HOLY MATRIMONEY!

Standing in the front of the church, I observed as one of my closest friends is about to get married. As I stand with the other groomsmen, I gaze at their faces. We all bared the same blank look on our faces, while the women were all teary-eyed. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can tell you what came across my mind; glad it’s not me. I’m proud to say that I am a thirty year old man, with no kids, and not thinking about marriage anytime soon. As a matter of fact, I never want to get married. To me, it’s just a legal binding contract in which the man loses in the end. And when I say lose in the end, I mean financially. The divorce rate is what, 64, 65% after five years of marriage. That is way too high for me, especially when the guy has so much to lose.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the union and all, but not for me. The logic behind it just does not make sense to me. Think about it, the average person get married at what 26, 27 years old. Through this decision as a young man and woman you’re supposed to stay wed for the rest of your life. If you ask me it’s something fundamentally wrong with that picture. Why can’t men and women accept the fact that marriage or shall I say monogamy is not natural. And know what you’re saying, but just hear me out for a second.

Remind yourself of the vows you take at the alter. I promise to love, honor, and obey for as long as we both shall live. Given these very vows, shouldn’t marriage be easy. Most people will tell you that marriage is one of the hardest feats a human has to overcome. But given these vows, it should be easy, unless like I said before; it’s not natural. Look at my friend, as he stares his soon to be wife in the eyes. This man is on cloud nine, and little do he know what’s in store for him. I know one thing, I hope my buddy has a prenuptial agreement. I’m not trying to rain on the day, but divorce can be expensive. Especially with the career that my friends has; he has the most to lose.

His wife is a nice woman, but women don’t stay the same. She’s all loving now, until he says I do. Then before you know it, she’ll be packing on the pounds from childbirth and shoving her mouth full of desserts. All that money, poof, to the winds. I hate to keep going over it, but man. When my friend told me how much money he has in inheritance, all I could think was I hope you’re covered. Because as a man you are entitled to provide your wife with the lifestyle that she was accustomed to while you guys are married. Not only that, but your pension, she gets alimony, child support, as well as your future earnings. Hell, women say they have it bad.

All they talk about is this glass ceiling they have to overcome. Why don’t we change some of these marital laws and see how equal they fight to become then. It’s all good until a check need to be doled out. They’re so young and independent, yet in the case of divorce, they are so helpless. It’s accustomed to this and entitled to that; like a homeless bum with her hand out. See, the way I see, if I had it my way, a woman would only be entitled to ten percent every decade of marriage. You want half, then stay the course for fifty years. Anyone sticking it out fifty years deserves half. But no, women get in front of judges, and before you know, she has everything.

The house, the kids, the money, and a new man in a house you built. That’s why I don’t see myself getting married. And look at my other buddies standing up in the wedding. My friend to the right just got engaged, and my friend to the left is a newlywed. The other guys are in long term committed relationships. I am the lone wolf; or as they say the last of the mohicans. A mohican, what the hell is a mohican anyways; i’ve heard this term my whole life, never knowing what it means. Wait a minute, they’re a group of Native Americans. But why is it such a big deal to be the last of one of them?

Whatever, look at me getting all sidetracked. Instead of daydreaming about the American Indian, I should be focusing on how the hell I’m going to help my friend. God, if he only knew what he was getting himself in to, he would leave running out the back door. Look at his mother and father in the front row. Just crying away, you would think his dad would have talked some sense into him. I mean, this is his father’s second marriage. Knowing how marriage ends, you would think a father would give his son appropriate advice. But instead, he’s just grinning away.

Let’s not get started in the bride’s family. Her mother is balling her eyes out and the father is happy she’s finally with someone instead of bar hopping every weekend. Oh well, he’ll have to learn on his own. It’s not my problem, I would love to give him some advice, but he wouldn’t listen anyways. Look at him, deeply in love’ it’s so intoxicating. Wait a minute, here comes the part I hate most, the kiss. My friend kissing his wife as the crowd cheers with joy. Now I have to put on this fake smile as they begin to walk down the aisle. Next, here it comes, each bridesmaid and groomsmen must hold hands and walk down the aisle. I’m locked arms with some stranger who I never met, while people watch us exit out the church doors.

