Unsettled – a short, murder story

Unsettled

Dear Shawna,

I wrote this letter to you to tell you how I killed Dad. I know that I could’ve stopped by your house or called you to tell you this. I just couldn’t bare to look at your face when I told you. I know a letter isn’t the best way to deliver such news, but this is best I can do. The only way I know how to tell you this without seeing your grief and being forced to have solace.

I know you love…loved Dad. He was great when he was around. Remember when he took us to Yogurtland on Central and Slauson when it first opened? We were so excited to finally get top brand stores in South Central. It was nice to see that they built a store people loved and not another liquor store, mechanic shop, or godawful McDonalds. That day was so glorious for the city that there was a line out of the door on opening day. Remember when we all picked the largest bowl, filled it to the brim with the sweetest flavor – you chocolate, me sherbet and tangy, dad plain tart, and we all loaded our bowls to the brim with candy, fruit, whipped cream, evaporated milk, and those sweet bubbles filled with tarty juice that pop in your mouth as soon as you bite down? Yeah. I remember like it was 30 yogurts ago. I try to think of the good times we had before he left, and after he died.

Do you remember when he took us to the Fox Hills mall when we were in middle school? Thanks to gentrification, folks call it the Westfield of Culver City now, but it will always be Fox Hills to those like us, the real people who remember, made it poppin’ in the first place. Remember when you, me, and him went and he just let us roam all by ourselves? I remember getting 5 numbers that day and you got 7. Back in the day when guys would come up to you to speak and would let you know they want to talk with you? Remember when we were in the food court getting burgers and we saw Dad at the end of the court sitting down, eating, with some woman? We never told mom, because we knew it would break her. That was the first secret we kept you and I that brought us together – the same secret that destroyed the love I had for dad.

After that day, I spoke less and less with dad. He would speak, say Good Morning, and I would walk the other way. Mom never noticed anything different between him and I. I don’t think you noticed much either because I developed a skill on being around people and making myself invisible. Mom would be so busy cooking and cleaning – being the model wife the 60s ever produced. You kept up with music and singing. Practices had you gone most of the time. And the little time we did sit together to eat, everyone would talk and I would maybe say 3 words during the dinner. “Pass the pepper” was enough words to come from me to make my presence known without being too suspecting. Mom would use the table time to complain about the house and what we weren’t doing. Dad complained about all the changes in the neighborhood. The blessing and curse of gentrification. And you, sis, would chime on about your shows at school and the neighborhood band you and Brandy started next door in her parent’s garage. Within an hour’s time, there wasn’t much for me to say.

This lasted up until I left the house at 18 and got my own place. I remember struggling hard to survive, working two jobs all while in community school, just so I could afford my studio apartment in Gardena. I wanted to be as far away I could afford from South Central, from dad.

I remember at 25 when I found out that he left mom and married a younger, white woman and moved out to Pasadena. I remember being so relieved that mom could finally make room in her life to find a good man who would appreciate her hard work, but I was also pissed that not only did he leave the best woman in the world, he went for a younger white woman. You know what that means for our tribe. Our family. And they went on to have a baby. Treated that boy better than the both of us combined. Going to the doctors, school events, PTA meetings, baseball games – and had the nerve to post it on Facebook like it’s some shit to boast. Meanwhile, there weren’t any pictures of us Shawna. Do you remember?!

Do you remember all the times we were in church plays? I played the piano, you sang, we both recited poetry and short stories of the powerful women that the bible rarely mentioned. We were so bold and opinionated, even at 7 and 8 years old. Do you remember begging dad to come and what did he do? He came sometimes, but grunted the whole ride there, something about how church oppresses black people, how he’s tired of seeing poor black people crying out to a God whose forgotten about them, a lot on how they learned to be good to each other, but never did what the bible said. He hated to see a church full of black and brown people worshipping the mosaic window images of a straight haired, fair skinned jesus. He always sat in the back with begrudging arms folded, leaving occasionally to take smoke breaks by the pastor’s car – or he just didn’t come at all. Some bullshit. Now he worships a white Mary and their mixed Jesus by going to every god damn thing that boy does. I know you call him brother, but that boy and his mother are nothing to me.

I remember being fed up with dad and called him for the first time in 12 years. His old ass had the same cell phone number since cell phones came out so I knew that I could reach him. I told him to meet me at Stevenson Park in Carson. I got there 30 minutes early and sat in the car to prepare what all I was going to say to him after all of these years. Him, not ever trying to find me. Him, not ever calling me. Him, not ever messaging me on the same Facebook he boasts his son on. Him, leaving mom for a young, teenage, white girl. Him, moving and making a home in racist land. Him, cooning trying to fit in and erase the pride of our tribe. Him, being the very thing wrong with the black family. I wanted to yell at him, scream, punch him in the throat. And, at the very time, me bathing in my anger, drinking in all rage, I saw him walking up with roses and that young boy holding his hand, and I lost it. This was supposed to be for just us. I started the car, put the gear in Drive, and pressed the gas with all the strength of my unsettled spirit. And, Shawna, I hit him. The boy let go of his hand and ran, but I know I hit dad. And kept driving. Never looked back. Never shed a tear. Never went back to see if he was okay. Thoughts of him, rolling over my car, from hood to trunk run though my mind. The thud of his body hitting the ground haunts me every night.

