A Woman Scorn'd
By Dorothy Goins
By Dorothy Goins
SHARICE RODE IN the back of the cruiser silent in her thoughts as the car
pulled up in front of the brick faced building at the corner of West 137th and Malcolm X Boulevard.
She stepped out and followed the cop up the steps to building 103, waited while the officer pressed the intercom button. Sharice heard a window open. She looked up into Joyce's cold eyes. Her mother in-law was just like her son, vindictive and mean.
"Yeah!" she hollered down. "What yall want?"
The cop looked up and said, "I have a court order to pick up this woman's son from this address." Joyce rolled her eyes hard. Sharice looked off and waited.
The door buzzed and they went inside, went up the flight of stairs up to the fourth floor. The building had no elevator. When they reached the top of the stairs the cop knocked on the door and Joyce snatched the door open.
"Ain't you 'spose to call before you just pop over here," she said to Sharice when she walked in the apartment behind the cop.
"Ma’am. Go get the child," the cop said intervening. "The sooner you do that, the sooner we'll be out of your way." His voice was hard and dry.
Joyce rolled her eyes at Sharice before she turned to go down the hall towards the bedroom. "Malik!" she hollered. "Come here, baby."
Sharice stood by the door waiting to see her son. Her palms were sweaty and her eye was still throbbing. Malik came running down the hall carrying a toy truck in his hand. He had on a pair of blue footed pajamas. "Mommee! Mommee!" his little voice squealed. Sharice grabbed him and scooped him up in her arms.
She squeezed him tight. "Oww!” he said, “Nuh hurtin me, Mommee!” He
squirmed out of her arms holding up his toy for her to see. "Nanma give me dis."
"That's nice, baby." She looked at Joyce with deep rooted envy. "I need
his things, please."
"He ain't got nothing here, 'cept his jacket.” Joyce snapped.
"Ma'am, Go get it," the cop said in an iron voice. He walked across the floor with his arms folded behind his back watching her, his eyes were as hard as his voice.
Joyce went over to the hall closet. She walked over and bent down in front of Malik with his jacket in her hand. "Here, baby. Grandma’ll see you soon. Okay?” Her hard voice changed to a soft tone. Malik nodded his head. Joyce straightened up and looked at Sharice like she was about to say something.
"It'll be a very cold day when that happens," Sharice said before Joyce could fix her mouth to speak. She snatched Malik’s jacket from Joyce’s hand and put it on him. Then she went over to the door, opened it and went out into the hallway. The cop followed her out.
"That’s what you get.” Joyce hollered behind her. “I wish he’da done more than black your eye! You ain’t nothin’ but trash anyway." Then she slammed the door shut.
MALIK FELL ASLEEP on the ride home. Sharice got out the cruiser and thanked
the cop. Walked up to her building and went inside. She managed to get up the two flights of stairs to her apartment with Malik's dead weight resting on her small frame. It felt good being home with her son again. She carried Malik to his room, took his jacket off and laid him in his car shaped bed. Standing over his bed, with stuff on her mind, she watched him sleep.
Malik always was a good child, so quiet. Always calm. Never cried much as a baby. Always happy and content. She watched his peaceful sleeping face, hoped he'd stay that way and not inherit any of Vernon's traits. She'd read somewhere, in one of those baby magazines she'd purchased while she was pregnant, an article that had said something about children getting their behavior traits from their parents. She stood there wondering. Would Vernon's bad traits rub off on her child?
A bunch of what ifs begin to run through her mind. What if all those nights when she tussled with Vernon, fighting him off her, screaming at him during their loud arguments, Malik had heard them. What if while she was nursing all those swollen eyes and sat there nursing Malik at the same time, he was affected by all her pain and suffering. Was it possible she'd already messed up her own child?
Her feet locked in place as she watched her child's breathing eradicate in his sleep. She agonized over the thoughts racing through her mind. She concluded that she needed God to give her strength 'cause she sure couldn't do it on her own. She couldn't go through the black eye syndromes again. There was a lot more involved than having to deal with the pain from the onset swelling under her eye and around it. There was the humiliation of facing people and having to lie to about what happened. She couldn't face anybody at work in this condition.
Vernon was forever costing her something. Now she had to miss a day's pay and
God knows what his crazy behind self was planning to do to her. What if Joyce or one of them fools in his family had already gone down there to the police station and bailed him out and he was lurking around somewhere waiting to attack her again? At that moment the regrets began to set in. She regretted marrying Vernon. Had she seen signs of his violent ways beforehand she wouldn't have walked down that aisle with him.
From A Woman Scorn'd, by Dorothy Goins, Xpressit Publications
ISBN#: 097140061X. May 2005, Copyright © 2004 by Xpressit Publications