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Don’t by Ed Sheeran
All I had on were my socks.
It was dark and I was trying to find my foot.
It was hot too and kind of small. I was trying to fit.
I couldn’t get enough space to fit my upper body. And I tried to wiggle it in.
There were a few rays of light coming in.
There was just something about dark and tight spaces that got to me. I never felt comfortable in them. I was always trying to break free.
But this time I realized I couldn’t and so I wasn’t even trying to break free. I just let myself go. I had come this far and all I could do was let myself go.
It wasn’t about what I felt was wrong or right but more about what had to happen.
I felt this feeling in my stomach. It was the type you got when a police car’s light goes off behind you but you know you haven’t done anything wrong.
You still get a little nervous first right?
It was that same feeling you get in your stomach. You almost can’t control it. You just have to fall victim to the emotion as it courses through you.
I squeezed tighter. I couldn’t let go.
I couldn’t let the feeling slip. I didn’t want to because I didn’t know what came next. The uncertainty.
I slowly pulled back. I gasped for air, which we had used up in that tiny closet. It was then the emanating smell of musty socks hit and burned the hairs in my nostrils.
I looked down at her. She was looking up at me.
Her butt cheeks still firmly in my large hands, I smiled and leaned in.
Closing my eyes, I felt her lips on mine. Soft and smooth, something about their pouty nature had me wanting more. Her lips took my lips into hers as she sucked. I squeezed her butt tighter. She loved how I enveloped her.
And then break. I looked at her and said,
“ Tasha: How long are we going to keep hiding like this? I just want to tell him already. He’s my best friend. He deserves to know. It’s been two months and we keep sneaking behind his back. Look we are hiding out in his closet during his birthday party. It doesn’t feel right keeping this from him. He’s my best friend…”
“He’s my brother…”
she responded, squeezing my hand a little tighter and then continuing;
“We are still trying to figure this all out and I am crazy about you but what if he’s not ready. What if we’re not ready? I don’t think I’m ready yet. I’m really nervous baby.”
She bowed her head down in disappointment. I released her left ass cheek from my right hand and I lifted up her chin. With a warming smile I said,
“It’s okay sweetie. Don’t be nervous. I won’t rush. I’ll wait till you’re ready and then we can tell him. Take your time beautiful. Okay?”
She nodded and flashed a smile. I felt her lips touch mine as I gave her a kiss. She was beautiful even in the darkness.
“You go out first, I’ll be out in a second”
I said to her. She smiled again and opened the closet door and headed back into the crowded apartment condo; her older brother’s house warming and birthday party.
The light briefly rushed into the stuffy closet and the banging bass of the music followed closely behind.
I leaned back into the side of the closet and onto the wall. I let out a huge sigh.
Her brother was going to kill me. He was going to kill me.
I had to say it to myself again. I thought to myself about what I was doing. I wasn’t doing anything wrong per se but he deserved to know. He was my best friend.
I had been warned to stay away from her. But how many times have we been told to stay away from something but we don’t until it burns and scars us?
I was going to treat her different. I wasn’t going to break her heart. I just hoped she didn’t fuck with mine first.
. . . . .
There was nothing in the world I wouldn’t do for my brothers; Jules and Jacques.
Jules was from North Carolina and Jacques was from DR Congo but his family moved out to Atlanta when he was 12. We were teammates, turned best friends and turned brothers. Jules was the super muscle, Jacques was fast and I was the brain. I was always thinking steps ahead for the benefit of us all.
Somehow we all ended up in Arizona to play football for our college. Jules was on the defensive end of things while Jacques and I battled for the same tight end position. We hated each other that first summer we spent out there at camp but funny enough that was how we became close.
We were both really good players, blessed with an abundance of speed. We pushed each other. We hated each other as competing players for the same spot but we respected each other also. I wanted the spot and he wanted it just as bad.
