(From Danisha's journals)
When I took BC home to meet my parents, it was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made. Not that I didn't have a problem, but BC...
He was uncomfortable the entire evening; my father's iciness toward BC didn't help matters. My mother had invited us for dinner, and Momma 'put on the dog' - Crystal, china, sterling silver - all those nice things that BC never experienced. Momma knocked herself out cooking a delicious dinner; she hadn't planned on BC picking at his food. I guess he didn't like shrimp etouffée, or fine California Chardonnay.
Daddy grilled BC about, "Going to finish your education, son? You simply can't find a decent job with only a GED." BC took Daddy's tone as 'condenscending", but I knew Daddy only had BC's, and my, welfare at heart. He'd always cared about education and achievement, saying that, "These are the only ways up and out. You have to have that education, and the drive to succeed. Don't expect success to be handed to you - You have to achieve it yourself."
My father believed in hard work, fair play, and honesty. I guess BC took Daddy's advice the wrong way. I could tell that he began to resent my family, and my lifestyle. That was just the beginning.
I took BC to many cultural and social events; these were the things I adored: The fashion shows, the church activities and sorority dinner-dances, the museum programs, the poetry readings. But BC felt left out, or, as he put it, "It's not my scene". Of course, my intentions were innocent. If BC had intended for this to be a long-term relationship, he would have to meet my friends, and do some of the things I liked to do. I felt that I could at least instill in him a little culture, a little refinement -- Things I knew he missed when he was a child.
"Don't try to control me, and don't try to change me!", came the words of frustration. I thought I was doing right by him, but BC gradually began to resent what he called my "high-toned" lifestyle. The charming man I met in September slowly transformed into a terrifying monster. It would not be until that day in March that BC would finally show his true colors; however, the signs would manifest themselves much earlier, only I was too much 'in love' to realize that BC was no good. He started saying and doing little things: Not speaking to me for days on end; belittling my friends ("Why you have to hang around those 'oreoes'?"); giving my choice of books and music thumbs down ("Alice Walker? Ain't she some sort of dyke or something? Why do you have to read that junk?").
Of course, I tried reasoning with him; it was of no use. By January, BC and I grew further apart, although he insisted things were cool.
Oh yes, there was that part of the relationship; however, every
time, and it wasn't that frequent, BC was either drunk or stoned. It was
always not quite what I'd expected, mostly a 'wham-bam', then he'd fall
asleep. I hated what I'd become -- Had I fallen that far off the deep end?
Maybe Daddy was right after all; no way was BC going to change, not for
me, not for anyone.
In the meantime, I just went on with my routine of work, church, social functions, and, finding that perfect house. BC refused to accompany me on these house-hunting expeditions; he said I didn't need to live among "those phony folks". I just played it off as another of BC's 'angry young Black man's laments'.
I had finally settled on a house; a modest, yet lovely, two-story Georgian-style house on Blue Ridge Road. The neighborhood, Butler-Tarkington was one of the most sought after areas in town. Naturally I wanted to reside in such an elegant, and stable, neighborhood. Meridian Street was just a few blocks away; I would be close to Butler University, Broad Ripple Village, and the Riviera Club. I also loved the fact that this was a family neighborhood, not that I planned on having children soon.
I wanted to have children around; there's something about a child's voice emanating from outside the bedroom window on a warm summer morning...
Anyway, I wanted the move to be as smooth as possible. Since I had to
schedule the move around work, I decided to move during spring break. My
cousin, Nat, and Sam Terrell, Tony's brother, agreed to help me move. BC
never once offered to help. By mid-February, when I closed on the house,
I was determined to dump BC once and for all.
At this time, I lived in a nice apartment building on the Old Northside, near Downtown. I took great pains to find a secure building, but it wasn't secure for long, as BC began bringing some of his "friends" over for various extra-curricular activities. I hated seeing these rough-looking thugs hanging around the building; my neighbors began to complain. It seemed BC and his buddies were conducting drug deals right outside my building! I also detected the unmistakable odor of marijuana in my apartment. I had no choice but to read BC the riot act, and ban him from my apartment. I told him there was no way he was welcomed in my new house.
"Drugs and thugs are not allowed, BC! I'll have families living next door to me; you're not messing this up! So take yourself and your hoodlum friends out of here, and don't bother to come back!"
