A Chapter by Shelly Tennyson Taylor

What shaped him.



            I was born blind and deaf to a mother who wasn’t ready to have children in the first place. Maybe that’s why after seeing me for only seconds, and never even touching me, she sent me away with orders to the nurse to never bring me back.

            At only three months old I began to gain my hearing and eyesight. The doctors told my adoptive parents that I must have had some kind of rare abnormality that caused my vision and hearing to come in late, after birth. Although they never could figure out what that was. But the Abbots had always told me that God gave me the gift of hearing and vision a few months late, in order to test the strength of my birthmother and when she failed God had found a suitable family for me. For at just two weeks old the Abbots had taken me home and named me Jayson, because it meant healer and I had healed the pain they carried from not having children of their own.


            People say it is impossible to remember things from when you were an infant. But that’s not true. I can remember with detail the day the Abbots took me home from the hospital. I had been used to doctors and nurses picking me up swiftly and without feeling, if I was handled at all. One day as I slept I was picked up so gently that I thought I was dreaming. I was awake and I was in the arms of a soft person, with a warm body, that smelled of lilac and held me so close that I felt as if I was a delicate thing. I never had to go back to that cold place that smelled of medicine and metal. I got to live in the home with the lilacs that I soon came to know as Mom and Dad.

            I think my vision and hearing came to me because I wished so hard that I could see these people that loved me so unconditionally. These people who softly bathed me, rocked me to sleep, and gently kissed my eyelids each night before bed.

            Then one day as I lay there in my crib, I did see them and I did hear them. And they looked and sounded just as beautiful as I had imagined they would and the love I had felt in their touch was amazingly just as bright in their eyes.

            Maybe most people don’t remember their infant hours but mine were so profound that I doubt I will ever forget them.


On my eleventh birthday my world changed. After years of such a perfect life mine come crashing down. My parents were buried the day before my birthday. They were buried together, side by side, just how it should be. I knew they would be side by side in burial as they were so close during this life but I imagined it happening when I was old and had children of my own. I didn’t expect it at eleven years old. My parents had gone out on date night with some old high school friends. They were so excited to see their friends that they hadn’t seen in so long. I stayed with my babysitter Lillie Jones. She was only a few years older than me; she was 15 and beautiful so I didn’t mind staying with her. I just pretended that she was my girlfriend and not my babysitter. I recall it kept getting later and later and my parents hadn’t come home. Lillie’s parents were worried about her walking home so late by herself so they came up to the house to wait for my parents. The hours passed and finally a car pulled into our driveway but it wasn’t my parents. It was a policeman. He asked to speak to Lillie’s parents alone. I had known in that moment what had happened. I may have only been eleven but I had seen my share of police shows. I knew that when police come up in the night that someone has died. In this case it was my parents, the people who spent their whole life searching for a child and finally chose me. The people who took me away from the cold hard hospital and brought me to warm place filled with love and lilacs. My parents were gone and I was alone again.


That was when I became blind and deaf for the second time in my life. It didn’t last long, only a few weeks, and just as suddenly as it was gone it was back again. After many trips to doctors and all kinds of tests there was no real reason for this to happen to me. There were no problems in my brain or any kind of abnormalities at all that the doctors could find. Most of the doctors believed I was faking. One finally diagnosed me with Conversion Disorder, though he said he had never heard of it affecting hearing in the past. Basically Conversion Disorder is an inability for your body to deal with stressful situations and you can become blind, or paralyzed or unable to speak. For me it occurred in the form of blindness and deafness. The doctors said Conversion Disorder but when it was happening I was convinced that The Abbot’s God who gave me my vision and hearing in the first place, had decided that I wasn’t worthy of that gift anymore.


            The next few years were spent in and out of foster homes. My parents didn’t really have any family who was able or wanted to take me in. And being an eleven year old boy was not the ideal age that someone wanted to adopt. Plus now I had this strange disorder that no one understood. I was lucky the first time around when the Abbots took me in. But I wasn’t so lucky the second time around. The years I spent in foster homes made me realize even more, if it was possible, just how good I had had it. That is when the resentment started to build I think. By the time I had escaped the system at seventeen I was a different man. I was not the boy that the Abbots had raised. I was not the man that they had wanted me to be. I was convinced I was bad. I was always in trouble and I didn’t care about anyone or anything. The Abbots had always claimed that their God gave me to them. I believed that their God lost hope in me and took them away from me. I was the b*****d child of a mean woman who could throw me away without touching me after all. I guess I had that inside me. I guess that is what made the Abbot’s God take them away from me.

© 2013 Shelly Tennyson Taylor

Author's Note

Shelly Tennyson Taylor
Please feel free to offer reviews and criticism. It has been a while since I had the luxury of sitting down to write so I am bit rusty.

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Added on January 25, 2013
Last Updated on January 25, 2013
Tags: The Oyster King, Adoption, Deafness, Blindness, Death, Hearing, Vision, Conversion Disorder


Shelly Tennyson Taylor
Shelly Tennyson Taylor


I have loved to write for as long as I can remember. I am hoping that I have reached the point in my life where I can finally finish a book and work on getting it published. more..