Free My Heart
by Eugene Williams, III
BEGINNING OF THE END
This night was going to be the start of some major changes. Mickey slowly ascended the stairs. On the way up, he could see a pair of black pumps, a skirt, a blouse, lacy panties and a matching bra, a pair of black size eleven shoes, some trousers, a business shirt, and a pair of drawers.
Slowly and soundlessly, Mickey continued toward the bedroom. Sweat beaded up on his forehead as he neared. There was a rhythmic sound emanating from the other side of the bedroom door. His breathing picked up in pace as the aggravating noise continued. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. The door was cracked and what he saw was unbelievable. The blending of two silhouettes branded him with a fright that immediately made his hands start to shake and his temper flare. Mickey did not expect such a surprise.
Mickey tried to convince himself that what he was witnessing was not really taking place. An intense hunger emerged from within and he felt a desire to retreat to the kitchen to whip up something appetizing to silence the growling that echoed from his belly. Fried chicken smothered in rich brown gravy served with mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and candied yams with pineapples became very appealing to Mickey’s taste buds. French bread, warm and chewy on the inside, lightly crusty on the outside, would suffice as a grain to complete part of the diet. A slice of devils food cake with sinful chocolate icing drizzled in a warm caramel sauce with chocolate ice cream on the side would go just great for dessert. The whole scene left Mickey dazed, dumbfounded, and hungry.
Mickey remembered times in his life when reality showed him how cruel life really is. The cold stings left emotional welts that he constantly tried to camouflage behind a false smile and pseudo thick skin. The present exhibition took him back to a past argument that he had with a woman.
"She’s not right for you and it would be a good idea for you to just leave her alone."
"What do you mean she isn’t right for me?" Mickey asked in utter confusion, his right eyebrow arched upward. He clinched his fist, but kept it behind his back, hidden from sight.
"I don’t know why it’s so hard for you to understand. She doesn’t want you."
The smell of Obsession perfume wafted up Mickey’s nose like the putrid smell of flatulence as Macy stuck her index finger in his face, making him feel the need to sneeze. The library was quiet except for their voices booming from behind the shelves holding foreign language books. Mickey arched his right eyebrow and moved Macy’s hand from his face with an abrasive shove. He stared at her as if he were concentrating on throwing her across the room with just a thought. His deep brown skin seemingly became darker and his chiseled face showed his jaw muscles flex as he looked at her bitterly. Macy smirked like she knew a secret no one else in the world knew and she licked her lips as Mickey looked down on her.
"Macy, I want you to stay out of Emily and my lives."
As Mickey’s shoulder bumped Macy’s, her books fell from her arms and bounced on the floor. He walked out of the library and headed to work, angry and fearing what he thought could happen with him and Emily. Macy had been interfering in his relationship for months. She always needed to show up at Emily’s apartment unannounced. She always needed Emily to help her with her assignments. She always needed Emily to give her advice regarding what to wear. She always needed Emily.
Relieved when work was over, Mickey decided to go to Emily’s place instead of going home. Breathing like he was about to jump from an airplane, he anxiously jostled and searched for the key to her apartment until he found the right one. He could hear muffled moaning as he approached her bedroom. Detecting only one voice, Mickey chalked it up to Emily having a solo private moment. When Mickey cracked the door, he noticed that her personal moment was not spent alone. Her soft, toned legs were parted and propped up forming a valley. Mickey could smell Obsession perfume floating through the air like rose tea incense. He watched fingers walk though Emily’s spicy forest and wander over her perky mounds. She bit hard into her bottom lip and violently thrust her pelvis upward as the tongue of a familiar face stabbed her other lips ferociously. Mickey's ears burned as he heard the engagement ring that he had given Emily only weeks past scrape the wooden headboard while she cried, "No, yes, no, more, yes, yes, yes."
In complete shock, Mickey observed his fiancee receive pleasure from the wrong person. He kept asking, "Why?" He wanted to know what he had done wrong. He felt inadequate, ineffective, inefficient, and sick to his stomach. He hated the sound. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. He wanted to vomit, but he was too empty from disappointment and rage to spew. Tears ran down his cheeks and blurred the ugly scene. Emily blended with the bed and Macy’s full lips that had been coated with her wine.
