Chapter 1 Those Necessary Thorns: Derrick Pender


“But worthless men are all like thorns that are thrown away,
for they cannot be taken with the hand;” 2 Samuel 23:6


When I walked into the waiting room of the plain brown brick building that I’d come to know so well, I immediately inhaled deeply and exhaled with relief. Like an old familiar friend the strategically placed plants, brown cloth couch, two brown leather chairs on either side of the couch and a glass coffee table in the center were all in their respective places. The receptionist, Nancy, who was sitting behind the tall privacy nook covering most of the desk greeted me, “Hello there Mrs. Taylor. It’s a beautiful day out isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is.” I smiled wholeheartedly. “I hope I made this an easy day for you.” I winked.

“You most certainly did! Once I get you all checked in I can start my weekend a few hours early.” She said with a wide smile.

“Glad I could help.”

“You are just the sweetest. Feel free to head back when you’re ready. She’s expecting you.”

“Thank you. Enjoy your weekend.” I said as I soaked in the uncomplicated motif of the space. It made sense if you thought about it; people came to places like this to find simplicity. I can’t explain why I loved how much everything here served a purpose. I opened the heavy wooden door next to Nancy’s desk which lead to a small corridor and promptly opened the second door on the right. Once inside I was motioned to take a seat, I spoke as I did.

“It’s been awhile since I could hold my head up high.” I said confidently to the woman who helped me regain my sanity, Dr. Anirbas. “It’s been awhile since I could say everything I can’t remember, as fucked up as it all may seem.” I continued.

It’s been a few months since the good doctor and I have been acquainted. Her office has been a safe haven for my emotional well being and I’m was very grateful that my best friend, Tara, recommended her services. It wasn’t too long ago that Dr. Anirbas took a deep breath and said, “Recovery is going to take some time, Desi. I think we should start from the beginning. You mentioned a tragedy when you were younger. Tell me about your brother, Derrick Pender.”

Truthfully, I still wasn’t ready to get into all of that when she made such a proclamation. I was doing my best to process that fact that one of my best friends had betrayed me, I murdered my unborn child, my husband almost fatally shot my lover, and my lover was caught up in a prostitution ring. At that point, my life was starting felt like a Lifetime movie and I was playing the starring role of the stupid woman who couldn’t figure things out. However, the combination of the calming safety of the room and the reassuring sincerity in her eyes softened me enough to open up more than I ever intended. So I decided, today was the day. The day I would tell it all in its entirety; the day I wouldn’t hold anything back.

There was a knock on the door and I reached over to open it without asking who it was. It could only have been one person, my husband James. When I called to make my appointment I made doubly sure to reserve the entire afternoon. It was going to take that long for me to get all of this out once and for all. I assured my husband James that I needed to do this and he should be there. At first he disagreed and advised me that my sessions should remain private, which I thought was really sweet of him, however I insisted that he be present because I was only going to say these things one time and one time only. I knew there would be questions and I also knew that there were answers somewhere hiding in all of this mess. Maybe I didn’t personally have them but maybe the three of us collectively could figure it out.

      James took a seat on the couch next to me and nodded a hello to Dr. Anirbas. She smiled back and I asked both of them to take the two seats in front of me. I needed their full attention; I needed to see their eyes. I cleared my throat and poured a glass of water as I sat across from my husband and my therapist. The glass was cold and just what I needed. I adjusted my hips and took a long sip before speaking. “Please be patient with me today. There is a lot that I need to get off my chest…” As I spoke my eyes prematurely began to well with tears. “…A lot that you don’t know about me.” I said looking at James before dropping my eyes to the floor. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair but remained silent.

     “Take your time Desiree. We are here for you.” Dr. Anirbas said in the familiar nurturing tone that only she could deliver.

     “Okay,” I said taking another deep breath. “Where should I begin?”



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