Roxane Brissett is a successful psychotherapist with her own practice in the heart of Manhattan...with her own set of problems, like the clients she counsels through therapy sessions. She cannot stand her Aunt Nadine, who raised her and her brother, Kenny, after the death of their mother. She's also dating, Maurice Walker, a smooth-talking investment broker whose evasive lifestyle is suddenly revealed.
Roxane paused, giving some thought before asking her question. "You ever wonder why bad things never happen to bad people?"
"Sometimes," answered the ebony brown skinned woman sitting across from her hugging a note pad against her chest. She peered at Roxane through a pair of small framed glasses, sitting forward in the burgundy high back chair.
She crossed her slender brown legs and asked, "What makes you say that? You think bad supersedes good?"
"Uh-huh. Seem like it to me," Roxane replied, wrapping her arms around her waistline. Her jaws tightened from the slight pinching sensation rising from the pit of her stomach.
"Nothing serious. Just my nerves sitting in my stomach," she replied, lowering her head to mask her discomfort. The same pain that visited her every time she sat in these sessions.
"You sure?" the woman asked. "You look like you're in pain."
"It'll pass. Give me a minute to get myself together."
"Alright. You relax while I switch this tape over."
Roxane closed her eyes and laid her head back against the chaise lounge she was sitting on, allowing the two nature born scents, cedar and pine cone, to encompass her senses. She focused on calming her nerves while listening to the Coltrane Cd playing in the background. The saxophone's crooning embraced her soul, soothing her angst. The sultry tempo from that horn found its way inside her head, dancing with her thoughts, waltzing her consciousness to subliminal mode. It tapped its way into her subconscious. She drifted off slowly, away from the present into a dark past.
Far off in the background, she heard hinges on a door whining as it slowly creaked open. Images of a frightened young girl flashed in front of her. A vision of this girl trembling on a twin size bed beneath soft cotton sheets appeared.
She saw her face; almond shaped, sketched in innocence, outlined with fear. The terrified girl wiped her eyes with the back end of her sleeve, her nightgown clinging to her girlish figure. She lowered her hands to her mouth, pressing them together in a prayerful form. Whispering so he couldn’t hear her.
"Puhlease, God,” she prayed. “Not tonight. Make him go away."
Krik. Krak. The loose wooden floor suffered under his footsteps. The stench of stale cigarettes and liquor evaporated in the air announcing his unwanted presence. Her heartbeat raced to full speed. She laid still, trying hard not to move.
“Meh know yuh not sleep," he slurred. She heard his erratic breathing.
He reached down, snatching the covers off her, gripping her by her arm. She tightened her leg, kicking him as hard as she could.
“Don trouble mi gal!" he bellowed, without a care in the world that he was yanking her up by her elbows. He locked her arms high above her head and climbed on top of her, burrowing her down into the mattress with his weight.
He reached under her nightgown and ripped off her flowered panties.
"Ay! Shet up yuh mout!" He warned pressing his hand over her mouth.
His red inflamed eyes bore into her. She swallowed the hard lump at the base of her throat, choking on a scream dying to come forth.
He was so heavy, the springs in the twin-sized mattress rubbed against her back causing her severe pain. She clenched her teeth and clamped her legs together as tight as she could. He licked her face with his slobbering tongue leaving drops of spittle on her cheeks. She cringed, smelling his sour breath. He forced her legs apart with his knees and pushed her gown above her head, covering her face with the cotton material.
She bit down on her bottom lip when he grabbed a hold of her tender breasts with his calloused hands and started squeezing them. He buried his face in her chest and her eyes burned from his hot, stank breath. Then his aggressive fondling ceased. She felt his weight lifting up off her. She hurried and pulled her gown down off her face. She trembled. That madman look on his face as he held that enormous thing between his legs in his hand petrified her.
And then, she saw this white, sticky fluid ooze out and fall on her leg.
She closed her eyes and prayed extra hard. She pleaded with God. Begging him to stop her father’s heart from beating. He must not have heard her because her father yanked her legs wide open and chastened her with his anger, stealing her virginity. She released anguished tears.
"Umm. Umm." He grunted and moaned, driving fiercely inside her.
Her legs ached with soreness from his weight and his terrible probing, but still she tried to push him off her. He folded her arms across her chest, making it impossible for her to break free.
"Wat deh bloodclot!" He muttered, slamming himself hard inside of her.
A sharp pain shot down her lower back, along her thighs and down her legs. The room started spinning. Then it grew dark. A warm liquid ran down her legs. She opened her mouth, trying hard to breath. Gasping for air. She felt something cutting off her circulation. Her vision blurred. His brutal penetration burning like fire between her legs. A cloud of darkness pooled around her and drew her in like a moth drawn to the flickers of a flame.
She opened her eyes, confused by her mother's tear streaked face. "Sa ena, What's wrong?" She questioned her in Creole. "Why're you crying, Momma?"
"Hush, baby," her mother replied, placing her finger to her daughter’s lips. "The ambulance, dem soon come."
"To malad? You sick?" She searched her mother's face. An excruciating pain shot down her leg as she tried to sit up. "Oooh. Oooh!” she cried. “It hurts Momma."
"Non. Roxy, mustn't move…losing too much blood." Her voice shook as she tried comforting her daughter. "Aste'. Don't move. Ambulance soon to come."
Young Roxane followed her mother's hands down to a blood drenched sheet covering her waist. She watched her cover her legs with that same sheet.
