Friday, February 13, 2009
The Realest Shit I Ever Wrote
I was ekeing out a living, working my first industry gig. I was fresh out of school and was living back in my old room at my mom's house where I grew up. I was trying to further enforce my freedom gained from 7 years of higher education (college, law school) but I felt I was getting soft, what with home cooked meals and mom's insisting on washing my clothes. Life was a bit awkward now, no more schooling, I was really living in the real world, feeling my way around on the daily grind to man up. Then I met her. Angela. Certified dime piece. Actually I knew her from college. She was one of those sisters that didn't hang with the black crowd that tight, but wasn't all up under the white dude's arm either. I pegged her as being one of those artsy, free spirited chicks that followed the beat of a different drum.
It was a beautiful August afternoon, and I was running through Washington Square Park on my way to a meeting when I heard someone call out my name. Boom. Angela stopped me. I hadn't seen her since I dunno when. She saw that I was in a rush, but told me she was happy to run into a fellow former classmate. She had a huge leather portfolio under her arm, obviously in a rush as well. She made me wait though, took out a small note pad, scribbled and passed me her math and we kept it moving. Later that night, I peeped her number. She had written out "Let's hang out together or something. Soon. Angela". I didn't think anything of it, especially since we probably exchanged no more than 5 words to each other all throughout college, but later that night, as I was hanging out with my crew and brought up the topic of our encounter, one of my dudes was like "Yo man, her note is screaming for you to chop that down, especially with that "or something" line." Word? A couple of days passed before I called her. When I did, we talked about how we really didn't know each other from Cornell University and arranged to meet up for lunch or "something" the following weekend. We met on a Sunday for brunch. Like at 1pm. We hung out up til like 1am. Money was low for both of us, but we did New York City big that day. From the East Village (where she lived) to Washington Square Park, Central Park, then back downtown. Conversation was effortless, body language played out like it was choreographed. Angela shared that she was heavy on her grind as a fashion model. In addition to being beautiful, she was tall, and lean with muscle in all the right places. She had just signed an exclusive agreement with one of the top modeling agencies in the city and was just starting to get heavy burn in several print magazines. Her shit was impressive, especially since she was the first professional model I had ever met. Plus, back in the early '90's, dating models was like the next best thing since sliced bread. Later on, as we continued to go out with each other, whenever she would stop by my office, even my former boss, legendary model monger Russell Simmons would holler at her strong. Even though I was the lowest cat on the totem pole, my stock at Def Jam shot way up because of her. I liked that. And I liked her.
I soon started crashing at her crib more and more, even got my own set of keys. The East Village was still wild, it was a very exciting time to live in and around there, and our every moment together was pure fun. I introduced her to the inner world of the music industry, she upgraded me as well, easing me off that N.W.A. 24/7 and onto Jimi Hendrix, Steely Dan and Pink Floyd. Those artists still remain planted deep in my 80 gig ipod. Because of her. I also became a sushi connoisseur. Dunno how a Trinidadian girl from Brooklyn did it, but Angela was mad fluent in Japanese, and that shit there was sexy. Who was fucking with that? My homies started mad joking me out though, calling me out for being sprung. Sprung? Fuck yeah, shit was heavenly yo. A couple of more dates led into nine months of courtship. By that point, Angela and I had become inseparable.
On the ninth month of our relationship, Angela, focused on her career, knew that she had to move to Paris to get her catwalk runway game on lock. Her agency had her set her up in an apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower and she was set to go. Her stay was to be indefinite, but we promised each other to stay true. No lie, I had images of her drinking wine, smoking cigarettes and falling in love with some stringy long haired, gay looking Frenchman. Fuck it though, it was good while it lasted. On that designated day, we hugged and kissed until her flight took off. Like that, there I was again, back in my room, in my mom's crib, heart broke and listening to Steely Dan, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd.
