Snack Time

This piece was originally published with AbsoluteWrite.

“I can’t believe it. I am finally here,” I thought as I left the green room. “And, I’m about to go on stage.”

Everyone is so wonderful, especially Reggie, the make-up artist. He listened attentively when I told him my pageant-induced phobia of people applying eyeliner to me. He worked patiently and flawlessly as I flinched with each stroke.

“See, Makasha. I told you I wouldn’t poke your eyes out,” he said with an expressionless, Botoxed face. “Now, get on out there!”

The walk to the stage entrance takes forever. I know I’m close. Busy producers run back and forth giving cues to the audience and each other. Finally, I hear her voice and she’s talking about me.

“As you know, I am retiring from the show in a few months,” she looked solemnly into the camera. “But, after reading Holidays I had to do one last book club selection. It is a poignant autobiography that delves into the mind of an abused child.”

A pre-recorded tape of me talking about the book plays on television prompters. And, then she said it: “Please, welcome Makasha Dorsey to the ‘Oprah’ show.”

The audience stood, clapping and cheering with some even praising my work. When I reached my chair, Oprah gave me one of those follow-my-lead hugs and whispered, “Don’t be nervous. You can do this.” She turned to the crowd, thanked them, and gave the cue to be seated.

“When I got this book from my producer, I was a bit skeptical. I receive so many manuscripts from sexually abused people because they think we have a kindred spirit. But my staff assured me that Holidays was moving, honest, and provided real insight into how a child copes as he or she is being abused,” she said then turned to me. “I know why you wrote the book, but how did you find it in yourself to be so honest about the abuse and falling in love with your abuser?”

When I opened my mouth to speak a crunching sound came out. I took a drink of water and it happened again. Oprah kept talking as if it was totally normal but I crunched every time I tried to speak.

CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! SCRATCH! The sound awakened me from a deep dream that I wanted to be real. Well, I wanted most of it to be real.

I listened closely as I lay alone in the dark. My husband, who normally investigates this sort of thing, was away at a speaking engagement. I felt around the side of the bed for my golf club. Finally, I could feel the rubber handle of the nine iron.

The sound was coming from my closet. Tredell had told me time and time again not to leave crackers in the baby’s diaper bag. A chill went down my spine as I thought of a rat or some other vermin feasting on my baby’s things.

“My baby,” I whispered. His crib was right next to the closet door. I had to move it, without waking him, just in case this thing runs out. I pushed Jaden’s bed into the hallway and closed the door.

I exhaled deeply, held the iron over my head with my left hand, opened the door with my right.

“No, Mommy. No!” my oldest son screamed, sitting in the bottom of my closet. “I’m eating crackers. They are so good.”

Sometimes They Come Back

For three whole days, I’ve been alone. Don’t feel sorry for me, it’s been quite lovely. I’ve eaten lunch without having to share it. I’ve even turned on the lights in the middle of the night and didn’t have an intruder stare back at me.

This is the kind of aloneness I’ve hoped for since I moved here. I have no company; none at all – but it didn’t come easy.

Susie, the house manager, assured me I wouldn’t be disturbed as she handed me the key. Grateful that I had my own place after divorcing that slob of an ex-husband of mine, I took the shiny brass, picked up my first set of boxes from the foyer, and went upstairs to the tiny, in-law suite I now called home.

I saw this six hundred square feet space as an upgrade from the 2800 square foot prison home I’d shared with Charlie the Cheater. Sure, I’d miss the chef style kitchen, Jacuzzi tub, and the rose garden in the backyard but this is mine.

Although Susie had thoroughly cleaned the place, for good measure I did it again. I don’t know whose germs lived here. I needed to kill as many as I could of what she left behind – the power of pine.

A week passed before I saw my first guest. I was sitting on the floor watching House – I love that show – eating popcorn and drinking grape soda from a turquoise plastic cup when the doorbell rang.

“Who is it?” I yelled through the door as I pushed paused on my remote. Thank God for Tivo.

A familiar voice yelled back, “It’s me. Charlie.”

I’d forgotten that he was coming by to bring my mail. I know I called him a slob but except for the cheating and controlling ways, he really is a sweetheart.

He passed the mail through the door I’d opened and said, “I wasn’t gonna come up when I saw the lights out but figured you were watching television or something. You’re gonna get enough sitting in the dark eating.”

“Whatever, Charlie,” I responded as I grabbed my mail. I said thanks and then he was gone.

Before starting my tape I picked up my cup to gulp down some of the purple drink. To my surprise, a juicy roach with long squirmy tentacles was posted in the other side of the rim starring me eye to eye. When I turned on the lights, I saw that at least thirty roaches had taken over my popcorn bowl.

After screaming at the top of my lungs and nearly puking my guts out, I called Judy and told her she had to do something about the bugs right now. Soon after, her husband, Richard, who happens to be an exterminator, showed up at my door. He sprayed the apartment and placed out some baits.

“Can I ask you a question?” I asked Richard as he walked to the door.

He shrugged. “You’ve asked one; one more won’t hurt.”

“How is that you’re an exterminator but your rental property has roaches?”

Richard pulled off his gloves, placed them in his pocket, and with a wide grin said, “Roaches are like ex-husbands, sometimes they come back.”

Dirty on the Inside

“What a beautiful specimen,” are the words I uttered quietly the first time I saw Darious.

I was studying for my Legal Research and Writing mid-term at the library when he strolled in. He looked like a Michelangelo creation that could breath, walk, and talk.

Cassie, the girl at the reception desk, seemed to find him attractive as well. As soon as she saw him she arched her back to show off the artificial boobs spilling from her tight, low cut sweater; leaned across the desk; and asked “how can I help you” in a soft, sultry, tone.

“I reserved a copy of the Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney and was told I could pick it up today,” he said without looking at the “twin peaks” that were pushed up for his viewing pleasure.

Knowing her attempt to get his attention had failed; she said “ok” and tried again.

“Not the drop, bend, and flick move,” I thought when she dropped the book, bent over at her waist with straight legs to show off her bottom, and flicked her body upwards causing her pendulous breast to quake.

He still didn’t bite. Instead, he took the book; looked into my direction; walked over, and asked, “Just out of curiosity, were you watching me or her?”

“I wasn’t doing either,” I answered embarrassingly. He had a lot of nerve coming over to my table, disturbing me while I was studying.

“Since you won’t be honest, I will,” he said then pulled out a chair. He didn’t sit in it. He placed his huge left foot on it and rested his elbow on his knee. “I’m Darious. I saw you from the second level and called down her to reserve a book so that I could get a closer look.”

The man was mesmerizing and just my type: smart with just enough thug in him to cause me to tingle down below. “And?” I asked trying not to sound too turned on.

“And apparently I liked what I saw. I’m standing here aren’t I?”

I should have known he was trouble when he went down on me under a table in a private study room in the back of the library less than an hour later. Caught up in his oral skills I passionately returned the favor after applying my grandmother’s sage advice: “baby, always check his piece. If it don’t look right, walk away.” It looked delicious.

We had some awesome times together. A few weeks ago we had a pregnancy scare. Boy was I happy when the second line didn’t show up on the EPT. However, the damage was already done. I had told him that I wasn’t ready for a baby and would have an abortion immediately if the results were positive. He was a pro-lifer and left me because he couldn’t be with a baby killer.

The break-up has been tough on me because he was my first. When I went to my sister to bash him, she took his side saying, “Honey, there are things far worse than being single and pregnant.”

She was right. The doctor just told me that I’m HIV positive.