On my weakest day, I feel alone. I know it’s my weakest day because I can barely stand. It feels as though there are no bones in my feet. It feels as though I can hardly walk. I use the podium when I stand up the church. It’s as though I am paralyzed. Someone has found my weak spot and has taken advantage of it. They have hurt me in a way that I cannot explain. I stand there now feeling so sore about it. I stand there now not knowing and not understanding how to fix this.
Is this how Achilles felt?
Is this how it felt to have your weakness exposed when all your life you tried to portray strength?
A deep, thorough voice gathers in the back of my ears. It’s so deep that I think it’s my conscious for a moment. “Prince told me what you were doing.”
It’s not my conscious. It’s something much worse. It’s my father. He’s standing there. He didn’t even have enough respect to come to my mother’s funeral in a suit. He has on a black wife beater. He didn’t shed not one tear since he’s been here. I wonder if he even cares that my mother is dead. He seems so heartless standing there. He grabs on the back of my neck and says it again.
“You hear me, lil nigga? Huh? Prince told me what you were doing when your mother was being shot up,” he says before adding, “Lil nigga.”
“It’s not the time.”
“It’s the time,” he tells me, “Take a real hard long look at your mother’s face. She was dying while you were twirling your panties like a lil’ bitch.”
“You’re telling me you think it’s my fault?”
“No,” my father says, “I’m telling you I KNOW it’s your fault.”
I want to be upset and even mad bout what my father says especially when he punches me right there in front of the funeral hard in the back of the head. He punches me so hard in the back of my head that I fall over. No one helps me up. I just lay there and I cry. I feel like a little bitch right now.
It’s an open casket. The bullets had gone through her stomach and through her chest. Her face was still beautiful. I look off to the side and see Aunty Claudia. She’s my mother’s twin. She rushes past us and damn near throws herself in my mother’s casket. They’d always been the closest. I watch as Aunt Priscilla and Prissy gather around to pull Aunt Claudia off—all except Aunt Tonnet. Aunt Tonnet just stares. She just stares at the casket with her arms crossed. She doesn’t have a word to say. Not right now at least.
“She ain’t coming back,” Tonnet tells Claudia, “Stop trying to shake her awake. She ain’t coming back.”
“Don’t you think I know that?”
“Her own son ain’t shaking her. You need to calm your ass down,” Tonnet responds.
“Her own son wasn’t even there when she died,” Claudia asserts.
Hearing my Aunt say that, at the moment hits home. Aunt Claudia wasn’t like Aunt Tonnet. She was more down to Earth than Aunt Priscilla and much kinder than Aunt Tonnet.
I gather myself and try to get up and leave. I head out the front door. I need air. That’s the only thing that can make me feel better at this point. I needed air. As I’m standing out there trying to grasp for any bit of air that I can get I realize that I’m not alone. I’ve been followed. Corny is out there with me. He’s standing there in a black suit. I’d seen him walk into the funeral with Ana and another man but I hadn’t seen him do anything else.
“She didn’t mean it.”
“You heard. Who am I kidding? The whole church heard.”
“My sisters can be quite harsh. It’s in our name I guess. The true realities of who we are and where our world has come to. There is kindness there though. There is kindness and love. Each one of them had it. Bonnie especially.”
I look over at Corny wondering if he is mourning a sister Bonnie who he has not seen forever. I look over at him and all I can think about is all the things my father said about him.
“Sometimes it feels like I was a mistake,” I explain.
I don’t know why I say it. I don’t know why the words come out of my mouth. Corny isn’t surprised by it though. He looks over at me as though interested but not surprised. It makes me feel like maybe he really was from the Bottom, after all that success he still understood what that meant.
“What makes you say that?”
“I feel like I should have a father who loved me, I should have a family who sympathized with me and I should have a mother who was alive. It feels like someone made a mistake in my reality. In my life. One big mistake is being made. This isn’t how this is supposed to go.”
“A big part of dancing is improvising. When you forget the choreography and the lights are on you, what else can you do? You improvise. You find out the situation you are in and create new movements for the same beat.”
“No one’s dancing, Uncle Cornelius,” I explain to him, “People are dying nowadays.”
If he wanted to say something I probably wouldn’t have listened. Just then my father storms out of the church. I think the ceremony is over. Without explanation, he seems to make a mad dash for Corny. He wants to choke him up I think. Maybe he wants to hit him with a closed fist. I manage to get in the middle just in case and holler so that I can get some help holding my father back. Prince and a few guys my aunts are dating run out to help hold my father back.