As the bridesmaids and groomsmen part ways, I noticed something. The woman who I was holding hands with seemed just as disinterested as me. We lock eyes and in that moment I felt a connection. Wow, I must be going crazy, am I really at a wedding expressing interest in a woman. I must be losing my mind because I have not dated girls since coming out in high school.

KID GAMES: DON’T LET ‘EM DIVIDE YOU

Image result for chess games

“Are you more strategic than your offspring?”

“Mommy, can I have some ice cream?” “No sweetie, you have to wait until you eat dinner first.” “Daddy, can I have some ice cream?” “Sure son, go ahead, but don’t eat too much.” “We still have to eat dinner.” And just like that, a parent has made a vital mistake in raising their child. There must be one voice in the household when raising a child. If that kid knows that they can run to one parent and always get an ok over an objection, that smells problems for your relationship. This also means that knowing they can get away with some things around one parent and not the other. The structure need to be clear and spoken from one voice.

What I mean by one voice is that if your kid comes to you asking for something they must know that when you say yes or no it means that on both sides. If a kid know they can play both sides, that speaks to the lack of communication from the parents. We are currently seeing the divorce between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie; where he seems to be more strict and she is more lax. This can be a recipe for disaster if both people are polar opposites. It’s fine to be a little bit different in the parenting styles, but too much difference results in long term problems; as seen with the Pitt-Jolie situation.

But since I am on the topic of divorce; what about communication here. It works so long as the parents are on the right page. But it’s hard to be on the right page with a child if parents are still bitter about their personal situation. Under these circumstances children really are in control. Because one parent might allow the kid to get away with more as a way to spite the other parent. For instance, daughter wants to have a boyfriend, but dad says no. Mom has sole custody, and is fine with daughter having a boyfriend. Daughter wants to date, so she is able to play her parents against each other because she knows they don’t get along.

This is an issue especially if the daughter finds herself in a serious situation and can’t find a way out. She will go to the parent that allowed her to break the rules to bail her out. Now mom has to bail her out because she went over dad’s head in the first place to prove a point. And if he finds out, it could make her look irresponsible. Or, on the other hand, mom might call dad and say guess what your daughter did, just to get a rise out of him. Daughter was using this divide in faction to her advantage. Now that she is in trouble, with the two of them bickering, she is unable to fix her situation. So the scheme that helped her is now backfiring.

In the end, children need to know they can’t play parents for fools. If they fell that one allows them to get away with more, they’ll run to that parent. Only problem is that when trouble arises, with both parents fighting the child suffers. So a child, even in the case of divorce, need to understand that both parents are on the same page. Even if both parents don’t get along, the child should not see that take place. Remember, you’re the adult; you’ve been on this planet longer than they have been. Don’t let them think they know life more than you. You should be the ultimate gamer.

FRIEND ZONE: CAN YOU EVER GET OUT?

Image result for friend zone

“You like me: check yes, no, maybe so; or friend.”

Naw, I kinda look at you as just a friend, sorry. These are the words no one wants to hear, especially a guy. But how did it happen? How do you find yourself in this uncharted zone? You thought you were doing and saying all the right things to make yourself seem more attractive, so what happened? Maybe I was too nice, or maybe I was too mean. On second thought, maybe I was not nice enough, or maybe I was not mean enough. Well, what was it that brought me into the friend zone?

These are some the questions we ask ourselves for anyone that has been in this space known as the friend zone. Guys manage to get ourselves into the friend zone a variety of ways. One way is that we are interested in a female and never make the move to show interest. She become familiarized with us as more of a friend or develop a brotherly bond with us. Then once we do work up the courage to ask her out, she immediately place you into that zone or get skived-out that we like her. But wait, did she place you into the zone or did you put yourself into the friend zone.

