Maybe you thought it was just a threat. Or maybe your life was just that crazy & you was beggin for death. Tried to justify this in my young mind, but the adrenaline and my ego hurt – combined- drove me berserk. Saw the devil in your eyes, high off more than weed. Confused, I just closed my young eyes & squeezed… Jay-Z, “You Must Love Me.”

     “I don’t give a fuck if you die, Bitch.” That’s what he said as he held my throat between his hands. My head was pinned to the floor as he straddled my body on the bed. “Please,” I whispered through the gasps of air as I could suck up while I pried away at his fingertips.
      It may sound like fiction, but fiction has never been my genre of choice. I thought about who to call as it all happened, but unfortunately my phone sucks and didn’t charge over night. I tried to listen to myself.  There was fear. Hatred. Remorse. But beneath it all, animal instinct. My mind was so busy plotting an escape route,  I couldn’t even cry. Scissors. Letter opener. Hot sauce in the eyes? Anything. Everything. Me above all. Survival.
      What I really need is a pistol.  He made a phone call –or at least pretended to. Said they were on their way. That I was going to know what it felt like to bleed. That I was going to pay for everything I did to him.  “You see my lip?” he pressed on. He “came for the ring” he said. I asked him to wait outside the door but he wouldn’t. Out of frustration, completely my fault., I pushed him. Wrong direction & all. Instead of pushing him to the hallway, I pushed him into the bathroom. I was just angry, to be honest. It was 9am. I was finishing my hair. I had to go to work. When the doorbell rang, I thought it was my roommate. I opened it without checking. I pulled an Ace in Paid in Full. It was the oversight that would lead to my temporary demise. Big fuckin mistake. “I don’t know where it is,” I told him. & I said it in truth. I couldn’t focus. I asked him to step out the room. I needed him out of my space, but he wouldn’t budge. The one thing I can’t handle is someone in my space when i don’t want them there. In my bedroom. When I found the ring, I placed it in his palm hurriedly. “Please, leave,” I begged. Still, he pressed on. He wanted to know why. Why I was acting like I was, he claimed. But I knew the real question. 
        I knew the real reason he was there: he was upset I had broken it all off. It’s been days. I hadn’t texted, I hadn’t called. Eventually we got to the meat of the issue and he started asking those questions. He wanted to know what he had done wrong or hadn’t done. But he should have used his words before he used his hands. In this midst of it all, I paid attention to the wrong things. His nails had been done. Who had done them? But I brushed that off quickly when I looked up at him. I should’ve known from the RedBull in hand that he hadn’t yet slept. The man who stood before me could barely open his bloodshot eyes. 
         “I have to go. I have to go to work,” I kept repeating. 
        “I don’t give a fuck what you have to do,” he responded.  He picked me up and wrestled me to the bed. He’s not that much bigger than me, not to mention I look him dead in the eye when I wear heels. I felt his lips making their way towards mine. “I don’t want this,” I told him. “I don’t want you.” He kept on. He put his lips to mine (and he has very nice ones) and I continued to pull away. I let him come in. I bit down. That is when he got upset. 
     “You want to know how it feels to bleed?” he had asked, asked pulling out a box cutter. There were times, in the middle of this battle where I did think I would die. I thought that was it. I was staring into the eyes of a man with nothing to lose. I saw the devil in his eyes fueled by the pain and the hate. He was taking out on me everything he’d suffered at the same time hating me for not being everything he wanted me to be. This fight was more that me vs him. This was man vs woman. This was us vs the world. Versus everything we love to hate and hate to love. I was upset at him for being there. Upset at my roommate for leaving early. Upset that my phone was dead (I fuckin hated T-mobile right then). Upset that I had even spoken to him. Upset that I wasn’t speaking to who I want to speak to, because that’s why I had even given this fool a chance in the first place. Upset that my loneliness had brought me into a situation where I had to fight for oxygen. Again.
        I love anything a man does that is hypocritical. Especially if its in the same half -hour. It amuses me. When he can use “baby” and “bitch” interchangeably and think you won’t notice. As if the minute his voice lowers, you should swoon over him. As is asking me for a hug would somehow erase the fact that he had stuck me across the face. From the mark hidden under my MAC concealer, I’m unsure of if his fist was open or closed. He’s lucky I’m NC55. Any lighter and my co-workers might have already asked questions. The people on the train were too afraid to. As we walked down the street, him telling me to stop and me telling him I never want to see him again, I had made a scene I didn’t want to. I wanted to be left alone. He held me. As if I should love him again. 
