Sunken Treasure … A Very Good Read!!!

Many years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a very gifted author but let me be honest in saying that I didn’t realize it at the time. The truth is that I was drawn to her warm,kind spirit and an autographed copy of the book was a bonus. As life would have it, right after receiving the book my life turned upside down and inside out leaving me in a place that left the book unopened. Finally about a year later), I was ready to give it a whirl. WOW!!! My thought: I had let this jewel go untouched for this long??? So without further ado…

Sista Tracy

Sunken Treasure

TWISTS AND TURNS…CHAPTER 1

Dear Journal,

They don’t even know me. They see me every day and don’t even know that I’m lonely and miserable all the time. I thought they said that your eyes were the windows to your soul. If that’s true, my windows must be foggy or something. Nobody seems to know anything except for the fact that I have “bedroom” eyes, or so they say. All the guys say that I’m the bomb. Yeah I am, TNT dressed in a black cat suit with high heeled pumps on ready to explode and blow the whole damn world up for my misfortunes. But the whole world didn’t hurt me so I guess I’ll let them live, for now anyway. Well, I hear my nosey roommate coming into the apartment, so I’m going to leave you now because she’ll only try to read you and get into my business. Back to my secret hiding place you go.

Until Next Time,

Indee

“What’s up Camille?” Indee asked trying to play off her mad dash to the bathroom to hide her journal as Camille came into the house. “I had to use the bathroom bad as shit and couldn’t hold it any longer. I was watching Oprah today” she said changing the subject, “They had some stupid ass women on there telling all their damn business like there’s a magic fairy out there that can snap her damn fingers and make everything alright.” She continued, angry because those women had the courage to share their pain with something other than a journal. “They were trying to get outside help from anyone that would help them. They’re weak as shit! My life is like walking over the sun barefoot compared to their drama. To me, they had it good. I’d trade places with them any day.” She thought, feeling strong that she had kept her horrible secret for so long from everyone except her journal, which had become her confidant.

“Hey Indee”, Camille called from the bedroom while changing into her favorite lounge-around-the- house outfit. If nothing else in her room was clean, she made sure her tight faded out black sweatpants with the stretched out elastic waist and her lucky Western High t-shirt was. That t-shirt got her her very first boyfriend, or at least her very first sexual experience from Poindexter McCall, the most sensitive nerd PolyTechnic High had ever welcomed through its doors. “What are we having for dinner tonight? This is your week to cook and I’m very hungry. I haven’t eaten all day hoping that you would make some more vegetarian lasagna and garlic bread like you did the last time. That shit was the bomb girl. Kenney and Mike can’t stop talking about it. If I wasn’t sure of myself I would swear that Kenney wanted you now since you’re so perfect.”

Indee remained quiet. She had totally forgotten that this was her week to cook. She was due to begin running again today and had promised herself that nothing was going to get in her way.

“Indee are you ignoring me again?” Camille called out to her. “That damn girl is always on cloud nine, in another time zone. Hell, if I had all the propositions she had and those looks I would be on cloud nine too.” Camille thought, smiling about her daydream. “I wouldn’t have a care in the world, life would be perfect! I wouldn’t have to worry about making sure I had a girdle on every time I left the house so that my fat wouldn’t jiggle when I walked. Shit, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I would be at every hoochie mama store in Mondawmin Mall to make sure all eyes were on me. There would be no shame in my game! Indee keeps that body of hers all covered up like she’s ashamed or something. If I were her everybody would want to get a sip from my Coke bottle. Damn she’s lucky. Thank God I have a cute face and a wonderful personality. Otherwise I would have a hard time keeping a man around her ass.”

“No, I’m not ignoring you girl, but tonight I’ll make something quick because I made plans already and this was not one of them.” Indee said in a huff.

“Come on Indee, I’ll even help this time. I saved my appetite all day thinking about this meal. You can’t let me down, were best friends, sisters even.” She whined walking behind Indee.

Camille knew that Indee was a pushover. All anyone had to do was whine or seem upset and Indee would do everything within her power to make them happy and keep them satisfied. Indee wished that people would do the same for her sometimes, but they never did. People didn’t really care about anything but themselves she thought.

“Alright, Alright I’ll make it!” Indee exclaimed, angry with herself for giving in. “I’ll go running afterward. Everything happens for a reason. Maybe I’m being kept away from something dangerous.” She rationalized to herself to keep from being irritated.