Honestly, Shawna, I don’t know if he’s dead. Maybe he’s in a hospital somewhere. Maybe he is at home with his becky of a woman. But, if he’s dead – don’t come for me. I already packed my things and by the time you read this letter, I will be halfway through the country, looking for a new tribe, a new home.

 

Take Care,

Lisa

 

(Story written by Camari Carter-Hawkins – if you share, please tag me!)

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Make your mouth behave

Have you ever been in a place in your life where nothing seemed to go right and your mind wandered tirelessly to provide a solution – to no avail? That is tiring. It is depressing. It is just downright hard.

When the hard times come frivolously and the solutions take their time, the mind can run rampant and at times, can get negative after a long period of time with no success. Has this ever happened to you?

When this happens, it is really hard to get out of a funk. And, although I don’t have much solace if you are in this situation, I will say – make your mouth behave. Let me expound…

So, I have been running my mind wild on how to bring in more money. Let’s face it. I live in Los Angeles where the rent is high and the jobs are …hmm, plenty, but not plentiful. I am a mostly full-time developing artist and I experience feast or famine. Although I am not in a fully onset famine, I feel it coming on and I am working hard to save up to make it through.

Today, my mind took me on several trips like it was a pilot. (Maybe I should become one?) I grew tireless, weary, and overwhelmed. When my mouth wanted to speak, I took the opportunity to say “This is only temporary. I will get through this.”

We have to understand the importance of the mouth.

The mouth/tongue/words can create life or death. Haven’t you heard that if you speak to a plant with happiness and kindness, it will live and thrive. However, if you either leave the plant alone or yell at it – it will wither and die. After killing 4 or so orchids, I finally have 1 that is thriving well after months because I water it timely and I speak and sing to it.

Aren’t we not plants? We grow. Need water. Everything on us grows. We can give life. Why not speak life to ourselves and situations? Yes, it is hard when the times are hard, but I will say this, after you speak enough positivity, the words impacts the mind. The mind will change. It will begin to think hopeful. It will renew and find solutions.

Make your mouth behave and everything listening will behave as well.

With sweet thoughts,

BlackSugarMoon

How Toys R Us Disabled My Growth

If you came here for encouragement – you came to the wrong place. But, if you want to hear about how I plan to get over my fear of getting old, stay with me.

This fear isn’t new. It’s been with me my entire life, like an arm, or an eyeball. As a child, I observed the livelihood of unhappy, or unfulfilled, or unloved, or overly responsible, or weary adults that I took the theme song to Toys R Us (I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us Kid) as a mantra. That was my thesis to life. I will never grow up. I didn’t know at 7 years old that I, nor Toys R Us, did not have the power to stop the hands of life, growth, wrinkles, and deep voices. I didn’t want to grow up.

Although I don’t sing this song any more, I believe that it never left my peripheral or even my spine because it has truly become my foundation and in some way, I believe that mantra disabled me. It weakened me. By claiming “I don’t wanna grow up,” I diverged from responsibility. I rejected challenging jobs and career paths. I neglected really good relationships. I didn’t take myself or much of anything that was complicated very serious.

“I don’t wanna grow up” and I never really quite did. Until I turned 30.

Before I turned 30, I lived my life as if I was stuck in the early 20s – years that is (not era). But, when I turned 30 – I was depressed and not excited at all. I felt pressure to “do something” for my dirty thirty, but in last minute planning, I just asked a few people for drinks and didn’t really follow up with those friendships afterward. I was sad as hell because I realized that I was a leaf in the wind about my life. Willing to hold on to something but not willing to be held on to. Always the leaf, not so much the tree. Turning 30 changed me, in a good way I suppose.

So, in efforts to not fear growing up, taking more responsibility for what is not right in my life, taking life by the horns, taking my happiness by the horns – I will do 1 single thing.

I will realize that the responsibility for my place in life is my own and will now take responsibility in making the changes. 

Thanks for reading my heart on blog. My truth in black print.

Talk tomorrow.

In sweet thoughts,

blacksugarmoon

 

What is BSM?

Black Sugar Moon is a blog written by me, Camari Carter-Hawkins, where I share short stories in work, musings, epiphanies, poems, and mostly my heart.

Why Black Sugar Moon? Well, firstly, I’m black – so cat’s out the bag. Moon because my name, Camari, means “Like the Moon” in Swahili, a derivative of Kamaria. Lastly, sugar because sugar and moon goes together. That comes from a trip my honey and I went after we got married. Since it was only a weekend long, we called it a sugar moon.

Stick around because I plan on sharing 4-5 times a week. I’m looking to really get in to the online writers community. So, if you read something you like, please let me know. If you see some areas for growth, please let me know. If you are just flat out negative – just know that I will not acknowledge you.

In sweet thoughts,

blacksugarmoon