This blog contains fictional short stories that advocate self-acceptance and growth.
All stories are original pieces written by the blog author, Christin Webb.

Visit for details about her first published novel, Enough Time.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Breaking Bondage"

Jeneae woke up every night in a pool of sweat and a heart beating as fast as drivers on Interstate 85 headed from Georgia to South Carolina. Her silk wrapped hair would be drenched as if she had been sleeping in a pool of water. Only thirty-five, she wasn't experiencing night sweats from menopausal symptoms. Yet, she was awakened each night from the continuous nightmares she was having from thoughts of her childhood. The physical outcomes of her nightmares were beginning to take a toll on her boyfriend, Hubbert. Every time she was having an episode, he'd have to hold her for about twenty minutes before she could return to sleep. And this was only the case if she wasn't too afraid to close her eyes again. It was as if her past was tormenting her present.

"Baby! Are you ok?" Hubbert whispered as he repeatedly shook Jenae who was still asleep. She was howling in fear and jerking her body as if she was having a seizure. After about ten minutes of this, she eventually woke up. Her breathing was short. Her body again flooded with sweat, she nodded her head in response as she sat up against the wooden headboard of their king size bed. Turning the light on, "I'm not trying to tell you what to do, hun, but I think it's time you went to talk to someone about this. Tonight makes seven weeks that you have not been able to sleep through the entire night because of this nightmare. I'll be here for you, but it's not healthy. Heck, it's not healthy for either of us to be honest."

Wiping her forehead she replied, "I don't know baby. I keep thinking they're going to go away. The nightmares just seem to become more real every night I close my eyes. I just don't get it. It's like she keeps trying to make my life miserable one way or another."

"Well I just want you to be ok. I have a friend named Ferald Guy that handles things like this. You want me to give him a ring?" he continued.

"Let me think about it. I know you're only looking out for me, but talking about these nightmares aren't going to be easy for me."

"And not talking about them isn't going to help you move forward. Somehow you've got to let go of your past; especially the bad thoughts. I love you sweetie and just want what's best," he replied reassuring her with a kiss to the forehead and holding her close to his chest as they eventually dozed back off to sleep.

The next morning, Hubbert's plea to Jenae really got her to thinking. Over breakfast, she asked Hubbert to give her the number to Dr. Ferald Guy so she could begin some journey to emotional resolution. Around lunch, she decided to give him a call to schedule her first appointment.

The meeting was scheduled later that week. As the days got closer to the appointment, Janae felt her level of anxiety revert back and forth from zero to one hundred in a matter of seconds. She was intrigued by what the results of the meeting would be, but also petrified of verbally sharing her past with a stranger.

The day of the meeting arrived and Hubbert agreed to drive Janae to the appointment for she was too nervous to get behind a steering wheel. He walked her through the sign-in process and sat with her in the waiting room as they anticipated the doctor's appearance. Hubbert browsed some of the magazines strategically positioned on the coffee tables, while Janae just fiddled with her perfectly manicured fingernails. After about fifteen minutes, Janae was called to the back. She grasped Hubbert's hand tightly as she stood to head back. He gripped hers in return and nodded to assure her everything would be ok.

Down the white walled hallway, Janae began to focus on the abstract pictures that outlined them. All were framed with steel iron, which seemed to enhance the image of each almost perfectly. As she and the receptionist reached the office, one of the pictures caught her eye. It reminded her of her childhood in Mississippi. She was the sixth of seven other siblings; three boys and four girls. Her mother was an elementary teacher and father a local store owner. Considering the period she was raised, her family was pretty well off. The picture reminded her of the house she grew up in. It was a two story, brick house, with a large front porch that was decorated with rosebushes and flowerbeds and a swing that her father built when she was four years old. The swing used to be one of her favorite memories of the house, but by the time she turned seventeen it had become part of her nightmares.

The receptionist led her to her chair as she waited for the doctor, Ferald Guy, to enter. When he did, he came in with a welcoming smile and a few jokes to try to lighten her mood. Without responding, she just returned hesitant smiles. She had become ready to just get it all over with.

"So, Miss Janae Hillard, what brings you to visit me today?" he began.

"Well, as I mentioned briefly in our phone conversation, I need to try to discover what's got me holding on to my past so tightly," she responded.

Before getting to the meat of the meeting, they spent the first few minutes becoming more acquainted with one another. Janae shared her background with Dr. Guy. And he shared his with her to make her more comfortable.

"Ok. First tell me what are the signs that let you know you are holding on to it?" he inquired.

"I guess the most significant thing is these nightmares I continue to have. They come almost every night nowadays," she replied.

"How long have you had the nightmares? I mean, when did they start?"

"I would say since I was seventeen."

"And how old are you now?"
Answering hesitantly, she replied, "Thirty-five. I'll be thirty-six in December."

"So, for over fifteen years, you've been trapped by your past through these nightmares?"

"Yes. And they haven't happened every day for the last fifteen years. They come and go. Sometimes months go by that I don't experience them, but in general, they have always been around," she answered beginning to feel herself choke up.

