This space feels barren with frigid ivory tiles that masks it’s walls. There at the centermost point, a tub; whose talons pierce the floor. Inside there is water like silence spilling over.
Kerry sinks. Her breaths wander. Her hair hangs like dark veils, arms binding thighs to breast. Her eyes fixed below the surface, glimpsing his skin graze her own and mirrored atop the water, his pale features. Distant sobs begin to leak through the walls; humming like a fly that circles too close. Anxiety slithers from her memories as her lips fall just beneath the darkness.
Chris waits, his shoulders braced by the cold porcelain, legs spread the length of the tub, arms resting on its rim. He too hears these sobs and as they expand, he sees how Kerry’s presence fades away. So he reaches for her, the way that a student daydreams from a window, with a gaze. “Kerry?” he speaks, “Kerry” but his voice tapers into silence. Chris bows his shoulders into the stillness that separates them and stretches his palms forward, gliding his fingers between the seams of her knees, her legs now bound by his hands, he draws her near.
Kerry feels his damp palms, flesh with her waist, how his fingers press against the small of her back, dragging her forward until his pressure can be felt beneath. But these sobs, their echos seem endless, like waves with no shore. Her arms to fall to her side and her head fall on his chest. Kerry shifts her eyes towards him, searching for fragments of long lost affection, but his intent has already begun to drift.
Amidst these sobs, Kerry tempts him to forget. She lifts her palms from the dark waters, it streams from the tips of her fingers as she begins to caress remnants of worry from his chin, his cheeks; each gentle touch spinning satin webs conceived in greed. Kerry ascends and the waters spill down her auburn breasts. She stares down the barrels of Chris’s eyes as her arms coil around his neck and her lips, suspend the taste of sin.
Cradling his face, she thrusts her mouth to his, her movements throbbing in a wicked cadence. She pulls away, baiting him to follow, her gaze never departs his. A reckless smirk spreads across Kerry’s face. She dips her hand into the deep and wraps her fingers around his desire, mounting him, consuming him deeper within her darkness. Her eyes look possessed, she fiercely pounds her hips, the untamed sound of skin clapping against skin against water; sharp gasps for air. Chris surrenders to the haste at which she unravels; he mirrors her performance. He slides his hand up her back. The pressure of his palms on her shoulders relentlessly lift and drag her body down to receive his stroke. Kerry sinks her nails into him, her webs raise welts across his skin and the the water begins to swish back and forth like a pendulum.
A splitting pain.
It courses up Kerry’s inner thighs and tears through a wound stitched together like tally marks; counting each moment that came after her child’s birth. From it, scarlet suffering begins to seep within the waters, spilling, it slaps against the silence. And the porcelain, stains.
The crimson waves settle into a haunting sway, its secrets tremble just below its surface. A whisper sever the quiet,“You did it didn’t you?” Kerry crooks her body forward until they are close enough to share breath. Clasping Chris’s face within her hands, her eyes become wide and eager, “or did I, did I do it?” she whispers. She begins to nod over and over as if her words are certain, her voice follows hushed and absolute, “You did.” it swallows the room, Eerie, like calm winds before a storm. Chris’s voice sinks to the graves of his gut, his body now anchored to the wine stained water. His senses snatched between seduction and chaos. His mind sift the room for hints of clarity instead, his eyes find Kerry as her next words drip from her tongue like venom.
“You killed her didn’t you?”
Her voice sear like bullets through Chris’s chest, shattering his lustful illusions, replacing them with dread. Chris grabs both of Kerry’s arms, stern, he waits until their eyes connect before slinging his words through clenched teeth, “what are you talking about?!” Kerry rips her arms from his grip and launches towards him her palms shoving his shoulder back to the cold porcelain. Her eyes become vast with madness, she spits her words at Chris like old tobacco, “Don't act like you’ve never thought about it Chris!” He thrusts her body away from his. Her body moves through the water to end of the tub, and the red waters topple over its rim.
He sits with his hands clenching the sides of the tub, his body stiff, he remembers the sobs. His eyes begin to study room, its canvas, smeared in red watercolored grief; the sight suffocating. His heart hammers, vibrating the walls of his chest. Chris heaves himself from the tub, his legs stammering over its edges. The water falls from his body and squeals under his feet. His eyes searching for the grey sweats that lay crumpled just inside the door. He snatches them and begins to pry them up, but they cling to his damp skin, each yank becoming more frantic. Worry grows within each moment, and each moment lasts. He swings the door open to leave but wavers, just long enough for one more glance. Kerry sits unmoved inside her tomb of silence, her body sunken into the water, beneath her dark veils, her eyes. Empty.
Chris stumbles into a hallway with dark wooden floors and eggshell walls; and before him, a mahogany stairwell. He runs, each loud thump traveling up its structure. At the top, he turns into the first entrance and everything halts.
