Click the link below for Part One of “Lydia”
Alan attended the funeral with his father and in the weeks past he and Lydia began to grow close. They were such a gorgeous couple and when they announced their wedding engagement they became the darlings of anyone who was anyone in Miami’s social scene.
Lydia, for her part believed that all people had the ability to better themselves. Maybe this is the belief that allowed her to continue on in a relationship that most people would have abandoned. Perhaps abandoned is too soft a thought. Most people would have taken off like Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah without the slightest glance back. But not Lydia, she felt that true love was the ability to see past someone’s flaws and to endure with them through whatever struggles they faced.
Alan was flawed. Lydia endured. But the only struggle was Lydia’s every time she tried to find a suitable cover story. As she stood before the mirror dabbing her Givenchy concealer to no avail she had decided that the best way shield her black eye from her students was simply not to go to work at all. She had convinced them that her broken nose last month was the result of a car accident. It worked fairly well considering what happened to her car in her effort to drive from the home in which her enraged fiancé was still wreaking havoc.
Alan had unexpectedly, and quite talentedly, leapt from the balcony of their second floor apartment onto the hood of her car as she pulled out of the garage below. Though he had broken her nose because she refused to hand over her phone quickly enough, he was “overcome with grief” at the thought of her leaving and rampaged like a madman to keep her from leaving. He blocked the exit from the alleyway, and refused to move from the car. Seeing no other way out of the situation Lydia snatched her keys out of the ignition, took off towards their apartment flung herself inside and bolted the doors behind her. Alan could be heard calling her name and apologizing over and over for hours. Most of the time it was a quiet meowing, with soft sobs, then he’d have spurts of energy and would stand up on the white-washed brick wall below and yell to no one in particular how much he loved Lydia Monroe. It was to all of this that Lydia drank herself to sleep.
When she awoke at three a.m. Alan was sprawled on top of her car, asleep, shirtless and barefoot. She looked down at him from their bedroom and remembered the boy he was. Once, when Lydia was scared for her mother and couldn’t sleep What it was inside of her that made her retrieve him isn’t something that can be explained. It wasn’t maternal, attachment, pity, but understanding. So, anyway, between the unexpected blow to her face and the totally unexpected blows to her car Lydia was in a horrific position. But she had developed a story that worked in both damages: A car accident. One need only notice the lack of scratches that usually occurred when a moving vehicle hit something else, or that the dents each fit a size 13 mens shoe exactly, but no one noticed.
Her story, laughed off with the talent of years of drama class, needed only be explained to a class of questioning teenagers who noticed her new crooked nose, and a few coworkers. She neither had money nor desire to see a doctor and she easily avoided her mother and sisters, claiming she was swamped with work. But that was less than a month ago. A brand new shiny black eye would, indeed, raise suspicion. And so, she decided to call out sick Thursday and Friday before Christmas break. This would give her time to heal properly before she had occasion to show her face to anyone who would be concerned. Or anyone at the wedding, for that matter.
It’s not that she didn’t realize Alan’s actions were wrong. She knew them to be dead wrong. But she believed them the side effects of a seriously troubled youth that she’d only discovered after they were engaged. Alan’s father, the prominent doctor and member of his Miami Beach Community, was a horribly violent man. He had beaten Alan’s mother until she went mad and then beat Alan until the boy was big enough to hit back. And hit he did. The young Alan was arrested for violent crimes on sixteen different occasions before he lived as many years. He had been a gang member, a drug dealer, and as everyone who swore that they saw him shoot Lucky that night on the park, a murderer.
Knowing she had fallen in love with a man with a troubled past, she was patient, and loving. She shrugged off his cockiness and condescending tone to others as remnants of a father’s influence still to be purged. And she would purge him, until he became the man she knew he could be. And he returned her kindness in every way. When he asked for her hand in marriage all Lydia knew of him was weekly flowers, promises of forever, what she believed to be genuine kindness.
He had showered her with gifts, and made her feel every bit the princess from tales of long ago. With a handsome prince by her side. They bought a new home, and lived quite comfortably. Until three months before the wedding. Alan had become distant, and cold. Lydia believed it was due to stress at work. And he gave her every reassurance that things were ok. But one day, after a heated argument in which he disrespected Lydia horrifically, she slapped him. With no warning he was upon her like a lion on his prey. He grabbed her by the throat and threw her against the wall and spit in her face. Then with a roar he let loose his grip and they both fell to the floor, weeping.
That was the first violent incident. The second was the nose, and now, third, her black eye. Because he had shown no sign of violence towards her before, Lydia thought that making him agree to counseling would suffice. He was sick in the head, she thought, but not permanently. It’s stress.
They started counseling once a week.