Eventually there comes a time
when we must learn to draw the line.
Be it in the heart or in the mind
Boundaries must be established
so we can reestablished
Who we are.
Eventually, there comes a time in which we must draw the line. Be it work or life, we must establish what we will and won’t tolerate. Imaginary or physical, mental or spiritual, the line will be a reminder to us when, “Enough is enough.”
“WHERE AM I GOING TO GO?”
A woman sits in silence. For years she’s been mentally and physically abused by a man whose insecurities have turned him into a monster. Her pain makes the voices in his head go away, therefore he torments her relentlessly. He was smart enough to make her dependent upon him, deferring her dreams into memories. “Baby you don’t have to work, I will take care of you.”
A weak man can’t handle a strong woman, so if he isn’t willing to invest in your dreams, he’s probably going to be your nightmare.
For seven years, she’s dealt with his infidelities, broken promises and lapses in judgment. Friends and family have begged her to leave him and her answer has always been the same, “Where am I going to go?”
The two have a six year old son together and the little boy is the only reason why she ever sees a glimpse of the man she once fell in love with. The man is good to his son, which gives her reason to hold on.
Last night ended the same as every night does: in an argument. This time it’s financial. Two hundred dollars is missing from the rent money, which is already 6 days overdue. “Why the fuck are you asking me for? You trying to say that I took it?” he asked with a clenched fist and fire in his eyes.
“I’m not trying to say anything. I just find it ironic that the other day you said you were broke, but yesterday when I was washing the clothes, I found a receipt from that nasty hotel you love to go to with your friends.”
He responds in the same fashion as always when she catches him in a lie; he beats her. He pounds on her body, fighting her like she was physically his equal. She doesn’t resist, she just waits for it to be over.
As the voices subside in his head, he wipes her blood on the wall and says, “I hate it when you make me hurt you like this.” And like a lot of women in this situation, she apologizes and heads to the bathroom.
She looks at herself in the mirror and the bruises are far too familiar. She spits the blood and another tooth into the sink and notices her son watching her. “Hey baby, are you okay?” she asks in a motherly tone and with a blank gaze, he responds, “Yeah, I’m okay. I’m just wondering what you did wrong this time.”
“What did I do wrong?” she asks as her body trembles. Her son doesn’t respond; he just walks away.
It’s at this is the moment that she finally realizes that she needs to draw the line. By enabling his father, she’s playing a part in this vicious cycle and the son is learning that this is how a woman is supposed to be treated.
THE STREETS ARE CALLING
One of the good things about showers is that it hides your tears. One can cry to their heart’s content and no one will ever know. A man lets the water descend upon his head as he searches for answers. He’s lost everything, his lady, his livelihood and sense of worth. When he left prison, he was told that he paid his debt to society; obviously that wasn’t the case.
Now his girlfriend who swore she would do the bid with him is with the next dude, no one will hire him because he did time and the only two people that care about him is his grandmother and the streets. They both whisper the same thing in his ear, “Come home.” The streets are hard to ignore, he’s been best friends with it since childhood. She has protected him, fed him and clothed him and because of that, it’s hard to turn his back on her.
But the streets have a fight on there hands because his grandmother isn’t just an ordinary grandmother; she knows the power of prayer. She knows that it’s not the streets that have protected her grandson, but the fact that she gets on her arthritic knees and asks God to watch over him. “Fools and babies, you said Jesus. My boy is both of them.” She’s been watching over him and his five siblings ever since crack and Reganomics made his mother jump off the roof of her project building. She promised her daughter that she would take care of her kids and though there have been some setbacks, she never broke that promise.
The man gets out of the shower and throws on the fake smile that he’s been wearing for some time now. He’s pushing forty and still sleeping in the same bed which he did when he was a child. Before he got locked up, he was living the life of a king. He didn’t have a need for anything. Home in the suburbs, A Benz and Porsche in the driveway, a trap in the hood, jump offs scattered throughout the boroughs. You know, all of that superficial shit that some people covet.
