“What you doing over there?”
“Looking out the window. Just look at how the rain comes down like sheets in a waterfall. I haven’t seen it rain like this in a long time,” I explained sitting on the couch.
We’d been in the studio all day and night. It was nearly 2am. The studio had become like my second home since I decided to take my music more seriously. Other people even believed me and this music thing which surprised me, but I guess I hadn’t come to believing in myself just yet.
“Well, you should write about it so we can put it in a song. We got three more tracks to do,” He smiled. “Man, I’m tired though,” He admitted stretching back in the chair. We were the only two left in the studio. The rest of the band had left hours ago. I just needed to lay down some vocals, but it was becoming hard to find the inspiration. My mind was flooded with other things. Music was my only outlet and feeling emotionless wasn’t supporting the creativity. Boss, my producer and friend, came and slouched on the couch next to me.
Boss was a huge man, but he had the energy of a teddy bear. The most caring person I knew, and he was always there for me. Yet, I was continuing to shut him and my loved ones out of my personal life. How could they possbily understand where I was coming from if I wasn’t sure myself?
“So, what’s up? I need you to talk to me,” Boss said. I started to sing a ballad in my head that came out out of my mouth singing, “I gotta do what I gotta do just to make it through all the hard times that’s gonna face you. This the life…striving to survive…”
“Wait, where that come from?” He asked seemingly confused. “I’m going to feel like a horrible friend if you go and do something stupid if I could have stopped you,” He continued.
“It’s late. Early. Whatever. I better go. I know Marcus gon’ be mad that-” I said getting up from the couch but stopping mid-sentence to realize Boss would catch me in my lie.
“Wait, you still live with this dude? Yo, I told you he was foul. I thought you said you moved back to your mom’s?” He asked with his tone increasing.
He felt like he had been lied to after all the times he had to bail me out. My lie to him had become elaborate that I kept up the facade of having moved on from Marcus to still living with him. I put on my coat and grabbed my purse. “Marcus apologized, and we talked. He started helping out again. He said he was sorry, and he wants to go to church counseling when we get time. Besides, Niya gets sad when she doesn’t see her dad. He does love me. I know it. It’s not like he’s a killer, Boss,” I said gazing toward the window to see the rain was lighting up a little bit.
Boss laughed. “Yeah, love. He loves pushin’ you around in front of his daughter. Oh, when he has time you’ll be going to counseling. Loooovveeee surely has a funny way of showing it!” He mocked.
“Stop it,” I said.
“If you tell me he hit you again, I’m inclinded to possibly kill this dude. We in the studio…working…all we write about and produce and sing about is love and what it is. For a smart and talented woman, you making some unwise decisions. Shackin’ with this dude, got your daughter around this craziness, and he loves you?” He continued.
I started to get frustrated. “I’ve given too much to just leave! It’s not that easy to just…just walk away. Even if I leave, I’m his forever. It’s just how it is!”
“No, you’re not. Your daughter is his forever not you. See why I didn’t agree with you moving in with him again? You think you owe him something. You start playing house, and you think you’re obligated to him. You’re better that this, Mo,” He pleaded.
I sat in the producer chair near to me shaking my head. “I don’t know if y’all understand.”
“Look, I can-” He began and his phone rang. He coaxed me to wait for him to walk me out while he stepped out for the call. Turning toward the media board in front of me, I turned up one of the tracks we’d just been working on called “Fire and Ice” that Boss had helped me write.
“Hey!” I heard a yell that made me jump. I turned around to Marcus holding Niya in his arms. He sat Niya down, and I stood up to greet him. He came up to my face like when two men are sizing up each other.
“Oh, so now you was going to try and make me late? Got your phone all off. You crazy or what?” He asked.
I just looked at him for a minute. He smirked placing a kiss on my lips, and his daring glare returned. “Babe, you don’t even go to work til 4. I was about-” I started.
He raised his hand to hit my face and pulled back. I turned away. “I got called in early, stupid. You can’t be reached or trusted. Think you gon’ be a music star? You take her home. I’ll deal with you later. I’m sick of this, Morgan. You testing me,” He threatened.
I went to grab my purse again and mumbled under my breath, “You’re something else. Help me Lord. I don’t know-“
Just as I’m finding the words I’m speaking to myself, he pushed me face first to the ground.
“Stay over there!” I yelled out seeing Niya rise from the couch.
With his arm pressed against my neck and knee in my back he said, “Go ahead and pray right here!”
Niya was crying in the background, and I was slightly sobbing. When I felt his lift from my back, I stayed down silently praying. I turned around to Boss pinning Marcus against the wall. His huge stature made it hard for Marcus to move. Niya ran over to me, and I gripped her in my arms.
“Don’t touch her no more. Would you hem yo’ mama up like that? You’re weak and pathetic, dude. And in front of your daughter? Some kinda man you are,” Boss nodded. Marcus tried to move away but couldn’t. “If you even try to approach them I’ll knock you out cold,” Boss warned.
“Niya, come to Daddy. I’m taking you to Granny’s,” Marcus called out.
He didn’t even look at me. Even after spending seven years with him, giving birth to his daughter and devoting to him despite the hardship, he still treated me like a stranger even in the same room.
“Nooooo. You hit my mommy,” Niya cried nestling in my lap on the floor.
In that moment, Marcus looked at me, and I saw shame. I didn’t only feel bad for myself and Marcus, but I felt sorry for what we’d allowed our daughter to see. Her innocence and her perceptions were being molded and altered. My heart cried for her because I didn’t want her to be like me blinded by what love isn’t and staying because I lacked love for myself.
Boss escorted Marcus out the building in the rain as it was pouring in sheets again. Niya and I sat up on the couch to watch Marcus drive away. I didn’t understand why a feeling in me still wanted him to stay or take us home with him. The illusion of family bliss I guess. I didn’t want to continue compromsing myself.
“Mama, maybe the Devil also beats his wife at night time when it rains and not just daytime rain,” Niya stated.
I was shocked to hear this from my four year old. “Probably. Or God is washin’ all the bad away…”