“Stay the fuck away from my son, you hear me?” my father barks at him.
My father has a cup in his hand. He is so loud that I turn and shake a little bit when I see him walking down the steps. He has this rage in his eyes seeing my Uncle with me. I’ve seen my dad mad before and I’ve even seen him out of control but this was something different. He’d turned a little off nowadays.
“I can’t do that. He’s family.”
“I said stay the fuck away from my son!”
My father pushes my Uncle. He pushes him hard. People are gathering around. I can’t believe my father is doing this on the day that my mother died. I hadn’t noticed it earlier but I can smell something coming off of him from where I’m standing. He’s on something. He’s twisted. I’m talking about fucked up to the point that I don’t know what the nigga is really on. I don’t think it’s alcohol. It isn’t until he pushes my uncle again and drops his cup that I notice it isn’t alcohol. A thick purple sauce like substance pours out of his cup. It’s prescription strength cough medicine mixed with soda. In the hood, we called in LEAN.
He pushes my Uncle again and again.
“I came to grieve with my nephew,” Uncle Corny says, “You don’t scare me anymore Trayvon.”
Anymore? I don’t know what Uncle Corny means by it but I notice it pisses my dad off to the extreme. I watch as he pushes Corny again and again. He decks him hard in his chest. I watch Corny fall over at that moment looking like he’s attempting to gasp for air something. He pushes him again. And then again.
“Yo, you need to leave,” I warn my Uncle.
I don’t know how else to say it to him. Seeing how he was being pushed around kind of made me feel sorry for the dude. I mean, I didn’t know him…but he was my uncle. He hadn’t done anything but show up at this moment. He just showed up.
Corny looks at my dad then he looks at me, “I’m not afraid of your father. My concern is you.”
“He doesn’t need no FAGGOT’s concern!” my dad barks.
Hearing my father call someone a faggot in the way he did hurts. I mean I’d seen him use the word before but I’ve never seen him spit it out like he had just done. There was so much venom. There was so much anger. Corny takes a few steps back. I feel so fucking bad for him. The whole neighborhood seems to be here in this parking lot watching my father disrespect a man for no clear reason at all. And all I knew was I couldn’t take it anymore.
I take a few steps forward, “Dad c` mon. He’s not looking for trouble. He’s just here to give his condolences—”
I don’t finish my thought because I feel the punch that lands on my face. The punch is hard. It’s one of the hardest punches I’d ever felt in my life. I land straight on my ass and I’m completely dazed. I try to get up but I shuffle around and fall right the fuck back down to the ground. Blood is gushing out of my nose all onto my funeral suit.
“Stay down….I’m about to teach you a lesson. This is what we do to soft niggas in the bottom,” my dad says.
He turns to Corny. I look at Corny. I’ve never felt so fucking sad for someone in my life. He has this brave little look in his eyes but I can tell he wasn’t built for this. My dad was bigger than him. My dad was stronger than him. Corny stays completely still not moving but his nerves are getting the better of him and I can see him shaking. I try to get up again but realize I’m being held back. It’s not just by one person either.
I’m being held back by all of my aunts.
“Don’t piss him off,” my Aunt Tonetta tells me, “You’ll only make it worse.”
They hold me back and I watch as my father flails at Corny. The first punch is almost like a dream. I watch Corny immediately fall to the ground. Then my father lifts him up off the ground. Another punch and another punch and another. Corny’s body is so weak that he’s like a limp figure in my father’s arms. He tries to protect himself…he tries to fight back and that only pisses my father off more.
“You trying to hit me?” my father asks Corny.
But Corny was just trying to defend himself. That’s all he was trying to do. But he shouldn’t have. He should have just taken the beating.
“Let me at him,” I hear my cousin Tone state.
That’s when Tone goes over and smashes his black construction boot in Corny’s face. He’s not the only one either. There are others. My whole gang is there. They are taking turns BEATING my Uncle outside of the funeral home like he was less than scum.
What’s worse than the act is the fact that everyone is watching. No one is doing anything. Most of the people are scared of the Suwoo gang. People are just watching the beating and no one is stopping even when Uncle Cornelius stops moving and even when he’s passed out on the ground huddled in a fetus position. They keep beating him. They keep hitting him. They keep smashing their boots into his legs.
“They are gonna kill him,” I’m crying out.
Tears are coming into my eyes. I can’t help it. I’m frantically yelling and being held back by all of my aunts.
Aunt Priscilla desperately calls out to Prince, “Get him out of here.”
