Read The Shards of Serenity Online

Authors: Yusuf Blanton

The Shards of Serenity (2 page)

BOOK: The Shards of Serenity
10.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




I arrived home to California at 10:00 that Sunday, after a grueling flight, topped with a time-crunching connection. As I walked off the plane’s terminal with sore limbs, I noticed my mother, Maymuna, standing in tow, waiting for me anxiously.

“Serenity Davis, what happened to you?!” she shrieked, as she ran to me in her five-layer Muslima outfit, struggling to find an extra piece of cloth she could wrap my head with. “I knew the East Coast was liberal, but I didn’t expect to see my daughter come back naked! Why is your hair out? And why are you limping? May Allah have mercy on us!” she yelled, with animated frustration teetering throughout her voice.

“Nice to see you too, mother,” I responded, with defeat dominating my tone, like dye dropped into a glass of water.

“Don’t get smart with me, Serenity. Seriously, what in the name of the Most Merciful is this? I sent you off four years ago to live a successful, righteous life with a man your step-father approved of, and you come to be half-naked and sarcastic? Glory be to Allah!”

“We’ll talk in the car, Mother. Where did you park?”

“Don’t you have extra bags to pick up? I thought you were planning to stay for more than a day.”

After finding her car in the oversized parking lot, and agreeing to wrap my tattered dreadlocks in a traditional burgundy cloth, I began going over the facts of what happened and why I wasn’t planning on returning to New Jersey at all.

“But why didn’t you call your step-father and I to help you two? Wasn’t the imam of the local mosque available for couple counseling? You know the religion frowns on divorce! Bilal will be shocked and so disappointed.”

Bilal was my step-father and the man that offered Mitchell his blessing when he pursued my hand in marriage. Although he’d helped raise me since the age of five, and done enough to earn my gratitude; I never was able to call him “dad” the way I was taught. My true biological father was a white man that had knocked up my mother when she was still addicted to drugs, and disappeared from her life without leaving any identifying information. Bilal was a charcoal-tone black man with the character of an outspoken preacher, and the compassion of a boulder.

“Mother, I really just need your support through this time,” I pleaded, hoping her voice would come down three octaves and I could be revered as the broken girl I felt the past twenty four hours had made me into.

“You’ll always be my daughter, and I’ll always love you,” she replied, “but this is a lot of information to handle, and you can’t expect us to only believe one side of the story.”

After feeling my heart break inside my chest, and coming home to an all-too-similar reception from Bilal, I decided to go up to what used to be my bedroom; only to see an elderly man sprawled across the bed in his long-john underwear.

“Serenity, is that you?” asked the man, as he peered up from his awkward laying position. “It’s your grandfather, Abdullah! I done messed around and caught emphysema on account of my sinning with those cigarettes, but my son Bilal took me in and let me have your room! If you’re just visiting for a day or two, I suppose you could sleep on the couch, right?”

“Yes, granddaddy. Nice to see you again.”

Before I could process a thought, the house’s prayer alarm went off, and I was forced to line up alongside my mother, as we followed Bilal and Abdullah in congregational prayer. Although that used to be one of my five favorite times of the day, something about being constantly abused by Mitchell in a “Muslim household” seemed to deter me from the faith. I mechanically mimicked their motions and repeated their words, while thinking to myself that I had to get out. I may not have finished college in New Jersey, but I assumed three years of studying journalism would land me a position with at least enough salary to support myself. Even if it meant missing a meal or living off credit for a while; I needed independence and safety.

Once the prayer commenced, I shook hands with my family, said I had to check my e-mail on their computer, and began searching jobs and apartments. Change had to come, immediately.




After baring my poetic soul to an audience full of college kids that veered between enthused and recklessly hung-over; I climbed into my outdated sports car and made way to pick up my date.

