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Authors: Yusuf Blanton

The Shards of Serenity

BOOK: The Shards of Serenity
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The Shards of Serenity

Yusuf Blanton

The Ishmael Tree












Copyright © 2015 by Yusuf Blanton.


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.


Yusuf Blanton/The Ishmael Tree

244 Fifth Avenue

New York, New York 10001


Publisher’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Locales and public names are sometimes used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is completely coincidental.


The Shards of Serenity/ Yusuf Blanton. -- 1st ed.

ISBN 978-0-9915821-2-9




To every person whose ever struggled voicelessly. From women that have endured domestic abuse, to the poor trying to survive, to addicts vying for another day clean, to the depressed that search through this World for an at-times hopeless definition of “happiness.”

To those that have made it out of their struggle alive and have gone on to inspire others through their story.

To those that have given up their voice prematurely whether by choice or not.

To my late friend Jason Davenport; his family, friends, and loved ones.

And finally, this project is dedicated to the readers that make it all possible.

In the timeless words of Jack Kerouac, “Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”

Let’s continue to keep the light of independent artistic expression burning, for many generations to come.

This is for you.




September, 2005


I first knew my life needed change on a brisk Friday night in September, when the winds outside gusted audibly; and my husband laid on the living room sofa calling his sex interest of the week. I'd suspected cheating for some time, but it was this particular night that I stayed up late enough to hear his low-voice moans and sweet nothings uttered; while he slyly touched parts of himself that I hadn't enjoyed in six months. “I can't get out tonight baby," he cooed into his cheap piece of plastic. "Serenity's asleep, and last time I left this late I think the door woke her up. She's been acting real suspicious lately. I just can't fuck up this situation until we're ready to have our own."

As my stomach turned and the broken springs of our outdated mattress dug into my back, I decided I'd had enough. He needed space to be nasty, and I needed space to live out the quality of life I deserved. I got up as quietly as I could and begin packing my side of the closet into a duffle bag. Before I could make any significant progress, however, I was violently disturbed.

"Hey baby," said Mitchell, as he stood in our bedroom doorway with his 6'2” muscular frame, charred ebony skin, and pronounced facial expression of boyish shame. "What are you doing up this late? And what's with that bag? Are we going for a late-night trip to the gym?"

"No, Mitchell, you can go to the gym all you want. I am leaving," I said matter-of-factly, as I continued to pack my eclectic mix of chic office attire and casual get-ups.

"Leaving to where?" he asked, as his expression began to darken and an ominous aura began to surround him.

"Leaving your life. I know you're cheating. I know you're texting, and sexing, and doing God knows what else with other women. And, honestly - I'm fine with that. Our marriage has been on shaky ground for a while now, and it's obvious we're growing apart. Let's not waste the prime of our adulthood trying to breathe life into something that isn't going anywhere. You're free, Mitchell. You can have everything that's yours and even the apartment. I'll go back to my parent’s house, and you can live your life the way you want to."

"Hold up," Mitchell replied with a sarcastic chuckle, as he rubbed his face in passive-aggressive surprise. "It sounds like you're accusing me of a whole lot of shit and asking for a divorce. Now, I know my wife knows her place in this marriage and would never do either of those things. So, I'll just need you to pacify these worries I'm having real quick."

"I'm not pacifying anything. It's over, Mitchell, and I need you to clear the way so that I can take this bag to my car," I said, as I struggled with the off-brand zipper.

"Bitch, I know you're not testing me!" he wailed, as he flung his body across the room, crashing into my brittle 5'7” frame that hadn't seen a gym since my enrollment in college. "Now, tell me you're not leaving; and we can turn this into some make-up sex before I kill your ass!"

Before I could breathe, his gorilla-like hands were wrapped around my neck, brutally squeezing as if it were a push-pop. Before I could speak, his 5" penis was being smacked against my lips in a fit of depraved sexual aggression.

"Suck on this, bitch! You ain't goin' nowhere, and you already know I'm the motherfucking love of your life! Just suck my dick, and everything will be alright!"

"I'm not sucking shit, Mitchell! Let me go!" I cried, with the last bit of energy I could muster from my diaphragm.

"Okay, bitch. You wanna play hard to get? I always try to make things easy, and you always make them so hard,” he grunted, as he tucked his underwhelming genitals back into his soiled pants. "Hold up a second," he demanded, before pushing me into the wall hard enough to cause a concussion.