Confused. Disoriented. She couldn’t figure out where all that blood was coming from or why that dark cloud was hovering in front of her. She gazed at it, torrid and weak.
Her head slumped against her mother's chest.
THE SCENT OF DISINFECTANTS replaced the cigarette stench and a loud beeping noise penetrated her eardrum as she withdrew from that dark and lonely place into a brightly lit atmosphere. Weak and groggy, she slipped back and forth. Somewhat out of a conscious state of mind, like she was dreaming. Capable of hearing the voices around her, but unable to raise up or move.
"How old is she, Ma'am?" A man with a deep country accent asked.
His voice, scratchy and rough like a nagging cough that wouldn’t go away.
"Thirteen." The woman’s voice was angelic, somewhat coy.
“What’s her name?”
"My report says she was raped. Who did this?"
Pin drop silence.
"Ma'am? Who did this to your daughter?"
"'My…my husband," she stammered.
"What?" His voice lowered. “You’re telling me that—”
She strained her ears, sounded like someone was sniffling.
"Okay. Roger that." Scratchy throat sounded like he was speaking into
something. "Ma'am, I was just told your husband's down at County—"
"Oh! Sweet Jesus!"
Roxane suddenly recognized her mother's voice.
"Ma'am, I know this is hard on you...but I need to ask you some questions"
"Where my baby! Where's Kenny? Lawd, where he at?”
“Excuse me a minute, Ma'am.” He walked over to the door and looked
out by the nurse’s station. He called her over. “Is that your lil fella out there, sittin' with that gentleman right there?"
"Yes,” she said sounding relieved. “Forgot he was out there with Cecil."
“You alright now? Need me to give you a minute?"
"No." Roxane felt her mother’s fingers combing through her hair.
"What happened tonight?"
She held Roxane’s hand. “I wasn’t feeling well, so Roxy put Kenny to bed for me and then she went up to her room. I was laying there trying to sleep when he came in...carryin' on like a crazy man with that liquor in 'im. He was reekin’ in that stuff. He came upstairs and I pretended like I was sleeping, wouldn’t answer him. He started cussin’ me out. I ignored him. Finally, he left out the room. I prayed he’d go downstairs and sleep that mess off. But then, I heard him falling on the stairs out in the hallway goin’ up to Roxy's room. I picked up the phone. Called Cecil...told him to hurry up and come over. He asked why and I said ‘cause Roy was drunk and he’d gone up there to bother Roxy. By the time Cecil got there, we was too late. When we got upstairs, she was on the floor…”
“And your husband? Where was he?”
She stopped briefly, wiping her face. Then she said, “My husband, the father of both my children was kickin’ my helpless child. I lost any love I had for him right then and there. Cecil put that gun to Roy's head and I swear I didn’t care if he pulled that trigger—"
"Didn't know a gun was involved in this. I'm gon' need to get a statement from Cecil,” he said clearing his throat. “Wait. Isn’t that Cecil sittin’ out there with your son?"
"Wait!" She screamed hysterically. "Don’t lock my brother up! He didn't do nothing."
"I can assure you, Ma’am, he’s not going to jail. I hafta to follow procedures.
Make sure that gun's registered."
"It is…I know it is!"
A nurse walked in. “Everything okay in here?”
“Yes...it is.” The cop stated walking to the door.
“Officer, I have to check her vitals,” the nurse said. “I need you to step out for a minute.”
“I understand. Ma’am, be sure to come down to the station when you can...and press charges against your husband. I’ll speak with Cecil on my way out.”
She didn’t hear her mother’s reply. Just felt her hand on her forehead.
"Nurse, she’s warm. Is she okay?"
"She has a slight fever. But don't worry. We'll get it down."
"She gonna wake up anytime soon?"
"The anesthesia's starting to wear off. You may see her make some movements, but she's not fully awake yet." She inserted a needle into the tube running from the clear plastic bag hanging on the pole. The liquid dripped slowly into the tube, traveling down to the IV attached to her arm.
A loud thud was heard. The woman fell against the rail. The nurse stopped what she was doing and grabbed hold of her.
"Miss, you okay?"
"No. I feel sick. This chemo’s been making me—"
"You’re on chemo? Ma’am, are you a cancer patient?"
"Uh. Huh. Please, I hafta lie down."
She heard her calling her. Her voice drawing her back to reality. She opened up her tear stained eyes to the questionable gaze on Dr. Maruy's face.
She handed Roxane a tissue. "You okay?" she asked.
Roxane sniffled, trying to cease the flow of her tears. "Not really."
"You zoned out. Who were you thinking about?"
"My mother," Roxane answered dabbing at the tears.
"Something happen to her?"
"Oh, Roxane. I’m so sorry."
"Never even told me she had cancer," Roxane continued. "Just said she was sick that night. Why would she keep something like that from me?"
"Maybe she wanted to protect you," Loraine said trying to comfort her.
"She couldn't even protect me from him!" Roxane shouted hysterically.
Loraine reached over and stopped the tape. She uncrossed her legs. Something was strange about the look on Roxane's face. She watched in silence as Roxane sprung up from the chaise, snatching her belongings and walked over to the door.
"Wait, Roxane," Loraine called after her. "Let me help you get through this."
Roxane paused in the doorway, looking back at the only therapist she'd been able to put up with. "Forget it," she said throwing her hands up in the air. "Can't nobody help me,” she said, walking out the door.