A lot of guys start off by developing a friendship like a woman has with her friends. He never expresses how much he likes her initially. Like for instance, instead of just coming out and asking her on a date, he invites her a to kid cousin’s birthday party. Then once there she is introduced to the family as his friend. Or he’ll say let’s go grab some coffee from a diner and hang out. These are friendly exchanges, that are a lot different than just asking a woman to dinner outright.

Another means of placing yourself into the friend zone is to share certain common interest that she typically share with her girlfriends. For instance, you guys are both into the same chick flicks. I don’t know, call me crazy, but I don’t think too many women are interested in a guy if when they first meet he owns the DVD box set of Sex and the City. Not only owns the set, but follows plot lines and know all the characters. These are friendly common interest that she shares with her girlfriends.

So, knowing how some men may get in the zone, are there ways women become friends. Yes, as a matter of fact, women have been known to get in the friend zone. The reason why it’s fewer instances when women do is because it’s harder for guys to be friends with women unless we grew up together. Especially if we find her to be attractive. It’s natural for us to be into her, but as for women, they seem to be able to friend us easier than we are to friend them.

Now with that said, is there any way for a man to be brought out of the friend zone? Sure it is, but there is just one problem. If you start dating someone that you have deemed to be a friend and it does not work out, than it could effect your friendship. But some people say who better to date or marry than a friend, but it can get tricky. Because you never want to lose a good friend. So how do you approach dating someone that is a good friend. You have to assess if the relationship does not work out, then is it worth the friendship. Some friendships are not worth losing, so usually the friendship stays just that, a friendship.

So in the end, I will say, approach the situation from a non-friend position in the beginning. Don’t try to friend your way in because you don’t want to deal with rejection. Ask the person out and if they say no, keep going. But once you develop a friendship, it can be hard to get out of that position.

SILENCE

Image result for CHILD IN CORNER

“Quietness does not always equate shy.”

You ever see a child who is quiet all the time? You ever wonder, “Wow, that must be one good kid.” Or, “Their parents really done a good job at rearing them.” Maybe neither one is true; maybe it’s because of something more sinister. Have you ever thought for once, maybe just once that a good is being abused at home. Not only mentally abused, but physically. And what do I mean by physically, I’m talking about sexual abuse.

Now, I myself have never been a victim of sexual abuse, but over the years I have heard about some people who have been. They’re either too quiet or acting out way too much. They either over eat to bury the pain or starve themselves to the point of some physical ailment like anorexia or bulimia. There is no average, moderate, nor overall standard for them. Everything they do is in access. Now, that is not to say people who have certain sicknesses are directly linked to sexual abuse, but it’s the extremities that I have noticed.

But going back to the silence for a moment. Whenever I see a small child between the ages of 7 years and 11 who is more secluded than the rest of the kids, I start to question. Why is a child who should be a lot more energetic, cheerful, and full of vigor & excitement live so recluse? Are they shy, or is something else going on that needs to be addressed? Are they afraid to have conversations because whatever is going on at home may result in further punishment.

Ok, let me try to internalize this for a second. When I was young there were a lot of times that I decided to shy away from a lot of people. I wanted my space and wanted to just go to school and play sports. But now that I think about it, I was a late teenager becoming an early adult. Well, when I was a child, I was a class clown. Uh oh, there is another sign, acting out in class. Yet still, there was nothing that happened in my life traumatic. Then again, there were those times of extremes in my life. But, on the other hand that occurred during puberty when a lot of people my age experience those extremes.

So what is it? What are some signs that kids are being molested? Acting out is one of them. Now, there is a difference between acting out and an abused child’s acting out. My acting out was waiting until the teacher turned her back to entertain the class. I was fully aware that I shouldn’t do this, but with age I changed. Abused children acting out may be skipping classes or an inability to fully focus in class. Developing patterns in failure to turn in coursework do to home life. More common acting out is becoming more sexually promiscuous at a younger age than normal.