As he gets dressed in the clothes his grandmother had to buy to him, he’s tormented by the decision he made. He got a call earlier from a friend who needs someone to help him with a transaction. “I just need you to watch my back, my G, nothing else.”
There’s a stack in it for him and he can sure use that money. He told his friend that he would go, but that was until his grandmother asked him for a favor. “Baby, old Arthur is kicking my tail today, would you mind coming with me to church?” He told her yes, but he lied.
As he goes downstairs, his grandmother is waiting for him at the dining room table. She gives him a look that only a grandmother can, “Boy, I know you don’t plan on going to the house of the Lord dressed like that.” Nervously, he replies, “No, I forgot to tell you, I’m going to see a guy about a job. This warehouse is hiring and he’s trying to hook me up.”
One thing about grandmothers is that they can see right through bullshit. She gives him an endearing smile, adjusts her hat and says, “I wish you luck with that, but before I go, God wants you to know you’ve come too far to give up now.
Her grandson is taken aback. “What do you mean by that, grandma?” She doesn’t respond, she just smiles and heads to the door.
“I thought you said your arthritis was acting up?”
“It still does, but we still have to do the right thing, no matter how much it may hurt.”
As his grandmother struggles out of the door, his phone starts to ring and it’s the guy. He stares at it and decides to ignore the call. “Grandma, wait up!”
He had to draw the line between faith and the flesh. Sometimes that line we draw has to be within ourselves.
A line drawn is a promise we make to ourselves and in that promise is the assurance that we will not allow anyone cross it, not even ourselves.
With a champagne bottle and two glasses in tow, Nelson lets Nikki lead so he can watch that walk of hers. Her movement is intoxicating and mysterious since she doesn’t know where she’s going. There’s no cadence to it, just purpose. “Keep going, I will tell you when to stop.”
Though he’s in room 625, he lets her walk past it. He just leans against the door and watches. Nikki has a beautiful stride, with a silhouette of how a leg should look; strong, yet graceful.
She turns around and notices that Nelson is no longer following her. “I see you’re playing games,” she says with a mischievous smile. “Remember, I charge by the hour.” She slowly walks over to him in a seductive manner. When she gets close, he tries to kiss her, but she quickly pulls back.
“No kissing, didn't’t you see Pretty Woman?
“Yes, but I see a prettier woman in front of me, couldn't’t help it.”
“Well you better learn, because that’s not happening.”
The two enter the business suite and Nikki heads straight to the king size bed, throwing herself onto it. She motions Nelson to join her and he nervously does so. “So how does this…” Nikki quickly puts her finger up to his mouth because talk time is over.
She takes off her jacket, grabs her bag of goodies and makes her way into the bathroom. “Be ready when I come out." Nelson gets comfortable on the couch, “I can’t believe this is happening!” He unbuttons his shirt and tries to figure out a sexy pose that would blow her mind as she walks out of the bathroom. When he looks in the mirror and sees how stupid he looks, he just decides to just relax and wait.
Nelson starts to sobers up and he can’t help but to think about everything that has happened to him recently. A lonely heart often hangs a neon Vacancy sign at its doorsteps, inviting strangers to get comfortable. Recently, he broke up with his girlfriend which has left him in purgatory. A break up feels like death when that person suddenly disappears from your life, so consider Nelson a griever. And like most grievers, you try to take away the pain by finding something, anything or anyone to fill that void. To Nelson, this is aspirin.
Meanwhile, as Nikki looks at herself in the mirror and puts on some provocative lingerie, she suddenly pauses: she’s tired. Her body is tired. Her soul is tired. “I can't keep doing this.” Anything that’s considered work will eventually make you weary and Nikki desperately wants to retire. She never expected her life to be like this. She had aspirations of being a paralegal and though she can still accomplish that dream, that window of opportunity gets smaller with each passing minute. She has an eight year old son at home whose babysitter is a television and she’s the only provider for him. Her dream are not just deferred, they are destroyed. She breaks down like this all of the time, but it’s usually not before she has to perform, but sincerity will do that to you. She wipes her tears, fixes her make-up and makes sure her cleavage is looking tasty. “I’m still one bad bitch.”
