It’s never really a restful sleep. Living a few stories above the streets of Manhattan. We all say we do, sleep restfully, us New Yorkers. It’s similar to when one under dresses for the weather but will swear up and down they’re fine, when if you had x-ray vision you could see the goose bumps on their back and the chill on their bones, so us Manhattanites always claim,
“Of course I sleep, once you get used to the noise you don’t even notice it.”
You never get used to the noise. So at six years old, living in a small apartment two stories above the continuously buzzing streets of Manhattan, I certainly hadn’t experienced a restful sleep. Most noisy nights, I would rest my head on my mother's lap, while she cradled my ears in her hands, until I drifted off to sleep, shielding me from the fire engines, the ambulances, the police sirens or car alarms, the barking dogs, the happy couples, the angry couples and the mad rantings of her live in boyfriend.
On this particular night, shielded from the world by my mother’s magic hands, you couldn’t tell me I had not drifted off into heaven. A blissful angelic sleep. The last blissul sleep I would know for a long time. I was shaken out of my deep slumber moments later, by what every other resident of the apartment building may have assumed were two firecrackers. Maybe one little bad ass boy had lit one seconds after the other.
I leapt to my feet and screamed.
Standing on my bed, waiting for my mother to enter, with her magic hands and shelter me. I screamed again.
I waited. I heard our front door slam. I heard a thump. This thump sounds in my head over and over. On any bad days in my life to this day, which are any in which that thump sounds in my head, twenty-five years later. It still hits me…hard. I don’t believe it myself on most days. How this thump, this sound sends me right back to the worst day in my life, when I was a six year old standing on my bed, waiting for my Mommy’s hands.
Always afraid of that man, I wouldn’t dare venture out of my room in the middle of the night. Not for anything, not a drink of water, not to pee, not even to see my mom. But on this night, that thump, forced me out. I had to risk it. I had to go see what this sound, more disturbing then any firecracker, police siren or car alarm was. I stuck my toe out first. If he was there and mad at me for venturing beyond my boundaries, I’d prefer to have my toe knocked off before my head. Next, my entire foot. I wiggled it, tried to get his attention. I felt nothing. I heard nothing. No yelling. No, “Get back to your room you nosey brat!” Didn’t hear it. Only silence.
Enough of this scared little girl routine. I’m going to find my mother. I swung the door open and boldly stepped out into the living room. She’ll tell me what this disturbing sound was about and why out of all the noises I’ve heard every night of my six years of life, this noise would move me so. And screw that loser. I’m even going to call for her.
I feared at any moment I was going to get slugged for waking the fool. But he must’ve been awake. No one but his rude ass would have slammed the door so hard. And my mother would not, could not, ever leave me alone, not for five seconds with that volatile fool. He was a volcano set to erupt. When, was the question. Unhappy and miserable, he hailed from a filthy rich, quite white upper west side family who loathed him and his love of the darker women and in return he loathed them back and everyone else in the entire world including himself. He felt my mom owed him. He had sacrificed his family’s love for her. Delusional. Best believe if it weren’t my mother, it would have been some other woman of color, seeing as how he cheated on her several times with her chocolate counterparts. Ungrateful, loser. Go get a job trust-fund baby. His family paid him to stay away. College drop-out and lover of black women. God forbid they have a baby. They didn’t have a chance to.
I took a deep breath, stuck out my chest and marched right into the bedroom. Not a soul to be found. Where the hell is my mommy? I heard a moan from the kitchen. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up, until that moment, I hadn’t even realized I had hair on the back of my neck.
I froze at the kitchen door.
“ Go back to your room, Pumpkin.”
She nicknamed me pumpkin at birth. She said when I was born I was as round as a pumpkin and every part of my plump body was dimpled, my cheeks, my chin, my arms, my legs and my little baby butt; her little pumpkin.
And there she was. Looking as if she were simply resting on the kitchen floor. Still being strong for her little Pumpkin.
“I’m okay, go back to your room.”
I eyed my mother. Her face seemed so angelic, I almost believed her until the thump replayed in my head. I scanned the floor. My eyes followed the pool of blood on the floor to the holes in my mother’s chest and stomach. The holes bubbled with deep red clumps of my mother’s lifeline. She was a living breathing oil refinery being drilled. Drained of life.
I remembered hearing the door slam before hearing the thump. The faggot didn’t even wait for her body to drop. This woman he claimed to love so.
What goes through a child’s mind when she sees such a horrific sight? Wouldn’t you, my aunt, my father, my grandmother, a slew of cousins, uncles, friends, three child psychologists and even myself like to know? God, I believe is the only one who knows because I certainly don’t. What I do know is, I am a product of that night. Everything I am and am not is because of the night I heard my mother’s body hit the kitchen floor. And I had believed I had grown to be the best person I could possibly be, against all odds. Proud of myself first and foremost. Happy, I chose wine and weed over cocaine or crack. I always felt every bad choice or rundown road a person chose to take could be justified someway, somehow.
I smoke crack because my mother abandoned me when I was a child.
I smoke crack because I never knew my father.
I smoke crack because I saw a man get shot in our backyard.
I smoke crack because I was molested.
I smoke crack because my parents are divorced.
I smoke crack because my mother is crazy.
I smoke crack because my father is crazy.
I smoke crack because I lost a slew of money in the dotcom industry.
I smoke crack because I made a slew of money in the dotcom industry.
I smoke crack because I got caught cheating on my wife.
I smoke crack because I caught my husband cheating on me.
I smoke crack because I can’t keep an erection.
I smoke crack because I was a straight A student until I got a B in Gym.
I smoke crack because I asked for Malibu Barbie and got Balibu Marbie.
I smoke crack because this….
I smoke crack because that….
And I smoke crack because the gotdamn other….
I smoke crack because one day my reality became too much to bear, some situation, some accident, some thing. I needed to escape. I chose to escape. I thought I could escape.
I, Destiny Marie Bell, chose to be okay. Some people don’t know how to be okay. I’m not judging. But thankfully, I’ve always known this: Crack won’t make it okay. I’ve had no real run ins with crack, no temptations and no long lost brothers climbing through the window to steal my television for a vile of crack, but to me crack epitomizes escapism, a sure fire way to not be okay. So whenever I f#@$ed things up somehow or someway, offended a love one, smoked too much weed, drank to much wine, drove to fast, slept too long, cried too hard (this was a weakness in my book), ate a jelly donut while grocery shopping and forgot to mention it to the cashier… My cure all phrase: “At least I’m not on Crack”
My method of escape, My crack of choice, fleeing. And I mean really fleeing, running away in the middle of the night like a fugitive. ©
This is the first page of my soon to be abandoned novel. I needed to show some of it. I might have to leave it alone and get back to the screenwriting....I'm not really trying to write long ass serious ass novels.........I like comedy...I like funny movies....I wanna write those....but I don't think my mind will allow me to continue until I get the rest of this book out of me. Thanks for reading."
Every time I read that part of the book, I hope it ends differently...Is that crazy?