Once at home, I went straight to my room. I dropped on the bed and laid there. I was staring at the ceiling. Thought after thought ran through my head. I thought about the way I looked, what had happened to me, about working at the magazine, about Arturo, about the people at the restaurant, and anything else my mind felt like re-living. I could not stop thinking. I started to feel like that day at the nursing home. I did not want to go back to that dark and desolate place. All of a sudden, I felt a scream come out of me. It was loud, screechy, and almost eerie.
Mom ran into my room, “Genevieve, are you alright?” I heard her ask.
She saw I was on the bed. I was no longer screaming; I was silent. Tears had rolled down my cheek. I was sad. I was slumber.
“Mom, mom, mom.” It was all I said, as I rocked back and forth.
Mom sat next to me, put her arms around me and pulled me over to her.
She gently whispered, ” Shhhhh , I am here. I am here.”
Mom graciously consoled me. She sat with me, until it passed.
“I am such a fool. Instead of being grateful for being alive, I am sitting here feeling sorry for myself.” I said to mom.
“It is natural to feel the way you do. You have been through a lot. There will be good days, and there will be bad days. Your goal is to have more good days as you progress. Do not let this set you back. Just count it as a bad day, and look forward to a better day,” mom gently reassured me.
She was right. Today was a bad day. There had been plenty of those in the last six months. However, more and more, the good days were replacing the bad days. Mom was always there to help me get through . What would I do without her?
“Mom, I saw the way those people looked at me. I know they did not mean to react the way they did. My scar is obvious and very visible. When I look in the mirror, I see it. I remember the way I reacted the first time I saw it. So, how can I expect others not to react the same way?” I explained to her.
“Genevieve, Antonio explained what happened. I do not think that people were staring at your scar; I think they were looking at you because you fell. Sweetie, do not worry if people judge you for the way you look, do not judge yourself for the way you think you look . You are a beautiful young woman. If anything, the scar gives you character. Do not let it define you, but you define it. Look in the mirror and tell yourself what you are, a survivor, a fighter, a beautiful person with a second chance at life.” Mom was continuing, ” You have been given a second opportunity to live life. There is a future ahead of you, and it can be whatever you want it to be. You can re-write your life. You can become anything you wish to be. Have faith in yourself and remember how lucky you are to be here today.”
Her words were wise. I had heard them before. Mom was the rock I leaned on. I needed to lay my own foundation. I sat for a while after she left the room. I decided to make a plan and stick with it. The plan involved setting up short term goals, that I could accomplish on my own.
Shortly after mom left the room, Antonio came in.
“Genevieve, I am sorry about what happened today.” He looked so sad, as he spoke the words.
“I am alright, Antonio. I needed to get out and rejoin the world. I cannot continue hiding. Thank you for taking me out, and thank you for being there for me.” I reassured him.
“There is something I need to tell you. I asked you today, if you knew why Arturo insisted on speaking with you when he was in New York. Your answer was right but the reason was wrong. He wanted to see you and talk to you, because he is not with Maritza. Shortly after they were married, Maritza told Arturo, that the baby was not his. She had an affair with an other man who is Lilly’s father. Lilly Ann became ill a few months after they had married, and that is when they found out her blood type was not compatible with Arturo’s. Maritza confessed to Arturo, and the rest is history. ” Antonio continued. “At the restaurant in New York, when you asked him how Maritza and Lilly Ann were doing, he didn’t tell you, because he figured you would see him in private and he could then explain everything. He never thought you would not answer his calls. He never thought, that by him holding back that day, you would go out with John, and would get hurt. He feels he holds the blame for your attack.”
“Arturo wants to come see you, and has asked if it would be alright with you, if he comes by. Genevieve, he knows what you have been through, and what you are going through. He wants to be by your side. So, what do you say?” he asked.
I heard Antonio speak. I listened carefully to his words. I tried to understand. Oh, no. If I had answered his calls, I may not be… I started to cry. Antonio came over to me and put his arms around me.
“Antonio, I cannot let him see me this way. He will be repulsed by me.” I cried out.
“No, no, no. I can’t let him see me.” I cried, again.