BC said nothing; but, instead of shouting me down, he slapped me upside my head. That was all I needed to jolt me to my senses: BC had to go.
I never saw BC again, until that night down in March. Thank God for that swift action, or BC would have killed me.
In late-March, I finally moved into my new home. I was so ecstatic, that I made a special shore-to-ship call to my parents. Momma promised a special house-warming party when she and Daddy returned from their Caribbean cruise.
My father was pleased that I was moving into "a good, stable neighborhood;
I think your place is just a block away from the Terrells."
I also informed my parents that I was finally quitting BC.
"He's no good, just like you said. I should've listened to you."
They agreed, and expressed hope that maybe I'll find "a good man" for a change.
That "good man" wouldn't be found until the summer following that horrible early-spring night.
Nat and Sam helped me move the last of my belongings into my new home. All that was left to do was to give my old apartment a good cleaning, and turn in my keys to the building manager. Nat told me that he and Sam had to run over to the hardware store. They promised they'd hook my washer and dryer; then they'd be back to gather the few remaining boxes.
I spent a good part of that Saturday afternoon sweeping and mopping. If I was to move out, then I'd better leave the place cleaner than I found it. I was nearly finished; I had to go outside to take a break, then called Nat on his cell phone. My car was at the house, and I was ready to go. When I returned to the apartment, BC was there, waiting for me.
"Goodbye, BC. I don't want to see you anymore."
BC, apparently drunk, told me that, "You don't mean that, baby. Not after all we mean to each other."
I don't know what made me allow that man to enter, nor do I remember exactly what was said. All I remember was telling BC repeatedly that I wanted nothing to do with him. BC kept laughing in my face, cursing and damning me for being "such a stuck-up bitch".
After a few heated words, BC slapped me. I was so stunned; I headed for the door, opened it, and ordered him out. "Get out, or I'll scream for help." BC just smirked and sneered. "OK, Nisha. I'll go, but not before I do what I should've done a long time ago. Stuck-up bitches like you never have time for folks like me. Always lookin' down your nose..."
In a flash, BC was upon me, knocking and slapping me around. I tried to escape, but it was of no use. He was too big, too strong. I don't know how long he battered me; all I remember was the pain, and my screams. Then I heard pounding on my door, and a chorus of familar voices calling to me.
"Danisha! What's going on in there?"
The door flew open. It was Nat and Sam, along with the police - and someone else. It took several men to drag BC off of me. I was bleeding and bruised.
"No I don't want to press charges", came my feeble reply. Nat couldn't believe this. "Come on, Nisha. You have to put this dude away."
It took several minutes of haggling, but I finally made Nat and Sam
promise they wouldn't say a thing to my parents. "That's all Daddy
would need. I don't want to hear a sing-song of 'I told you so'."
I suffered several bruises, a sprained wrist, a chipped tooth, and a few cracked ribs. The doctors told me if help hadn't arrived in time, I would've been more seriously injured -- Or worse.
When I told Fern what had happened, she couldn't believe it. Then again, she said she suspected BC hadn't reformed, not one bit.
That prison sentence BC was serving? The one where he got paroled for "good behavior"? The original charges were armed robbery and attempted murder. However, some hard-as-nails public defender got BC to plea aggravated assault; BC would get less time, and a better chance at parole.
So why was Fern so worried about BC?
It was a late afternoon robbery of a Northside Village Pantry. BC was
alone, armed with a gun. At that moment, Kyle, then only ten at the time,
had entered the store with another playmate. The kids had stayed after
school for basketball, and the boys decided, on the way home, to buy candy.
In a panic, BC fired his gun four times, stiking Kyle twice in the leg, and once in the abdomen; the fourth bullet lodged in the ceiling. The other boy was unharmed, but shaken-up from witnessing the whole horrid ordeal. Fern told me that while Kyle's injuries weren't life-threatening, she was livid that BC got off so easily.
"All during the hearing, I could tell he had absolutely no remorse over what he did. He could've killed my child; he could've killed another child, but he didn't care."
Fern wasn't too thrilled when I told her about my brief, and violent,
relationship with BC. She only chalked up my experience as "something
you have to learn -- The hard way."
