“Ah still can’t believe that Damian did this to mi, Miri!” Hours had passed and Miriam remained with her. Her head was resting in Miriam’s lap as the other girl combed her hair affectionately. Miriam had convinced her to take a bath and it had done wonders for her jaded body. Then, her best friend had boiled a pot of Jade’s favourite Foska Oats with cinnamon leaves, sweetened with Betty condensed milk, nutmeg and vanilla and the tantalizing aroma had tickled her nostrils, stirring up a hunger she had not realized was there. She had drunk three steaming bowls with Exelsior tough crackers on the side before racing to the bathroom to bring it all back up.
When she had seen the concerned, tearful expression on Miriam’s face as she mopped her forehead with a wet rag and flushed the evidence of her condition down the sewer, Jade had realized that she owed her the truth.
“Damian raped mi, Miriam! He raped mi!”
It was a lucky thing that Miriam was a big-boned girl. When Jade had broken down once more, she had picked her up and taken her back to bed. “Ah cyan believe im did this to mi…what did I do to deserve this? All ah did was love im…an’ ah thought he loved me! Miriam, he always treat mi so good…”
Miriam shook her head as Jade dissolved into tears one more time.
“When did this happen, Jade?”
“The night before ma birthday, Miriam…yuh can believe it? The night before ma twentieth birthday!” She started bawling again and Miriam wiped away the snot that bubbled forth from one nostril.
She remembered that day all too well…
I was in the back yard in the middle of washing that morning when ah heard the excited banging of the grille gate. Rex’s equally excited welcome bark and Jade’s cheerful: “What’s up, Sexy-Rexy!”
They came around the side of the house together. Rex’s doggy lips spread wide in a grin as his shaggy German Shepherd tail beat a hundred beats per second as he trotted along beside her; Jade’s beauty queen smile brighter than the rays of the afternoon sun. Rex had been one of her many Christmas presents to me but people always said the dog belonged to Jade cause they love each other so much.
I stopped and wiped my hands on the hem of my t-shirt and gave her a quick hug. “Is how you a smile soh?” Jade was always smiling but the smile was extra-bright that day. Knowing her, it had to be something plus she never usually wake up soh early on a Saturday morning…soh I knew there was something she was dyin’ to tell mi.
“Really? You get up outta your bed before seven o’clock on a weekend an’ walk come all the way up here to tell me ‘nothing’?”
She looked at me with a mischievous glint in her puss-eyes and started rocking from side to side like a likkle Basic School chile. “Why mi can’t keep any secret from you, Miriam Johnson?”
“Cause I’m yuh best friend…what’s wrong wid yuh! Tell mi what yuh come to tell mi before mi burst nuh man!”
She took my hand and dragged me over to the makeshift wooden bench underneath the lime tree. “Ssshhhhh…Miss Madgie deh here?”
“Mummy gone a market long time, man! Just talk!”
She looked in all directions like the drama-queen she was before she sat down and took a deep breath. “Damian is taking me on a special date for my birthday!” Then, she squealed.
Now, Jade was my best friend from we were in Grade One; she knew me well and I knew her even better. I didn’t keep it secret that ah didn’t like her “boyfriend”. First of all, I thought he was too old for her, whole a thirty! Secondly, him was a police an him carry a gun soh ah didn’t like when she was around him by herself. Next thing, one day when the two of us went out with him, Jade went to the restroom an’ him never do nothing more than put words to mi! Bout how im love mi Coca-Cola bokkle shape an mi pretty black skin an what an’ what him woulda do to mi if mi mek him hol’ mi!
I was disgusted cause I’m a Christian and I knew that he knew and he never had no right to talk to mi like that. But ah didn’t tell Jade…ah didn’t want her to feel any way. An’ the most important reason why I couldn’t stand that man was the fact that Jade stop come church from shi meet him! Shi backslide! Because a him!
She was so busy rubbing down Rex an’ going on an’ on about Damian’s plans for her that she never even noticed how I was looking at her. Since Jade met Damian shi bruk out! Shi started wearing makeup an’ flashy jewellery an’ sexy, expensive clothes and false fingernail an’ always have whole heap a money fi spend. She seh is him give har all of those things. An’ I was worried cause ah didn’t trust im. Mi did just have a feeling dat him was going to want something in return…
“He’s going to take mi to a fancy Chinese restaurant then –”
“An then him going to carry yuh to him house an’ have sex wid yuh!” I interrupted her.
I shocked her; the stroking hand froze on Rex’s back. She turned her gaze on me and I saw the hurt reflected in her light-brown eyes. “No!” she finally spat out. “No!”
I nodded satisfied. “Soh him ever bring sex argument to yuh?”
Her smooth forehead knit up an’ shi turn red. “NO!” she almost shouted and Rex’s head whipped back to look up at her. She saw the serious look on my face and bit her bottom lip; that meant she was uncomfortable. “No! Damian loves mi. He knows that I’m a virgin and he doesn’t rush mi. All we do is kiss an’ hug…”
“That’s all…Kiss an’ hug! Yuh too lie!”
She made the sign of the cross an kissed it before turning her eyes to the sky. “God believe mi…thunder roll an bruk mi neck if a lie mi a tell!”
I believed her then; Christian children always told the truth when they said that. But, I was still getting a feeling in the bottom of ma stomach like something bad was going to happen. I felt an overwhelming need to warn my best friend.
“Jade, you know you’re my best friend, right?”
“And, ah love yuh like a sister…an ah don’t want nothing bad to happen to yuh…”
“The Spirit tellin’ mi dat something is not right about Damian –”
“Damian is great, Miriam. Him treat mi good!”
“Yes! I know. But most times when a man spend pon a girl like how him spend pon you, him always expect har to have sex with him…”
“But, Damian is different, Miri! I have him wrapped around my little finger…him do whatever ah tell him to duh…an’ a tell him that ah don’t believe in sex before marriage an’ he understands. He’s like putty in my hands, Miriam! Trust mi, I’m in control of his strings…I run things! Don’t worry yuhself, man!”
I was shaking my head with every word she said; she was so naïve. Such a brilliant girl and so stupid! She had been going out with him for six months and him spend a ridiculous amount a money on her; him all put har up inna boasty apartment! People laugh an’ call im “Bups” behind dem back…I was just afraid that him was going to get fed up sooner or later and do something terrible. But, she couldn’t see it…she was so blinded by the glamour an’ the glitter. Still, I had to speak and I did. I felt an anointing come over me as Jesus told mi to warn her. When shi left my yard, she was crying and saying that, is jealous mi jealous cause nuh man nuh want mi…
and Rex was whimpering after her. He followed her to the gate and tried to run out on the road behind her and when ah hold onto him he whimpered even harder. His behavior plus the cold bumps running all over mi skin, tell mi that something bad was going to happen…ah just never sure what…
Copyright © 2013 Mandisa M. Parnell