When I re-opened my eyes from the temporary bout of pain, I saw my husband of four years standing over me with a sharpened kitchen knife, and the larcenous look of murder smeared across his devilish face. "Open up, bitch. It might not be my penis, but something's going inside you tonight!" he proclaimed, as he lunged toward me with the knife.

Realizing this cycle of abuse had officially piqued into a life-or-death situation, I got up from my fetal position and ran towards the door with a speed I was unaware I had. Behind me I heard screams, saw shadows, and felt his hand ripping off my blouse from the back – but, stopping was not an option. I jetted down the apartment steps to my car, topless, with the fear of God pulsating through my veins with more intensity than religion had ever managed to inculcate.

Before I could start the car, there was a bloody fist coming through my passenger window, and a disheveled Mitchell escorting himself into the car. I tried to speak, but he slapped fire out the side of my face, threw my body into the backseat, and wiggled his way into the driver’s seat. "Alright, bitch. I see you want to get out of here. I'll drop you off where you belong," he said through a laugh that was half-threatening, half-demonic.

For the next thirty minutes, my mind vigorously bounced between a paralyzing state of shock to a deep-seated fear of death. When I regained a mild sense of awareness, the car was slowing down, and we were forty-five miles from home in one of New Jersey's most notorious ghettos.

"You like playing hard? Alright hooker, this is where all the hard people live. Now empty your fucking pockets and get out the car!"

Fearing confrontation, I dug my hand of chipped nails into my ivory slacks and produced a twenty dollar bill. "That's all I got."

"Well, that's mine now! Get out, and have a good life!" he shouted, as he reached around and pushed me out of the slow-moving car.

As my half-naked body hit the cold, littered pavement I tried to search for words, but only came up with bleeding surface cuts and a face full of tears. I looked up at the man I had trusted with my life, and mentally wondered how things could have ever gotten so wrong. I silently hated myself for ignoring the early signs of abuse, and staying in a toxic relationship for this long. I closed my eyes, and tried to breathe a sigh of relief as he rolled into the night; only to realize he was still in earshot.

"And, one more thing, bitch!" he screamed, as he produced a piece of paper that I struggled to identify. "This right here is our marriage certificate. And, this right here," he continued, as he produced a cigarette lighter. "This right here is our divorce," he finished, as he brought the flame to the paper, chucked the mess onto the pavement, and sped off menacingly.

"Oh my God," I whispered to myself, as the realization of all that happened began to penetrate my numb mind hopelessly. I recalled the four prime years of my life I had sacrificed, the money I had spent, the virginity I'd given up, and the appeasement of my traditional Muslim parents that I would likely now lose. I almost forgot about my physical state altogether until an ashy crackhead wearing soup-stained rags approached me.

"Well, well, well - what do we have here? A new pair of D-cups on the block?" he asked, through a silver-capped smile and the aroma of urine. "You look scuffled, missy. First night working out here?"

"No, no, I don't prostitute. In fact, I don't even live here. I'm from Oeming. My husband dropped me off here, and I need to find a taxi."

"Now 'scuse my language, but what the fuck is a bourgeois chick from Oeming doing in the projects with her titties hanging out at this hour? Your husband must be going through some God-damn financial troubles, if I ever heard of 'em."

"No, we're fine. Look - if you can give me one of those rags you have, flag me down a taxi, and make sure I don't get shot while I'm here, I will give you twenty dollars. That's enough for a 'gram' at least, isn't it?"

"Whew, an uptown slicker with big titties and some street smarts! You sure I can't hit it?"

"My mother smoked crack before converting to Islam, so I know a thing or two. Anyway, do you want to earn twenty dollars; or not?"

"Is my name Pipes? Hell yeah, I want twenty dollars! Here - take these shirts, and follow me to the pay phone. We'll get you out o' here in no time!"

As I choked to get the ill-fitting, ill-smelling shirts around my torso, the man made good on his promise, and within three hours I was on a plane to California. I supposed if I learned one lesson from all the times I was beaten and forced to sleep on my patio, it was to always keep a credit card in my sock.

As the plane departed into the air, I wondered how I'd fare back in my home state after all the years away. What would happen to my education, dreams, goals, and all I'd worked towards in New Jersey? Would Mitchell actually leave me alone, or would I be greeted at the airport by a gun in my face and an empty body bag? Before I could think for another second, the dehydration and mental exhaustion caught up with me, and I passed out in my seat. All questions would have to be answered in real time when I arrived.




