THIS is me…(125)

By: Sarah Ann Walker

I'm scared and nauseous, and my head wants to fill with all the horrors of my past, but I'm fighting my way through it.

When Mack abruptly rises from the bench, he tugs at my hand and mumbles to Z, “Just give us a minute.”

When Mack and I walk to the back of the conference room, he stops me and kind of eases me against the wall as he stands in front of me.

Looking at Mack my stomach is suddenly in knots. Mack doesn’t look good. Actually, he looks upset or maybe sad, I’m not sure which.

“Mack, what’s wrong?” I whisper as I grab for his shirt. Not speaking, Mack hold my hands in his own against his chest.

“Sorry I’m scaring you, I’m not trying to. Ah, I just wanted to talk to you for a second before you testify.”

“What’s wrong, Mack?” I beg.

“Nothing at all. I want you to know I absolutely adore you. I think everything about you is wonderful, and I love you very much.”

“Okay… But?”

“There’s no but. Today is going to be hard, and I want you to know how much I love you, and how proud I am of you. Your strength is undeniable this time. And though I’ve said it before, I think you need to hear how amazing you are to me, Suzanne. You and I have gone through so much together, and I wanted to remind you how special you are to me, in case things become very dark today and you forget later how much you mean to me, and how wonderful you really are. That’s all, Suzanne. There’s nothing bad, I promise.”

When Mack pauses, I glance around him to Z and Kayla sitting on the bench together. Smiling at me, Kayla is holding Z’s hand, nodding at me. I think she can hear Mack and she must agree with him. Thank god. I really needed to hear that because I’m absolutely terrified of today.

Exhaling, I wrap my arms around Mack as tight as I can.

“Thank you Mack for saying that. Thank you again, for everything, always. I love you so, so much,” I say as I try to let go of all the bad in my head for a minute.

Pulling away from me, Mack bends down low, kisses my forehead, and wipes the tears from my cheeks. Watching me closely as always, he hugs me again, tugs me to his side and walks us back to Z.

But before I can sit back down, Mack whispers, “You’re such a doll, Suzanne,” into my ear, making me smile again.


Show time.

Walking down the aisle to the front bench, I just can't look at my father. I thought I wanted to see him, but now I know I can’t. I'm not ready to see if he's still the handsome, distinguished-looking man of my past. I'm not ready to see him as the dad I always begged to love me. I don't want to instantly become the young Suzanne who begged for his love, and cried for his affection.

I am not HER anymore. And I don't need his love anymore. I have this life and this love now. This is who I turned out to be. This is me now; good, bad, ugly and beautiful.

“Please state your name for the record,” comes a distant voice.

Shaking my head and clearing my throat, I lean in way too close to the microphone like an idiot, as I look at Z. Grinning, he nods his head 'go for it'.

“Um… I'm Suzanne Zinfandel.”

And when I see the identical look of shock on the Kaylas faces as their heads whip toward Z, I start giggling like a Crazy.

Ooops... Z and I are in deep shit tonight.