“Good job, Marla,” Robby says as we leave the building. Edith is now finishing up her show with another interview; a ten year old child actor who will probably be much more screwed up than I am by the time he’s fifteen. I glare at him, a deep tiredness still inside. “How can you say that, Robby? I lied. I lied and lied and lied. Everything was so cliched, and no one took me seriously! It’s like they think that since I escaped before it became rape, that it’s okay. That it’s no big deal. That it’s a damn joke!” I fight back tears, remembering the audience’s laughter. But I can’t let myself weaken now, not when everything is finally over.
He sighs a little. “Marla, if those people honestly think that, they’re fools. Just because it wasn’t rape, doesn’t mean it’s a not a big deal. It is. This will take time to heal. A lot of time.” I silently thank God that he doesn’t say that I don’t have it as bad as others. I know that already, and if I hear it one more time I may kick a wall in with the point of my high heel.
Robby suddenly says, “Hey, let’s get you some ice cream. I say that you deserve it.” This is another reason Robby is the bodyguard that’s lasted the longest. He does stuff like this when he knows I’m having a hard time.
We swing by Cold Stone, and I get the biggest bowl of coffee and sweet cream ice cream I can. Ice cream doesn’t solve your problems, but it makes you feel better without causing you to lose your mind, unlike alcohol.
Once I get back, I tell Robby to spend the rest of his day off. After all, Chelsea, my roommate, will be back soon, so I think I’ll be fine until she does. At first, Robby argues with me, but when I mention that it’s a Saturday, that he’ll be able to spend some time with his wife and kids, he relents and leaves. I now have the rest of the day to myself. I can do almost anything now. I could leave and drive upstate, I could go to a bookstore and read for hours, or I could make a tasty beef burgundy for dinner.
But I’m too lazy to do any of that. Instead, I get in my comfiest clothes and lie in front of the T.V. Comedies, no dramas, no thrillers, just pure and stupid fun. Despite the fact that these shows are completely formula and too easy to predict, they’re good when you’re having a bad day. My phone suddenly dings; I’ve got a text.
It’s from Chelsea: Hey Mar, I’m gonna be staying at Adam’s 2night. Just lettin you know ahead of time, instead of last minute. C u 2morrow!
Adam is Chelsea’s boyfriend. I’m glad that she’s going to have fun tonight. No, really, I am! (Damn, doesn’t she know I had a bad day? That I need a friend more than I have for a while? She should know, she should get it, help me, be there for me, let me cry, this sucks, it does, God, so selfish)
I shake my head. No, just because I had a bad day doesn’t mean Chelsea should drop everything to hang with me. I’m depressed, and it would ruin her mood. I don’t want to make her upset because I am. That’s more selfish than her crashing at Adam’s tonight.
No, tonight food will be my comfort. I don’t need to get back to work until Monday, anyway. I can do whatever tomorrow. I ring up a local Chinese restaurant and give them my order. While I wait, I yank out my laptop and check my email. The first email is from someone I don’t know. I know I shouldn’t open it; could be a scam. But my curiosity grows, and I finally click on it.
The message reads:
How did a twig like you fend off that guy, and then have the gall to say how traumatized you are? Either suck it up, or actually follow through with killing yourself. Or, even better, actually get as screwed up as you say you are.
The rest of the message details ways of suicide, and news articles detailing suicides of raped women. Nausea starts up in my stomach again, and I fight back the tears. I hastily delete the message, and then I empty my digital garbage. Hopefully, that loser won’t email me again. I know that you shouldn’t respond to those people; I may be a model, but I’m not stupid.
I’ve gotten hate mail before, and I’ve seen comments on social media ridiculing me and claiming I’m faking being messed up. It’s at times like these that I’m glad I’m not a celebrity. If I was…oh God, the media would be breathing down my neck. I’d be on tabloids. I think if that had happened, I would go completely crazy.
The door buzzes, and I shriek lightly before realizing that my food is probably here. I walk up to the door and press the buzzer. “Miss Grace, your food is here,” the doorman says.
“Okay, let them up,” I say. A few minutes later, the door buzzes again, and I walk back to the door.
A small woman greets me. “You are Marla Grace, yeah?” she asks. She’s short, about 5’0, Chinese, and has a short black ponytail.
“Yeah,” I answer.
“Sign this, please. If you do not, this purchase will be invalid, and I shall be fired!” I laugh a little as I sign the slip of paper. “You think this is funny? Why, I… Oh, whatever. It is funny.” I hand her the paper. “Thank you for the cash,” she says, and she leaves.
I’m just chewing on some sesame chicken when I feel a strange prickle over my skin. I try to shake it off; it’s just the paranoia coming out. It’s nothing. But I slowly feel myself getting up against my will. I place my plate down and walk over to the window. The chills intensify.
There’s someone in the shadows across the street. They are angled in a way so they can stare right into my living room window. (It’s nothing Marla, it’s coincidence, they’re waiting for someone else in this apartment complex, you self centered girl) I close the windows, calm down a little, and I walk back to finish dinner.
When I look out the window before I go to bed, the person is gone, and my heart stops skipping beats.