As much as I was trying to get out to Paris, my paper wouldn't afford me that luxury, still, our letter flow was consistent and voluminous. I'd keep her posted on what was happening in Brooklyn, how our homie Keith Haring had died, how I had to take the New York State bar exam over again, she'd send me letters written on expensive looking stationary in gold and pink metallic ink, smelling like her, updating me on how treacherous the fashion world was in Paris, bitches cat fighting and shit, how beautiful the Champs-Élysées was at night, delicious pastries and all. We managed to keep our long distance relationship alive. Shit, I even stayed true, well, I smashed something once, but it was on the random, and only once. Our phone conversations were short and sweet, and as one day turned into four months, the fire in her voice seemed different. As time passed, she began talking about how she wanted to come back to New York and soon, how she was lonely and starting to realize that the fashion game wasn't for her, how all that devious sneak talking and body selling for a meal no longer had her amped. We talked about it, about how, when she got back, we might could even maybe move into an apartment together. We talked on end about how we'd split the rent and all bills since we was both on the come up, and live happily ever after. I was down with it, my first crib in New York. "Set it up" she said, "I'll see you soon, I can't wait. It'll be great." I was with it.
I found a two bedroom apartment in Park Slope for $900 a month. $450 a month was gonna be rough, but doable on my end. 69 5th Avenue between St. Marks and Prospect. I signed the lease, paid down on the security, moved in and prepped it for Angela's return. I felt guilty though, because moms for some reason did not feel my girl. She was also pissed at me for not staying home to save some money. I kept it moving though, I was too excited in starting this new chapter in my life and after being apart for 4 months, I was gonna be able to have my baby to myself, all the time, whenever I wanted. The day came, her cab pulled up and Angela had arrived. She loved the spot as well as the location. We kissed, we drank wine, we laughed, we loved, we lounged. It was the bestest sweetest weekend. It was also the beginning of the end.
Boom. Monday came, and I was back in beast mode, hustling to climb that ladder of success. Nothing beats being young, energetic and focused, and I was all that. After my first day back at work, I came home that night, and Angela. looked. depressed. and. unhappy. In contrast to me being fully alive and energized in my craft, in my field, Angela, on that first Monday back, came fully to grips with the fact that everything she had worked so hard to achieve for the prior 3 years up until that point was on reset. No career, no work, nothing to apply her once fiery drive to. Just the television set on daytime loser mode, New York now being a cold, strange, lonely and depressing place in her eyes. As the days passed, what was once encouragement and support for my career just months earlier turned into jealousy, anger, sorrow and hate. The "I love yous" became "fuck your job, fuck you, you think your shit is more important than mine. " And just like that, I found myself in a completely different relationship with a completely different person. The bright, warm, cheerful home I once envisioned became cold, dark, depressing, heavy. I loved work more and dreaded coming home. Our endless chatter box rapport was replaced with deadening silence, broken randomly by mono syllabic responses to questions revolving solely around mundane household issues. I felt like I was slowly dying. No, I wasn't dying, but I felt like I wanted to.
You know how they say if you want to see what your potential wifey might end up like in the future, peep out her moms? That shit right there should be a law, eff that, the eleventh commandment even. Our courtship took us, took me to such heights that I never even thought to put in the due diligence required in seeing what Angela's d.n.a was composed of. One weekend, she had to pick up some shit from her moms and needed my help. Her mom lived close by, in Brooklyn, on Washington Avenue. Back when Washington Avenue was nothing to eff with. When we got to her mom's building, I knew instantly that I didn't want to go in. A group of young thugs was posted deep up on the steps, obviously slanging their wares. Entering the hallway, my senses were greeted with the strong pungent stench of urine. As we climbed the stairs, I spotted a couple of water-bugs spotting me. I. hate. water-bugs. When we got to our destination, her mom's place was exactly how I pictured it to be just moments prior, disheveled, unkempt, nasty. Even though it was our first encounter (and last in person), I knew instantly that not only did her moms not feel me, I knew that her moms didn't feel any man. Angela once told me that her parents were divorced, that her father was a successful banker on Wall Street, and that her moms was deeply affected by their split. Her mother was thin, gaunt, withered even, and had a look of lost, disoriented crazy in her eyes. Angela picked up her shit and we promptly bounced.