Sexual promiscuity is quite common because being abused makes one unsure about their sexual readiness. Children start to experiment with other children, and at times introduce other kids to sex too soon. Sometimes young children because of age can’t be too active with those their own age because those their own age have no experience. So abused kids become engaged sexually with older children. Such in the case of a 12 year girl with a 16 year old boy. Neither are ready for any real responsibility, but she really isn’t ready.

Which brings me to the gender topic. We are always looking at females as it pertains to sexual abuse, but what about boys. It’s so hard for boys to deal with sexual assault because as a male you’re expected to be tougher and more aggressive. So being taken advantage of could make you appear weak in our eyes. So we tend to bury things just as deep, if not deeper than females. Especially if the abuser is another guy. Now we are forced to ask ourselves questions that we are not ready to ask.

Am I gay? Why because sex is pleasurable. I enjoyed it, but I don’t like boys, but the molester’s touch felt good physically, but uncomfortable emotionally. And the craziest thing about everything I have been saying is that there are some parents who never talk to their children about sexual abuse. Why, well you might have a parent who was abused themselves and have no confident means of approaching you in an educated manner.

I guess in the end, the sad part is that we may never know why a kid is behaving a certain way. They could be just shy, but when I see a child so young, yet so recluse it makes me wonder. What is their household like where they would rather ball up in a corner than to communicate with other kids their age. Sexual abuse robs you; robs you of so much. Your confidence, your innocence, your sexual identity, and your mental stability. Unless a child know there is someone to converse with who will listen without conviction, they will continue to remain silent.

RESTLESS NIGHTS (SHORT STORY)

As I lie here, staring at the ceiling, I wonder when is my baby coming home. He left a few days ago and I already miss him as if he has been gone for years. Will he ever return, and if he does will I recognize him. Should I move or wait around until he comes back into my life. Some of you might be wondering, who am I referring to. Well, my one and only, my true love, without him I am not whole. You might think to yourself, how did he leave, and why did he leave. It started when I made him breakfast a few days ago. I have to admit, it wasn’t the most filling meal one would hope for, but I tried my best.

I gave it my all, but to him, he couldn’t see that; he couldn’t see how much I worked to satisfy him. How could he not appreciate the distance I went to, to please him? And it doesn’t stop at breakfast, what about how clean I keep the house. Getting up at the crack of dawn and cleaning is not an easy task. The body needs time to adjust after resting for eight hours of sleep. But do you think he cared, not one bit. Sometimes it would take me the whole day to clean this house. Of course during my task, the television was on, so I could keep up with my daytime talk shows and soap operas.  Taking part in some daytime entertainment kept me distracted from my mundane existence.

Another task that I knew my baby would like is making sure I had a good meal in evening for him to eat. This always impressed because it took the most planning. Nonetheless, he still walked out and left me here alone. Now I am holding on to these sheets in my bed where he left me some time ago. Maybe I should just replace him. I could always find a new baby who will love me and appreciate me for the things I do for him.

I know there’s that one out there that will appreciate that extra mile I am willing to go to satisfy them. Wait a minute, I think I hear something, let me go see what it is I am hearing. Oh my God, it’s coming from outside. Let me see what’s out there. I open the front door, look down and my baby. My baby has returned to me, but not saying a word, just strolls right on in. But you know what, it doesn’t even matter because my babys’ home. Lying comfortably close to his litter box he rest his head.

WEB OF LIES (SHORT STORY)

Caravan pulls up to the doors of the hospital. Running from the drivers’ side of the caravan, a man rushes to the passenger side of the van. Opening the door he assists his wife from the car. She’s holding the bottom of her stomach, breathing heavily, she slowly exits the vehicle. The man, holding her hand, helps her through the automatic hospital doors. They approach the receptionist of the hospital. The man ask the receptionist for a doctor because his wife was in labor. After the receptionist agreed, he and his wife walk over to a bench in the hospital. Soon after a doctor with a nurse approaches the married couple with a wheel chair. The nurse and the man assist the pregnant woman. The doctor smiles at the woman and asks relevant questions regarding her current status. After the questioning the doctor ask the man to go with the nurse for some scrubs. The doctor advised that after he placed on the scrubs he could come into the delivery room. The woman, still breathing heavily looked over her shoulder at her husband while she was being whisked away with the doctor in the wheelchair. The nurse directed the husband to another room where he will receive his scrubs.

