Mandy’s Monster

He was about to walk out the door for work when I told him his tie was crooked. I thought I was doing him a favor. He took it the wrong way. That’s when he slapped me.

Mandy hid the journal on her side of the closet, high on the shelf in an old box where she kept childhood mementos. Rick didn’t care about her childhood. She knew he wouldn’t look there for any reason.

Her mind drifts to the wedding ceremony when Rick gently slipped the diamond-studded band on her ring finger – the adoring look in his eyes as they exchanged vows: to love, to cherish, to respect, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, ‘till death do us part…the last phrase brings chills to her skin. She didn’t notice any signs before their wedding day. How was this possible?

She wonders how she let herself be pulled into this marriage. In the beginning, love was what her heart and mind felt. She knew she had found the perfect partner as they planned their California May wedding. Rick helped choose the venue and the whimsical invitations as they perused numerous websites. He spoke with several florists on the phone about a spring selection that would meet her color choices of pink, lilac, and ivory. They skimmed through their music collection, searching for the song that would be perfect for their first dance. His actions portrayed the love she thought he felt for her.

Mandy had dreamed of a tropical honeymoon, so when they strolled hand in hand, feet sinking into the warm sand outside their Maui hotel room, she was living her dream. Candlelight across a table was the only thing that separated the two of them as they dined out each evening. And when they wanted privacy instead of sitting in a crowded restaurant, room service was delivered. The aqua water invited them in for snorkeling and swimming each day. Rick was perfect. They were perfect.

But after a couple of months of Mr. and Mrs., she no longer knew this man she lived with. It’s as though body snatchers transformed him into a completely different male specimen – not the man she fell in love with or who indulged in chocolate covered strawberries in bed.

The insults and criticisms began slowly with comments about her cooking and her weight. Then the hitting followed with a push of her shoulder, a slap across her face, to punches in her stomach. She iced the bruises. Took Advil for the pain. Rick wasn’t a drinker; alcohol wouldn’t be found in the house, so she couldn’t even indulge to numb the mental and physical agony. Long sleeves covered the effects of his violence on her arms and long pants did the same for her legs. No one would see her back and stomach since wearing a bathing suit in public was not in the foreseeable future. Then the physical abuse turned into control. He typed up her resignation letter for her teaching job because she was to stay home where a wife belongs. He restrained her like one would a dangerous animal. When he left for work each morning, Mandy was resigned to existing within the walls of their condo. When Rick voiced these demands, she could’ve spit nails but held her tongue.

As though being confined to her home wasn’t humiliating enough, Rick ensured Mandy had no contact with the outer world by disconnecting the home phone. She was only permitted to use her cell to answer his calls, but she was not to trouble him at work. As an upstanding police officer for the city, Rick’s schedule stayed busy trying to keep law and order in the bedroom community. He had little time for nonsense. Mandy was fully aware that if she called anyone or if someone contacted her, the cell phone bill would be her worst enemy. She wished she had her old iPhone with internet and texting capabilities. But no, he replaced it with an elementary phone for calls only. He was too damn smart, but she wouldn’t expect anything less being the police officer he was.

Sitting on her bed one morning, hearing the door lock click in place, Mandy is left alone to stare at the sun’s rays as they push through her window. Normally, she’d welcome their warmth and ability to lift spirits. Not today. She’s cold and clammy to the touch and she gives the tears permission to fall. Rick’s fatal threats hold her back from leaving him, along with that damn fear of wondering if he’d catch her once she bolts out the door. What scares her most of all is that her abusive husband is a cop. The irony. Her story doesn’t stand a chance. She didn’t invent this scenario; it’s as old as time.

She gets on with the day, walking into the kitchen to empty the trash – one of the chores Rick reminded her to do. Stepping out front to deposit the bag into their bin on the side of the house, she begins to sweat. Mississippi’s temperature rockets close to ninety degrees and ninety percent humidity, so she burns up in the long-sleeved tee. But she doesn’t dare get caught in short sleeves by Helen, the nice old lady next door. It happened once when Helen noticed the bruises on her arm and asked Mandy about them. She scrambled for a viable excuse: I was silly enough to try to move our TV and it fell on my arm! Helen bought it, or so she responded like she had.