The first month passed and rent was due. Expectedly, Angela couldn't pony up her share as she hadn't yet found work. I ate that, even though I couldn't afford to. A couple of weeks after covering the rent, and shopping for groceries, and barely holding us down, I reminded her what our arrangement was, 50/50. Instantly she flipped. She started throwing a tantrum and anything within her reach all over the place. Plates and glass shattered. A lot of cuss words and hateful shit was flung my way. What I couldn't realize at the time was that Angela was trapped, cornered in an emotional box of fear and despair, and in me calling on her to fulfill her responsibilities, she lost it. Problem was that I was in a corner as well. Being caught off guard by the intensity of her violent reaction, I snapped. I grabbed her by her arms, trying to calm her livid ass down, but she went in deeper at the fact that I was trying to restrain her, kicking, pushing, scratching, my temper rose to match hers, and in overpowering her, I pushed her firmly until her back struck the wall with a THUD! The unthinkable had happened. Shit escalated to violence, and I was the perpetrator. I didn't hit her , but I used force, I put my hands on her. Shocked, ashamed, stunned, I released her. Oh, she most definitely kept it popping, but I was emotionally and physically spent. No mas. I went quietly into my room, beaten, defeated by the chaos of our circumstances. Closing the door, I shut myself off from the world and let all that pain, anger, hurt, resentment, confusion and disappointment in her, in the relationship, in myself, in the world wash over me.
It's funny how at times, when living with someone you consider to be close to you can the be the loneliest of experiences. Food became tasteless. I began to loathe the routine of my daily life. The woman I once saw as beautiful not only changed internally, but physically as well. One day on a whim, she cut off all her hair. In doing so, she finally cut away any and everything that reminded her and I of her days as an aspiring model. At that point, Angela had clearly demonstrated to me that she was straight up 7:30, definitely not balanced. Shortly after, one day outta the blue, upon coming home from work, I checked my messages and that's when her moms started leaving hateful messages on the answering machine, chilling insane rambling messages about how I was not a man, what with demanding that a woman, her daughter pay some of the bills. "No man allows his woman to pay for anything" she screeched. Although indirect, her messages played like she was consoling her daughter, but that shit was clearly aimed my way. So now they were talking shit about me. Daughter enlisted the aid of mother in making me the bad guy. Angela knew she was being so foul in letting those messages stay fresh until I came home to hear her mom's witchcraft like rants. Still, I played the bigger nigger, continuing in paying bills, groceries, all that. Locked into a lease I could not afford to pay alone, put into a place where I had to live up to the commitment of maintaining all the amenities, I was living with the enemy. My only recourse at this point was my very survival. To step to her in an attempt to kick her out would've resulted in more violence and for real, I wanted very much to choke the fucking life outta this bitch. My mind was scrambling for the solution, but I had to continually fight back the thoughts of how I so wanted to blacken her eye, crack her ribs, how I wanted to run up and smack the shit outta her and her fucking evil deranged mother that was consistent in leaving hateful shit on the answering machine. Yes, as much as most of my existence became murky, unclear, I was sure of one thing, Angela, my former love had become my mortal enemy. I had to get out alive and with my sanity and dignity intact, or die trying.