Once dressed in his scrubs, the nurse directs him to the delivery room where he sees his wife legs up in stirrups. He walks over to his wife as she begins to firmly clutch his hand. She begins to explain to him the pain she is feeling at the moment, as he tries to console her. The doctor enters the room dressed from head to toe in scrubs. He is assisted by a few other nurses. All four of them walk to the bed as they prepare themselves for the woman’s pregnancy. What seemed like a calm room in the beginning became more noisy and hectic as the the doctors began to work with the woman. She pushed and screamed during the pregnancy; the whole time her husband encouraging her to keep breathing and push more. The pregnancy continued to proceed forward as the doctor informed the woman he could see the baby’s head. Her husband continued to aid her in the process. The doctor and nurses began to take on a look of confusion as they retrieved the baby.

The husband asked the doctors what was wrong, but the doctor continued with the delivery. As the woman pushed and pushed, the doctor and nurses started to look at each other uncomfortably. The husband and wife questioned the doctor as to the nature of the baby. Holding the baby in his arms, the doctor raised from below the stirrups. He informed the husband and wife they are the proud parents of a baby boy. The husband’s face had a look of confusion as he slowly turned to his wife. There was a momentary silence in the room as the husband stood up from his seat next to his wife. He began to yell and scream regarding the physical embodiment of the baby. He was upset because the newborn was African American and they were a White married couple. The husband stormed out of the room as the nurses followed behind him. The only people left in the room was the wife and the doctor.

He slowly looks to the door, then back at the wife.

“How come you never told me you were pregnant?”

The woman replied, “Because we were together only once, not to mention we used protection.” “But my husband and I were trying to have a child.” “So it made perfect sense not to inform you of anything.”

They continued to converse as the husband was in the hallway ranting about the delivery. The nurses in the hallway were trying to calm him, but he started to attract more attention. A well dressed woman in a pantsuit and a hospital badge approached the enraged husband.

“Sir, what is the matter with you?”

He replied, “Who the hell are you?”

Turning to the woman, the husband’s eyes lit up.

“Tanya!” said the husband.

Tanya asked him what was wrong, and he informed her of his wife’s pregnancy. He went on to explain how his wife was cheating on him with an unknown Black male. Telling Tanya the baby is biracial, Tanya appeared shocked by the situation. Soon after, the doctor emerged from the room into the hallway. Walking over to the husband, he notices Tanya. They momentarily embrace as the husband glares at the two of them.

“How do you two know each other?” asked the husband.

“This is my wife,” said the doctor.

Tanya slowly dropped her head in shame. The husband angrily walks away from the nurses, doctor, and Tanya.

“He said his wife was cheating on him and the baby appears to be biracial,” said Tanya.

“What a way to find out your wife is cheating.”

The uncomfortability on the doctor’s face wouldn’t even allow him to look at his wife. Her phone begins to vibrate. She pulls out the phone seeing the text message from the husband. The message read, “You never told me you were married.” Tanya clutches the phone, as her and the doctor give each other a nervous smile and slowly walk away from each other in shame.

POOR CHOICES (SHORT STORY)

July 4, 2014 is a date I remember too well, not mainly because of the Independence Day celebration, but the day I lost my best friend. What was supposed to be a day of cookouts and fireworks ended in a violent exchange. The Fourth of July always start as a good day for me. Getting up out of bed, looking at that new outfit I had bought the week prior. Isn’t that something, spending a significant amount of money on an outfit that I only intend on wearing for one day? Not actually the moral compass for having your life together. But does that doesn’t mean your life isn’t together? It’s like, come on, I’m contributing to the economy. Anyone who works a job just to pay for an outfit celebrating a day of freedom should be commended. Especially considering the day is one of choice.