And that’s when Prince literally grabs me up, wrestles me into a bear hug and drags me away from the scene of seeing what they are doing to Uncle Cornelius while the entire fucking neighborhood watches without a care in the world.
It’s at this time I realize this is my reality. We were nothing more than savages. We were nothing more than animals.
Knowing that I don’t have a mother to go home to and I don’t have a home to go to is hard enough. Having to stay with Aunt Priscilla was a whole different thing. I’m stuck in a room with Prince. I’m sleeping on his floor even though he tells me it’s OK is bad enough.
Prince is staring at me for a minute. I can feel him wanting to say something but he won’t. He’s too proud.
“Is he dead?” I break the silence.
“That faggot ain’t my Uncle.”
“Faggot? Really. Is that what you call him?” I ask, “Is that what you call us?”
“We ain’t no faggots.”
“Did you decide that before or after your dick was in my ass?” I ask him.
I can tell I get under Prince’s skin. He doesn’t like to talk about the stuff we do unless he was horny. The other half of the time he liked to pretend like we didn’t do any of it. The other half of the time he liked to pretend like we weren’t fucking daily.
“I don’t know if they killed him and I don’t give a fuck. It’s none of our business. I came up here for you. Ma made some breakfast,” Prince states.
“Not hungry,” I respond.
Things have been weird between Prince and I. I know he doesn’t want to talk about it. I feel some type of way about everything with him. I feel some type of way about the fact that Prince was the one who told my father that I had been dancing. I feel some type of way about the fact that Prince was the one who pulled me away from helping my Uncle the day before. I hadn’t left Prince’s room and shit had never been like this between us. We’d never been mad at each other. I’d seen how Prince treated his girls when he was mad at them. He ignored them. He was the type of guy that was too cool to give a fuck about anyone else’s feelings. That’s not Prince’s thing to have some emotional conversation. He’d call it pussy to have a heart to heart.
“You know Ma doesn’t cook,” he states, “The rare time that you get my mother to stop chasing after random niggas who have money and spend time with her family is an occasion to be celebrated…”
He starts laughing. He expects me to laugh with him. It’s one of our internal jokes how his mother went around the hood sniffing for any nigga that was coming up on some money. The only reason Aunt Priscilla adopted Prince was that his dad was this big deal drug dealer at some point and she damn near raised Prince during all the jail terms his dad served.
“I ain’t hungry,” I repeat.
“I can’t go down there without you,” he states.
I sigh, heavily irritated and get off the bed grumbling a harsh, “Fine,” underneath my breath. As I walk towards him I feel him grab my arm. He looks at me and for a second I think he’s somewhat concerned. I think he actually could give a fuck about me.
“What?” I ask.
He stares at me for a second but then shakes his head, “Nothing man.”
I should have known better. It’s Prince after all. He’s way too cool to give a fuck about anyone else but himself. He wasn’t Aunt Priscilla’s biological son but I guess when you are raised by someone you pick up their habits and shit.
I get away from him but I can feel him following me all the way downstairs. Prince’s eyes are staring a hole in the back of my head. I don’t say anything to him. I’m not in the mood. I expect to come downstairs and see Prissy with Aunt Priscilla but I’m wrong. Prissy is there but she looks extremely uncomfortable. It’s only a matter of seconds before I find out why. My dad is standing there in the kitchen. Him and Aunt Priscilla are laughing.
I watch how he grabs Aunt Priscilla’s waist.
“You got to be fucking kidding me,” I grunt, “What the fuck is he doing here?”
I don’t know who I’m asking but Prissy just stares in her food like she doesn’t hear the question. Prince turns and sits at the table as though I was whispering. They heard what the fuck I was saying. I look over at my dad and notice how he lets go of Aunt Priscilla’s waist. I watch as Aunt Priscilla giggles like a childish girl at that moment.
“You finally brought your ass downstairs,” he states, “How’s that eye looking?”
He’s making fun of the fact that he gave me a black eye. My own fucking father. I’m furious at that moment. I’m beyond furious. I look over at Aunt Priscilla.
“You fucking him?” I ask Aunt Priscilla, “Really? You couldn’t even wait until my mother’s body was cold in the ground before you start fucking him…”
“I ain’t fucking your dad.”
“Then why the fuck is he here?”
“We ain’t fucking,” she repeats, “Corny called the cops about what happened and he can’t just stay anywhere. They are looking for him.”
Then why here?
