It was a chilly October night as Lily was sitting on the couch listening to the heavy winds clash against her trailer home. She shivered, and her dog who was laying down by her feet looked up at her and let out a whimper. “Shh, Scout. It’s just the wind.” He sat up and inched closer to her, resting his head on her leg. She patted his head, thinking about how even at age 10 the lab mix still was scared to death by every little noise. She could hear a faint clanking on the stairs outside as Travis was coming into the house. Scout ran to the door to greet him.
“Hey Hun.” Lily called out to her husband.
“Hiya Babe.” He answered back as he leaned down to give Scout a head rub. “The animals are all fine, all this wind hasn’t disturbed them much.” She let out a sigh of relief.
Travis took off his shoes and made his way to the couch. He plopped down next to his wife, and gave her a light kiss on the cheek. She smiled thinking about how her life had changed so much in a short twelve years. In a month she would be celebrating her third anniversary with her husband. Her husband. If someone would have asked her when she was 16 whether she would have married or not, she probably would have told them no.
Scout’s claws clicked on the wood floor as he started pacing from the kitchen to the dining room. His panting grew heavier. “Scout. Come here.” Lily called. He came over and sat by Travis’ legs. Travis touched his head, hoping to ease his skittishness some.
“I finally have my story written out.” Lily smiled, all proud of herself.
“Yeah? Can I be the person of honor and hear it first?” She let out a smile. She loved her husband. He was her biggest mentor and encourager. He always believed in her, more often than she did. When Lily was full of doubts, he was full of inspiration. That was one of the reasons she fell for him in the first place.
“Of course. It would be more of an honor for me to have you be the first to witness it.” She flipped to the page in her journal where she had started the story. She paused before starting, “Now mind you. I might cry. Just bear with me.” Travis intertwined his fingers with hers. He was ready to finally hear her story. The one where she kept details to a minimal. The one that he knew only a portion of.
Lily was ready to tell her husband her story. The full story. She let out a long sigh before beginning.
Shortly after my thirteenth birthday, I went through a great depression. Every time I looked in the mirror, all I saw was a plump tomato ready to be squeezed. My cheeks were too red, my body to wide. I yearned to just poke a hole in my side to allow all my fat to ooze out. I longed to have nicer clothes, not the baggy hand-me-downs I had already worn for years.To make matters worse, my home life was almost unbearable. My mom, brother, and I were tormented by a tyrant that lived inside a hefty man. Any little thing could set him off: me being on the computer when I was “supposed to be outside,” my brother’s speech being too “mumbled,”or his TV program not being on when he wanted it.
I set out to end the feelings of being depressed. At first, I smoked cigarette butts. Probably the most disgusting thing ever. I wanted a real one, but I feared what would happen to me if it was found out that I stole from my mom or her Goliath. So I set out to find other ways. I used the knife that I had received from my birthday to cut lines into me. Never too deep. I knew I had to keep these things a secret. Most of the time, my “scratches” were assumed to be from the cat.Months later, right before I would turn 14 I tried weed with my best friend at the time. I had never felt so amazing and fearless. I craved that feeling. But fear again stopped me from finding out how to get some of my own stuff. So I developed an eating disorder. I usually skipped breakfast. At lunch, despite my grumbling stomach, I lied to my friends. I told them that I couldn’t eat because I had a huge breakfast and was still full.
My grades began to slip. I felt horrible. I could never pay attention in science, the hardest class I had at the time. My science teacher had noticed too. He would write little notes on my quiz sheets such as, “What’s happening to my star student?” I felt terrible and pressured that I had failed yet another person in my life. Every night I would climb into my bed and muster out all of my feelings and problems to my dog Abby. Then she would allow me to hold her while I often times cried myself to sleep. The summer before I entered high school, was the summer I had to say goodbye to her. Abby was a 9 year old Pug with cancer.
Hot tears had begun to roll down Lily’s cheeks. Travis put his arm around her and pulled her close, allowing her to cry on his chest. “I’m sorry,” she sobbed. He knew that she had done some things in her past, but he never knew how much she had endured. He was so proud to call her his wife. His wife. The thought of marriage had never been a serious one until he fell in love with her.
It had taken Travis months of flirting and kindness to finally have her agree on a date. It went horrible. It took several more months for her to give him another chance. If it had been any other girl, he would have just let her walk away. But he knew that Lily was different. She was a mystery, and he had an urge to discover what it was. After 2 years worth of dates, calls, fights, and promises, he knelt down to ask her for her hand in marriage. Lily’s eyes had welled up with tears as she nodded yes. They married 51 weeks later.
As Lily sat back up, Travis brushed the tears off her cheeks. “You should go on. I want to hear the rest.” Lily nodded, and continued on with her story.
In the midst of my battle with depression, I was still walking in a bloody field. It was the new norm for me. To never feel anything. To make myself numb to everything. My job was my only release. I had people there that didn’t know my past and treated me like I was a long-time friend. Whenever I walked in everyone greeted me with a smile and a “How’s it going?”
It was shortly before Christmas that God gave me a healthier alternative to draw me out of my shell. I came home to see my mom and the Tyrant standing in the living room next to the couch. Now, where the couch was positioned, the back was to the door so it was easy to not be able to see anything in the living room unless I physically walked over there. When I closed the door they let go of what was in hidden view from me, and said, “Merry Early-Christmas,” and that was when a young pup of about 6 months trotted over to me eager to sniff the scents on me.
A smile flickered on my face. In that moment I felt a surge of happiness and hope run up and down my spine. I don’t know why this dog caused my stomach to flutter, but he did. I knew that he was a gift from God, since I had decided to turn my back away from Him the beginning of that school year. This was His way of healing me.
“So whatcha gonna name him?” my mom had asked me. I looked down at the mutt that was still sniffing at my shoes. He was mostly brown with four white socks, a white tip on his tail, and a white patch by his nose. He looked to be a lab mix, but I couldn’t quite tell. A few names popped into my head, but I didn’t know quite yet what a suitable name would be. I would ponder on it for the next few days. Calling him any name I thought to be decent. “Hunter, fetch. Shep, sit. Down, Chief. Meeko, ya silly dog!” Finally after a week I settled on a name: Scout.