Dinner was off the hook as usual whenever Indee cooked. She was a scientist in the kitchen, able to make everybody who professed to hate vegetables change their minds. A taste of her food made folks flashback to the “good old days” of sitting at the table with the entire family preparing to say prayer over Sunday Dinner.

Everyone agreed that Indee was the perfect package. Her habit of reading everything she could get her hands on, from the Baltimore Times to Gordon Thomas’ Gideons Spies, kept her well versed and able to add her two cents into any conversation.

To top it off, she had a house that looked like she spent a million bucks on it. God knows that counselors don’t make much, but Indee didn’t let that stop her. She had that thrifting thing down packed. She knew where to go for everything she needed and desired. She was so good at it that at the end of her weekly shopping sprees she would still have enough money left over to put twenty-five percent of her paycheck into the bank for a rainy day. And let’s not talk about looks. Indee kept herself in shape by running all of the time-in the morning before work, in the evening after work and sometimes after dinner. Running seemed to bring her comfort. There was no one there but her and the wind as she let her misery pass until her strides came to their undesired end. Hell, she knew she couldn’t run forever, but sometimes she wished she could, just to escape life. Everybody thought she ran to keep herself in shape because at thirty-five she had the body of a voluptuous teenage girl, only better. Her breasts were firm and stood erect as if she had just begun to grow them. Gravity had not affected her like it had all the others. Her waist was slim and was attached to a behind that must have been custom-made by God himself.

Everything about her was perfect from her long jet-black naturally wavy hair that hung past her breast, to her extremely soft, weekly pedicured feet. All the women wanted to be Indee except for herself. She would rather have been a fish or a bird, free from harm, or better yet, an ugly girl that no one wanted.

While getting dressed into her favorite navy blue and red FUBU sweat suit and sneakers Indee contemplated how much easier life could be if there was no such thing as pain or loss before being brought back to reality. The only way I can get that is if I die, and that doesn’t seem like anything that’s going to happen anytime soon. She thought to herself.

“I’ll see you later.” Indee yelled to Camille before running out the door.

“Be careful!” Camille hollered back. “I hate when she goes running at night! These streets are too damn crazy, especially when you’re as fine as Indee is. Damn I’m jealous!” she chuckled to herself.

Camille woke up from her after dinner nap to find that Indee had not made it back home. “God I hope nothing happened to her.” She thought. “It’s almost eleven o’clock already. It never takes her this long when she goes on her runs. It’s been two hours since she left. Maybe she’s over Mikes house. Let me call and find out.”

“Hello.” Mike answered the phone.

“Hey Mike, It’s me, Camille. Have you heard from Indee tonight?”

“Naw. Why, something wrong?”

“I hope not, but she left to go running after dinner around eight o’clock and hasn’t gotten back yet. She’s usually back by now and I’m worried.” While they were talking Camille’s line beeped. “Hold on Mike, my other line is beeping.” “Yes may I help you?” Camille answered quickly.

“It’s me Camille. Can you please come and get me?” Indee said discreetly.

“From where?”

“I’m at the police station on Edison Highway.”

“What the hell are you doing at the police station?” Camille yelled. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine. I’ll explain it to you when you get here. Please come as soon as you can, I’m exhausted.” Indee pleaded.

“I’m on my way girl, hold tight.” Camille said as she hung up the phone.

“Damn, did you forget that you had me on hold?” Mike asked.

“I apologize, that was Indee on the other line. She needs me to come and pick her up from the police station on Edison Highway.”

“What the hell is she doing at the police station!”

“I don’t know, but she said that she would tell me once I picked her up.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll go and get her. I got to make sure my baby is alright.” Mike said as he ran out the door. Indee was the only woman that he had ever really loved sincerely and totally, no matter how unpredictable she was at times.

Twenty minutes had already passed and Indee was becoming impatient. “Damn, I’ll just try to hail a cab or get a hack because I’m tired as shit!” she thought as she began to walk toward Madison Street. Just as she was about to turn the corner she noticed Mike’s Mercedes Benz truck pull up.

“What is he doing here?” She wondered to herself.

“Indee, what’s wrong baby, why didn’t you call me? Are you alright?” Mike raddled off quickly as he jumped out the truck. He looked Indee over and saw that she had no bruises and was temporarily relieved that she had not been injured.

“Calm down love I’m alright, but the person that I’m here for isn’t. I witnessed the murder of this young girl tonight while I was on my run. I was the only visible witness there.”

