Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Twenty for Twenty: Number 7

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After School Special

"You sound like an after school special." She snorted and laughed at the same time. Her eyes lids were at half mast and she settled her back against the back of the chair.

I just twisted my mouth and didn't say anything. This was just some attempt to throw us off of the conversation. I at least knew enough to see it for what it was.

She was old enough to remember "after school specials." That alone made me sad about this predicament she was in. It did. Then again, no matter what the age, this was a sad and bad situation.

All of a sudden she popped up in her seat and leaned toward me with a pointed finger. "Wait. I take that back. You sound like that lady that be with Oprah. Iyanla. The 'fix my shit' lady." That made her laugh out loud. Hard.

"Maybe," I replied. "But I still mean what I said. You don't deserve to be hit or grabbed. He can be a strong person like you said but not hit you. It's not okay."

"Well. Just don't go getting any ideas. You know that last time the police came to my house I told them I was good. I'm a private person. I don't want no drama like that."

"Would you like us to help you with finding a safe place to go? Like somewhere that you could be besides there? No one has to be in your business when we do. There are folks we are connected to and this is their jam." That last part made the corner of her mouth turn up on one side. I went on. "Like, it could be super low key until you sort things out."

For a few moments, she didn't speak. It looked like she was thinking--like maybe we were about to get somewhere. But then her phone rang in her purse and she snapped out of her thoughts. Before I could say more she was looking at the phone and, since I was sitting right across from her, I could see that it was him. Because "YOUR MAN" came up on the screen. In all caps, no less.

Not even kidding.

"I'm good," she said with a tiny smirk after silencing the phone. "Yeah, I'm good."

"But you have bruises on you. And you told me how you got them. And--"

"And you guys have called police and sent people and if I don't cooperate, it don't matter do it?"

I swallowed hard and felt my eyes prickling. "You. . .it. . . I wish you would accept some help. You are a beautiful and--"

"Here we go. Iyanla is back." Her chest rose up in a big sigh. "I got the message that you care. I'm for real. And what you need to know is that when you come from where I come from? You learn how to handle all kinds of shit. Trust me on that."

"They are stronger physically."

"Well. You just need to know that it ain't as simple as it look on the after school special, okay?" She could see that her words were hurting my heart. "Look, here. People think everything can be like the Huxtables for everybody. But that ain't how it work." Another throwback pop culture reference. Which again made me sad.

"I get it. I just feel scared for you. Maybe we can give you some resources? Have some people check on you in case you change your mind?"

"I guess."

"That's better than a no."

"It's not a no."

I smiled. She smiled back. And we just sat there in silence.

Until her phone rang once more. She pulled it out again and looked at the screen.


"I gotta take this," she finally mumbled.

I didn't say anything. But here is what I thought:

No, you don't.




  1. You can't save her until she is willing to be saved.

  2. You planted seeds. Maybe they will grow. Tough one.

  3. My stepdaughter's first husband was abusive and she seems to be with a man who is becoming increasingly controlling. He verbally abuses her. She's now cut off contact with us and I feel sick to my stomach. They have two baby girls.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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