The Monsters Within

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Chapter 2

We arrived at the McAllen International Airport in the early hours of the evening, when the sun had just fallen and the heat was sweltering. Tired, a bit scared, but unable to control my excitement and relief over the fact that I was finally there, I disembarked from the plane and made my way into the terminal with the knowledge that I would soon be in my new home—and the belief that change, as prevalent as it was quickly becoming in my life, would soon allow me peace of mind.

I was so caught up in my feelings that I barely sensed the people around me, let alone anticipated the hand falling on my shoulder.

I instantly stiffened.

“I apologize,” the kind man from the airplane said, leaning down to look at me. “I just wanted to make sure that you had a ride.”

“I’m gonna call a cab,” I said before turning to face him. “School doesn’t start until Monday, so… I’ll be stuck in a hotel until then.”

“I take it you’ve already planned this whole thing out?”

“Yes sir. I have.”

The man smiled, and reached into his breast pocket. Shortly thereafter, he withdrew what appeared to be a business card and extended it to me before saying, “I don’t know your story, my friend, but I’d like to, if you have need of me.”

“Thank you,” I said, unsure how, or if, I was supposed to respond.

“Farewell, and safe travels.”

“Yeah,” I replied as the man walked away. “Safe travels.”

It took a moment for his compassion to settle in—for his concern to drift over me like waters across a barren shoreline. When it did, I looked down at the business card.

Taylor Green, it said in fine gold lettering. Psychiatric Services of Edinburg.

There was a brief moment that I felt at a complete loss. I didn’t know what to do, how to think, how to act. I felt an explosive panic set in, blossoming like a flower whose hopes and dreams were only to be exposed to the ever-violent sun. Like that flower, I’d wanted only to flourish; and because of that, I’d found myself sliding the business card into one pocket while withdrawing my phone from the other.

Within moments, I left the terminal behind, my suitcase in one hand, my hopes and dreams in the other.

It wasn’t long before I was sliding into the back seat of a cab and making my way to Edinburg.

We traveled slowly, effortlessly, and calmly. Hindered only by the congested streets of South Texas, it offered me the time to sit back and try to piece together how it was I would survive my first few days alone in a city thousands of miles away from home.

You’ll meet people, my conscience was quick to assure me. Maybe even make friends.

Friends? I then thought, and frowned.

I’d never been one to get close to people. This was because, deep down, I always felt a certain disconnect from them—from the way they’d talk, the way they’d act, the way they’d breathe. I knew a part of that came from the fact that I lived in such a toxic household, especially in a state where I was not welcomed, but another came from the certainty that I would never keep the friends that I made.

A sigh passed from my lips in the moments that followed, and caused me to lean back and close my eyes.

I was so tired. So very, very tired. Of everything. Realistically, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. But I knew that wouldn’t happen. I’d have to check in, set the WI-FI up, unpack a few clothes, shower, maybe even order something in to eat.

The thought of food caused my stomach to rumble.

In the end, I just wanted the day to be over.

I wanted a fresh start.

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