Lalah Cherry was a twenty-nine year old mother of two; depicted online to be 5’4”, slim-waisted, and perfectly laced with chocolate curves. Our surface conversations had been both pleasant and frequent; finding out that we shared similar tastes in music, movies, hobbies, and cocktails. I figured nothing was left to lose over a simple lunch date; and so, I cruised over the speed limit with a grin brightening my beard-laden face.

When I arrived at her home, I was taken aback by the quiet suburban surrounding, and the fact that it was an actual house, as opposed to the larcenously-priced apartments most of our generation dwelled inside of. I gave her cell phone a call, feeling timid to knock on the door, and not entirely sure if I had the right address.

“Hello?” she answered, in a tone that reminded me of feminine perfection, and the reason that I searched for love so desperately.

“Hey, it’s Markus. I’m outside, if you’re ready to go.”

“Okay, I’m just finishing up my outfit. I’ll be out there in five.”

Twenty minutes later, a petite-framed beauty emerged from the front door; clothed in tiara-diamonds, a slim-fit button-up, and a tight jean skirt that left little to the imagination. It was moments like this that I struggled between my primitive carnal desires, that couldn’t get past her triple-moisturized thighs; and my serious-natured intentions that yearned to stay focused on her inner qualities.

“Sorry I’m late,” she said through a smile, with a beautiful rasp that accented her voice in melodic synchronies.

I subtly pinched myself, acknowledging the lust at first sight. “It’s no problem. Let’s get something to eat.”


Our meal passed by irrelevantly, as calamari and alfredo pasta danced between our lips; and ultimately meaningless words were exchanged about our favorite television programming, colors, and the light points of our upbringing. Simone had once advised me that first dates served as borderline-pointless introductions where people “bring their best representative to the table.” I tended to agree, and got bored too easily.

After the check was paid, our leftovers boxed, and breath mints were dissolved, I began to walk Lalah back to my car while we shared our dating philosophies.

“The problem nowadays,” I started, “is that women have gotten just as bad as men. Whereas it used to be that men were big, bad, and heartless when it came to seeking ’pussy’ - modern women are the same way over a good piece of dick. You think you form a connection, you give them what they want, and they say ‘thank you’ like a cashier that just took your money. No relationship, no commitment, nothing serious.”

“Yeah, that can be true,” she giggled.


An hour later, I stood behind Lalah, gripping her hips for dear life while I moved in and out of her mercilessly. This was after we’d caused her ten-year-old mattress to make the sounds of metal crushing, but not before she got on her knees, ripped the condom off, and guzzled my cum into her mouth greedily.

“That was so good, daddy,” she said, as she swallowed my load of promiscuous manhood. “My pussy needs some eating though. Do you think you could help me out?” she asked, as she reclined back onto the floor, and spread her hairless lips wide enough for the World to see. It was then I noticed her clitoris ring and questioned how long I could resist the temptation.

Without further thought, my face was in her vagina, while my tongue slurped, sucked, and gulped up all that was her strained femininity. She moaned, and I grabbed a breast; she came, and I talked shit; and finally, she pulled herself up on the bed and told me it was “my turn.”

As her tongue made its way around my shaft, I felt my eyes roll into the back of my head. Thoughts moved rapidly, as I mentally accepted the excess of passion and the detached lack of meaning. Before I could think further, I grabbed my pants from beside me, picked a condom out the pocket, and handed it to her to apply before riding.

With a seductive grin on her face - she grabbed my penis, threw the condom, and mounted nine inches of me deep inside her. Before another word was uttered; she rocked, moaned, and leaked fluid all over my thighs and stomach. The session continued for fifteen minutes while I grabbed her c-cup breasts, howled her name and hoped for a future. When she was done - she accepted my cum inside of her, laid down with her back to me, and requested a wet towel.

As I walked into her bathroom, I couldn’t help but notice her small collection of men’s body sprays, stray condoms in gold wrappers, and a waste basket filled with empty fifths of cheap vodka. I rinsed myself off, handed her a towel, and left for the bar.



