“ So you’re really leaving me?”, I asked confused looking into the eyes of my girl Shai. We were in my room sitting on the edge of my King size bed. The lights were dimmed and the candles were lit . I’d been planning to have tonight be special. Our year anniversary, wild crazy sex no holds barred. “Ashley”, Shai started, “listen for a while I ain’t been feeling you ma. Ima fly nigga. My bitch gotta be equally up to par, you dig?” I was crying inside couldn’t stand to look at Shai’s pretty chestnut colored eyes and beautiful full lips. It was those eyes that had made me fall so deep for Shai. She was my first. “ Bye sweetie” she murmured rising from the bed wearing the Antik button down shirt and true religion jeans I bought her. Now she was out. I cried rivers of tears that cascaded down my cheeks and past my double chin, into my flabby breasts and coating my big belly. The pink silk negligee I’d bought from Ashley Stewart couldn’t hide or slim my two rolls rippling like waves undulating in the sea. The door slammed and so did my eyes. I lay back on the bed, looked to my right at the sleeping pills on my dresser. I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I thought. Suicide was one of the surest ways to hell.
I remembered that sermon like it was yesterday. “Ooh lawd, yes all glory to God. Lawd, lawd bless the sinners. They need you”, my mother Valerie screamed as she got to the meat of her sermon. 2nd Avenue Baptist church was unusually crowded and hot. I sat uncomfortably in the third pew from the altar. Wearing my Sunday’s best pink flowered dress with the hat to match and my scuffed two-inch white pumps I was a sight. Add in my Jheri curls that were dripping with brown activator and the sweat I was 18 looking 48. And as mama went on about the Lord and his goodness, the punishments coming to sinners, sodomites and atheists. And how life would be so much better once you accepted Jesus, I lost it. “UGGHHHHHHHHH—-AWWWWWWW,”I wailed standing and beginning my show. Mama’s eyes flashed evilly . Her little eyes radiated fire in her fat,black face. Her fire red lipstick did her no justice in hiding her black devilishness. “ Yes chile,” an old woman said edging me on thinking I’d caught the holy ghost. I shook my head and threw off my hat. I really got into it wailing awwwwww, damn, awww save me, save me. “ A few of the older sisters got up to try to console me. A skinny high yella sista with a wide brimmed orange hat smiled at me with a toothless smile. “ Awww get away from me cunt. Go!,” I barked turning on my feet , screaming and running on my way out the stunned church. I caught in my daze the whispers of” That’s deaconess’ daughter” and “Gahlee look at that gal run.” My daze continued as I hit the street, August heat blasting my ass in the face. I hobbled down 3rd Ave to our apartment after one of my heels split. I found some Africans selling flip flops that alleviated my pain and embarrassment. My mind was blank. Nothing was there. I reached 116th and 3rd avenue, the epicenter of Spanish Harlem. Peering at a clothing shop mirror, I looked repulsively at my image. 6 foot even, 300 pounds, black as night with Jheri curls, a big flat nose, fat lips and Valerie’s small beady eyes. I hated my large frame and dark skin the most. Childhood taunts of ashy Ashley, wide load Jones and fat ass continued to swirl in my head so many years after they’d ceased. I won’t even begin to mention my stuttering problem and my large overbite. At 18 years old, I’d never been kissed, hugged, received a compliment or had a single friend. Alone and so hideously ugly was my theme. I made it to our cluttered apartment, almost having a heart attack cause as usual in the projects, the fucking elevator was broke. My fat ass had to climb 10 flights of stairs all the while cursing Housing and myself for my fat. I stomped down the hallway to my room that I used to share with my twin brother Eddie. Like me , he’d been fat as fuck and had a heart attack in our 6th grade gym class. The sheets on my bed stank of piss from the times I’d been too lazy to get up and go to the bathroom. I found a place that looked least soiled and dozed off in the hot ass house lit by a few 99 cent candles. As usual our Con Ed bill wasn’t paid. I awoke to drawers being slammed and various voices, the loudest being my mother’s. “Ma”, I called, ma.” I went in the dark living room where various boxes sat filled with odds and ends. Two crackheads from down the block were picking up shit and scratching themselves. “Ma”, I found her talking on the phone laughing . She still had on her deacon robe. “ What Ashley?” What the fuck you want? Hold on Yolanda, Ima call you back “ Well”, she stared at me ,” you real proud of yourself ain’t you embarrassing me at church. Folks talking bout you crazy. You got issues sista and I cant take it no more. I’m leaving here. You grown as you ever gon get .” She turned her black mask of hate away from me and called to the crackheads “Ty, Pooh bring the rest of them boxes to the car”. They followed behind her slamming the door and me in darkness.