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Dreams Deferred

by Nacole Totten 4 months ago in love

Pushing the Ugly Out

Photo Credit: Nacole Totten

Those who write, read, or work for Vocal probably have more than one passion. But, what we all share is a love of words. The other common thing among creators is the ability to feel deeper. That's why when I went through a broken heart, it was like winter in the spring. It was dark and cold. I had been considering suicide. It wasn't a dominant feeling. It was subtle but present. I could wash the dishes and the words: "You're not good enough would crawl into my spirit, and my mascara would stream down my cheeks.

I went to school for massage therapy during that time. I think we often don't know why we do things. It's like the stars are aligned and stuff is just happening. I didn't want to get up from bed, let alone surround myself with strangers. But for some reason, I got to the campus to sign up, and that day changed my life.

I was greeted by thirty-two people who have touched me in many ways. It was a long time since I received a sincere positive touch. Although the massages were like breakfast in bed, the life those people spoke in my spirit healed me.

There were moments when I was hiding in the closet crying, and they found me, and held me until the burn subsided. I could never pay them back for their kindness, but I know that my higher power put a book in me. It was put there to help others.

Now, because I went to only 9th grade, I had trouble with grammar, so I spent countless hours teaching myself. I had published my book in 2014, and I had so many positive reviews. I also have an e-mail from a literary agent who worked with a famous pastor. He wanted to take it to a publisher, but he needed a fee that I could not afford.

So instead, I pulled Amazon's copy to rewrite and edit a little bit more. I'm getting to a place where I think I'm ready to be heard. The reviews I had received were so beautiful and encouraging. It was a good book in 2014, but it has changed for the better. I would consider myself blessed if this dream became a reality. I would like to believe it is never too late. I am posting the first chapter below, and I hope this will help someone who suffers.

Love & Light

Chapter One

The word suicide had wrapped itself around Tatiana. Like a python it squeezed, and she felt the crushing effects of it. She wanted to trust God, but the harder it had become to breathe, the more difficult to believe.

She had only a few things in common with Jesus. The greatest similarity would have been the desire to turn water into wine. At least a drunken slumber could have pressed pause on the deep ache she felt.

Tatiana prayed often, and you can tell a lot about what disturbs a lady through her daily devotions. At that time, Adrian had her attention. He had slid between Tatiana and her faith, when he got her pregnant and deserted her.

The sun had come out that day around 5 a.m., and at noon temperatures exceeded 80 degrees. The heat made the metal bus stop bench as hot as a branding iron. Sweat dampened her skin and hair. If someone had gotten near her, they would have seen the misery in those bottomless brown eyes. The words rejection and abandonment had stuck to her.

Tatiana did not know a person could feel such shame without a witness. However, she felt it, and it emptied her. A dominating sense of embarrassment took over, and it drew her to her feet. She roamed around until she saw a parked car to kneel behind. Although unnecessary she shielded herself from the chance that her ex might pass.

Adrian's purchase of a new BMW messed with her, and he seemed determined for everyone to see him drive it. Had he been in that car, and seen her on the bus, it would have proven he made a good choice by leaving.

It did not help that he also managed his new life as a mysterious novel. He refused to share much about his new love. Only proclaiming that she had Tatiana beat in a million ways. He had become the perfect cut-and-dry antagonist.

Adrian knew his privacy taunted his ex-fiancé. If she never knew where to look for him, she would not be able to avoid an awkward situation. He could have lived right next door, or on the other side of the city, which caused the whole town to feel like a trap. She loathed the day she would step into a store and catch him in the embrace of another woman. The idea alone caused some empathy inside her. She felt pain for any woman who ever endured that.

Adrian's ego did not get obese on its own. It had been overfed with groundless compliments. The man was neither a Lord nor a God, but she idolized him. As she glorified him, she saw him turn from a man into a monster. Open wounds tore, even more, as she thought about how he aged her. Her eyes floated to the sky to stop the tears.

Where is the bus, she thought. She rubbed the back of her neck and straightened her spine. At thirty-three years old, fallen eyelids and dark circles turned her seventy.

A few days back, her doctor called her crazy. He did not use that term, but that's how it felt when he prescribed Prozac. Since she had been a strong member of her family, she became offended. Hurt and depression were two separate things. She rejected the idea that every emotion had a disorder attached to it.

As she stooped a coffee-colored woman with a sky-blue scarf looked at her. Tati rose and gave her a fake grin. Her behavior bordered on absurdity, so she went back to her seat.

Her brown fingers slipped into her pockets to find her bus ticket. She dug for a while, but realized she left it. The sun blurred her vision, and she looked down the street. What a long walk, but she had no choice.

Wrinkles spread across her forehead and sweat formed above her eyebrows. She played the song, "He Saw the Best in Me" by Marvin Sapp on her iPod. His powerful sound nudged her, and she began her three-mile walk to the Holistic Healing School in Arvada. Like her shadow, the pain lingered close.

The time from one place and the other gave her time to reflect. A client's mother stole Adrian's heart. Tatiana knew it could happen. His being a barber had brought many, attractive, desperate women, and most with fatherless sons. Each step made her question how long she had been an idiot. Anger struck her in the stomach, and she sped up her pace.

After forty minutes, she reached her destination. She had thought about school for years, but Adrian told her not to register.