This nursery, nearly hollow, painted pale yellow, a small white drawer decored in nothing, no pictures, no toys, and centered in front of him against the a wall, a small white crib. Inside, a child. Her tiny hands cling to the rail, honey skin, raven feathered hair, her deep brown eyes fall on him like sunlight, a small smile, trailed by innocent sounds of babble. Chris rushes to her side and pulls her from the crib. He wraps her close to his chest, mimicking a soothing sway that came too turbulent as his heart beats frantic and his breaths quickly move about her hair. From the corner of his senses, Chris feels Kerry. She hovers just outside the door, he turns to face her.
She enters, just inside, with a ghostly poise. Her arms folded closed, the sound of her footprints lost; as if her feet never touch the floor. Cloaked in a slate bathrobe her hair dangles, dripping wet. Kerry watches with an air of malice as Chris clings to their child. She takes a step forward and he in return, shivers a few steps back and so she leaves her words, her ways, her reasons, unspoken. Kerry leans her weight against the doorframe and lowers her eyes below the shadow of her hair; and there she waits. She watches, unchanged, as Chris slowly begin to cross the room. She watches his eyes fixate on her but reflected fear. How he draws the child closer to his chest as each step shears away the void that separate them. She waits until Chris is at his nearest, until half his body is fleeing and the other half stuck inside door. Her voice hushed, controlled, final.
“sometimes, I would take my thumbs and push her eyes in…” she stops, and her last relics of remorse hover in that little space, ”...but never enough to hurt her.”
-This space feels barren, inside there is water like silence spilling over-
Santa Clause could fit through the key hole of my family's apartment; since we didn't have a chimney. The tooth-fairy thought that, my baby teeth where actually worth money, and the monsters in my closet were real enough to make me close it's door and hide underneath the blankets in my parents room. I believed in many things, in my fears, my imagination, myself, my dreams.
Soon thereafter, I discovered that things I thought I wanted to do, I didn’t want to do; and things I thought I was good at; I wasn’t so good at. I knew I would never be doctor when cried at the sight of my own nose bleeds. I knew there was no chance of me being the first professional female football player because, well, I’m five feet and weigh 100 pounds and yes I rounded up. I knew that I’d never be, that one middle eastern or asian kids who won the spelling bee because, I missed spelled the color "black" on one of my 6th grade spelling tests. "Judge me not less ye be judge" or however that scripture goes and thank God for autocorrect; am I right?
I found somethings that I wanted to do, and what I really wanted to do I worked really hard at and in return, I got left with some bitter sweet memories and a mind bruised with “what if’s?” And as the world unraveled before my young eyes I learned quite a few things: One, Life is unbelievably complex. Two, people are both confusing and confused. Three, education does not guarantee knowledge. Four, the definition of life is often mistaken for purpose. Five, I didn't know who I was; and six, self doubt is a cruel and unusual punishment.
By now I have failed at quite a few of my goals. It is hard not having regrets in a world were I am being defined by success and shunned for the failures that create it. I am to proud to complain, to stubborn to admit defeat, and my fears have become like the monsters in my closet.
As I drift further from my dreams, I begin to think of the people who, against all odds seem to find themselves right where they always hoped. I wondered if it's just luck, or skill, or destiny. I wonder if their lives are everything that they imagined; If it is worth the trouble, I wondered if they have just as many regrets. Sometimes, I will wish for just a taste of their life, of their "success." To be able to lay in my bed at night and know, that I have quite simply, accomplished.
It always wows me to hear their stories, their failures, their triumphs, their beliefs, and of that moment that they realize, that they have made it. I compare my life with theirs even when it hurts, because it feels good; because while slightly ripping away at my joy it also bring me hope.
It makes me think about the rest of us. Sometimes while driving or walking, or just sitting in my home; I think about my parents, brothers, cousins, aunts, and uncle. I’ll see a homeless man, a homeless woman, and the thought will pass my mind, “I wonder if they ever accomplished?” The first answer brings me to tears, because I know that surely, this is not a life that anyone would plan. I know several people who have lived and died and have never left their cities, their states, let alone this country, their life has been just one big cycle or relapse. Living from paycheck to paycheck, never owning their possession, skimming though life just trying to survive. It seems then, that as good as it to be elated for people who succeed it hurts twice as much to see others fail; knowing, all to well, which is more likely. So with these two extremes staring us in the face, we do what I believe to be the most basic of human nature; we survive.
I In other words, we settle. We discontinue our dreams, because even with all the motivational speakers, all the sermons, and all the feel good stories in the world; we know a dream is the hardest goal that one will ever have to reach. We fall into the norm. We become college students, hard working citizens, we accept our place among the many because, even a life that suppresses our most deep desires is better than being that guy that lives in their parent's basement...right? It will surly make us happier, bring us some peace of mind, and maybe, if we grow old and if we retire, and if we’re lucky, we will get to venture towards, something...