We continued to go back and forth for the entire camp, switching on our aggression and determination on the field and being relaxed off it. It wasn’t until the coach let us know about 3 weeks into the season that he was keeping both of us for the season that we warmed up to each other.
Jacques was converted to an out wide receiver. The kid was fast and he had those long Congolese hands. He was for sure the hit of the team. Put anything in and around his wingspan and you could count on him to snatch it out of the air. With his speed, his jumping ability and his willingness to learn out, coach turned him into the most devastating wide receiver on the West Coast.
We ripped teams those two years we played together. I played my tight end position and I was glad we played on the team together. I was amazed at how he caught whatever was thrown his way. Whenever the plays weren’t run for me, I watched in awe of how good he was. It was only a matter of time before he was given the nickname “Octopus” because he caught everything and held on tight.
The name rung true because it was also the same way he was with girls. Reel them in, hold on tight to as many as he wanted at a time. Highest I counted in college was six at one time. Yeah, he was the real MVP.
I had met his younger sister Tasha one time while in college. His family had come down to watch us win our division title that year after missing out the year before. It was a bittersweet experience because it was also during that game that Jacques ruptured his Achilles on a bad fall that led to an opponent stomping on him. He was in a lot of pain but he held strong for his family. Jules and I were right by his side.
He caught me chatting up his sister when at his uncle’s house who also lived about 30 minutes from campus. It was his house Jacques stayed at while recovering through the summer when he was in AZ and then the beginning of the school year.
That fall was the end of Jacques footballing career, as the explosive speed he had was never recovered. His nous for the game never left but his biggest asset was gone.
He had a hard time but he channeled his hurt into his chemical engineering. It was one of the best decisions he ever made.
His family left that weekend of the Championship with Jacques repeatedly warning me to stay away from his sister.
Years had passed and he had moved back home but every time I came to visit his parent’s house like at Thanksgiving, he’d remind me that his sister was off limits. He did not want me to date her; although we had secretly been in contact but it was nothing serious.
Tasha and I were alike. Somewhat with reputations; I was called Captain Save-A-Hoe and she was well, sometimes referred to as one needing saving.
I had always cherished my relationship with the other J’s as we called ourselves, so I never truly wanted Tasha or at least made it obvious or pushed for it.
For years I had stayed away from her like her brother had asked but it all got really different when she began to intern with my company.
Lunches together and rides whenever she needed one, over that summer, we got close pretty fast.
And then I got to know her very well; on the inside she was this sweet, caring, confused and often-misunderstood young woman but on the outside she put on the glam for the world from her 3digit likes on Instagram to her popularity in the city. It was all a façade.
We used to play hide and seek a lot all over town while we avoided her friends and I avoided her brother. He had heard things about her like he was supposed to; he put a blinder to repel it all. After all, that was his sister.
It was about 6:30pm that evening when we finally made it to the front of their house. We had just closed off a long working day. She only had about 3 weeks left of her internship and that evening we were just talking.
She began by asking me what kind of woman I liked. I smiled and paused for a second thinking. I pushed the ignition button to turn off the car. The inner lights went on, she tried to hide like a vampire from sunlight.
I sat back in my seat and began to answer,
“Honestly, I just want a simple woman. One that likes to laugh, kick it, watch movies, independent, focused, caring, a good cook because I love my plantains, great body.
*I paused and smiled*
Well you know why and she has to have a round butt. One that can talk back.”
She had her head down with a smile on her face and then she responded,
“So you basically described me? Well without the butt at least”
I was taken aback not by the fact that she was being modest; she had an amazing butt and body in general but for the fact that she responded that was period.
I smiled and said,
“Well, I guess you can kinda say that”
she smiled back. And slowly looked up at me, it was then, it was then I knew for sure that I wanted her. I forgot everything Jacques had warned me about her.
I had grown fond of her and I really liked her.
It was quiet. A very quiet neighborhood; except for the bullfrogs making annoying noises from the creek behind their house.