“Where the hell were you running?” Mike asked curiously because he knew that the reservoir where she usually ran was safe because it had twenty-four hour police surveillance.

“I decided to run a different route today, so I went through the city to have a change of scenery.”

“Baby you know these streets are filled with a bunch of crazy niggers. Why would you jeopardize your life like that?” he snapped at her.

“I’m grown dammit!” Indee said with tears welling up in her eyes. “I can do anything I want to. If something is meant to happen to me it will, regardless to where I am.”

“Come here baby.” Mike said as he pulled Indee toward him. He gently kissed her on her forehead and held her close. “I love you baby and don’t want anything to happen to you. You’re everything to me. If something happened to you I would lose my mind.”

Indee was at a lost for words. She never believed that anyone could ever truly love her, especially if they found out her secret. She hugged him back and enjoyed the comfort for the moment.

“Come on, get in the car so I can take you home.” Mike said as he opened the door.

“We can’t leave yet because Camille is coming to get me.”

“I told her that I would come and get you and that she could stay home so it’s cool.”

It was a long ride home. Indee thought about the murdered girl and wished that she were in her shoes. “At least I wouldn’t have to worry about having to feel this pain anymore.” She thought to herself before dozing off.

“Wake up Indee, you’re home. Do you need any help?” He asked opening her door.

“No thanks, I’m fine. Thanks for all the concern though.” She said giving Mike a hug and a small peck on the lips. “I’ll call you tomorrow when I get home from work, but make sure you call me as soon as you get in the house so that I’ll know you made it home safely. I don’t want anything happening to you because of little old me. Good night and thanks again.” she said before running into her house.

“I hope that Camille is asleep because I’m exhausted and really don’t feel like talking tonight.” She thought while gently shutting her door.

Her prayers were answered. Camille was fast asleep on the sofa. She tried her best to wait up for Indee but the “Sleep God” got the best of her. Indee prepared to take her shower. The water was hotter than usual, but she enjoyed every bit of it. She had been through a lot and she needed to relax. A hot shower was the ticket. She shampooed her hair while showering. It was quicker that way. Why waste water? She’d always say. After showering she moisturized her skin with shea butter and put on her favorite pajamas with the feet that Camille always joked her for. She said that Indee looked like a big kid with them on and she was right. But Indee loved those fuzzy, lint collecting, powder pink pajamas. They always made her feel secure, so she could care less what other people thought about them. She completed her nighttime ritual of making prayer and then writing in her journal before going to bed.

Dear Journal,

Tonight was crazy, more crazy than usual. I witnessed a murder on my after dinner run. This poor little girl was robbed and shot in the head. She died instantly. It all happened so fast. I just happened to be the only witness there. Ain’t that something? I kind of envy that girl because all her pains are over and it ended so quickly. She must have been lucky because at least she didn’t have to suffer. It sounds crazy, but there are times that I tried to rush myself into an early grave but was unsuccessful. I’m still here for some reason. I know that sounds ungrateful, but I’m tired of feeling this pain. I’m tired of carrying this heavy load. Well, my eyes are getting heavy so I’m going to stop here.

Until Next Time,

Indee

The sound of Bob Marley singing ‘Get Up Stand Up’ blared through Indee’s vintage-inspired CD alarm clock that she found at the Patapsco Flea Market. “T.G.I.F.” she mumbled as she sluggishly crawled out of bed. “Thank you God for waking me up this morning and allowing me to see another one of your beautiful days.” She said every morning even though she was unsure of whether she wanted to live or die.

Indee prayed that the grass was greener on the other side, but didn’t have a clue. Nobody ever came back from the dead to tell her how much better or worse life was on the other side. “I need to hurry up. I’ve been late twice already this week. Mr. Smith is going to sit in on our morning staff pow wow today and I don’t want to give him an excuse to cut the fool.” Indee said out loud as she got ready for work.

Mr. Smith had a reputation that preceded him. He was all about business no matter what. He was one of those Uncle-Tom type of Negroes that had to prove to master how much he deserved to be in the big house instead of in the field like the other niggers. Just two years his mother had passed away during the same week that the center was being audited. Instead of him going to his own mother’s funeral, he had decided to stay and meet the auditors. He said that he would see her again in the sweet by and by and that she knew that he loved her. How trifling is that?

“Everyone seems to fear him except for me. He’s just a man. He puts his pants on like everybody else, one leg at a time. Just the same, I need to hurry up.” Indee whispered while fumbling through her closets for something to wear.