3 months of this hell passed, with me enduring it. Then, on the third month, Angela landed a job. It wasn't what she went to college to do, but as much as her self hate translated into hatred for me, she seemed happy, at least briefly, in that she was finally earning some money. The week after she started working and cashed her first paycheck was when the levy broke and hell was unleashed on earth. It was March, on a Saturday. I woke up that morning not feeling well, headache, throat sore, body hurt. I felt a cold or the flu coming on and had a fever of 103. A snow storm was predicted by the local weatherman, and on schedule, it was snowing. Angela was on top of the world though. For what seemed like the first time in months, she was playing her music on the stereo, as if the cash validated her existence and lifted her spirits. The fact that I was painfully curled up in the bed and sick seemed to add to her joy. She had gone grocery shopping, cooking, playing her music and dancing about and around the apartment, music on blast all day. She made it a point to be as loud as possible. She wasn't talking to me, wasn't fucking with me at all. I kept my distance too. That snowy Saturday, Angela reborn, was cooking shit up like a chef. B, she was straight cooking for like 5 hours, and even though I was sick, her food smelled good. That evening, as she had completed her culinary masterpiece (mind you, this was the first meal she prepared since she moved in) she sat down at the dinner table and began to dine elegantly. With fever still in effect, I shuffled out the room hungry as I hadn't eaten anything all day. Carefully measuring my words, my tone, my delivery, I approached her, asking if I could make myself a plate, get a taste of what she had cooked. Wrong.fucking.move.
As if on cue and laying for me, she spit out her venomous reply "I brought this food with my money." "Fuck you if you think I'm cooking for you, your bitch ass cant even afford to pay for shit!" RAGE. BLOOD. DEATH. MURDER. was all I saw. After endless months of enduring her shit, tortured by her very existence I felt the puppet master's strings controlling my very being, driving me to commit unadulterated savage brutal violence on her person. I was there. I WAS SO FUCKING THERE! I KNEW, IF I TOOK THAT ONE INCH, I'D TAKE IT A MILE. HER VERY FUCKING LIFE WAS IN MY HANDS. AND I WANTED SO MUCH TO KILL HER THAT VERY MOMENT. KILL HER WITH MY BEAR HANDS UNTIL THE LAST OF HER WARM BREATH LEFT HER BODY COLD, LIMP AND LIFELESS.
Pause. breath. step back. reassess. reset. regain. control. I don't know how I did it, how I managed to pull it off, but somehow I channeled that murderous rage, and looking in at the scenario, as if I were experiencing an out of body moment, I saw my self calmly walking into my room, slipping on my timbs, my Girbauds, my hoodie, my goose. Somehow, I knew what it was. I could not, would not give this bitch the satisfaction in giving her the very tools that would eventually lead to my downfall, my demise. I had just passed the bar and was about to get sworn in as an officer of the New York State court system. My career was popping. I was looking good. Smelling good. She knew that as much as she wanted to break me, only I could break myself. Oh, she had set the traps, had done so masterfully even, but the final move was mine. I knew this now. I saw myself heading for the door, fever and all, snow storm storming outside. "WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU GOING?" she screamed, driven further insane at the fact that I would not play in this deadly game and on her terms. I ignored it all focused only on my exit, my escape. She darted madly in front of me, blocking the door, blocking turning into screaming, screaming into spitting, spitting into swinging. She was long gone, wholly consumed in whatever hell fire and bile was coursing through her veins. Composed and in a zone, I mechanically grabbed her arms once again, moved her tall frame from my path, and marched in a daze, zombie like through the snow and on a mission to get to the nearest bar.
After about an hour at the bar, with several shots to the dome and still feverish, I was now completely impervious to pain. Comfortably numb, I started trudging through the snow, legs aching from my sickness, Das EFX blasting through my headphones. I somehow resisted the strongest of urges to do the unthinkable, I didn't kill her, but now the demon that had fully possessed my once beautiful Angela was completely and absolutely dead to me. I got to my prison that was 69 5th Avenue, between St. Marks and Prospect, climbed the one flight of steps to my apartment and paused as I heard foreign sounds coming from the other side of the door. There were some people inside, I heard radios squawking and men's voices.
I opened the door to be greeted by two white police officers standing in the middle of my living room. Standing next to them was my moms. Yes, my moms, looking visibly shaken, worried. Before I could take this all in, I realized that the entirety of my apartment had been completely trashed. Papers, clothes, glass, liquids madly thrown about, all of which were my belongings. Before any words were exchanged, I also noticed that Angela was in her room, packing shit, pacing like a rabid dog and playing the victim.