Nelson’s jaw drops as Nikki revels herself like an angel who has devilish intentions. He tries to stand up, but she pushes him back onto the couch. “I don’t wanna hear a word from you, momma is in control!” She goes into her bag of tricks and pulls out the kind of devices that make your toes curl. Nelson gets nervous, wondering if those beads or what appears to be a bat, are supposed to be used on him or Nikki. She straddles him and picks up one of her battery operated devices, only to realize that it’s not working. “What the fuck?” Nelson can see the frustration building up in her as she takes the device apart and finds resolution in a blindfold that she placed next to him. He tries to put it on her, but she refuses.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“Just trying to seduce you.”
“No, you don’t do the seducing, I do! Nobody seduces me!”
“And there lies the problem.”
Nikki jumps up and starts to pack her bag. "Umm yeah, I'm done with this! I'm not sure what you're trying to do or trying to prove, but I'm not that chick! You're on some romance shit, who has time for that?"
Nikki grabs her jacket and heads for the door. Nelson grabs her and Nikki smacks him. Relentless, Nelson gets a firm grasp of her and pins her against the wall. "It doesn't matter what I'm trying to do, because my ass is paying, not you and if I decide to give as well as receive, then thats my fucking business! Understand?"
Nelson’s words hit home for Nikki. She’s been giving for so long, that it’s hard to receive. She allows him to put the blindfold on her, engulfing her eyes and mind in darkness. He takes her to the bed and starts to take off her lingerie. There’s nothing more beautiful than outfit you were born with. He explores her with his hands and tongue, tracing her silhouette with his lips.
Though she can’t see him, she knows he’s there. She feels his spirit because it coincides with her needs. She bites her bottom lip as she feels his breath as he descends down her leg. Nikki gets a tight hold of the sheets in anticipation of what's about to happen, but it doesn't. She doesn’t feel his essence anymore and starts to wonder if he’s left her like so many others have in the past. She goes to take off the blindfold, but feels a hand stopping her from doing so and then…a single drop. It’s cold as it hits her thigh and runs down her leg. Nelson turns her over and the cold, wet drops continue. They land between her shoulder blades and leave a trail as they run down to the small of her back. That trail is soon followed by the ice from which the drops orginated from. Nelson uses it to write notes that only her soul can read. Nikki’s body tenses up from the frigid motion but is quickly put at ease when she feels his tongue mimicking the ice; wherever it goes, so does his tongue. They travel from the small of her back, to her inner thigh, to the arch of her foot, back up to her strong calf muscles and right before it melts away, inside of her.
He rolls her over and takes off her blindfold, “Are you ready?” he asks. Her body shivers and soul trembles as she gives him a soft and gentle kiss and proclaims, “Yes.” He’s taken aback by her gesture. She told him earlier that kissing is forbidden, but thing have changed. Rules have been broken and so will some bonds, by morning time.
The next morning, Nelson is awakened by the sunlight that makes its way through his drapes. He feeling good right now, especially after the amazing night he had. The room is a total disaster, proof that this episode didn’t only take place in the bed. Everything seems to be out of place, even Nikki; she’s gone. The only remnants of her are some bite marks and a note she left on the pillow which reads, "Thank you for a funky time, call me up whenver you wanna grind. Last night is on me."
Nelson gets a laugh out of it. He enjoyed himself so much that he isn't bothered that he's an hour late for his meeting. He grabs his phone, sees that he has eleven missed calls and doesn't even care. "Fuck it." That's what living life would do for you, even if it was only one night.