Indee arrived at the center with fifteen minutes to kill. She liked the feeling of being able to enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee and a Krispy Kreme doughnut that was fresh out of the oven. “Mmm mmm mmm, free food is the best, especially in the morning.” She said out loud.

Young people were everywhere playing in every room they could. The center was their safe haven from the projects they called home. It was their opportunity to have a healthy snack, air conditioning in the summer, heat in the winter, and a place to talk to an adult that didn’t judge them for the circumstances they were forced to grow up in.

“Good Morning Ms. Indee, how are you feeling today?” Sherika asked.

“I’m fine sweetheart, thank you for asking, and how are you?”

“I’m alright Ms. Indee.” Sherika said, but Indee didn’t believe her. She seemed to truly connect with Sherika. They shared an unknown bond that neither of them could explain, but both could feel.

Sherika Stanton was one of the twenty-five children that Indee counseled at the center. Ever since she had been gang raped at the age of twelve by a group of neighborhood boys she lost respect for herself. Instead of the struggle of keeping herself whole until she found someone worthy, Sherika gave her body to anyone who seemed to care about her. Just last month, she had her first lesbian experience with an older lady named Sparkles who had taken her in when she had nowhere else to go. She said that she didn’t enjoy it, but as long as she played the role she was guaranteed a place to stay. Up until then, Sherika had been staying anywhere she could since she ran away from home.

You see Sherika’s mother never believed that she had been raped. She believed that Sherika had given herself to those guys willingly and made up that fantastic story about being raped to keep from being embarrassed and getting in trouble. None of the signs mattered to Ms. Stanton. Neither Sherika’s black eye, bruised shoulder, or newly stitched-up vagina could convince her that Sherika’s sexual encounter was not willingly endured.

“That little bitch is too damn fast!” Ms. Stanton had hollered as she pushed Sherika out of the cab and into the house causing a scene. She beat Sherika’s behind like the slave master beat the slaves whenever they tried to escape. Sherika ran away that night and never went back. That was almost a year ago.

“Your eyes are saying differently.” Indee said cautiously. “What’s wrong Honey? You know you can talk to me about anything. I’m here for you if you need me okay.”

“Come on Ms. Indee, you’re already ten minutes late!” Mr. Smith hollered sternly out the conference room door.

“I’ll talk to you later alright.” Indee said to Sherika while gathering her things. “If I had just come in here right after I got my coffee I would have been on time.” She whispered to herself. “Mrs. Shabazz is holding the floor today. That’s strange.” She thought.

“Thanks for being on time Ms. Indee.” Mrs. Shabazz said with a smirk on her face. Everyone in the room burst out laughing because they knew that ten minutes late for Indee was like being an hour early for the rest of them.

“As I was saying,” Mrs. Shabazz continued. “Some of us are born with the divine gift of connecting our souls with the souls of others in a way that saves lives. Some of us truly care about the well being of others, and you can tell by the difference their presence makes in the lives of those that they touch. That’s why we’re here this morning, to honor Ms. Indee Blackstone for being the best example of a true sister, mother, mentor and friend. Bring out the plaque and flowers.” She gestured to Bryan Lewis.

“Congratulations Ms. Indee!” Bryan said with a wide smile. “I wrote a poem for you, but I’ll read it to you later.” He whispered while handing her the bouquet of flowers.

Bryan was the office honey that all the sistas drooled over, but were too afraid to make a move on. They didn’t want to hear him talk about how much Jesus had brought him peace, all they wanted was a piece, of him that is. Bryan proved the saying wrong that all a man wants is what’s between a woman’s legs. He chose to save himself for the woman that would be blessed to become his bride. To him, first base was preferable and second base was tolerated, but making a homerun with someone that wasn’t his wife was out of the question. His famous saying was “Why play a game that ends too quickly?”

Everyone stood up clapping and cheering for Indee because true indeed, she had a heart of gold, and it always showed. But despite all that she did, Indee never knew that she really made a difference. “I’m only doing my job.” She thought.

SPEECH SPEECH SPEECH her co-workers hollered while clapping excitedly. Indee was at a loss for words, which was rare because she usually had something to say about everything.

“Thank you so much, but this reward will be shared amongst us all. The differences that I make are only because of the love and support that y’all always give. Thanks for everything.” She said humbly before returning to her seat.