The argument, the liquor, the rage, the fever, the adrenaline had me goosed. It was show time, front and center and I was still in the zone. "Good evening officers, hello mom" I said as I approached the police and hugged my moms. "What's going on?" The cops informed me that Angela had called them on some domestic violence shit, claiming that I was high on drugs, lost my mind, had beat and choked her to the point where she lost consciousness, then I trashed the place and fled from the scene like a criminal. The officer in charge asked me as to what transpired. Feeling like I was towering over the cops, I calmly, coldly looked them in the eye and said "Officers, believe me when I tell you that I want nothing less than to beat that woman into a coma. I want so much to inflict bodily harm to the point that my only recourse was to do so, or leave the premises in order for me to cool down and regain my composure. I had to get a drink in order to calm myself down. Believe me also when I say that I want to hurt her so much so that had I the opportunity to lay a hand on her, it would be so clear to everyone in this room that I had done so, so much to the point that I would be asking you to take me under your custody. That being said, I didn't touch her and knowing that you are the professionals that you are, you look around and tell me what went on."
The officer in charge pulled me to the side, out of Angela's earshot and explained to me that he had been on so many domestic violence calls during his years as a cop that it was obvious to him that I was innocent and that Angela was setting me up. He then asked me whose name was on the lease and what I wanted to do. I told him it was my name solely that was on the lease and that I would greatly appreciate if they would promptly escort Angela the fuck out of my apartment and the fuck out of my life. Moments later, Angela came out with a small suitcase filled with her shit, flanked by the two officers, still trying her best to look like a victim. As she passed me, I flashed her the peace sign. I then spent another 1/2 hour consoling my moms, calling a cab and sending her home through that winter snowstorm. That night, after sifting through the wreckage that was finally home to me, caused by the fury that was Hurricane Angela, I was about to call it a night. In my victory, I was spent. I went in the bathroom to brush my teeth when I caught whiff of a foul odor. It was then that I realized that Angela left me one final parting gift. She smeared her feces on my tooth brush.
I was alive again though. When her girlfriend Yvonne (who went to college with us and at whose home Angela was staying) called to curse me out for putting a shoe on Angela, I laughed, packed up every belonging of hers I could find, called my boys and neatly delivered everything to Yvonne's door. Months later, Angela called me several times, apologizing, asking for me to forgive her, to allow her to move back in, crying even. I felt sorry for her, for her not realizing how far off the deep end she was and how much pain she must have experienced in her life to drive her to the point of snapping the way she did. I was cool about it, still playing bigger nigga, even accepting her apology, but there was no effin way she was coming anywhere near any parts of my life. A few years later, I ran into Yvonne who told me that Angela had gotten married, had a kid, then ended up getting divorced, accusing her ex-husband of beating her ass, of physically abusing her. We both laughed as she was now convinced, that after the smoke had cleared, that my name remained clean in her eyes.
The current Chris Brown Rihanna drama so reminds me of this story. As much as that situation is being sensationalized by the media, by us, I truly feel for them both. Looking back, I see how, had I gone with it, what that view from Chris' perspective must be looking like. I joke, but nothing about whatever transpired is at all funny. What is funny though, is how all the critics, especially the male one's are talking about how Chris is bitch ass because what he did was bitch ass, and how they would never ever do something as bitch assed as he, but they all sound mad bitch ass to me because it's so effin clear that their bitch asses were never forced to stand on that edge of insanity, tempted to jump in head first. If what happened is what most people think happened, Chris is no doubt wrong, but instead of being persecuted and crucified in the public's eye, I hope he receives the help that he's calling out for. But his current misfortunes are in no way an open door for the chest thumpers out there to judge him while proclaiming how much of a man they are.
Moral of the story, check out the mom's first and always play the bigger nigga.