An excerpt from The Remedy

Covering a few early shifts one week for our daytime bartender, Debbie, I decided to stay for the Wednesday happy hour. Just before it was in full swing, Edmund came in. I knew he’d be having a Glenlivet, and I was relieved to see him. Our conversations were always mentally stimulating, and he was one of my favorite patrons—well dressed, respectful to a fault and always offering words of wisdom and encouragement as it pertained to my career aspirations.
Edmund sat down next to me at the bar after giving me one of those one-armed hugs, that don’t really allow the huggers bodies to come in contact with each other.
“So, when are you going to tell me more about this book you’re writing? I want to hear about it. Seriously.” He was so earnest.
“I haven’t written very much. I keep getting stuck, not because I have nothing to say, but because I honestly just cannot say it.” It was an issue I had never met with, writing in the past. Everything always seemed to describe itself for me, naturally.
Should I admit that I was really just unable to face the feelings of depression that would begin to manifest every time I tried to recount what had happened? I knew the anxiety was because I wanted it to be true. The only way I knew to keep it true was to relive the event, intentionally drawing details and specifics from my memory. Every time I’d sit at my desk in the mood to write, I’d step away from a blank screen twenty minutes later in search of wine. A two-hour bout always left me with a tear-stained keyboard, an empty wine bottle and a very real fear of facing my past.
Edmund sat patiently, attentively waiting for me to share details about the book.
“Writer’s block is natural. What is it about? Who’s your publisher? Why are you writing it? Do you have an illustrator for the cover design? You know my wife’s an artist.” He waited for the answers. What was I supposed to say?

“It’s about an event in my life and all the subsequent interactions and situations I found myself in as direct results of the first; the book chronicles how everything affected me. I write it as I lived it, in constant conflict and turmoil. And at the end I really just want the two conflicting parts of me to be whole, but it’s really hard to get them to come together because they really aren’t together now. I’m not sure if they will ever be.”
Edmund paused. Puzzled, he asked, “What are they in conflict over?” I let the question hang in the air for a second while I gathered myself.
“Rape. While my leg was broken, I was raped, and half of me kept trying to fight and push on, while the other half felt dirty, guilty and worthless. They just don’t get along very well anymore, and I never knew two sides existed until then. I can’t figure out how to bring them together the way they were before it happened…” Rambling, I peered into the soul of my gimlet, ashamed.
Edmund cut me off. “Hannah, I am sorry you had to go through that. I am, but the truth is, not every story has an ending. The book can stop wherever you want or need it to, but the story may never end. Understand?”
“Yes, I know but I…” I started, averting my eyes to the scratches on the bar. I couldn’t look at him anymore; I felt transparent, vulnerable and ashamed. He wasn’t finished.
“Understand that you are alive, and that will be enough for every reader to know the story hasn’t ended. They don’t need to know if you ever accepted both halves, or ever “fixed” everything. All they need to know is what you wanted to know from the beginning: Are you the only one going through this, experiencing these thoughts? Putting yourself in these situations? Are you wrong or crazy? And I can answer that. You aren’t wrong. You do know that, right?!”
I was in no position to look at him. He repeated the question, and this time he expected an answer, so I looked him in the eye.
Edmund was an older gentleman—late 40s or early 50s I’d estimate—tall and lean. He’d played basketball at the University of Pittsburgh. His position at MasterCard required that he travel frequently, and he was what I am certain most women would call very handsome. I’d always thought so, and in that instant, rather than feelings of insecurity and shame, his question exposed my grief.
“I know,” I whispered, immediately looking back down at the bar. I began to feel Joel’s hands all over my body again, and my face started to tingle in the spot his hand had once connected. I wanted to run again. I was about to, but Edmund broke the silence.

3 Comments An excerpt from The Remedy

    1. Marie

      Hi DWL! You’re very welcome and in all honesty. it is something I really wished had been done to was emu pain. Knowing that I can reach girls and women experiencing the hurt I’ve repurposed for good means everything to me.

      Reply

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