Maybe it’s the long-sleeve on a ninety-degree day – a signal that indicated enough is enough. To see those blues and purples show up on her body have proven to be more painful than the pain itself. Shame takes up real estate in her mind, and yet, she knows she’s not to blame. She can’t put on the brakes to the bruising, but she does have choices. Choices that seem clearer than ever before. She won’t let him strip her of all dignity. Her escape would stamp an exclamation mark on the separation from him and his flood of invectives and physical abuse. She wants nothing more than to know he’s locked up in a cell. But how can she get away without him finding her? Blowing her nose and wiping her wet eyes, and even with the company of uncertainty, she asserts, I will not-die-on-his-watch!

Freedom — Ganador

Lauren Scott (c) 2021
(Fiction)

Story photo and Feature image: Google

What I learned in ER

1. That life’s course can change in a heartbeat.
2. That we need to be advocates for our loved ones when it comes to medical attention.
3. That I can find calmness and strength when it’s needed.
4. That we need to have faith in medical personnel.
5. That nothing is black and white.
6. That my faith in God has waned.
7. That asking why doesn’t bring answers.
8. That all I know is that I don’t know anything.
9. That “one day at a time” is no joke.
10. That sitting in the emergency room while the power went out was beyond spooky (even though hospitals have generators). And it happened twice.
11. That I commend medical staff wholeheartedly.
12. That even though we were there from  11:30 pm to 4 am, we survived.
13. That being a parent involves much more than changing diapers.
14. That even as children grow older parenting doesn’t end.
15. That worrying does no good but manages to surface anyway.
16. That the future still remains unknown.
17. That the last time I screamed at God wasn’t the last time.
18. That the feeling of helplessness is indescribable. 
19. That since this event, time hasn’t stopped. Life goes on. We move forward.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” 
~ Albert Camus

“Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.” 
~ Jose N. Harris

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

~ Maya Angelou

***Thanks to all who read this. Its purpose isn’t for sympathy, rather for therapeutic reasons. We all have stories of sorrow. But on the opposite end of sorrow, there is joy for many reasons, along with strength, optimism, and perseverance – the reason I ended with these great quotes. Sometimes, we just have to pour our hearts out, though, so thanks again for stopping by. And may you also find strength, optimism, and perseverance in any struggles you’re experiencing. ❤

 

 

 

The Teacher

daffodil

Its canary boldness
rises up to the sun
alone, yet not lonely,
fearing nothing,
but wearing bravery
on each petal –
standing tall with
strength in lean
green attire, as if
soaking up the day’s
endless possibilities

Lauren Scott © 2018
(Inspired by a lone daffodil
in our yard.)

 

Transformation

I find myself going the wrong way
at rapid speed and I’m so preoccupied
that I miss the gap in the road before
tumbling in. Darkness surrounds me
with verve. A smooth texture is cool
under my fingertips and less frightening
than my imagination. Still, uncertainty
and fear consume me. Strength has always
been my friend. Weakness has been an
acquaintance. I rely on my friend and
ever so slowly, with fingers gripping each
little crevice, I find my way out and am
blessed to feel sunshine on my shoulders

Lauren Scott © 2015
(The darkness in this poem is fiction
and the sunshine is reality)

 

 

Healing Hope

Butterfly by Steph Final edit

Maybe one day we’ll understand why
then again, life isn’t black and white
It’s not kind and it’s not fair
sometimes, very hard to bear
Walls will crumble now and then
but the sun will shine once again
We need to trust in Him for strength
keeping fear at arm’s length
He’ll guide us through the blues
on this journey we didn’t choose
In our hearts, hope will stay alive
and in prayer we will thrive

Lauren Scott © 2014
Photo Credit: My Daughter

Weight

It’s amazing
how a word
or phrase
can weigh heavy,

like two hands
pushing you down…
down into
a sea of self doubt

and the only survival
is the strength you seize,
arms straight and strong,
with every muscle
you have,

To Push Back,
find air again –
and breathe.

