Growing up, I had to be tough. I never had a father and my mother was constantly in the streets. Since I didn’t want to get thrown into the system, I had to make a way. While mama was out selling her soul, I was hustling with the big boys. So if I had to steal a stereo for Spaghettios and Big Macs, I did it. If I had to sell dope to my classmates, I did that too! I wasn’t about to let no man control me because I needed something?! Shit . . . . I could do for myself! And then . . . . . I met Derek . . . the anti to everything I had ever encountered. I had fucked before, but his love? Girl, it was truly addictive! I wasn’t about to give that up! Not now! Not ever! As I steadied my hand around the pistol, I realized why momma couldn’t leave the streets. . . . . . . . .
“Bitch if you don’t sit your ass back down, everybody dies!!”
The cafe stood still for what seemed to be an eternity. I stared at my adversary knowing that this would indeed be the last time that I would see her. She stood there transfixed at the sight of my gun. It was not my intention to kill her, but she wouldn’t listen! I needed her to listen!
Ms. Goody Two Shoes slowly eased back in her chair. She was taking me seriously as she had her hands raised beside her head . . . . . . .for some odd reason.
“I didn’t say raise your hands! I just want you to sit down!”
Tears started to pour out of her eyes as she began to beg for mercy.
“Please don’t kill me Ann . . . . please!”
I just smiled.
“Now you know how it feels, huh? To know that your very life can be taken in an instant, huh?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about! I never held a gun to you Ann!”
“But you’re taking my life from me! You’re taking everything away from me!”
I was trying to hold it together, but the weight of the world was starting to come through my eyes. You see, life can wear down even the most resilient sista. Even though I was crumbling emotionally, my hand never wavered. I still had control of the situation even though my heart was being splintered into a thousand pieces. There was no one to help me mend it back together. Everything that me and Derek shared was being torn apart. Mutual friends now believed that I was the catalyst for Derek’s despair. No one was available to help me through this intensive surgery. I felt empty . . . . . . It was like my spirit was being amputated and there was nothing that could alleviate the pain.
As I sat there looking at her beautifully pressed hair, her perfectly manicured nails, and perfectly symmetrical face, I could see why Derek chose her. She reminded me of . . . . me . . . when Derek and I first met. . . . . .
Like most undergrads, Derek and I worked at a telemarketing company trying to make ends meet. He lived off campus while I was still living in Creswell. We would work the night shift. For some reason, Derek felt that it was his duty to keep everyone on his row from going to sleep! He would do various impersonations and comedy routines. The brother was very funny . . . . and charming. It wasn’t long before I was giving him my number and spending the rest of the night at his place. Sure he had several women in rotation, but he quickly told me that I was the best! I was willing to do what the other chicks weren’t . . . . even if I didn’t like it.
After being on and off for several years, Derek finally made me an honest woman. My intention was to make him an honest man. Since we were married, there was no need to do all the acrobatics that I had done before. There was no reason to invite others to watch us or participate in our love making. The bed was reserved for us . . . . . . as our pastor said in premarital counseling. Derek stated that he would go along with the program, but he refused to acknowledge Jesus at that time. So I shouldn’t have thought it strange when he began sleeping with multiple women two months into our union. He had no reverence for me at all! Sometimes I would wake up to him having his way with a faceless lover. Other times, he would stay late at work to have his way with the new, perky technician. Derek would save pictures of all his conquests on his phone . . . . just to remind me how much weight I gained! He complained that I didn’t have the energy to make love like I used to anymore because of it. . . . .
“It’s bitches like you that have made my world a living hell! I could have lost weight if he gave me the chance!”
Ms. Goody Two Shoes looked at me very perplexed before she spoke again.
“Ann, I think you need to leave before this situation gets any worse”
“Any worse? What do you mean any worse? I’m the one with the gun!”
At that moment, my nemesis pointed to the televisions that were over the bar. Some aspiring journalist was live streaming my midday meeting with Derek’s new whore!
“So I see somebody in here wants my lunch date to die, huh? Tell ya what, if that live feed doesn’t cut off in ten seconds, I’m going to shoot her! Now you gotta ask yourself, is your ten minutes of fame worth this hairdresser’s life?”
I stood up from my chair and stood behind Ms. Goody Two Shoes. The barrel of my .44 mag was planted firmly against her head. Before I could start my countdown, my agitator yelled out . .
“Whoever you are, please, please stop! I have a son! Please!”
I continued to look at the television screen. We were still broadcasting.
“Seven . . . six . . . . five . . . .”
At that moment, our barkeep wrestled a young man to the floor, taking his phone away in the process. The cafe hero quickly ended the live feed.
“That brotha deserves a helluva tip! Now what I can’t understand is why you were going to sacrifice her life for your fame?”
The young man refused to respond to my question. I was tired of men refusing to give me answers. Like Derek, he never told me why he wanted to leave. He just said that we were “growing apart”. Can you believe that shit? How were we growing apart? I thought we were growing closer together? Sure I’m a little fiesty when I don’t get my way, but what woman isn’t? I mean, those times I slapped him and tried to instigate fights . . . . it was out of love! I still love him. I just didn’t want him telling me no! I mean what woman wants that? Now this young, white, teeny booper was refusing to answer my fucking question as if I wasn’t important either! Well, I had an answer for that . . . .
The incompetent young student fell to the floor again! This time, he was holding his bloody hand!
“Fuck you and your privilege buddy! See what happens when you don’t answer my question?”
I started to approach the young man, but the roar of sirens froze me in place.
“This is the police! We need you to come out now with your hands up!”
I shook my head as I stood behind Derek’s new girlfriend.
“You know, I never got to ask you what your name was? Let me guess, Shanice?”
“Sh. . . . Sheila. . . . . ”
“I was close! The first woman he cheated on me with was named Shanice. Yeah, bitch called herself a singer . . . . . with her smiling all the time ass!”
“Ann . . . . . I think you need to put the gun down before they shoot us both! You know we are both Black right?”
“So what you trying to say? You trying to say that they won’t come in and wrestle me to the floor?”
“Have you been watching the news? Ann, please, woman to woman . . . .”
“Did you just say woman to woman? Skank, why shouldn’t I pull this trigger right now?”
“Because I don’t want your daughter growing up without her mother. Look, I may not like you but you’re Angel’s mother. Regardless of what happens, that will always be your title. I can’t take that away from you. Derek can’t take that away from you. She doesn’t need to grow up without you . . . .”
“Who says she will? I’m the one with the gun! And as you can tell, I have very good aim!”
“Ann, these cops are not playing! Look around and see how they’ve surrounded this place!”
I stepped to the side and saw that half of Atlanta’s finest had guns drawn in my direction from all sides. They were behind me in the parking garage. Several had come in through the hotel and were hidden right above the steps. I didn’t realize all the commotion I had caused. I only wanted to chat with Ms. Sheila. I just wanted her to stay away from my husband. I could see now that there was no way out. I told the police not to shoot as I motioned for Sheila to leave.
“We’ll talk again soon Sheila. But for now, you can go. You said that you had to get back to work right?”
She looked at with that same deer in the headlights look from earlier. I waved goodbye as she ran out the nearest door. The rest of the patrons followed suit. I sat back down in my chair and took a sip of my water. I placed the heater on the table as the boys in blue descended upon me.
“Well either y’all gonna shoot me or take me to jail. Either way, I’m going to enjoy this roll before I leave!”
Written by The Wednesday Gentleman