He said, "My woman ain't rubbing on Anybody!"

She replied, "I do not have to work on the guys. I have always wanted to be a massage therapist. I was going to do it before we met."

"That's when you should have done it."

"I didn't have time."

"Now, you have a man who ain't going for it!"

"I already set the appointment. I also did my financial aid online."

"Tati, I don't care if you go because you will be single when you come home."

"Would you leave me for enrolling in school?"

"I would leave you for many things, and yes, it's one of them."

She laughed, "You would not leave me, it's absurd."

"Try me. "

"You would miss me."

"I am used to missing people. Did you forget I was an unwanted child? I had no dad, and no mom. I do not need you, Tatiana, remember that. I love you, but your presence in my life is not a necessity. I can love someone and still pack my shit."

"Are you telling me this after I have fallen in love with you?"

"You knew who I was."

"I know you were the one that threatened to sleep outside my door when I wanted to end us."

"I wanted you, and I got what I wanted."

"But you never said that my position in your life was as important as the garbage man!"

"Tatiana, don't be dramatic."

"Dramatic? Dramatic! This is my life we are talking about! So if I decided to pick up and walk out of your life right now, what would happen?"

Adrian replied, "I would go on."

"Just like that!"


"Incredible! So the notes on my pillow telling me I was your everything were fake?"

"Why do women think that they are the only ones who can occupy those positions in a man's life?"

"Why do we do what? Adrian, listen to yourself. You take the love that we have and reducing it to nothing."

"Tatiana, you can stand there and ask yourself anything you want, but if you're going to register for that school we are over. I do not play, so please don't try me."

Tatiana tried to lighten his mood. His words felt like black gooey shit clogging her arteries. "Babe— she giggled and hugged him—Well, I love you and I would die if you were not in my life."

Adrian withdrew from her kiss, "It's not a game. You will not go to that school."

Tatiana stopped. "Okay, I am not going."

That's when he switched on the television and took a swig of beer. Tatiana knew she should have left that night, but she lived with him until he hated everything about her. Now that he had left, she decided to do it.

Andrea welcomed her in the lobby, as she said. A wide smile came from a white woman with a little frame. She was not mad, yet she should have been. Tatiana had set ten appointments and did not show up.

"Hi Tatiana," she said.

“I am sorry. I broke my appointments.”

"No problem at all, life happens, follow me!”

Tatiana lifted her shoulders as she went behind her. Slight envy of Andrea's perfect body crossed her. Her blonde tresses flowed down her back.

But, what stood out most, what hit Tati, was her wedding ring. The hopes of her own wedding dissolved. Tatiana walked into her office and assumed Andrea's Life was perfect. Her dozy eyes browsed the room. A chiffon sweater draped a chair. Two framed memories sat on her desk, one of her husband, and the other of her puppy. There was a massage table next to her desk, and on it was the curriculum.

Her attention shifted to her clothes. Her French manicured feet peeked through open-toed heels. Tatiana wore old faded and dusty shoes, and she had worn the sides down which made her calves struggle to stand straight. She believed, if she could get a little part of what Andrea had, things would be okay.

Andrea grabbed the paperwork for enrollment. Self-doubt crept in, and Tatiana almost sobbed, trying to hold herself together. She questioned if she could finish the program.

"Are you set on changing your life?" Andrea asked.

Tatiana cleared her throat, "I do not know if I can do this, to be honest."

"Sure you can. You can do whatever you set your mind on."

Tatiana smiled inside because she reached for such a general quote for motivation. Tatiana would need more. She wanted an honest and authentic pep talk.

"That's what parents tell their kids, and the truth is, sometimes they can't."

"Well, aren't you just a positive vibration?"

"I am being real."

"It's very depressing."

"I have a reason."

"What is the reason?"

Tatiana thought about how stupid she was for even going into that building. "You know what. Never mind, I cannot do this right now. I need a job. I have three kids. I do not need to be here. I need to be out there submitting resumes."

"Why can't you do both?"


"Yes, go to school and work. People do it all the time.

"Those people have a support system too. They probably have a car as well."

"Oh, you don't have a car?"


"Then how did you get here?"

"My shoebaru and chevrolegs"

Andrea broke into laughter. She snorted and her face became flushed. She said, "That is hilarious"

"I see you have never heard it before." Tatiana cracked a smile.

"Nope, I have not. It is so funny. I may say it all the time now."

Tatiana giggled. Andrea got serious, "The fact you got here today with no car shows you are a fighter. If you want to change your life you can, but it's all about effort."

Tatiana whispered, "Okay,"

Andrea began to explain the paperwork, but Tatiana was anxious, so her pen kept drifting across the paper. Tatiana had no idea what she was signing. It would be months before she understood her program was almost twenty grand. It did not matter, because she was knee-deep in debt.. Besides, what she craved more than a license was security. Hurricane Adrian was too great for her to hold up alone. She dreamed she would find something beyond the destruction, but she had no idea what.

After signing and getting her start date, she scooped up what small pride she had. She went out the door into the heat.

Oh lord, I walked here, she thought.

Her shoulders sank, but she picked them up. She brought in a deep cleansing breath and plugged in her headphones. She began her journey back home with Marvin Sapp.


Nacole Totten

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