“She said we ain’t fucking, you bitch ass nigga! DIdn’t she? Watch your fucking mouth when you talking to your Aunt before I beat the fuck out of you,” my dad barks coming off the table and grabbing me up.
He slams me up against the wall. He slams me so hard that the wall vibrates and some of the pieces of glass decorations break. Prince and Prissy just sit there acting like none of the shit is happening. I’m so mad at that moment. My dad was a goddam liar. I knew that much. He was a goddam fucking liar and it was clear as fucking day.
He is about to hit me again. I don’t flinch. I don’t shiver like Corny did. I was used to it. I was used to the beatings that he gave me. It was normal for him to beat me to the point that I couldn’t move. I grew up with it.
“It’s OK, don’t hurt him. Don’t hurt him,” Aunt Priscilla pleads at that moment.
I watch the way that my Aunt Priscilla is rubbing onto his arm. It’s intimate. It’s way too intimate. It makes me sick to my fucking stomach hearing her do that. I guess she thinks she’s helping in her own fucked up way. He lets me go at least.
“Sit your ass down and eat the meal your Aunt made for us,” he states, “Before I black your other eye…”
I sit at the table, I’m reluctant. I look over at Prince. He’s slouched in his chair. He had all this mouth with everyone else but when it came to my dad I guess you had to respect the OG. It isn’t family dynamic. This is gang dynamic. I’m expected to follow the rules too. I’m expected to sit in this fucking chair and eat my food. Do what the boss leader tells me to do. It sucks when the boss leader is your fucking dad.
“You and your dad can stay here as long as you’d like,” Aunt Priscilla states, “It’ll be a little tight in here but we’ll be just like the Brady Bunch.”
I roll my eyes at my Aunt. Out of all my Aunts, I found Priscilla to be the most annoying. She has this bougie voice as though she didn’t grow up in the Bottom. Someone told her that her pale yellow skin meant that she was above the other black women at the bottom. She then watched a little too many episodes of Sex and the City from the stolen cable that my grandmother hooked up. Since then she swore that she had blue eyes and blonde hair growing straight out of her scalp. You couldn’t tell her anything especially days like today when she had her colored contacts in. Deep down we all knew she was a ghetto hoodrat just like the rest of us.
There is an awkward silence and I can feel my father watching me. He looks like he’s searching for a reason to start with me. He’s probably looking for another reason to hit me.
“You ain’t going to eat the food your mother cooked?” he asks.
“Naw…gotta get to school?”
“For what?” he asks.
“What do you mean for what? Because it’s a weekday and I have to go to school.”
My dad shakes my head, “You ain’t doing that dumb shit no more. I don’t know why your mother made you do that shit. You ain’t going.”
“Trayvon…it’s school,” Aunt Priscilla states.
“He ain’t doing the fuckin shit no more,” my dad says, “It’s a waste of fuckin time. He could be out here on these corners working the streets and making me some money.”
I shake my head. I should have known the moment my mother was out of the picture my dad would try to get me to drop out of school. A part of me wanted to say something but I knew he was looking for a reason right now. He turns to me studying my face daring me to question a fucking word coming out of his mouth. I don’t. I just stare down at the food and start eating.
“Uncle Tray—” Prince states randomly.
“Shut the fuck up you lil bitch,” my dad shuts him down before he even gets his thoughts out, “You can go to that school if you want and pretend you not gonna end up being lil bum ass nigga on the streets if you want to. Ain’t NOBODY making it out of the bottom.”
“Real shit,” Prissy nods in agreement.
My dad nods, “See. She the only smart one at this table. Most black boys will be lucky if they see 18. What the fuck are you going to school for? Stop pretending like those books mean any difference. Not my son. My son is going to work these streets and live in reality. Ain’t that right, Desta?
I don’t answer.
My dad looks at me harder, “I asked you a fucking question.”
“C`mon Tray…you seem a little tense. I got a blunt up in my room,” my Aunt Priscilla tells my dad.
I watch as she gets up from her chair. My dad follows her ass as she crosses the living room and goes upstairs. We all knew what the fuck they were about to go do. It’s the only thing that can distract my dad long enough to leave me the fuck alone and follow Aunt Priscilla up the stairs.
Before my dad leaves he lifts up his shirt and pulls out his gun. He drops the burner on the table and gives me a strong look.
“Find out who killed your fucking mother and do something about it.”
I don’t even care anymore. When they leave I’m just at the table…I’m just feeling numb…
“You really not going to school no more?” Prince asks.
“You heard him,” I respond, “I’m working the streets.”