I could see her face. She was so beautiful. I had a quick moment to second-guess myself while I paused and I think she thought I was about to chicken out. So she began to motion as if she was about to leave the car. I doubled back and placed my right hand on her left forearm.
Her skin was silky smooth but cold. She stopped and looked at me. Right then, I opened the door to the next series of events that would change everything.
I leaned in, placed my right hand between her neck and her falling hair and placed a soft kiss on her lips. It was short.
I quickly pulled back. She seemed displeased with me. So she leaned in. Grabbed me by my shirt and she kissed me so hard that my bottom lip bled inside. That was how I knew it was real. It felt like she had wanted to do it for a while.
If a woman you love has never kissed and sucked on your lip till it bled. Sigh… I’m sorry for you.
She got out of the car and pulled her pencil skirt down and swayed to the door. She turned around and blew me a kiss. I had caught serious feelings and I could feel my heart racing now. Shit.
She let herself into the house and a few seconds later the outside lights of the house went on. She must have flicked them on. I started my car and the inner lights went on. I pulled down the visor and looked at my bottom lip. There was a bit of blood on the inside. It hurt a bit but I smiled. Something about that turned me on.
It was weird looking at my own blood. If only I knew that I was bound to shed more.
. . . . .
Life Support by Sam Smith
Shards of glass were flying all over the place.
I closed my eyes as the darkness enveloped my world. I ducked my head down but I must have been too slow.
I could still hear the music blasting through the speakers but the sounds of shattering glass pierced through my ears.
Piece by piece, they rained over my head. They usually tell you that in near death situations your life flashes before your eyes, mine didn’t. Instead I thought about the things I hadn’t gotten to do yet and imagined myself in those places; skydiving, flying a plane, scuba-diving and such.
The “why am I here?” question briefly floated through my head as I tried to ensure that I made it out of there alive.
I felt a hard hit on the crown of my head as it was in a bent position.
Screeching, broken glass, sharp pains, and then it went silent and then black.
It felt tight.
Almost to the point of choking I would say. The voices were faint. I could feel them sailing through the air but not into my ears. It was like I was using my ears for the first time, more importantly, it seemed like it was the only thing working.
I stopped and slowly began to allow my brain to piece things together.
I remembered the glass and being in a car. Putting that together, I remembered the other car and it coming out of nowhere.
I remember putting one hand in front of my cousin because he foolishly wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and I remembered the hit on the bit of my head and upper part of my neck.
I signaled to my brain to make contact with my neck. But it was stiff.
In fact, a lot of my body was stiff and in one position; unmovable. Like making calls on the Sprint or MTN networks, my brain hopelessly failed to make contact with parts of my body.
I knew I was lying on my back and the room was brightly lit.
As I decided to give my brain a break from the overtime it was doing trying to make me feel sane, the pain kicked in. I could feel a throbbing in my legs, my left arm was numb and I was stiff.
There was so much I wanted to know. My mind began to race and very quickly it slowed down. I reckoned that because I felt pain in my legs, I wasn’t paralyzed. I feel them; I could feel the numbness in my arms. Sigh. I would be able to walk, I thought to myself.
Imagine trying to figure all this out in a completely dark room. I smacked my lips together and tried to talk. Right then, I felt someone touch me and say my name frantically
I kept slowly trying to talk while I heard my name even though faintly.
“Jerome! Can you hear me?!”
I slowly began to move my body. And then the voice grew lighter, it went farther away from me. I could still hear what was being said but not clearly.
“Please… some… in…. here!!!”
the person yelled into the hallway. A few minutes later, I could hear more people walk into the room. I figured nurses and maybe doctors.
I could not hear the voice of the original person; it was my baby sister Sonia.
Some voice that I didn’t know said,
I heard my sister say, “Thank you God”.