Wow, choices, that word sure does resonate since last year’s incident. Waking up that morning I chose to go into the shower and I chose to get dress. I chose to eat breakfast and I chose to leave the house and make my way to the parade that day. Something I chose to do, that probably wasn’t in my best interest was hanging with a group of friends who were known to start trouble. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten into trouble myself, yet not like this group.

One of the boys I was hanging with has been involved in drive by shootings. He’s been sought after by numerous gang members who have yet to get a hold on him. Another boy likes to dabble in theft from time to time. He has a warrant out for his arrest by the police. The third in the group has alleged sexual assault allegations from a few girls our age in the neighborhood. When their brothers catch up to him, that’s all she wrote. And the fourth boy is a known stickup kid. For those of you who don’t know what a stickup kid is, they’re people who hold others up for financial gain. He has hit a few drug dealers’ spots, yet they don’t know it’s him. All I know is that he stays dressed in the latest fashion and accessories. I know one thing, if they ever find out it’s him robbing their dope spots, he’s a dead man.

Then there is me, who have never done as much as these guys, but still quite undesirable myself. And here we are, five knuckleheads, headed to the parade with only one intention; getting girls. Remember I told you I bought an outfit to wear just for this day. Well, it’s almost like tradition to buy an outfit to wear on the Fourth of July in the inner city. The shopping malls are packed full of young people trying to impress their peers. The girls do it to look cute and the boys do it to look cute enough to the cute girls to approach them. Yet none of them have the money to go shopping, but nonetheless everyone is there.

Now back to the parade; my friends and I did as we normally did for the fourth. We stood, leaned-up against the wall with one leg rested against the wall and the other touching the concrete. Our hats were wore real low so the ladies could see our entire outfit, not just the face attached. So, the moment they made eye contact that was it. We had ourselves an in, an excuse to speak as the females would pass in a variety of scantily clothed attire. Some females wore tight leggings and tank top shirts. Others would sport fishnet bottoms and tight t-shirts. My favorite were the ladies who wore the jean or boy shorts with the piece of buttock showing at the bottom. In addition, these females usually wore t-shirts cut off all the way to their breast. This meant you could see the roundness at the bottom of the breast. To top it all off was the high heels some of them wore, yet sneakers was a fashion statement as well.

My friends, I’m telling you, we were like dogs in heat. Any one of these female that walked by usually was inundated with cat calling and whistling. You might have the occasional guy try to grab one of these females. This resulted in an argument or even a slap across the face. Me personally, I like when the ladies walk in groups. This meant not only me but all my friends could get a girl. I never saw much fun in all of us hitting on the same female. A couple of the guys in my clique loved to run train. And for you lames who’ve been sleep for the past century, pulling a train was never my thing. Two guys having sex at the same time with one female. Naw man, I’m too selfish for that, I need a chick all to myself.

But, from looking at the females walk by, scoping the ones who we’ve never seen before always was a treat. This day started off as no exception, until this real sexy female dressed in red, white, and blue walk past. Before I tell you what happened, let me paint the picture for you. She was about five foot seven, five eight, pretty face, slim waist and flat stomach. She sported a red scarf, white cutoff tank top, and blue jeggings with red and blue heels covered in spray painted stars. This girl was a true dime, sorry about that, more slang terms. What I meant to say was, this female was a perfect ten. Everything was hitting all in the right places.

Before I could open my mouth to say something, one of my friends had already gone in for the kill. He grabbed a handful of the female’s buttocks, causing her to quickly turn around. The young female slapped him across the face and yelling expletives as the other guys laughed. I was the only one not laughing because I felt like that ruined my chances of talking to her. My strategy was to get her out of sight away from my friends. This way I could say what I really wanted to say. You see, I am different with girls in front of my friends than away from them. When I am around my friends, I turn into my alter ego. The moment I step away from the group, I’m a different person. But my friend groping this girl’s behind, left me with no choice but to intervene. The only problem is as soon as I stepped forward to speak to her, she responded cursing and screaming at me.