Nikki sits at the bus stop, embracing the new day. She knows that there are no fairy tales, but there are happy endings. She hasn't had a night like that in years and she's renewed. It may not have been the best sex she ever had, but it was satisfying because of Nelson's intentions. Being the realist that she is, she can't say that she won't be beating the strip anymore, but at least for this moment, she believes in dreaming again.
There are no fairy tales, but there are happy endings.
"You're a muse in those shoes
and I find it amusing,
that you're using them against me.
Stepping in the name of lust,
I must confess that evidently,
you're into me
since you asked if this will be either cash or charge." - Deouan Wilson
As the clock approaches midnight, Nelson stares into his glass of brandy and watches the ice dance as he becomes the motivator behind its movement. This is the kind of thing you do when you’re drunk and bored. The NBA game has just gone final, there’s an exodus out of the bar and now the only other patrons left are the ones that need assistance to their rooms.
For Nelson, this business trip is like all the others: check into the hotel, drop off your luggage in your room and then head to the bar for some laughs and strong drinks until it’s time to head to bed. The conservative business executive doesn’t partake in any other activities that would compromise the marketing pitch he has to give the next day. So needless to say, he’s boring.
As he pays his tab, and bids the bartender farewell, Nelson turns and suddenly stops in his tracks. Captivated with just a simple glance, now voyeuristic in his stare, he’s smitten by a pair shoes. Far from having a fetish, the pink heels make him smile like a gitty twelve year old experiencing his first crush.
The owner of his muse sits on the other side of the bar with a magazine in front of her. She can feel his eyes piercing into her and looks in his direction. The two make eye contact, his tells hers, I think you’re beautiful. Hers tell his, Really? Prove it.
Though he’s a handsome gentleman, Nelson is far from a ladies’ man. But a few glasses of liquid courage and recently breaking up with your old lady with definitely put a battery in your back. “Fuck it,” he tells himself. “You only live once and I’m only giving her a compliment.”
He makes his way over to her, encouraged by the fact that her body language isn’t showing any signs that she’s going to dismiss his advances. The closer he gets, the more he realizes that the shoes aren’t the only thing beautiful about her. She’s nature in its simplest form. No make--up needed because she is the definition of seduction. Her movements are that of a dancer; slow and with intention. She’s a woman in every sense of the word and Nikki is her name.
“Excuse me, I don’t mean to bother you, but I had to come over and tell you that I just love your shoes.”
To his surprise, Nikki laughs hysterically. “Really?” she asks as she tries to hold in her amusement. “Is that what you really want to say to me?” He ponders over the question and replies, “Well yeah… of course…maybe…umm wait…isn’t it?”
“Well most will never know what your true intentions are, but there are people, a select few, that will know them from the moment they look at you. Now your intentions spoke to me from across the room, interrupting what I was intending to do to myself, behind this magazine. Now since I was honest with you with my intentions, why don’t you tell me yours?”
Now stuck on stupid and mesmerized by her ways, Nelson can’t answer because he’s more curious to know what she was intending to do to herself, behind the magazine. “I’m not quite sure what to say,” he stutters.
Though he looks foolish, Nikki finds his childlike reaction somewhat refreshing. “Okay, why don’t you order me a drink and I’ll explain to what you should be asking, deal?”
Being the over-thinker that he is, Nelson checks his watch and calculates how much sleep he needs to get good night’s rest. As he does the math in his head, he notices how Nikki is looking at him with those sultry, yet endearing eyes and all logic goes out of the window. “Sounds like a plan,’ he says as he takes her by the hand and escorts her to the bar.
After a few hours of laughs and drinks, you would think that the two were old lovers. Inhibitions and personal space have disappeared as they fall all over each other as the simplest things bring about huge laughter.
“You know, when we first met, I didn’t think that we would have such a great time,” Nikki tells Nelson in a sincere demeanor. “I’m not usually into the stuttering, shirt and tie kind of dudes, you know?”
“So what kind of men are you usually attracted to?
“Bad boys. I know, I know, women always say that and you would think we knew better because bad boys always seem to hurt you. Well they always seem to hurt me and I’m a little tired of being hurt.”