Mickey stood stiff as a board like he did when he felt the chill of a Saturday night special in the small of his back. The late October wind blew off the San Francisco Bay and cooled the tears that fear forced out of his eyes. He reached towards the moon as the stranger pushed the gun into his back and barked like an uncontrollable dog. His fingertips had become numb from exposure to the forty-degree temperatures. He also desired to relieve himself, having drunk more than his share of Royal Crown Cola, but he had to maintain his position with his hands in the air and his head straight ahead.
"Shut up! Don’t give me no line about you not doing my wife."
"I’m sorry," Mickey muttered through quivering lips. "The woman I’m dating said that she has been divorced for over two years."
Click. A warm streak raced down Mickey’s left pants leg and was suddenly cooled off by another gust of the autumn wind. The stranger had pulled the trigger, but no bullet exited the canon of the gun and wedged itself in Mickey’s spine. Mickey’s lips trembled and his eyes poured fourth more water.
"Yeah, she’s been divorced for two years. We still got a thing going. Do you hear me?"
Mickey cringed as the gun pressed deeper into his spine and he kept looking up into the sky, hoping to see another day. His biceps, triceps, and deltoids burned as he continued to stretch his arms towards the stars, for fear that the stranger would end his life just outside his apartment. The salt from his tears tasted bitter as the water welled around his lips. What started out as a few coffee dates and a rushed orgasm where Mickey was the one asking, "You’re done already?" had turned out to be a prelude to possible death by a Saturday night special on a Saturday night in front of his apartment.
"I asked you if you heard me, damnit."
The gun moved up and down Mickey’s spine as he soaked the front of his jeans. He prayed that he would live through this episode and he vowed never to get involved with another woman who had unfinished business.
"Yes," Mickey cried.
Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. The noise sounded like it had been amplified by a magnitude of one hundred. The bodies thrust faster, making slapping sounds. The hunger continued to grow with each squeak. Mickey thought things would be different this time. He wanted a change, but he got the same flavor of disappointment. The taste was always salty from his tears.
His head started to throb and he felt over his left eye where he had been disappointed in another past relationship. His fingers traversed a dent that had been left over his left eye. The abuse had hollowed him out to the point where he thought he could never love again. He hated how he had been slowly diminished to insignificance and set aside in his own relationships.
"Please, Val, can we just talk about his?" Mickey pleaded as he held his shoulder that was aching from a swing that Val managed to connect.
Mickey ducked as the bat swung over his head, hitting the cabinet and putting a hole in it. He had run into the kitchen, the wrong place to avoid someone brandishing a baseball bat. She continued to swing aimlessly at Mickey, bashing cabinets, the wall, and glasses that were sitting on the countertops. He opened the refrigerator door to block some of the swinging, but she kicked the door, forcing it to close and Mickey to slam up against the wall.
"You are not going to mess up my life," she howled through intermittent frowns and smirks. "You were out with some other woman."
"No, I was at work late. There is no other woman."
"Liar, you’re a good for nothing liar."
Whack! Mickey woke up in a hospital with a headache that hurt worse than any migraine. It felt like his head had been placed between a vice grip and subjected to an intense squeezing session. All light made him dizzy and nearly nauseous. It hurt to think and it hurt for him to try to not think. He lay in the hospital for days and when he came to, he could see Val standing over him with a smile on her face. It was as if nothing had happened. She apologized and begged him to forgive her.
"I’ll seek counseling. I will do whatever it takes. I love you. You made me do it."
Mickey feared her because the baseball bat to the forehead was only one incident. She had slapped him in public countless times, washed his face in the insecurities that he had shared with her, and emotionally dismantled him. "Give the sisters a break. We Black women have it hard. I cannot understand why all the Black men are going for White women. Black men seem to be impatient with Black women, but will deal with White women. What’s wrong with us? I want a Black man who is supportive and respects me.
I want some Black on Black love." Mickey had heard the statements from countless Black women. He had given Val, a supposedly strong Black woman, plenty of chances and she tried to kill him. He wanted to know if Black on Black love was supposed to hurt.
Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Mickey’s head throbbed. He wanted to scream from the top of his lungs like a person hanging from a cliff for dear life. Things were supposed to be different this time. He was not suppose to lose a battle with another woman over the woman he loved. He was not supposed to wet his pants from being on the wrong end of a gun. He was not supposed to be nearly killed by physical abuse. Mickey’s disappointment turned into rage, fueled by a hunger that wanted his undivided attention. What he was witnessing was indeed wrong.
"Oh, no, not again. No."