          “You don’t love me anymore?” he asked. 
          “No. I can’t.”
          “Look me in the eye,” he spoke. It was the only order I followed all day. 
       “No. I can’t,” I said firmly. The tears came. As we stood by the elevator –I had finally convinced him to leave with me — he asked me why I was crying. “I’m crying for me,” I told him. And I was. I don’t deserve it. This isn’t how my mornings should start. This isn’t how my life should be. This shouldn’t even be happening. He shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be here. We don’t need to be. 
         “I love you,” he told me as I impatiently waited on my train to come. 
          “I know,” I responded. “But I don’t want to see you ever again.”
         “You don’t love me?”
         “You’re lying.”
         “How are we supposed to move past this if when I answer you, you say I’m lying? What do you want?” 

         “You gonna call me when you get out of work?”
         “Call me when you get out of work.”
         “No, I never want to speak to you again.”I’m not sure how many times I said I don’t want him in my life. I’m even less sure of how many times he understood me. 
         “Why you actin like this?” 
         “Because I don’t want you here. I don’t want you,” I would tell him. But somehow I couldn’t get through to him. 
       I hadn’t told you all the first story, because part of me knew the second  instance would come to fruition soon enough. Today was that day. If a man hits you once. He’ll hit you twice. If he hits you twice.. yup.. thrice. You see, he thought this fight was going to be like the last one. We’d tussle, talk and make up. He simply didn’t realize that when I ended it the last time, I had ended it. I wasn’t waiting to be hit again. Somewhere inside of me, I knew it was coming. I knew the day would arrive when I’d be a bitch again and he’d have no problem swinging at me. The only reason he hadn’t struck me before was that it was the first time. I think he thought that if he played the “man” role and hit me forreal, I’d fear him and listen. It worked for a little bit. When he hit me, I didn’t know what to do. The only person who ever hit me like that before was my brother –The night Crystal and I had tried to go to the movies with those lame boys and we had to walk the quarter mile by ourselves. We must’ve been about 15. Which means, no one has struck me like that for 8 years. This ain’t some shit I’m used to. 
      9am is too fuckin early for domestic violence.  And Thursday is very inconvenient for me. “You needed to do this now? You couldn’t do this at night sometime?” I had asked. At the end of all this, I’m not even sure how to feel. I’m not really… upset at what happened this morning. Shit happens to me. A lot of unpretty things have happened to me. I roll with the punches. Quite literally, sometimes. Being able to take a man’s abuse is nothing to be proud of –but to survive it and escape the situation is. This isn’t an attractive situation, I know. And I’m am “just like the other bitches,” like he said. I forgive too easily. I thought that , perhaps, he had simply tried me the first time. He’s not really like that,  I told myself. I made him do it. But if you can make him do it once, you can make him do it again. Because I can’t change. And he can’t change. So we can’t be. One of us is going to die and I promise the Gods it’s not going to be me. I grabbed my locket the way nuns grab their rosaries. The one with the picture of my brother in it. I silently, unconsciously prayed for… good. Anything. Just for things to turnout alright. And they did. You know why? Because as long I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive. I’ve got all my life to live & I’ve got all my love to give. I’ll survive
    So where do I leave off with this? I don’t need anyone to call a hotline for me. & I’m not going to give out a hotline number because, if a woman is really getting beat, that number is useless. What I want to say is you know. You know which man will lay his hands on you. Mostly because he’s done it before. But you’ve got to cut that shit short. It’s the same thing I’m telling myself. I should have cut him after the first time. But I’m a female. And I have a heart. So I kept on. But twice? I have more sense that that –even though I said I had more sense this first time. You’ve just got to be strong and understand that you deserve better. You don’t have to live like that. I walked down the street and thought about all the men who would love to be with me, who wouldn’t do that to me. I looked them in the eye and knew. And then I asked myself why I would stand for it. My heart still calls for Kendell, unfortunately. So until it doesn’t I’ve got to close it off in solitude until I can get over him. Because I want to go back. I do care for him. A little piece of my heart even loves him. But I can’t do that to me. “If you care for me so much, why are you fucking with my life right now? I have to go to work,” I told him. A man who loves you, love you and all that you love. The man who loves me wouldn’t send me to work with a mark stretching down the left side of my face. And a man who loves you wouldn’t either. 