“I don’t get what all the work is for?” Prissy states at that moment, “You rich nigga…”
“What?” I ask.
“Didn’t you hear?” Prissy asks, “You need to talk to Aunt Tonetta. She mentioned she was holding it until you got 18.”
“Holding what until I got 18.”
“Your mother left you some money. Enough money to buy a house. A nice house. A house outside of the Bottom,” Prissy explains to me, “300 thousand dollars.”
“Nah, I heard it too,” Prince states, “Her life’s savings. Your mother left it to you. I’m shocked your father didn’t mention the shit to you.”
I shake my head.
I’d be 300k richer when I turn 18. I’d be able to get out of the Bottom. 300k meant so much in this lifestyle. It meant a change. It meant a new life.
Then I remember what my dad said about little black boys.
The truth is…odds are I wouldn’t make it to 18.
Life is crazy. This thing called life. This strange existence. We come here and we don’t know why. We never asked to be born. We never asked to be created. But we exist. We suffer. We strive. In the end, we die. What’s the point of life?
What’s the reason?
I can’t sleep that night. I dream of a boy. Is it you Desta? It looks just like Desta. He looks like a relative perhaps. And is flying he’s soaring through the skies. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. It’s like he’s dancing in the clouds. He has wings that are made of wax. They are the most beautiful wings. They are early pearly white and shimmer almost. Then I notice as I look at his wings that he’s flying to close to the sun.
I scream out.
DON’T FLY TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN!
I try to reach him. I try to get him. I try to get him but it’s too late. His waxen wings melt and he’s falling. He’s falling. Down. Down. Down. Down. Down. He’s falling until he hits the Bottom. There in the Bottom is where he has a broken wing. It’s broken. He’s never fly again. He’d never dance in the skies. Not gain.
I wake up sweating!
When I get to school the next day I’m a goddam zombie searching around the school for him. A week has passed and I still can’t find him. A whole fucking week and he still doesn’t show up. Before I know it I’m standing at his locker just waiting for him to show up. Desta, where are you? I just wanted to talk to you. I just wanted to see you. I wanted to make sure you were OK.
“Sad, ain’t it?” a voice states.
I turn and see Rosa. She stands there and sees me standing at his locker. I turn and sigh a little bit. I was hoping no one would notice me standing there waiting.
“I know you’re looking for him,” Rosa states.
I grunt a little bit. I try to blow it off but the truth was I was tired of blowing this shit off. Pretending like I didn’t care was what caused all of this in the first fucking place.
“He’s a friend of mine. I know that isn’t the…most popular thing in this school.”
“I don’t get why not,” Rosa states shaking her head, “You’re Dominican, he’s black. We should be worried about something other than stupidity like that in this day and age. You should be friends with who you want to be friends with.”
I’m kind of surprised that Rosa is saying what she’s saying at that moment. I turn to her and smile a little bit. I don’t know why I assumed she would just be some close-minded person like the rest of the people in this school. The fact that she didn’t see an issue with my budding friendship with Desta was amazing, to say the least.
“You always so mature?”
“Only with guys I think are sexy,” she flirts back.
She gives me a tempting smile. I have to admit she has a really pretty smile. I turn away though and look at the locker. Right now, my concern was for Desta. She was pretty and all but I couldn’t go back to my normal life knowing that I hadn’t at least spoken to him.
“Sorry, just distracted.”
Rosa leans up against the locker, “You care about him.”
“Yo—what the fuck you mean by that?”
“I ain’t implying anything,” she corrects herself and changes her tone, “I know you’re not gay or nothing like that. Clearly. I’m just saying you care. That doesn’t make you soft. It doesn’t make you any less of a man.”
“He doesn’t even know who shot his mother.”
“Do you know?”
I pause at that moment. I pause because down the hallway I can see the group of people gathering. I know them almost immediately. M83.
“¿QUE ONDA?” one of the boys screams out from across the hallway. He’s with Chico. When he screamed out a bunch of the others do the same. They are nodding to me with this look as though wanting me to come with him. I stay where I’m at and find my eyes flailing around the floor desperately looking for something to focus on besides the gang.
Luckily Rosa was there. I bury my eyes in her not realizing that there is emotion in my eyes that I don’t want her to see.
Rosa seems to read that shit like a book.
“Were you there?” Rosa asks, “Were you there when Desta’s mother got shot?”