LScott © 2013

“Let the words fall out”

Sara Bareilles – Brave

I’ve been singing this song around the house
and absolutely love it…
the music, the lyrics, the message,
and, of course, Sara’s awesome voice.

Instead of writing a poem, using this song as inspiration,
I chose to post the lyrics, as they are truly powerful
and speak for themselves.

(I also deleted some of the repetitious background verses.)

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Not only are the lyrics empowering,
but the music has me dancing!
I hope you enjoyed as much as I did.
Are you ready to be “brave?”  🙂

New Beginnings

Turn the pages from the past
Put your worries in last place
In those fretting times
where hope has vanished

search for a caring embrace

Use a shoulder if it’s offered
when tears begin to fall
They’re not a sign of weakness
but a cleansing of the soul

Take advantage of the sunshine
warming your spirit with it’s rays
  and even when the clouds are rolling
there’s always reason for praise

Faith, Love and Strength
follow Hope in each new day
and with each precious baby step
You will find your way

© LScott 2013

This is dedicated to my family
and anyone who needs a “small helping”
of inspiration. 

Blogging Break and Prayers Needed

Dear Friends,

My family has received some life altering news
that we’re still trying to process and therefore,

I won’t be blogging for awhile.  I’m not sure how long
and I will miss your wonderful talents,
but I wish you an abundance of peace and happiness.

I also ask that you hold my family in your prayers.
They will be greatly appreciated.

Much love,
Lauren

The 1-in-100 WARRIOR AWARD

Warrior Woman

I am warrior, hear me roar!

Well, actually, Miro of Warrior Poet Wisdom roared and Christy answered the call. The nomination call that is. Then Christy, poeticparfait.com, nominated me and I answered! Thank you, Christy!

This is another very special award when you read thoroughly what it stands for, thus, I am extremely humbled and grateful that Christy chose me!   She is an inspiration to me with her writing ability, her poetic thoughts and her genuine soul (not to mention, her love for chocolate is a benefit)~  Thank you so much, Christy, for this much appreciated nomination!  I am privileged to have met you and I look forward to being inspired even more from your wonderful talent.  Please visit her, if you haven’t already, and your day will be complete~

When I first read Miro’s thoughtful reflection about what this award means, then found out that Christy nominated me, I was all the more humbled, as I have admired Miro’s poetry for awhile now and am inspired by the life lessons he shares with readers. He reminds us to be both sincere and strong at the same time. Please visit his blog, if you are not already acquainted with his work. 

The 1-in-100 Warrior Award
Warrior Status.

Thank you, my friend.

The guidelines upon receipt of said award are:

 

Guidelines for the 1-in-100 Warrior Award: Warriors are not motivated by awards or fame. They see awards not as an opportunity for the ego to rejoice, but rather an opportunity to honor other warrior brothers and sisters. To acknowledge and honor the rarity of the warrior, it is recommended that the recipient passes this award on to only *one* other blogger that they feel goes above and beyond to serve and inspire others, and who maintains their grace and positivity even in the face of difficult challenges, such as health issues, tragedy, injustice or loss.

I pondered this award and thought of PJ~

I present the Award to PJ at poeticjourney251.com. She is genuine, kind, and faithful in both her poems and her comments to her readers. She continues to lift our spirits and inspire us with her “Thought of the Day,” “Thought of the Night” and “Word to the Wise.” PJ has faced some difficult times personally and has turned her circumstances into beautiful poems and inspiring posts for her readers.  When I visit her, she radiates love, optimism, perseverance and her extremely strong faith in God.   I, personally, am inspired and in awe of her strength.  It is for these reasons, that I nominate PJ for the 1-in-100 Warrior Award.

I hand her this admirable award with a smile and a hug~

Before I close, I thank you all for your continuing support, likes, comments, and love and I wish you a wonderful week!

Lauren 🙂