I run into one of those little tins I’m reminded that one day I’ll be peering over my glasses, speaking to another version of the former me, just in the opposite seat.
Those big brown eyes could see the potential I couldn’t see, and she called it out of me–almost always while laughing.
I stared at the mountain tattoo on her tanned forearm, wondering the meaning. My overthinking was abruptly disrupted with the wave of her hand as she tried to get my attention, “Rebecca?”
“Based on our testing, this will be your exercise plan. It’s mandated,” she said firmly. “And welcome to Mercy.”
“It’s mandatory? What do you mean?” I was excited and terrified simultaneously. It was an entirely new theory and concept to me–an over-exerciser formerly on a strict couch-only plan now mandated to exercise? I was in the southern boondocks, and I began to think that I may have no idea what foreign planet I had just landed on and what I was in for.
At this point I had it engrained in me that exercise was not good for me because of my history. I felt guilt every time I started moving, like it was to be a bad and secret thing for which I either had to validate or apologize for, which one I was never sure.
I had been put in “time out” too many times that my relationship and mindset with my body and towards exercise was a continual feud and catch-22.
Little did I know, approaching the thing I had been holding back on, exercise–and mercy–was where I would find healing.
These are my short stories.
To be continued.