The claps continued for a few more seconds because everyone knew that Indee truly deserved her award. She put the d in dedicated. No matter the task, Indee was the one to call on if you needed help. She took her job seriously, often taking home loads of work for other counselors so that their youth wouldn’t be slighted. Other times she allowed youth to stay at her home when they had nowhere else to go. That was, until Mr. Smith found out and put a stop to it.

The meeting was wrapped up after all the business of the week had been discussed. “There is so much work to do when helping others, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything.” Indee thought.

The rest of the morning was pretty much routine for Indee, filling out paperwork, setting up appointments, clearing the clutter from her desk and reorganizing her office for the next week. Just as she was about to put her file boxes back into the closet there was a knock at the door.

“Come in.” She said.

“Hey Indee. You got a minute?” Bryan asked.

“You know I got a minute for you Bryan. I can’t wait to hear my poem.” She said trying not to look into his deep-set eyes.

“Well, I wrote this piece for you a long time ago, but it doesn’t have a name. I hope you like it.” He said, clearing his throat.

You inspire me in ways that can’t be explained

The mere thought of you fills my heart with pain because I can’t have you

It’s such a shame that all the good women are taken

I hope that you’re mistaken, so that you can be mine

You’re one of a kind

A diamond to be treasured

I know your value and how you should be measured

God has prepared me for such a wonderful task.

I’ll leave it up to you,

All you have to do is ask

“Wow. I never would have known.” Indee said fanning herself with one of her client’s files.

“Indee you’re a beautiful woman. I just wish I had caught your eye before that man of yours did.”

“Ms. Indee you have a call on line four, Ms. Indee you have a call on line four.” The receptionist said across the intercom.

“Well go ahead and get your call. I’ll see you around.” Bryan said while leaving her office.

“This is Ms. Blackstone, how may I help you?” She said.

“Hey Baby, how are you feeling today?” Mike asked.

“I’m fantastic. Thank you for asking, and how are you?”

“I’m fine now that I’m talking to you, but I’d be better if you joined me for lunch this afternoon. Do you already have plans?”

“No. I hadn’t made plans for lunch yet so I’m available. What time are you going to pick me up?”

“I’ll be at your job at twelve sharp. I made reservations for us at Moma’s Kitchen. I remembered how much you enjoyed it the last time we were there. Please don’t be late baby.”

“Alllllll riiiiiiiggghhhtttt.” Indee whined playfully. “I’ll be at the door waiting for you at eleven fifty-nine with my jacket and purse in hand.”

“Ok baby, I’ll see you in a few. I love you.” Mike said before hanging up the phone.

“I love you too.” Indee replied.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

PROPOSITION #2…CHAPTER 2

Lunch was great. The food was always good at Moma’s Kitchen and the staff was always pleasant, quite different from how society portrayed black people. People from all over traveled to Moma’s Kitchen to get a good home-cooked meal away from home. The restaurant had a following of it’s own from national celebrities and dignitaries to regular folk that just appreciated a good thing. That’s why it was best to call in advance to secure a spot in the place. Nobody seemed to care that the restaurant was a renovated house on Kossuth Street in Edmondson Village. That’s what gave it its unique charm. It made you feel like you were visiting your relatives from out of town. Oooh and that homemade peach cobbler and sweet-potato pie from scratch that Moma made, made a nigga want to lose his religion!

After they finished their meal, Mike paid the bill and gave the waiter a nice tip. He pulled Indee’s chair from under her and proceeded with the rest of his plans for the afternoon. He planned on taking Indee on a stroll around the reservoir before taking her back to work. He wanted to pop the question to her again and wanted to make sure the atmosphere was perfect. Being turned down again was not an option; neither his ego nor his heart could handle it.

It was such a beautiful day. The sun shined brightly, the trees were in full bloom and the birds sang softly. Spring was definitely in season. Mike took Indee’s left hand and gently rubbed it between his. They walked about half a mile saying nothing, simply enjoying each other’s company.

As they approached the row of pink and white cherry blossom trees in Hanlon Park, Mike stopped in front of Indee, slowing her pace. He took both of her hands and looked her directly in her eyes without saying a word. He had to pull himself together first. He knew that the answer to his question would forever change his life no matter how Indee responded. If Indee said no this time he was prepared to break off their five-year relationship to be friends instead. He wasn’t getting any younger and was ready to settle down. He wanted to have a few children to impart his wisdom upon. He wanted some little Mikes running around. But, if she said yes, he would be the happiest man alive because he would be marrying a true helpmeet. A fine woman that made him feel like a man, not only in the bedroom, but in every sense.

