Beautiful In Every Way [Shelby Chapter] Part 1

December 2011

The first thought Shelby had when she woke up in her king-sized bed, the wall next to the bed needed to be cleaned. She had forgotten about the coffee cup that had fallen off of the nightstand last week during a heated argument with her boyfriend. The glass mug did not break, but instead bounced twice and rolled underneath the bed, eventually coming to a standstill out of sight, and out of mind. The battle had raged on for nearly the entire weekend, ending only because Gabriel discovered something interesting to watch on television. Last Sunday evening was not the first time that Shelby had been grateful to be far less important than everything else in her boyfriend’s life, otherwise, she would never get a minute of rest from his endless rantings.

Peeking from beneath her blanket cocoon, Shelby did not need to roll over towards his side of the bed to know that Gabriel had either not come home last night, or slipped out during the night. Her feelings on the matter were well beyond disconcerting, and far too enigmatical to attempt to process. After all, if Gabriel was not home, then he was not there to yell and scream at her. Although he always made sure to find, and possibly schedule, enough time to telephone Shelby for just that.

For several minutes, Shelby barely moved, instead she began a mental inventory of old cobwebs, brown coffee stains, and the accumulated dust and debris on the floor by the nightstand. Then the revelation, she must do something about the bedroom and the rest of the house soon before the house became overrun with something much worse, and even less clean.

Shelby could not wait any longer to pee. Regrettably, she stepped from bed, wearing a long-sleeved Pink Panther nightshirt and purple booty socks. She quickly scooted her way across the hall to the upstairs bathroom, kicking a pile of dirty clothes and sending them sailing along the hardwood floor with her.

Shelby had been sleeping for almost twelve hours, and she felt like the flow of urine may never stop. Stepping from the toilet to the large white porcelain sink to wash her hands, she could not help but take inventory of the woman in the dirty bathroom vanity mirror, and commented to herself in a soft passive voice.

“So this is it.”

She paused, glanced over her right shoulder towards the bedroom, and then continued.

“This is depression.”

Shelby remained in front of the mirror for several minutes, examining her cheerless face, swollen eyes, and her disheveled unwashed hair. Gabriel had never hit her or abused her physically, but she would have preferred to be kicked or beaten. Anything would be an improvement over this current hell she had come to know as her life. Even though she lived in a five bedroom house, with at times up to four other people, she lived alone and completely isolated from the world. She had become a prisoner in her mind and had recently begun to compare her situation to that of some lonely soul shipwrecked on an island, or wandering the desert waiting to die.

Shelby opened the medicine cabinet and stared at the row of small brown plastic bottles, each prescribed to one Ms. Shelby Candelaria. Using her right index finger, she poked a few of the small ugly bottles and examined several of the small red and yellow warning stickers. Each bottle screamed death in the language of the enemy, the language of pharmacy.

First closing her eyes, Shelby slammed the door nearly hard enough to break the mirror. She could hear the bottles fall over behind the glass. Dragging her fingers across the glass door, she looked at herself in the mirror for a second time, the look on her face changed dramatically. Although a very beautiful young woman, Shelby no longer felt attractive, but instead ugly and withered. She could not remember the last time anyone had told her that she was pretty, or had given her a single compliment. Gabriel’s idea of being kind, telling her that she was lazy, stupid, or needed to lose more weight. Her passion and will to fight back long gone, Shelby now chose to handle everything amicably, a skill Shelby had been forced to learn and practice during her current toxic relationship.

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