In the words of Rakim, “It’s been a long time…”
I hadn’t written since excerpt three so I cranked this out today. Enjoy.
Stacy never had to bring up Leslie’s life. She never had to travel down that dark road. Stacy never wanted to remember what that monster did to her. Yet, she was sitting in her bed, in her room, trembling in the aftermath of her own private nightmare. Stacy did not know exactly how to go about explaining who Leslie was and what she lived through. This was the first time she ever thought of taking a chance having someone in her home. She never thought they would get this comfortable with one another. In fact, Stacy thought she would freak out when he asked her to hang out with him. When her anxiety never kicked in, she relished in the feeling. She didn’t cringe at Khalid’s touch. His presence didn’t make her want to run. She felt calm and secure. What troubled her is why she even had the nightmare in the first place. She wasn’t afraid or stressed. Now she was faced with the fact that she would have to share her pain. The thing that scared her most someone disappearing from her life after she told her story. Her parents did not know how to handle the fine details. Her mother would always leave the room crying. Her father’s expression never changed; he remained stoic at all times. She assumed he felt he needed to be strong for her. That monster had torn her whole life apart. She returned ashamed, timid, and skittish.
The girl she was, Leslie, was brave, independent, and fearless. She always spoke up for herself and she was afraid of no one. She was the girl that stood up to the bullies and defending the younger kids on the block. This new girl was afraid of her own shadow. As this strange girl began to place one foot in front of the other, days turned to nights, months to years, and time began to move forward. She still felt like every eye was on her no matter where she went. Therapy only seemed to help a little. She never could shake the feeling that people pitied her. She never could make herself small enough. She wanted to disappear. Maybe if she could disappear then people would forget and she would be okay to pick up the pieces of her life again. She got the idea to change her name. Since she would be going to college soon, no one there would know her story especially if she was no longer Leslie. She broached the subject with her parents and albeit reluctantly agreed with her. That day, Leslie became Stacy and she never had to look back until today.
While Khalid was downstairs getting Stacy some tea, she knew in her heart that he didn’t believe a word she said about not remembering the dream. It was in his eyes. She tried desperately to think happy thoughts but she just couldn’t seem to stop shaking. Her mind started racing with questions. What if the monster found her? Could he find her? Would he find her? The logical side of her brain tried to help her think rationally. The monster was on death row. He would never be released. He could never hurt her again. Although she was still rocking back and forth, her heart rate slowed and she was starting to feel a bit calmer. At that moment, Khalid walked into the bedroom holding a steaming hot mug in his hands.
“Stacy, I know you are hiding something. I can see in your face. Whatever it is, you don’t have to be afraid. You can tell me anything no matter what it is. I am a great listener.”
Although Khalid said she could tell him anything, Stacy knew nothing could prepare him to hear about the day the monster came into the life of Leslie Phillips.