      Watch these niggas or they’ll try to break you. Especially if they want you. Some of them will attempt to control you. Not because they’re bad people, but because violence is what they were raised on. It’s the perverse outcome of this country’s backbone – slavery. You know, “beat them until they listen.” And if they can’t trap your body, they try to trap your mind. You have to regain control of yourself. We think he’s doing this because he loves us and yes, he does love you, but that is not how you show love. He’s fucked up. He needs professional help and you’re not certified to provide that. People get paid for that. People study for years for that. Don’t take on a job that’s too big for you, because it is.  I know a lot of people don’t like to speak publicly about this. Women don’t like to talk about when shit like this happens because of how they’ll look to the outside world. Its embarrassing. You feel dumb for putting up with it, but your heart is pulling you in that direction. At the same time, you do sit and wonder about what you did to provoke it because, let’s be honest, you probably did provoke it. “You think you can go around beating on niggas and them not hit you back?”he asked. “Yes,” I responded. I know it sound dumb, but…. yes
       I feel like no matter what I do, a man shouldn’t put his hands on me. Ever. That’s it. End of story. Maybe Kendell was just too slim-built. I affect him too much. If I swing at him, it’s like him fighting a little boy or me just fighting a strong girl. We’re not uneven enough. You can’t keep putting all the blame on me,” he’d said.  Granted, I played my part, but I feel like I should never feel like I want to push him. I should never want to get physical. People shouldn’t be able to put you in that spot. It’s the same reason I don’t really fuck with females. Too much drama. Bitches always want to fight someone, myself included. Our emotions get to riled to quickly. My shoes are too high for the nonsense. “You sure you don’t want to put some sneakers on?” he had asked. Apparently, we were walking down to face my opponents, but he didn’t understand that I have none. I wasn’t as worried as, maybe, I should have been. I knew that I wasn’t fighting anyone this morning. “I don’t know why you putting make-up on. You think you making it to work?” No matter what he said, I kept it moving. I went about my day. And I am so proud of myself. But I found my escape. I found a way to do it. I got out. I’m at my desk now.  Minor bruises. Nothing big. I’m still the middle-weight champion of the fuckin world. Un-fuckin-defeated, I tell ya & I even have my own victory song; As I got my coffee this morning, I sang, Can’t nobody stop my shine. Can’t nobody hold me down… oh no! I  got to keep on moooooviinnnnn 🙂 I’m alright, yo. I’m not letting this nigga fuck up my day.
    A nigga who is no good, is no good. And if I can send him over the edge like that, I’m no good for him either. He doesn’t want to see it, but one of us has to. My day didn’t need to start off like this. I didn’t need the stress nor the drama. Last night, I sat in my bubble bath with Mary (Jane) and Mike (lemonade lol) and thought about how fortunate I am. I’m not living big, but at least I’m happy. At Least I was until this man showed up and tried to ruin that. If that’s the man who loves me, I’m better off alone. I’m sure I can go without physical until the emotional is where it needs to be. I’m sure you can too. Sometimes, you’ve got to be okay with being alone. For your own good. Now, I have to watch over my shoulder. A nigga with hurt feelings is dangerous. This pussy is too good. I need me a pistol. Since I’m speaking on it, I’m going to show you have to act in a situation like this. I’m going to be strong for the both of us. Especially friends of mine I know have/are going through it but have never spoken on the situation with me directly. I’m not going to tell you what you need to do, but I know the movesI should make.  I need to move. I need to not pick up his calls. I need to forget. That’s what I suggest you do. You need to get away. No interaction. BEcause feelings are still there and everything you look in his eyes, you’ll remember how you loved him. But you don’t need any reminders. It’s okay to have loved him once. You don’t have to love him again…just like he didn’t have to lay his hands on you again. But he did hit me. And now I don’t love him. Simple as that. 
& for anyone out there I know, please don’t worry about me. I just rearranged my shopping list. I’ma have to keep a pistol under my pillow. Preferably a pink one. Ain’t nobody fuckin my sleep up.