I knew my life needed change on a balmy Friday night in September, when the air outside stood still, and I found myself nine inches deep inside a busty, Caucasian divorcee. It was a time in my life when things were externally hopeful, between my writing finally taking off, and my five-year string of menial sales jobs coming to end. I’d convinced myself that ‘love’ was the only ingredient missing in my otherwise robust life, and so I’d turned to the recent phenomenon of internet dating to fill that void. So far, experiences like this were all that I’d come across.

“Fuck me harder, dude!” she bellowed in tomboyish overtones, as I mechanically stroked her in a doggy-style position; tickling her clitoris with my left-hand, and grabbing her right breast for leverage. “Fuck me and cum on my tits!”

“I’m cuming now,” I dispassionately stated, as I picked up speed and felt a day’s worth of semen fill up my condom. Although I loved sex and the experience of connecting with another person so intimately; it was times like this I remembered why I craved ‘love’ so hungrily. I yearned for passion, sensuality, and meaningful conversation. Without those elements, each experience turned out forgettable at best, and ultimately drab.

“That was good!” she proclaimed, as she caught her breath and sat up on the sofa we’d just sweated on. “Like I said earlier, I’m really not at a point where I’m looking for commitment or anything serious. But, I wouldn’t mind having something like this on the regular; at least until I’m ready for more.”

“Yeah,” I responded, with a subtle mood of regret accentuating my voice. “We’ll keep in touch.”

“Alright, dude. Well, I have work early in the morning; so I’m about to get some sleep. Do you know your way out of the neighborhood?”

“Yeah - I’ve got a GPS in case I get lost.”

“Okay, well, give me a kiss. That was great, and I hope to see you soon.”

“You too,” I responded, feeling almost as bitter as I did disappointed. I kissed her goodnight, walked to my car, and let the sweet sounds of neo-soul take me home blank-mindedly.


When I got back to my apartment, I was greeted by an ebony-skinned model sporting long straight hair, a name-brand night gown, and her smooth leg on my coffee table as she applied copious amounts of cocoa butter. This was my roommate, Simone. Despite growing up as a gender-androgynous, genetic male named Simon; she’d apparently always felt as though she were a woman trapped in the wrong body. And so, after an intense drug addiction, depression, and heavy bout of counseling - she decided to announce her identity to the World, and lament it with World-class reconstructive surgery. We met in a 12-step meeting shortly after that period of her life and had been best friends since.

“Well, if it isn’t The Online Bachelor!” she uttered through a smirk, as she put down her lotion and made room for me on the rust-colored sofa. “Grab your drink off the counter, and let me know everything! Was she anything like her profile?”

“Her online profile was a picture with her dog, and a description talking about how she hates descriptions. So I guess that was spot on,” I started, as I grabbed my mojito and took a seat. “Basically though, it was more of the typical bullshit. Man meets woman on a dating site, assuming she’s looking to date. Woman is turned on by man’s appearance and charisma, and so, she decides to fuck him. Afterwards, woman tells man she’s not actually ready for commitment and can’t take him seriously.”

“Well hey, men do the same shit all the time,” capped Simone. “Just about every time I find myself catching feelings for a man, I find out he was mentally compartmentalizing our experience the entire time, and I’m nothing more than a round ass to him. Or he finds out my genetic history, wonders if that makes him gay, and leaves the relationship as silently as possible. Dating makes me sick the more I think about it.”

“Same here, but how else do you get to know people? I didn’t come this far in life, or in recovery, to sit around and beat my dick all day.”

“You probably beat your dick whether you got a woman or not,” she giggled, always keeping the mood light in times of frustration.

“Alright, enough masturbation talk Ms. Simone. I have a poetry reading at a local college tomorrow at 10:00 and I need to get some sleep.”

“And, you got another one of these ‘dates’ right after that, don’t you?”

“Just a lunch thing.”

“Same woman?”

“Of course not. The next time I get called ‘dude’ by an adult, I’m running as far away as my feet can take me.”

“Alright ‘dude’, sleep well,” she joked.

I playfully grunted and went to my bedroom, with lustful memories of the day bouncing through my head. I sincerely wondered if I’d ever find love, or if I was somehow destined to consummate trolls of the internet until eventually breaking a condom and being stuck with an impromptu “baby mother.” Before my mind could derail itself any further; I put on my headphones, closed my eyes, and faded to sleep while tapping my ivory fingers to the sweet sounds of Donny Hathaway. Tomorrow would be invariably be a long day.

BOOK: The Shards of Serenity
13.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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