Why Am I Nothing?

by E. Amado Williams

Marguerite Berkeley was never satisfied. She had walked around for years asking the question "Why am I nothing without a man?" Robert Winthrop solved that problem. He stabbed her to death. The dates, where Robert attended with a perfunctory disposition, turned into months of complaints, badgering, anger and death. No man was ever good enough for Marguerite, especially an available man who had a genuine interest in her. Her demands were great. She wanted a sensitive man and when she got one, she labeled him as being gay. She wanted a man with some vigor; the ones that managed to look in her direction, of course, were too abrasive and did not ever seem to understand her needs. She desired a man who had good work ethics, but she complained incessantly when the man worked late. She wanted a man who had never been married, although she was never completely out of one relationship before engaging another one. She wanted a man who had no children, discounting the fact that she had two children from previous short-lived relationships. She wanted a man who had no loose ends; how quick she learned not to call out her present lover's name during intercourse because she could not keep track of whose bed she was in or who was in her bed. She wanted a man who made lots of money and enjoyed giving it away freely, never fully grasping that most men nowadays do not sponsor their own children, let alone a grown woman who has money in her own purse. As the knife cut through the air and sliced through her sweaty skin, she now realized that she never qualified that she "needed a man who loved her."

The first stab brought to memory Charles Gilliem. Charles was the first man aside from Marguerite's father, who truly loved her, and she knew it, but she never returned any kind of affection. During their four years of college, Charles tried to court Marguerite but to no avail. He offered to carry her books. He offered to buy her lunch. He offered to tutor her in math. He begged her to go to the show with him. He agreed to surrender himself to her. But Charles was too much of a nice guy. To Marguerite, Charles lacked spunk and drive. Never mind he was studying to become a surgeon. No, he was not worldly enough and he did not have the attributes of the Adonis jocks who bragged boldly of their sexual capers with female students who gladly shed their clothes for pleasure that resulted in embarrassment, hurt feelings and often unwanted pregnancies. It would be twenty years out of college that Marguerite would suddenly realize that Charles was the man she probably should have given her love to. He was now a physician with a fabulous home in New York City, a beautiful wife who loved him, three children who never gave him grief and an abundance of happiness.

The second stab brought to memory Tony Watson. Tony lacked all of the skills inherent in a quality man. His vocabulary was indicative of a grammar school student. His bottom drawer taste in clothes reflected that of a street thug. Because he always walked around thinking that the White man was at fault for the ills of the Black community, never minding the fact that he refused to go to college to learn the skills necessary to move within circles of great thought, he never held a job for more than nine months at a time. But Marguerite never lacked for reaching her highest sexual heights with Tony. Neither did countless other women. Tony had bulging muscles. He had big feet and big hands. He had dimples. He had a swagger that drew stares from hungry women. Tony also had problems that Marguerite overlooked, like the ex-wife who waited outside Marguerite's condominium and threatened to beat Marguerite senselessly. There was also the mill of one night stand victims who slashed the tires on Marguerite's high end Mercedez Benz and scratched her paint job. Tony also had eight children, four of them born days apart from each other, all living ten blocks within each other. But she tolerated his dramatic life and philandering. She could not live without him. She had no choice after one recipient of his sexual escapades took away his frivolous privileges by shooting him to death.

The third stab brought to memory Reginald Yates. Reginald, the psychologist, had unconsciously become Marguerite's personal psychologist. He listened to her ravings about not being able to find a decent Black man, most comments laced with evident low self esteem issues. "I'm a beautiful Black woman. I look good. What's wrong with me?" Over time, Marguerite could see on Reginald's face that her ranting was coming out as "Blah, blah, blah." On numerous occasions, Reginald's phone would ring and he would rush off to see the woman on the other end of the phone. Countless times when Marguerite would call Reginald to complain about what was wrong in whatever relationship she was in, some sultry voice would answer the phone, fresh out of sleep from having experienced carnal delight with Reginald. She hated Reginald because she wanted to be the woman on the other end of the phone. She wanted to be the woman answering the phone with a deep voice and wide smile of satisfaction. She wanted more than just the mere friendship that existed between her and Reginald. During her constant gripe sessions, she never said that she wanted Reginald. Conversation was always about other men. Reginald had found this to be rather unattractive.

The fourth stab brought to memory Poindexter Smythe. Poindexter, the chemist, was certainly not what Marguerite wanted. She dated him for good measure during one of her lonely and desperate moments. He lacked the Hollywood movie star appearance, although he was easy on the eyes. He never walked with a cocky assuredness that mirrors arrogance, but he certainly was not clumsy. He heightened her passion, and she kicked, clawed, and swore like a sailor during sex, but she acted as though she was doing him a favor. His main flaw was he was available, something that it finally dawned on Marguerite that she ran from. She was attracted to men who were physically and emotionally unavailable, while evading men who had no excess baggage, wives, girlfriends or unfinished business. When Poindexter got tired of Marguerite putting him on emotional hold, stopped asking her out for companionship, and fell in love with a White woman, Marguerite had a conniption and a sudden burning for Poindexter. His love and affection for the White woman, and what Marguerite considered flaunting, angered her. She verbally abused Poindexter because she felt she looked better than the White woman and she went on further to trash all Black men on a general principle who dated outside of the Black culture.

The fifth stab brought to memory Al Redding. Al, who was a financial consultant at a company on a floor below where Marguerite worked, belonged only to his wife, his son and his daughter. Marguerite burned for Al. She waited outside his office. She waited outside his house. She followed him when he went on errands. Al's wife, a lawyer, was always working on cases and the two never spent quantity time together. Marguerite had wanted Al so badly that she tried to position herself to replace his wife. She always wanted to do lunch. She always wanted to do dinner. She wanted to know when he was taking business trips so that she could coordinate her traveling accordingly. She always wanted Al, never fully understanding his devotion only to his wife and family.

The sixth stab brought to memory Robert. Robert, the restaurant owner, was an appetizing man to Marguerite. He, however, never looked in her direction. She dined at his restaurant, wearing revealing outfits that displayed her supple breasts, ample hips, and long legs. She smiled excessively at him. She exaggerated the swivel of her hips whenever she entered a room full of men, her bum swinging too far to the left and to the right. Because of her inflated self-worth, Marguerite made herself accessible to a man who preferred full figured women. Never acknowledging Robert's evasiveness and suspect demeanor, Marguerite stalked him until he gave in and agreed to date her. Two weeks into the relationship, Marguerite began to ache for Robert's touch. But he was cruel. His cruelty was not physical, but emotional. He refused to touch her romantically. He desired a meaty woman, not just a woman of easy appetite. Marguerite whined and spoke ill of Robert. She challenged his manhood and his sexuality because, to her, "no man would turn down the best pussy in town." She belittled him all while his mouth watered for women of the larger persuasion.

Marguerite stopped counting after she had rummaged through the drawers of her mind, searching for some point in her life where she was ever happy without the presence of a man. Images flashed through her mind: she not spending time with her children because she was busy chasing a man to share a bed with; she listening to her friends and siblings who filled her with the notion that being alone is a bad thing; she listening to men screaming lies into her ear during orgasms; she taking hot showers trying to scrub off disappointment and shame. As she closed her eyes for the final time in her life, she hated knowing that although she felt that she was nothing without a man, she would never be anything more with or without any man ever.

Why Am I Nothing? by E. Amado Williams

© Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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