She’s loud. Real loud. I can’t help but grab her. I grab her and put my arm over her shoulder and begin walking down another hallway. I don’t mean it in a flirty way or anything. Truth is I really don’t want anyone to hear her asking me that kind of fucking question. It was dangerous for her if someone knew what we were talking about. I’m surprised when Rosa doesn’t necessarily take it in that way though because she turns to me and I can see her giving me this smile as though she’s liking the closeness a little too much.
I realize how it looks and release her. We’re far away from the M83 gang members by now anyway.
“It wasn’t me…” I state as a matter of fact just to make things clear.
“But you know…”
“If you know you need to go to the cops with that,” she states.
“You grew up in this neighborhood. Don’t be dumb. I’ve been here for a short time and I know how things work. You want me to end up dead somewhere?”
“I want you to do what’s right,” she states, “If you care about him like you say you do. If that’s really your friend.”
“He’s not my friend.”
“Then what is he to you?” Rosa asks raising her eyebrow.
I don’t think she was trying to imply anything. I think Rosa was curious and honestly when she asks the question I have to take a few seconds to think about it myself.
After a few seconds of being uncomfortable, I just shrug, “I’m not even sure.”
“You have to do what’s right…” Rosa states, “You have to.”
I look over at her. Damn. I had to admit I was looking at this girl in a whole different light. I thought she was easy. I thought she was just some dumb girl who was obsessed with me. I was wrong. She had character. Maybe that’s why I lean back into her. Maybe that’s why I put my arm over her shoulder again. This time when she smiles I smile back.
Maybe that’s why I press her up against the nearest locker and I kiss her hard. I kiss her deep shoving my tongue in the back of her throat. She likes it. I watch as she dangles her arms over my neck clearly seeming turned on by sudden aggressiveness.
“What was that for?” Rosa asks.
“For being a good person,” I state.
Just then we are interrupted. There is a Spanish girl with bouncy hair standing there. She clears her throat and smiles when she interrupts Rosa and I. I shuffle around at that moment.
“Are you Santana?” she asks.
“Who wants to know?”
“I’m Ana,” she states, “Cornelius Harsh sent me. Said you were interested in joining the dance team. You never showed up though.”
“No offense lady, but life is happening,” I tell this girl as bluntly as possible, “Other shit came up. I’m going through way too much to be dancing right now.”
“That’s the best time to dance,” the girl Ana states, “When you are going through things.”
She had a point.
“You should go,” Rosa states.
Where the hell did this girl come from? She was perfect. She was so damn sweet and supportive. I find my heart fluttering a little bit when she says what she is saying. I’m definitely paying more attention to Rosa.
Still, I’m hesitant, “Rosa. I can’t. Not now.”
“I’ll join the team with you,” Rosa states, “We can do it together. It’ll be a great way to get your mind off of everything.”
I think about it. That’s the point. I didn’t want to get my mind off of anything. I wanted to talk to Desta and clear everything up with him. I needed for him to know that I wasn’t the one who killed his mother. For some reason that was so important to me.
But then I think about it. Maybe Desta was at the dance thing. Maybe he was skipping class but still going to dance. It was a long shot but it was worth taking.
“Fine,” I state.
Rosa and I follow Ana to the auditorium. I don’t see Desta but I see someone else. Her name is Prissy. It’s Desta’s cousin. I rush towards her and try to stop her.
“Hey…have you seen, Desta?”
“Why the fuck does it matter to you?”
Before she can finish the question she just walks away as though it’s nothing. She is ignoring me. I feel this heated feeling rise up in my body when I see the stage. I don’t know why I get excited. I find myself walking in front of Rosa and Ana. My mind is just looking at that stage. I’m just thinking about the stage. I stand up on the stage and I just remember the dreams that I had before.
Those dreams were so real.
Dreams of me and Desta dancing on this stage.
Dreams that I knew were completely impossible. But why the fuck did they keep haunting my sleep every time I shut my eyes.
“Your eyes light up when you see the stage,” the voice of Mr. Harsh states.
I recognize the voice even before I turn around. It isn’t until I turn around though that I’m shocked. My heart drops when I see Mr. Harsh. He’s on the stage with me. He’s looking at me but I know something is wrong. Something is very wrong.
I look at Mr. Harsh but I’m not looking into his eyes. I’m looking down on him. The reason I’m looking down on Mr. Harsh was that he was in a wheelchair.
“I’ll never walk again,” Harsh states.
Something happened to him. Something horrible. That’s when I see bruises on his face. They run all over his body. I see them even going up his sleeves until he pulls his sleeves down trying to conceal them. My heart is shaking.
“What happened to you?” I ask.
He shakes and his answer is horrible, “Life happened.”