Authors: Shakara Cannon
This Can’t be Life
By Shakara Cannon
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons – living or dead – references to real people, events, songs, business establishments or locales is purely coincidental. All characters are fictional, all events are imaginative.
This Can’t be Life
* * * * *
Copyright © 2011 b
y Shakara Cannon
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To my daughter, Makhye – you give me true purpose and make me proud every single day. Although you can’t read this book just yet, it is because of you that I write. To LaKisha Bonds, 1974-2001- you will always be my best friend. Life will never be the same without your laughter and smile. I think about you every day.
The Days After
This can’t be life…at least not a life worth living
, I thought, as I moved my aching limbs. I’d been in bed for days in immeasurable pain from a broken heart. I was literally past my breaking point and done with this life. How do you keep living when your best friend is brutally murdered and the love of your life may be responsible? Lying in the dark with nowhere to hide from my thoughts and emotions, I felt alone, betrayed, deceived, hoodwinked, bamboozled, and lead astray! I needed to release the pain by any means necessary.
I tumbled out of my bed and my knees landed on the hardwood floor with a thud. So accustomed to the darkness, I let it lead the way as I crawled toward the bathroom. I was convinced after less than four hours of sleep over the last three days that death had to be better than this. For the first time in weeks, I felt grateful…grateful that I had a practically full bottle of Xanax in my medicine cabinet. Once my knees hit the cold marble floor, I knew I’d reached my destination. I grabbed the cool, slick, granite countertop and pulled myself to my feet. On shaky legs, I felt for the only prescription bottle I knew to be in my medicine cabinet. I pulled it out and opened it with the minute bit of strength I had left. Popping two pills at a time and chasing them with water from the faucet, the bottle was empty and the contents were in my stomach before I could even contemplate my actions. With every labored step back to the bed, my final resting place, I prayed for forgiveness and hoped that I’d wake up, out of this body, out of this unforgiving world, free of misery and pain.
“Get off of her!” I yelled, but he couldn’t hear me. My throat was burning from screaming so loudly. I kept trying to move, but I couldn’t. I wanted to rescue the little girl who was being violated by this sick man. My screams were echoing so loudly in my brain that it was as if someone was mocking me from within. Hot tears streamed down my face. Unfortunately, they never once blurred my vision. My breathing began to shorten. Each breath became more and more labored. My lungs constricted. Air abandoned me. Everything around me went black.
I sat upright and opened my eyes to thick darkness. Trying to catch my breath, I began to feel around to get some semblance of where I was. It took less than a few seconds for me to realize that I was still in my bed, in my bedroom, in my home.
“Another morning, another nightmare,” I whispered, as I plopped back down onto my pillows. I looked at the glowing clock on the small Bose system on my night table that read
. This was at least the 10th nightmare and the 10th morning this month that I’d awakened in a cold sweat, on the verge of a panic attack.
For over a year now, I’ve been burdened with vivid nightmares that take me to a place of pure torment and despair. In the beginning, I only had them once or twice a month, but now, I’m having them at least a few times a week. Some of the nightmares were worse than others. When I lay my head on my pillow each night, I didn’t know if I would feel this little girl’s pain in my dreams or if I’d be a bystander, watching this man take this child’s innocence. One whole year of that same room, that same man, and that same little girl invading my dreams had to come to an end. I hoped sooner rather than later.
Aside from the fact that I could never see the little girl’s face in my dreams, nor did I recognize the man or the room, it was all eerily familiar in some way. I didn’t know if it was because I’d had the damned dreams for so long, or if there was something there that I should have been noticing. Maybe that something could help me understand why this was happening to me and make the dreams stop. They were beyond sick. It was like being held somewhere against your will and being made to watch a heinous act take place. This little girl was so young. By the size of her body, I would say that she could be 10 or 11, no older than 12, and the man looked at least 28 to 30 years old. They just seemed too real and too damned vivid to be dreams.
I wanted them to end!
“Lord, please stop these dreams.” I didn’t want to wake up another morning or, better yet, go to sleep another night worrying about having this nightmare.
The piercing ring from the cordless phone on my nightstand jolted me from my thoughts. In the darkness, I reached for the glow coming from the screen. I knew who was on the other end and didn’t even bother to look at the caller ID to verify. Only two people would be bold enough to call me this early in the morning: my two best friends, Talise and Stacey. Knowing that Stacey isn’t an early riser, I definitely knew who was on the line.
“Morning, sunshine! Get up! It’s a beautiful day outside!” Talise announced, before I could even get a “hello” out of my mouth. She was wide-awake and well into her day from the sound of her voice.
“Talise, what do you want?” I moaned, as I plopped my head back onto my pillow. “I don’t feel good.”
“You know what the hell I want! You just up and left the Sky Bar with Deon Bradford. LA Lakers. Last night.
You know I want to know what happened! Shit, tell me something… Oooh, you’re tired? Please tell me you gave him some!” She was all too excited for this time of morning, but she was brightening my mood, which Talise knew how to do all too well.
“Tali, let me pee, wash my face, brush my teeth…hell, just let me get out of the bed. Can I call you back? You’re at work. Shouldn’t you be working, you slacker?” I joked.
“Simone, I know you’re gonna go back to sleep and I have a meeting. I won’t be able to concentrate if you don’t tell me now. Then I’ll lose my job. You don’t want that on your conscience, do you?” Talise tried to sound as serious as she could, but the laughter in her voice was ready to break through.
“I can’t believe how nosy you are, Talise!”
“I’m not nosy. I’m just concerned, Monie.” She laughed at the bullshit she was spewing. “And you know that.”
“I’ll call you back in a couple of hours, nosy Rosie. I promise,” I teased.
“A couple of hours? Oh, hell no, Simone! Get to telling the story! I’m not playing with you any more!” Talise laughed, not giving in.
“All right, all right. I can’t keep shit to myself, can I?” I asked rhetorically as I began.
When Deon and I reached the front of the Mondrian Hotel to get our cars from the valet, he insisted that I ride with him, but that wasn’t happening. I never get caught without transportation. I need to be able to shake the spot at a moment’s notice. Plus, I didn’t know him like that. I put nothing past men, especially men with money. They have a tendency to think they can do whatever the hell they want and get away with it. Hence,
After the valet brought our cars to the front of the hotel, I followed Deon to Mr. Chow’s on
. The ride took less than fifteen minutes and we were seated and chomping on green shrimp and lobster before the clock hit
. We popped a bottle of Roset
and I actually found myself enjoying his company. He was really down to earth and was as much a listener as he was a talker, which I liked. There is nothing worse to me than a man who runs his mouth like a faucet.
We chatted for maybe an hour more before he got up the courage to ask me to come back to his place for a nightcap. I laughed in his face. I knew it was coming. Men with millions always have the courage to go for the kill.
“Don’t laugh,” Deon said. “I’m serious, Simone.”
“I know. That’s why I’m laughing.” I dabbed at a tear that was threatening to fall from my right eye.
“I’m insulted. I’m not even like that. I can have sex any day, any time. That’s not what I’m about. Just come back with me. Let’s get in the Jacuzzi, take a swim, have some champagne, some desert. No big deal. It’s
. The night’s still young,” he stated, trying to plead his case. “I’m just a grown ass man asking a grown ass woman not to end this night so early.”
I studied him for a good minute before I decided that I would live a little and go have some fun. “How far do you live?” If he lived in
or in the Valley, it wasn’t happening.