“Indee.” Mike started off with beads of sweat forming on his forehead. “I want to ask you a serious question, but before you cut me off, let me plead my case. Ever since I met you my life hasn’t been the same. I can still remember when I first laid eyes on you. You were wearing a fuchsia and purple sweat suit, running around the reservoir. You looked so cool. You were running your heart out, but you didn’t break a sweat at all. Your beautiful hair bounced up and down your jacket with each step you made. I know because I ran behind you as long as I could, enjoying the scenery.” Mike smiled. “When I finally caught up to you I was in awe because you were so beautiful. Your eyes just melted my heart away. I was not about to let you leave before having the opportunity to get to know you. Even though you politely brushed me off to continue with your run I knew that

I had met my match. I knew that you were the one for me. If it had taken me the entire summer to take you out I would have waited because I knew that I loved you the moment I laid eyes on you. You comfort me. You give me peace of mind. You put my soul at ease just by being yourself. I know that you’ve been hurt by men in your past, but I promise you that I’ll never purposely do anything to hurt you. Please baby, please don’t say no to me this time.” Mike said while getting on one knee.

He went into his suit jacket and pulled out a small black velvet box. “Baby, there’s no one else in the world more perfect for me than you. Will you marry me?” He said opening the box.

Indee stood there frozen as if suspended in time. Her entire life flashed before her eyes. She loved Mike, but didn’t want to marry him because she knew that once he discovered who she really was his impression of her would never be the same. That he would not love her anymore.

“Don’t leave me waiting baby my heart can’t take it. Will you marry me?”

“Yes, I’ll marry you.” Indee said in a near whisper.

Mike got up so quickly that he nearly slipped on the grass. He hugged Indee so tightly, while spinning her around that she was beginning to get nauseous.

“I love you Baby.” Mike said as he planted the most passionate kiss on Indee’s full lips.

“I love you too.” Indee said as Mike put the 3-karat diamond ring on her finger.

“Baby this love will be forever. I promise to be that black knight in shining armor that will run all your demons away. I promise to do everything within my power to make you as happy as you’ve made me this moment.” He said with a tear running down his cheek.

Indee arrived back to work on time and hurried into her office. She needed some privacy. So much had happened in one day that her head felt like it would burst. “Why did I say yes to him? He deserves to be with someone else. He wants to have children and I haven’t told him that I can’t have any. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be honest with him? He deserves to know the truth. I have to tell him, but how do I present the real Indee Blackstone when he’s fallen in love with the imposter? What the hell am I going to do?” She sighed. “I can’t wait until I get home so that I can clear my head with my run.”

At five o’clock Indee punched out and headed home. “I’ll have to run like Forest Gump to get this monkey of my back!” She said out loud.

Within thirty minutes Indee was at home. She quickly changed into her sweats and prepared for her run. Friday’s were Camille’s late nights so Indee was relieved of her dinner requirement for the day. She grabbed her keys and headed out the door. Tonight’s run was crucial. She needed to clear her mind so that she could make the right decisions. “Life sure is tough.” She said to herself.

Indee ran her usual route this time. She wasn’t eager to be another eyewitness anytime soon. As she ran she thought about her life and the cards she had been dealt, or rather the cards she had chosen. “Only if I could turn back the hands of time, I would do many things differently.” She thought.

Back then were the times she wished she could forget. Too much had happened. Too many lives had been affected by her selfish choices. Things did not go the way she had planned or wanted, and it was all her fault. If she could do it all over again she would not have done it at all. “Maybe in my dreams I’ll find my solutions.” She thought while sprinting her last lap.

When Indee got home she quickly got undressed and hopped into the shower to rid her of the stinky telltale odor that you get when you work really hard. She grabbed two towels from the linen closet, one for her body and the other for her hair. When she finished, she laid across her bed and turned on the television. Exhausted from her day, she accidentally dozed off. Before long she was in a deep sleep, subconsciously taking a trip down memory lane…

Dear Diary,

Mr. Tim is so nice and fine. He takes good care of me and my mother. I wish he had a son so that we could double date or something. Last night I peeked in my mom’s room while they were having sex and it didn’t look painful at all to me like Rita said. I didn’t see any cherries pop out or any walls being broken. My mother seemed to be having the time of her life. He was sucking on her breast and other places that I would rather not write about, but would rather feel someday. Mommy seemed like she was losing her mind. She was wiggling all over her bed. I wonder if someone will ever love me the way Mr. Tim loves my mom? I sure hope so, because sex seems to be fun to me. I can’t wait to tell Rita that she lied. She’s so stupid. She probably never even had sex before.