I wanted to return to work right after spring break, but Fern wouldn't hear of it. Fern took one look at me, and told me under no circumstances should I return to work until I was able to get around, and the bruises weren't as noticeable. "Tell them you were in a car wreck - anything. I'll cover for you."
Fern was a mighty good friend. She was the only other person who knew
the truth about BC. I never told my parents; Nat gave me his word, that
he wouldn't breathe a word.
Although he hated "lying to Uncle Joe and Aunt Gee", he said he'd do it for me, "Because you're my favorite cousin, Nisha. We all stick together."
Daddy and Momma never asked about BC when they returned from their cruise. Daddy was just glad I had the "good sense to rid yourself of that bum."
That bum, Daddy, almost killed your little girl...You must never know...
And what happened to BC? He left town, supposedly went to Chicago, where he claimed he had family.
Hmph! More like some more of his roadies - Why can't this man change? Doesn' he realize the destructive path he's taken? He'll learn - just like I did - The Hard Way...
BC would never surface again, that is, until now...
I lit another cigarette as my mind floated back to the present. I don't recall exactly how many shots of rum I downed. All I could remember was the one good thing that came out of all that mess with BC -- Fern introducing me to Claude Frollo.
Three months after BC nearly battered me to death, Fern invited me for a summer excursion. She said it would help to cheer me, and I might make a few friends.
Oh, I made friends, all right...Quasi, all those kids...and Claude...That was all orchestrated for my benefit...You see, BC? What you did? You made it possible for me to finally meet the 'special' man Momma told me about...And he is special...
"But he's not wholly mine - That I can deal with", I
said out loud. My speech was slurred, my mind numb from strong drink.
"I finally that good man. He's not ashamed of me; he's not intimidated by my braininess. He doesn't beat me; he never belittles me. Claude loves and respects me without the games, the abuse..."
I fumbled for my lighter as I heard a key unlock the front door. "Fern?",
I asked in a drunken stupor; the smoke from the cigarette swirled around
my head in a snaky pattern. I tried to get up, but I couldn't stand; I
was that intoxicated.
I must've drifted off when I felt a nudge, and heard a familar voice. That voice took on an unusual harshness; I heard it before, especially when I'd had too much to drink.
"Danisha, I can barely see through all this smoke! This room literally reeks of tobacco!" I felt his nose close to my lips. "You've been drinking again; I can smell the rum on your breath."
Then the voice took on a more gentle, caring tone. "Nisha. My love, whatever is wrong? You seldom do these destructive things unless something is troubling you. Tell me, my dear. Tell me everything; I'm listening."
"Claude?", I asked, my eyes now focusing on his handsome face.
He was kneeling before me; he was holding my hand. "Oh, Claude. I
was just thinking..."
I stopped myself; I really didn't feel like burdening him with all those bitter memories of BC.
It's best only a few people know...I'd be too ashamed anyway...I can't admit to Claude Frollo that I made the stupidest mistake of my life...and that it nearly killed me...
"It's nothing, baby. I'm OK, but I'm stressed from everything,
that's all." I'd hoped he'd believe me, but I was wrong.
Claude shook his head; he kissed my cheek. "No! Everything is not at 'all right', for I can tell. That look of torment is in your eyes." He drew himself closer to me, and softly asked, "My love, has anyone said, or done, something to upset you? You do realize I'm very protective of you; I want to know why you are so upset."
"It's nothing, Claude. I'm fine; no one's upset me."
I was determined Claude would never find out about BC. I was afraid, not of what Claude would do to BC, but what BC would do to Claude. I didn't want to take that risk, and I knew perfectly well that BC was a violent man, and capable of anything. I didn't want Claude hurt, and if I told him about BC and what he did to me, Claude would've gone ballistic.
Come on, Nisha...Isn't this the "real" reason you never told Daddy? Never mind...I don't feel all that hot...Let me sleep off this booze...
"Yes, Danisha, my love."
"Let's discuss this in the morning; I don't feel so good."
The last thing I heard was Claude's deep, throaty chuckle. I felt his lips on mine, and his arms lifting my body. Was I in bed? Is that Claude snuggling next to me?
When morning came, my mind was clear enough to lash out the one man
in whom I could confide my deepest secrets, as well as my worst fears.
Poor Claude! All he wanted was to protect me, but I was too blinded by pride, and fear, to meet him half-way.
© Copyright FrolloFreak FSM #14, 1998.