So, where do dreams go?
Into the key hold that santa couldn't fit in, as valuable as adult teeth; but we never seem to outgrow the monsters in our closet, they're are as real as we believe. Buried beneath them, our dreams.
June 5th, 2015
do not claim to own any of the photos used in this post. no copyright intended.
I NEVER FOUND MISSISSIPPI TO BE A BEAUTIFUL PLACE. MY WORLD ONLY CONSISTED OF WHAT I HAD BEEN EXPOSED TO; I HAD NO IDEA OF HOW VAST LIFE COULD BE. ALL I SAW WAS BLACK MEN AND WOMEN STRUGGLING TO MAKE ENDS MEET. LIVING IN APARTMENTS THAT MADE US CLOSER THAN NEIGHBORS, WE WERE CELL MATES.
AND THAT, WAS NORMAL…
ON THE SCHOOL BUS, WHEN WE WOULD DRIVE THROUGH THE NICE NEIGHBORHOODS, I WOULD IMAGINE; WHAT IF ME AND MY FAMILY HAD ONE. A TWO STORY MANSION, A HOME WITH A FRONT PORCH AND A BACK YARD TO PLAY IN. BACK THEN, HAVING A HOME WAS THE WORK OF FICTION AND SINCE I WAS REAL, THINKING THAT WE WOULD EVER OWN ONE WAS UNREALISTIC.
AND THAT, WAS NORMAL…
I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH KIDS WHO DIDN'T HAVE FRESH SHIRTS ON THEIR SHOULDERS, DIRT STAINS ON THEIR SLACKS. ME AND A COUPLE OF PEOPLE I KNEW, ROCKED THE SAME PAIR OF SHOES FROM THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS; TILL' THE END OF SUMMER SCHOOL. 30 HEADS TO A CLASSROOM, WE ALL BECAME INVISIBLE, LONG BEFORE WE HAD THE CHANCE TO BECOME INDIVIDUALS. HELP NEVER CAME WE DIDN'T HAVE SUPER HEROS. TESTS SCORED US THE FACE OF VILLAINS; WHEN WE WERE JUST CHILDREN, STARVING FOR ATTENTION. WHEN OUR PLEAS GOT DROWNED OUT BY THE GROWLS IN OUR GUTS; WHEN LUNCH WAS THE LAST MEAL OF THE DAY FOR MOST OF US. BUT YOU COULD HEAR CLEARLY, A PIN DROP IN THE EMPTY MINDS; STUDENTS GONE UNEDUCATED, HUNDREDS TOO MANY AT A TIME.
AND THAT, WAS NORMAL...
ALL THESE THINGS AS COMMON AS MISSISSIPPI RAIN ON A HOT SUMMER DAY. CLOUD COVER AS THICK, AS A FAMILY SECRETE. A CYCLE CONTINUED, A YOUNG DAUGHTER GIVING BIRTH FAR TOO SOON. SAME AS HER MOTHER; AS ACCEPTED A DAD WHO FAILED TO BECOME A FATHER. LIKE WATCHING PARENTS COME HOME TIRED FROM WORK; WORKED SO HARD THAT THEIR SOUL GOT WASHED AWAY WITH THE MISSISSIPPI DIRT. OLD MEN SAT UNDER TREES DRINKING LIQUOR, UNCHANGED, LIKE THEIR FEET WAS ROOTED TO THE MISSISSIPPI EARTH. HUMIDITY PRESSED, SMOTHERING OUR MINDS, SO THAT WE COULDN'T THINK OUR WAY OUT FROM OPPRESSION. OPPORTUNITY WAS HARD TO SEE, WHEN THE AIR GOT THICK AND IT BECAME HARD TO BREATH. CHOKING FROM THAT MISSISSIPPI GRIP THAT WOULDN'T ALLOW US TO LEAVE.
AND THAT, WAS NORMAL...
