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Amy Duenos
K. Jennings
ENG 111-80
October 30, 2014
Masks of a Dear Friend
As a child my dear friend Mya was once considered a patient that could not be saved.
This theory was medically based on the fact that no one, not even specialists could get her to
respond to simple direct questions. Even in close range my dear friend still seemed so distant,
always in a trance like state as if she was stuck in a daze. Isolating herself from social events or
any size group of people became a habit. Her habit not only occurred in public, but also at home
while in the presence of her family and the few friends that she had accepted. This habit is
definitely one of pure disconnect in which she could completely cut the world off mentally as
desired. In most cases she would use this strategy to help clear her mind of bad vibes, helping
herself to avoid emotional break downs or hard feelings. She would also use this tactic to block
out some thoughts or memories altogether depending on the situations and the levels of
negativity from which they evolved. Mya’s story has not only affected me deeply in an
emotional yet very physical way, but her situations have also caused me to wonder why others
seclude themselves as well.
Growing up Mya’s attendance in many schools felt more like obstacle courses than
curricular courses. With her urge to avoid issues in navigating uncomfortably through groups of
people along hallways, Mya would show up early to events and leave long after everyone else no
matter where she went. Even though one could not tell my dear friend has always observed her
every surrounding as if she were inspecting critical components of something that held great

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importance. Her evaluations of her environment often took place during her disconnects, often
what some individuals described to be an angry slump or depressed slouch. Many would often
ask Mya if she was ok in concern and others have asked her thoughts, but as a result Mya usually
deflects the questions with a change of subject or a sudden joke depending on her surroundings.
Other times, on more intense days she would retreat in silence completely confusing the
individuals surrounding her. I have often wondered what other people were thinking when they
caught Mya in these trance like states.
Determined to unleash the true causes of Mya’s behavior and isolation, I tried to analyze
her life experiences and relate them to her conditions, just as her prior doctors had. Being a close
friend of a patient that was the subject of many psychiatric evaluations, I also was once the
subject being evaluated; only by Mya and not a specialist. In my time with Mya I learned that the
doctors whom took so much of her time had all failed to produce any apparent diagnosis or
solutions for Mya’s conditions. Mya often emphasized to me her opinions on the specialists she
was forced to meet with on a regular basis, and their unhelpful aspects in her therapy in the past.
Although I understand that in this tainted society we are all forced to live in, how Mya or anyone
else in their right mind would ever open up completely and emotionally to confide ones’
personal life in an acquaintance or complete stranger. Mya’s behavior and habits were very
confusing but causes began to slowly unfold as our time together progressed.
Referring back to that child that couldn’t be saved, Mya was one of those children most
hear of but never really met, the one that grew up in a home full of rage and what seemed to be
endless disappointments. For instance the domestic violence Mya and her siblings were
subjected to very frequently. Taking cover in their bedroom or in a corner avoiding any abusive
crossfire which happened occasionally. The exposure to numerous violent acts of aggression

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between Mya’s parents proved to be detrimental to her mental health as well as the health of her
siblings. All three children including Mya, were forced to watch the ones they loved most just
tear each other to shreds. This behavior started to change the way Mya and her family
communicated and even how the siblings bonded. Knowing that there was no escaping her life
and the situations that followed, my friend tried to find ways to always be the peace keeper of a
house she hardly called home. Telling jokes or even acting silly to break tension Mya always felt
responsible to pull her family from the brink of another fiasco. True, all too often children fall
victim to domestic violence, but that alone was just the tip of the ice burg of my friends’
surreptitious life. Even though my friend was experiencing hard times at home, I always stuck by
her no matter the severity in the one place that we agree should have been a comfort zone and
not a war zone. Day in and day out Mya held such composer in public that no one she ever met
thought anything so loud would be going on with someone that was always so quiet, only looks
can be deceiving.
Due to the fact that uncontrollable drunken brawls between Mya’s parents kept her dad in
jail the majority of her childhood. Mya soon realized that her parents’ negligence or absence
rather, not only opened doors to what felt like new found freedoms but nightmares as well. In the
summer of 1993, my dear friend who was five at the time was attending a birthday party that her
and her family were invited too which changed her life forever. Not only was Mya excited to be
doing something with her family but Mya and her siblings waited anxiously for their arrival to
what they thought was going to be an awesome adventure. Family, friends, candy, cake, ice
cream, balloons, and games; all the normal birthday festivities that Mya and her siblings weren’t
really used to “bonding”. Any other time the lack of attention at home due to her dads’
incarceration and her mother having difficulties maintaining employment was putting a strain on