It only took two days at home and a high-interest bank loan for me to find a mundane job at the local newspaper, a shabby studio apartment to reside in, and a hopeless bout of panic attacks to suffer from.

It all started one seemingly calm night, when I returned from work and started a warm bath so I could forget about all the semicolons, commas, and office politics that took up my day. I peeled my outfit off, sassily admired my body through the vanity mirror’s reflection, and dipped my right foot into the water; and then heard a noise that made my heart jump. My default logic told me it was probably a neighbor’s car door closing, or floor lamp falling over next door; but my instincts told me it was Mitchell. Before I could help it, I noticed myself climbing into the bathtub for safety in an awkward fetal position; rocking back and forth naked while I recalled the terror of our marriage.

As the tub wet my skin; I thought of him raping me, kicking me, and leaving me alone at night in favor of other women. I recalled the times I told my family it “wasn’t going well,” and when they told me “this too shall pass.” I recalled the sit-downs where I tried to talk sense into a senseless man, and the way that he’d nod his head; all up until a moment where I’d use the wrong tone and he’d begin punching my skull, pulling my hair, or dumping my electronics into a flushing toilet.

As my anxiety picked up in intensity, I felt my sense of self-control trickle down to nothingness. I wanted to shout, but I felt pressure swell up in the back of my throat and heard the inflection of my voice become one of a whimpering child. I tried to move and walk around, but I felt my limbs shake to a point where I felt immobile. My inner voice told me to “breathe,” but the only pattern I could maintain was one of unpredictability like the percussive rhythms of avant-garde jazz. I felt like I was dying and wondered if this was the way a woman like me was destined to go. I remembered all the times I’d felt unsafe in the presence of Mitchell and the way that I prayed my external suffering would be enough to muster his compassion. This time there was no such hope. I was absolutely alone with no one to keep me warm or optimistic except my own mind. As I desperately searched for positive thoughts, all that came up were more reflections of my abuse. I felt like a prisoner being shackled and shot repeatedly.


By the time my post-traumatic episode commenced; it was nine o’ clock at night, my skin had the texture of a raisin, and my body felt dehydrated from all the tears I‘d cried. I got out of the tub, rubbed lotion over myself, and reached for my cell phone out of my pants pocket. What I found, however, was enough to reignite the panic I’d just escaped. “Ten missed calls from Mitchell.”




I was twenty-one when cocaine nearly destroyed my life, twenty-five when I finally entered recovery, and twenty-eight when I sat at Jorgensen’s Pub feeling like an asshole.

Jorgensen’s was the local hotspot for college hipsters, middle-aged women on the prowl, and groups of friends that could find nothing better to do. I was a somewhat “regular” - coming through every week or three to enjoy a cocktail, socialize freely, and challenge everything twelve-step meetings had taught me. For whatever reason; I’d arrived at a point where I could drink socially, moderately, and generally responsibly; although my life was full of ex-addicts that couldn’t say the same. One of those said individuals spotted me that night, and felt the need to share a seat beside me. Figuring my options included engaging the conversation, leaving, or staring blankly at a dance floor filled with forty-year-old swingers; I decided to see what was on her mind.

Melissa Dotson was a biracial mother of four, a tireless worker, and a recurring lesbian. Her busty frame and sweet personality had attracted a slew of men that sought her hand in commitment, all the way up to insemination. Subsequently, those “straight” relationships would never quite work out, and a woman of some kind would wind up co-raising her children. I’d met Melissa in the rooms of recovery about two years prior, when she prided herself on having four years clean and a stable career at a gas station register. She now hovered over me, with breath that smelled like rubbing alcohol, and D-cup breasts that looked like they were going to fall out of her blouse.

“Markus, Markus, Markus! You look better than ever,” she drunkenly began. “You know I read your book the other day. That was probably the best poetry since William Blake.”

“I’m flattered, Melissa, but no, it isn’t.”