She was much like my mother. Even though she spoke no English, she worked her ass off to send my sister and I to America to get an education. She was our rock star. She still diligently sent “pocket money” she had been sending since my freshman year in college back in Arizona, it totaled a meager $100. I was averaging 50 times that at my current job as a marketing manager for watch company Magico but she still did it every month just as much as she complained about me going by Jerome in America and not Jibola like she named me. Interestingly, it warmed my heart.
The door opened again and someone walked in. Everyone else went silent. Now I could hear the machines as they beeped in harmony, the voices in the hallway were even more audible now. It was all very strange.
He pronounced my name with his Icelandic accent like it was some cheaply manufactured goat cheese.
“We are glad to have you back with us. How are you feeling? Do you remember anything about that day?”
I shook my head from side to side slowly to signal my answer.
The doctor then began talking,
“You were involved in a terrible accident and you have been in comatose state for a little over 5 months. Some key parts of your body were badly affected and while you have slowly made recoveries, there are still some parts that need more work and surgery…”
The doctor stopped talking as if to wait for my response. I slowly parted my lips. My mouth tasted bitter and my lips were very dry. I stretched them and then I called my sister,
I gathered myself and swallowed hard before asking,
“Where is Tasha?”
My sister sighed and said,
“Bro, let’s not worry about that right now. Let’s just focus on how you can now get back up and going”
I knew my sister. She was deflecting. She knew I was a very straightforward person and I would not ask questions I wasn’t ready for the answer to. I slowly opened my mouth and asked again
“Sonia, when was the last time Tasha was here?”
she knew she couldn’t lie now. It sound like she was sad as she said,
“she hasn’t been here since the second week you were admitted Jerome”
Her words stung. They pierced right through my soul. I just could not believe them but I knew they must have been the truth. My sister would never lie to me. It hurt but I couldn’t find the tears to cry.
How could the woman I loved have left me for months while she was living her life?
I was confused and feeling a sharp pain in my chest. I turned my head away from the voices that were to my left and presumably I was now facing the wall.
I couldn’t think. The doctor called my name a few times and tried to engage me. It didn’t work. I wasn’t having any of it. Why would Tasha abandon me? It made no sense.
I heard the doctor ask me to get some rest as he asked to see my sister in the hallway. I began to pay close attention to what was being said and I heard the doctor say,
“Miss, the latest scans are still not looking good. He has pieces of glass lodged inside his eyes. In particular he has one dangerously large piece sitting right on his optic nerve in his left eye. It is so delicate that it is barely functioning. It is sending signals to his brain but they are very weak. Also, what is more worrisome for us is that his right eye, which was not affected by the accident, is sending no signals to his brain. Essentially, he is blind in his right eye and till we operate on his left eye, he cannot see out of that too. “
I gasped and clutched my bed sheets. I could hear them clearly. My sister words sounded a bit muffled like her hands were covering her mouth and she asked,
“What are the chances after surgery he can see out of his left eye at least?”
The doctor’s tone was more depressed as he said,
“The specialist told me it was only about a 13% chance due to the extremely delicate positioning of the object but we’ll do our possible best.
I tuned out of their conversation. I could not be blind! I had so much to give. I felt like I had so much to live for. This was not fair. This was not supposed to happen this way.
The pain in my chest felt a lot like being stabbed repeatedly in the same spot. I could not contain it anymore. Lying on my side, the tears began to flow into the cloth that was covering my eyes.
It hit hard.
The woman I loved was gone and I could not look into her eyes ever again to take in her beauty or find out why she left. I could never hold my son or daughter and see their first smile or watch them ride a bicycle.
My brain and my eyes might have deserted each other but my heart was speaking to my eyes loud and clear. Its signals were overwhelming; I couldn’t hold back the tears.
“Get ready for another emotional roller-coaster. I promise I won’t leave you badly scarred though. Just wanting more.”
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Lookout for Part 2 of Scarred next week and #WordsofWednesday midweek.
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