Handing her a tissue, Dr. Guy continued, "Not to drag you to a place you wish you didn't have to go, could you describe the nightmares to me? Only if you feel comfortable to do so now."

"I'm ok. I came here for a reason, so I should just get it out. The nightmares involve me watching my best friend die. It's like I'm standing at the edge of the porch of my family house. My best friend is standing on the first step next to the porch. She's smiling. Yet, my face is full of anger and hatred," she began to open up.

"And what happens from that point? Why are you angered" he continued to inquire about the nightmares.

"In some of the nightmares, I just walk away from her. She's chastising me. Calling me names. Telling me I was worthless and would never be accepted by anyone. In others I relive what actually happened," she began. As she started to let him in on one of the biggest secrets of her life, she begins to tear up and reaches for more tissues.

"Take your time, Janae. I don't want this to be a bad experience for you, but a therapeutic one," he said as comfort while handing her bottled water and more tissue.

Her mind began to become a little cluttered as she couldn't believe she was about to let go of the biggest events ever in her life. She hadn't even shared the truth with Hubbert. And they'd been together for six years up to this point. She finally calmed down to just spit out what happened to Dr. Guy.

"In the nightmares where I relive the truth, I find myself crying over her body wishing she'd come back to life, but it's always too late. Just as it was too late back then. What actually happened, Dr. Guy, is that I killed my best friend, Lorriane. She had come over my house earlier that day to tell me she was dating the guy I was so infatuated with. I remember telling her that she was low down for doing so. She knew I really liked him and wanted to be with him; however I didn't have the confidence to do anything about it. She was so happy when she told me. And it just enraged me to no end. In the nightmares when I walk away, I wish that was actually what happened, but unfortunately, it wasn't. As she stood on the step smiling from ear to ear she kept repeating, "He wouldn't want you anyway, Janae. You're not his type. You never show that you could even deal with someone like him. Why would he want you anyways?"  The anger just grew and grew inside of me, Dr. Guy. I hated her so much at that moment. I mean, how could she say such things to me. Seriously? We were best friends, I thought. I remember getting up off the swing on our porch and walking over to her. I got in her face as we stood toe to toe. I tried to make her stop saying those horrible words to me, but she wouldn't. She continued to just taunt me and tell me why I wasn't good enough. I couldn't think of anything to do, but push her. And that's what I did," Janae admitted.

"Wow, that's a lot to carry for this long, Janae," Dr. Guy replied. He didn't say it in a judgemental way, but in a concerned tone. "What happened after that, Janae?"

"She fell down our stairs, head first and landed on her head. She died almost instantly, I later learned. I told my parents, her parents, and the police that she just lost her balanced when she was walking up to the swing to talk to me. I felt so horrible, but I didn't want to go to jail. I didn't want to suffer the consequences that could follow."

"Would you say you have anyway?" he inquired.

Crying she answered, "Yes. I haven't had a successful friendship since then. My relationship with others seems to always fail. Even with Hubbert, we've been together six years, but for whatever reason, we haven't married. I think its been punishment for what I did to her so long ago. I don't know what to do about it? I don't know how to fix it."

"Do you think there is a fix, Janae?" Dr. Guy began, "I mean, what do you think you could do to correct this and be able to move on?"

Looking up at him with a questionable eye, Janae knew he was alluding to her telling someone other than him about it. "I know what you're getting at, Dr. Guy, but I'm not sure I can do that. What if I have to go to jail? I don't want to do that?"

"Do you think you owe it to anyone to tell the truth? I usually say the truth is what releases our handicaps in life. What if telling this truth, really helps you move on, Janae?" he continued. "It's something to think about. I think the nightmares have continued because the truth has not been told. This particular past has been holding on to you because you may have never addressed it properly. We all have pasts we are not proud of and the only way we can truly walk away from them is to face them. Until then, Janae, the nightmares may never go away. It's as if they are pleading for you to face your past."

"I hear you, Dr. Guy, and I guess it's something I have thought about repeatedly, but I just don't know if I can do it. I just don't."

"Well, I believe you know what the right thing to do is. And I suspect that after you leave this office today, you'll begin to heavily consider correcting this that has been haunting you for the last eighteen years. Just remember, if you choose to do the right thing, your soul will at least be free. Whatever the consequences may be. And who knows there may not be any at all. I can't say what will happen, but I urge you to do what's right. You owe it to yourself, your friend, her family, and your future. Open up, let go, and do what's right. You may be amazed at the outcome."

The idea of having to face this past was very scary to Janae, but three weeks after her visit with Dr. Guy, she decided that she would call Lorriane's parents and let go of her past. She did just that. Surprisingly, they were thankful and forgiving to Janae. She was finally able to move on with her life.

It's amazing how we can some times keep ourselves in bondage when it only takes one moment in time to release ourselves and live freely. We often think the consequences of a situation are the most to be feared when in reality, it is ourselves that we fear the most.