“Whatever, I can’t even understand Blake.”

“Right. So, do you go to meetings anymore? I go to one once a week, when I’m in town. Haven’t seen you there in quite some time.”

“Oh no, fuck that. Too much negativity, too much penis, too much vagina. I found a better way, and I’m doing damn good for me and my children,” she boasted, while funneling a sixteen ounce glass of vodka.

Before I could get up to leave, I noticed a five-foot-four, baldheaded Latino man running toward me awkwardly.

“Yo homes, why you talking to my lady? This here is my lady, and she don’t talk to nobody but me. Ain’t that right, Melissa?”

“Oh, don’t be silly! I’m just catching up with an old friend! Markus, meet Ricky. He used to be my pimp back in the drug days, but we re-united now, and we’re having a baby! Isn’t that great?”

“Why you putting out our business, Melissa? He could be police! I ain’t no pimp!” retorted Ricky.

“I assure you. I’m not police,” I interjected. “I know Melissa from 12-step meetings. We’re used to talking candidly about things like that. It’s not a problem.”

“Haha, twelve-step meeting! She wasn’t at no meeting when she snorted lines off my dick last night!”

“Alright, well, I’m going home. It was nice catching up with you all,” I said, while trying to hold back the vomit from my throat.


Before I could make it out the exit door, my roommate, Simone, sauntered in with two of our mutual acquaintances. I sighed half-audibly, knowing I’d be stuck longer than I wished for.

“Hey, Bachelor Man!” she shrieked, while we shared our customary hug. “I had a feeling you’d be here. How was your date earlier?”

“Let’s talk about that never,” I replied. “I’m officially one step closer to my fate as a crazy cat man.”

“Poor baby,” she uttered, while mussing my hair. “You know Allison and Daniel from the meetings, right?”

“Yeah, how’s it going?”

Allison and Daniel Reuben were a married couple that had been in and out of recovery for ten years, due to a reoccurring heroin problem. It was in the last three that they’d finally struck a sense of stability, and become moderately welcome faces to both Simone and myself.

“Is that Melissa Dotson over there?” asked Allison, as her platinum hair encased her stereotypically vanilla facial expression of surprise.

“Yeah,” I responded calmly. “She’s a crack whore now, and she’s here with her pimp.”

“Sounds about right,” replied Daniel, as he adjusted his sweater-vest. “She always was a little off her rocker.”

“Well before we completely lay into our thrones of judgment,” interrupted Simone, “let’s sit down and catch up.”


For the next two hours we sat at the bar, slow-sipping glorified fruit juice and exchanging mundane information about our busy careers, overpriced living situations, and romantic endeavors. Our friends found Simone’s life fascinating and mine laughable; while I silently found theirs to be boring as shit. As time ticked on and I considered leaving for the second time, I noticed the essence of beauty walking in through the entrance.

Standing at a slim five-foot-six with light caramel skin, wide java eyes, and flowing dreadlocks that hung at her shoulders in symmetrical perfection - she was the fulfillment of femininity with a natural edge. I stared from afar until she positioned herself across the bar, and placed a virtually inaudible order with the bartender.

“Guys, it’s been fun; but I see someone I need to talk to,” I told my friends, hoping that’s all the explanation they’d need.

“Uh-oh, looks like Markus is getting hot in the pants again!” joked Simone, as the feelings of her second mojito began to take effect.

“I thought you only found your prospects online,” said Allison, reminding me of why I never actually liked her.

“Very funny. Anyway, I’ll be back,” I said, as I collected my composure and approached the object of my eye.

BOOK: The Shards of Serenity
10.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Counterfeit Claus by Noel, Cherie
Nightingale Girl by M. R. Pritchard
Searching for Schindler by Thomas Keneally
A Broom With a View by Rebecca Patrick-Howard
Embrace My Reflection by T. A. Chase
Sin by Josephine Hart