Indee was abruptly awakened out of her sleep by the loud ringing of her telephone. “Yes may I help you?” She asked wiping her eyes, trying to get herself together.

“May I speak to Ms. Indee please?”

“This is she. May I ask who’s calling?”

“It’s me, Sherika, Ms. Indee. I’m sorry for calling you so late but I can’t take this anymore. I can’t sleep at night anymore because when I close my eyes I feel like I’m being raped all over again. I don’t want to live anymore Ms. Indee. I’d rather be dead!” Sherika screamed.

“Where are you honey? I’ll come and get you. We’ll work it out together.”

“I’ll never be the same Ms. Indee. I’m already dying. The doctor says I’m HIV positive. Those motherfuckers knew they had AIDS when they did that shit to me! I just wanted you to know that I was a virgin until that day. All my friends were having sex, but I was too scared to. I wanted to wait until I found somebody that would love me for me.”

“Where are you Sherika? I going to come and get you. It’s going to be all right. I’m going to be here for you honey.”

“I know you would Ms. Indee, but I’m going to be fine. I just wanted to thank you for showing me love. I’ll never forget you for that and please don’t ever forget about me.” Sherika cried before hanging up the phone.

“Sherika where are you!” Indee screamed, but the phone went dead.

Indee put on the first thing that she could find, grabbed her purse and keys and ran out the door. “I have to find her. She doesn’t deserve this!” Indee said.

She looked everywhere but Sherika was nowhere to be found. She wasn’t at her mothers’ house, Sparkles house or the center where she hung out, nor was she at any of the local police stations or hospitals.

After three unsuccessful hours of riding around searching for Sherika, Indee went home and called the police. She told them everything she could, and filed a missing person’s report. “I pray that she’s OK.” Indee kept saying. “God please protect that poor little child.”

As Indee laid across her bed waiting for Sherika to call back, she dozed off and began dreaming about her childhood again. It had been haunting her lately like a reoccurring nightmare.

Dear Diary,

I told Rita that she was a liar because she didn’t know anything about sex. I told all my friends about what I saw in my mother’s room and this boy named Nicolas was eavesdropping on my conversation and said that I was scared to have sex. He said that I didn’t really see my mother and Mr. Tim having sex. He said that he could tell if I really knew what to do because he had done it already. Rita and the girls said that I should do it to him to prove him wrong, but I don’t know if I should. My mother would kill me. But if it really feels as good as mommy made it seem last night, at least I’d die a happy girl.

“Yes may I help you?” Indee answered the phone groggily, hoping that it was Sherika on the other line

“Can I please speak to Ms. Blackstone? This Dr. Goldstein from University Hospital and I have some very serious news to tell her about your daughter.”

“This is she. How can I help you?” Indee asked quickly getting out of bed.

“Ma’am, your daughter was rushed to shock trauma tonight with a severe gunshot wound to her head. We’ve been working on her, but things aren’t looking good. We need you to come down here as soon as possible.”

Indee hung up the phone without saying a word. She ran out her house and got into her car. She drove nearly eighty miles an hour to get to the hospital. When she arrived, Sherika was just being taken out of surgery and was being placed in ICU. She was hooked up to several machines to help her breathe and to monitor her vital signs.

Indee could not believe that it was Sherika lying there in that bed. She didn’t even look like herself. Her head was swollen, making it difficult to see her big doe eyes. Indee broke down crying so hard that the doctors had to come escort her out of the room. In her heart she knew that Sherika would not make it through the night, and if she did, she couldn’t imagine the type of life that she would physically be able to live. She remained at the hospital all night long by Sherika’s side, wishing that she could have been there to help her cope with the news, and also praying that God’s will be done.

At 8:37am Sherika flat-lined and was unable to be brought back. “Such a tragic ending for such a beautiful young girl’s life!” Indee cried as tears streamed down her cheeks.

Indee could not get Sherika out of her mind. She was extremely angry with Sherika’s mother for pushing her own daughter away, for not believing that she was actually raped and for not going after her when she ran away. She was angry at Sparkles for using Sherika to satisfy her freaky passionate lifestyle and for not caring whether Sherika lived or died. But out of everyone, Indee was angrier with herself for not making Sherika get the help that she desperately needed. One-hour group sessions once a week at the center weren’t enough to handle the type of stress that Sherika was under. Sherika had real issues that a hug and a free scoop of ice cream couldn’t remedy. In her heart, Sherika was a part of her that would never be forgotten.