BUT NOW, WHEN I GO BACK, I CAN SEE THE BEAUTIFUL MAGNOLIAS, THE MASSIVE LAKES, THE BOATS AND THE JET SKIES. MANSIONS BUILT FOR GODS THAT I WAS NEVER SUPPOSE TO KNOW EXISTED; NOT A LITTLE BLACK GIRL DESTINED TO GET STUCK IN THE CRACKS OF THE SYSTEM. HOW NICE IT SHOULD'VE BEEN, HAD I BEEN BORN THE RIGHT COLOR, NOT RAISED IN THE STRUGGLE. GETTING PENALIZED AS IF I HAD A CHOICE; TO SAY WHETHER OR NOT I WANTED TO HAVE AN UNHEARD VOICE. ODD, THAT IT TOOK ME LEAVING HOME; FREEING MYSELF FROM THE CHAINS FROM WHICH I WAS BORN. FREEDOM ALLOWED THE EXPANSION OF PERCEPTIONS. THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE LINK BETWEEN A CURSE AND A BLESSING. THE STRUGGLE WAS THE CURSE THE PATH MADE ME STRONGER. TURMOIL BUT UNBROKEN; A MISSISSIPPI QUEEN SLOWLY UNFOLDING. THE BLESSING IS THAT I FOUND PEACE WITH KNOWLEDGE. KNOWING THAT SOMEHOW, PEOPLE BUILD LIVES ON A HOMELAND THAT REMAINS A BATTLEGROUND. FOREVER, THAT WILL BE THE BEAUTY AMONG US, MISSISSIPPI SURVIVORS.
Well it is, isn’t it? Now don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that what he said was out of line and sexist but; what else should he have said? In a sport where men make up 70% of the NFL’s management staff, it’s not hard to imagine that, even if he had not said what he said, he certainly is immersed in an environment that thinks it. So bare with me as I explain:
Cam Newton is not pardoned from his actions that clearly perpetuate an already demeaning stereotype for women but; I would like to point out that he is currently a poster-child for a more deeply underlying issue; but first, let us lighten the mood by, playing a game!
The name of this game is called: Is That Cam Newton’s Fault?
Jourdan Rodrigue, the reporter who Cam Newton disrespected during his interview, is undoubtedly very skilled at her job; but, then again, she has to be. You see, for a woman in sports journalism, moving up the ranks is not very easy. Certain positions women aren’t given an even chance to earn. For example, when it comes to the voices you hear over the radio or on television, especially in male sports, chances are, you’re not listening the voice of a woman.
Is that Cam Newton's Fault?
If a camera were to pan over to a room full of reporters during an after-game press conference, the women to men ratio would probably be a bit staggering. Men far outweighing their respective female counterparts.
Is that Cam Newton’s Fault?
You are expected as a woman, to of course, look a certain way. Then, and only then, might you see screen time as perhaps, the moderator of a sports talk show that is still, you guessed it, dominated by men. Regardless of a woman’s knowledge of sports, the opportunities for her to fully express that knowledge is, quite simply, not there.
Is that Cam Newton’s fault?
For the many individuals who make it a point to hide behind screen solely for the purpose to disrespect women in sports, well, that’s nothing new. As a woman who both knows and plays sports, as well as having played tackle football with women who are also very knowledgeable, even I can’t escape the reality of what Cam Newton has said is so common that it’s actually expected. I’ve heard men, who are in my own life, say similar things to me. I’ve heard men say similar things to and about other women. I read it online everyday! But for some reason, this time it’s different. Today we’re offended by what is normal; which isn’t a bad thing, just odd.
Which reminds me, have you ever journeyed to the comment section of a female sports analyst’s latest social media post? Or perhaps, the comment section during or following a show she appeared on? These comments can range from harmless to flat out sexual harassment. You can expect to find her being called every name but her own and being talked about in every context but those related to sports. Yet usually, no one speaks up for those women. In truth, where there isn’t support for women, they themselves are told to develop a thicker skin. And we do; we have no other choice. But one must wonder, how hard would it be for a male co-host to take a few moment out of a show to say something as simple as “Hey, this is our female co-host, have some goddamn respect when you speak about her.” How hard is it to make jobs more readily available, not because we’re women, but because we’re ready. Because, in this particular situation, unlike women, men do have that power. Use it! Every time a man fails to use his platform and authority for something positive, he leaves room for a comment such as “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes...” That void that allows negativity to reside is everyone's fault. But when it comes to Cam Newton, we are always quicker to kill the messenger, than those who allowed him to speak. Which brings me to my final point.
Why is everyone really so upset now?
Why are we really so outraged by one singular statement by one man? I ask because we don’t usually get upset over the other common problems dealing with women in sports. Do we feel this way simply because it was put into the open for all of to witness? You know what’s funny about the things we know everyone else knows about? That seems to be the time when everyone has their most heroic opinions. You know, “the right side of history” opinions that aren’t normally found in everyday conversations. Which is why I ask, why are we upset now? Are we angry because it was offensive? Are we angry because it was Cam Newton? Are we angry because this is what’s trending? Are we angry just until things blow over?
Or are we angry enough for change?
Are we angry enough to challenge the underlying culture surrounding women in sports journalism? My problem is this: until we get serious about what’s really going on, I can’t expend the energy to be mad at Cam Newton. Because to what end will it be validated? Until we get serious about women's current situation in sports, it will always be said, whether publicly or internally.
“It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes...”
If nothing changes, isn’t it?