Understandably so, I mean, my friends violated her as she went about her day. How would I feel if someone felt me up as I tried walking up the street? Within her cursing at me, I tried explaining to her that it wasn’t my hands feeling on her. In my efforts to apologize she took a swing at me just as she did my friends. Just like that, she gave me a right hook to the face. I stumbled backward, nearly falling to the ground. She smiled, standing proud of her accomplishments. For the life of me, I don’t know what got into me, but I just did it. Quickly regaining my footing, I approached her as she stood firm with her fist balled up. My friends stood in place laughing, as the female grinned as if she took pride in her attack on me. Pride overcame me as I slapped her with the palm of my hand.

She immediately fell to the ground. Gently rubbing her face with one hand, tears filled her eyes as she got up and ran away. My friends ran over to me, co-signing what I had just done, “That’s right, that’s how you check a bitch!” “Teach these hoes a lesson!” “If you want to act like a man, treat her ass like a man!” “My boy got a mean pimp hand!” As they patted me on the shoulder and applauded what I had just done, the feeling was not that bad. In fact, I felt good slapping her in the face. Hell, she deserved it for hitting me first. I was only trying to show her my deepest apologies for my friends.

After that, the five of us just left, but there was something that stood out to me unlike my friends. It wasn’t just being hit by a woman, not my friends congratulating me, but the look from spectators. People were not too thrilled by a man striking a woman in the face. As the five of us walked away, people began to converse among themselves and shake their heads. My friends didn’t care, they were bringing about more and more attention to the situation. Not only did they revel in the attention, but dared anyone to say something.

I’ll tell you one thing is for certain, aggression sure does work up an appetite. So as you would guess, we found ourselves going to eat at a burger stand. This place was not only a hangout for people our age, but a known place for fighting; even the occasional gunfire. But not this day, everything was going good this day. Except for what happened earlier in the day with the female I slapped. On the other hand, my friends thought what I had done was commendable. So commendable, they treated me to food at the burger stand. Whoever thought hitting a woman was seen as such a good deed by ones’ peers. Then again, my friends weren’t the typical guys.

The majority of men don’t hit, nor do they believe you should hit a woman. Didn’t matter to the guys I hung with, you touched them, you got hit. This was such a contradiction to me considering they touched her first to bring about her reaction. Then it hit me, what I had done was wrong and needed to be fixed. As the day wrapped up, and light turned to darkness; night fell on the sky. I decided to go looking for the female I had struck that night, but fatigue from a long day kept me from continuing my pursuit. Unlike me, my friends decided to go on with the rest of the evening.

After going home that evening I couldn’t sleep thinking about what I had done earlier that day. My mother would raise hell if she found out I had put my hands on a woman. Didn’t matter at this point because the damage was done. Now I had to find a way out make it up. Just made more sense to go to sleep and resolve it the next morning. Falling asleep proved to be a challenge with the events from earlier lingering in my mind. Eventually I went to sleep, as night became day. First thing in the morning my goal was to find out the identity of this young female.

Before I could leave the house my mother insisted I sit down and talk to her for a few minutes. There was a slight hesitation, so I knew something was wrong. I could see the look of hurt and pain, fear and desolation on my mother’s face. This wasn’t like my mother, she never sat down with me when we talked. Then holding my hands, gently rubbing the tops with her thumbs. She just came out and said it, “Your friends were killed last night.” She was almost in more pain than I, knowing had I not have come home, it could have easily been me.

Explaining to me how they died meant nothing once I heard the words, “shot and killed.” Her explanation fell flat as I removed myself from the couch and headed for the door. Nothing in her pleads for me to stay in the house meant anything, as I left out the front door. Now from here on out, my feelings toward the female from the day before didn’t matter. Someone had shot my friends, and I wanted to know who and why.