“I thought that you could sense someone’s intentions by just looking at them?”
Nikki pauses, saying to herself, “Damn, he was actually listening to me.” That doesn’t happen too often to her. The once strong queen becomes a meek princess. With her head hung low, she responds, “I said that there were people who can do that, I never said I was one of them. I wasn’t selected.”
Nelson looks into her eyes and sees a pain that was there way before he came into her life. He’s different in that way. Most men would just stop at her exterior, but Nelson looked deeper. “Honestly, I wish I could take away that hurt from yesterday, but I can only make you smile today. Now I’m not too sure how to do that, but I’m willing to try.”
And for that split moment, as they gaze into each other’s eyes, things are real. Regardless who you are, regardless of your intentions or past experiences, when someone earnestly speaks to your soul, you listen…even if it’s only for a few seconds.
“Wow, for a split second, it got real. Anyway…so is this gonna be cash or charge?” asks Nikki.
“Charge, I expense it to my company. Nothing comes out of my pocket” claims Nelson in a childish fashion. “I will just say I took my client out for drinks.”
“They will even pay for sex?”
It’s not until this very moment that Nelson realizes what’s going on. Either he is either too drunk, or too naïve to realize that Nikki is a lady of the night. Maybe it’s both. “So what are we gonna do? If it’s a no, I need to keep it moving” she says in a stern voice.
“You don’t know this woman from a hole in a wall! She could be a cop, or even worse, a thief trying to rob you,” is what he tells himself. Yet, his mouth says, "Let's get it, my room is right this way.”
TO BE CONTINUED....
If you lessen the pain.
There is no lesson,
Me VS. Me
One of the most confusing pains is one which comes from making a change for the better. This decision is usually the after effect of an experience that has taken us out of our comfort zone, and in doing so we feel the need to do something different. The confusing part is that in order for us to start the change, we must essentially battle our greatest enemy: ourselves. We can get so use to doing something the wrong way, it quickly becomes our right way.
Yes, change is good and once the dust settles you will be a better person, but to get there you must travel down a jagged road in which you start off shoeless: It hurts. It's a funnel that starts off as a dark, narrow and rock laden tunnel and our first response is to just turn around to the marble like floors of dissent from which you came. Why step out of your box, right? But then you see the light at the end of that tunnel, the possibilities of who you can be and you’re reminded what this journey is all about: YOU.
The first step, which often is the hardest, is admitting that there is a need for change. Often times our ego and stubbornness won’t allow us to admit it, which is why the pain is necessary. It puts a cramp in our clenched fist of denial and opens it like a flower in bloom. Acknowledging your faults and shortcomings is never easy. We will blame someone else for them, before we blame ourselves. But once we claim responsibility for our actions, or lack thereof, the process can now begin.
“There’s purpose in your pain.”
Step two, is the actual process of change. It requires a lot of patience, prayer and discipline. It’s that rain shower that brings about growth, the season that is the vessel of your maturation. It’s during this step in the process that we want to lessen the lesson. We circumvent it, we try to make it easier for us and we’ll do it via a similar method that got us to where we are in the first place. If you’re trying to free yourself from the vice of drinking, don’t start smoking. If you’re recovering from heartache, don’t look for that rebound person to keep your mind off of the pain and loneliness. We must go through the process completely because this is where we learn the reason for it all. When we lessen the lesson, we diminish the spoils of your efforts and will not receive the full blessing. Consider it as a premature birth, celebrating Christmas on the 23rd or a half-cooked meal.
“This above all: to thine own self to true.”
Step three, is the new you. The you that you were always intended to be. It’s the answer to the question, “What if I did it right this time?” Of course no one is saying that you’ve arrived or that you don’t have other changes to make, but it does mean that you’ve been battle tested. You now understand what needs to be done to better yourself. You now know that you only cheat yourself and your loved ones when you lessen your lesson and that's what growth is all about.