Months had passed before Indee was able to function properly. She put everything and everybody on hold including Mike while she sorted things out and reorganized her life. She kept him at a distance because she wanted and needed to come to grips with her past, and she could not do that with him around. The hurdle she had to jump this time was one that she had to jump alone.

In spite of it all, Indee never broke her pattern of visiting her grandmother at the Abundant Life Senior Building on Tuesdays and her grandfather at Woodlawn Cemetery on Sundays.

Although it had been nearly twenty years since he had passed away, Indee still begged him for his forgiveness and cried when she could not hear his answer. He was the only father she had ever known, because her biological father had run off before she was born. Poppy took her to baseball games, taught her how to tie her shoes, how to catch fish, and how to fight and protect herself from men. She was his little angel, the apple in his eye.

There was nothing in this world that he wouldn’t do for Indee, even if it cost him his life.

Indee sat at the cemetery amongst the beautiful flowers wishing that she could teleport herself into yesteryear. Things would be so different. Her Poppy would be there to console her, comfort her, guide her and give her a good reason to want to live.

“Poppy, it’s me, Indee. I told you that I would visit you every Sunday no matter what. I know that I’ve been quiet on my visits these past couple of months and I apologize for that. I just haven’t felt like bearing my soul lately because it’s been too painful. Besides, you’re unable to give me advice anymore anyway. Lately I’ve been meditating though, struggling for balance, trying to make the best choices with my life. You know that I’m getting married soon. Mike has been so good to me, but I feel unworthy of his love. Part of me wants to help him find someone else that’s more suitable for him. I’m too messed up these days. Sometimes I honestly don’t know if I’m coming or going. We haven’t set a date yet, but he’s very persistent. He says that he’ll take care of everything including my gown. He said all I have to do is show up. That’s love huh? What should I do Poppy? I’ve never been this scared since you left me. What if I don’t measure up to his expectations? What if he realizes that I’m not the perfect woman he thinks I am? What if he finds out that I can’t have any children? I know that he wants children and won’t want to be with me once he finds out. All he talks about is us being together, sharing the American dream of a fine home on the hill with a white picket fence, two fancy cars, two children and a dog named Spot. Life is too complex! Well Poppy, I love you with all my soul. Say hello to my mother and give her a big hug and kiss for me. Don’t forget to tell her that I’m truly sorry. See you next Sunday Poppy.” Indee said as she kissed the top of her grandfather’s tombstone, leaving the bouquet of sunflowers in front of his grave before leaving.

On the way home Indee took the scenic route through York Road. She wanted to see those beautiful homes on the outskirts of the city with the neatly manicured and landscaped lawns. Each time she traveled that route she would pick out her favorite house and imagine her life there.

“Oh I can see it now. All my friends coming to visit me in that big beautiful stone and brick house with the six foot pond in the back yard. My garden parties will be lovely with all those exotic butterflies flying around. Where there is no vision the people perish.” She said out loud with a smile on her face.

When she arrived home there was a wonderful surprise waiting for her. Mike had had a dozen calalillies surrounded by two dozen multi colored, long stemmed roses delivered to her house with a note attached that read “like the flower, a wonderful gesture of God’s grace, so are you.”

“Poppy you sure answered my question quickly today.” Indee said smiling from ear to ear. She loved having flowers around her. Poppy would always make it his business to get her fresh flowers every weekend until the day he died.

As she put the flowers into her fancy Tiffany Vase, her $3 steal at a yard sale last year, she thought of calling Mike. She really missed him even though she didn’t want to admit it. She wanted to be in control of her life. She wanted to be the one to make her happy. She didn’t want to become dependent on anyone else to make her life fulfilling, not even Mike.

After several rings, Mike’s answering machine picked up. “Thank you Mike for the most beautiful floral arrangement that I’ve seen in a long time. I know that I’ve been very busy lately, but I wanted you to know that I miss you very much and can’t wait to talk to you. Call me back as soon as you get this message. I love you. Indee”

______________________________________________________________________________________

So, what do you think? Are you hooked yet? You will never believe how this story ends. You don’t believe me? Find out for yourself.

Leave a comment below. Thanks for your support.

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