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all of their lives. Often undergoing stressful situations and personal problems this party was
supposed to be a distraction from the families’ norm. The party was starting and most of the
children were beginning to form groups while the elders of the party gathered on the hill above
the grill. All except for my dear friend Mya, who decided to sit beneath an old willow tree
adjacent to the actual party section. While sitting there she tried to get a feel for the other
children and atmosphere that she wasn’t quite familiar with. Mya was surprised with the
occupancy in which the majority of the guest to her were complete strangers; so of course it
would take time for Mya to emerge from the bashfulness that masked her. All at once the warmth
of the sun on her back faded as she was covered by the shadow of a complete stranger. Looking
up from where she was sitting she tried to adjust her eyes. All at once the visual of a tall, tan,
elderly man spoke softly above her; “Hello little one. What is your name? The man asked. With
her head back down the child’s muffled voice was unclear. Kneeling down to Mya’s level the
stranger then asked if she was ok. With a hesitant gesture the little girl murmured “Yep, I’m ok.”
The stranger jump back to his feet in laughter “yep?” He continued to laugh. Mya’s mother
noticed the two from afar and walked over to further introduce them. “That’s my Daughter!” Her
mother announced. ”Oh my word! She looks just like you Tiny, and she is one beautiful child!”
The man commented. As the two grown-ups continued to talk, Mya decided to make a subtle
getaway, little did my friend know that this was not be the last time she would cross paths with
this stranger.
A few years passed and Mya continued to isolate herself, only there was a new aspect of
her conditions. Mya started lashing out and having frequent emotional break downs. Everyone
could tell something was very wrong. Mya remembers that party like it were yesterday and I
wouldn’t soon forget the details myself. The taste of the cake, the sound of the other children

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clapping to Miss Mary Mack, and the laughter that carried in every direction. Mya is also able to
recall the faces of every individual that was attending the event that day, and how everything
after that day seemed to turn a tragic story into a devastating nightmare. Mya Often felt as if her
life was falling apart.
In the fall of 1997 an article was published in the Danville Register and Bee and it read;
“George Winston Sage 52, of Pittsylvania County, plead guilty today on two counts of forcible
sodomy, two counts of aggravated sexual assault, and two counts of forced penetration all on a
minor. A prison sentence of 70 years is to be carried out for the molestation of two female
children; ages 9 and 12”. The article went on to mention all of the investigators that assisted in
the case. Mya who was nine at the time she was one of the children related to the article as well
as her sibling. This man not only snatched Mya’s childhood from beneath her and changed her
entire life, but the pedophile also diminished any chance of Mya ever trusting anyone completely
or enough to maintain a successful relationship. It took years for Mya to come to the point in
which she is today even though depression is still an issue in her life.
As a result of being subjected to these horrific turns of events Mya life was far from
over. Mya never gave up on the thought of true happiness or changing her life for the better.
Knowing all of the details of her cases makes one realize that there are dangers everywhere, even
in our own homes. For Mya; I was always the only friend whom she trusted enough to confide
all of her secrets and problems in. I don’t think either of us could have gotten this far without one
another, for I am my dear friend; and we are one in the same, just under a different name. All of
these situations are just a summary of my life which made me the semi-shy person I am today.
These experiences not only hurt me mentally and physically throughout my life, but after years
of self-therapy I am no longer the weak person I used to be. Now I am a stronger individual who

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no longer strives to go unnoticed. I have lived through the nightmare and now I want to strive to
fulfill my dreams of building a healthy new life with my daughter. This has become my first
priority as a new mother. Protecting my baby from the things that I was subjected to as a child
that made me the secluded child that doctors said couldn’t be saved. I made it and I hope that
this story will encourage more mothers to pay close attention to the ones they love the most.
There are reasons for the way people act or live, and looks can be deceiving.