It was such a dream. The day of our wedding. Echoes of laughter, songs in the background, foods and drinks. The whole black community in the Queens had come to celebrate with us. A dream that fell short of its freedom and calmness when the sky went dark.
Three years after our wedding, Malik lost his factory job and I had none. So, we relied on the money and inheritance my parents left me before they died. Like my Mama, I decided to be a housewife, to care for Malik and Junior, our precious little boy. But, with the loss of his job, invented a whole new Malik, an alcoholic who lost all the care in the world. A violent and devilish doppelganger whom lavished all of our money on the most expensive wines.
When we started dating in 1993, Malik was one of the few to be employed in the brewery factory that had just opened 50 miles from where we lived. He was a young orphan, successful, handsome, caring and had loving. We met at a bar a few blocks away from my parents’ home, and I had just come out of college at the time. Malik came in with a couple of his guy friends who knew my friends, so we all sat together around the same table, talking and laughing the night away. At around 11pm, I got up to leave, and Malik escorted me home. In his words “a young lady like yourself shouldn’t be seen out at this time of night, I will walk you home.” And all of our friends, who I am sure were drunk said in unison “what a gentleman. And a great idea.”
On getting to my parents’ home, he kissed me good night on my blushing cheeks and said “hope to see you some other time Miss. Goodbye.” Our next meeting was our official date, which led us down the path of marriage in 1995.
Then came a cold winter evening in 1997, we had just returned from church and I was playing the old white piano that rested on the white wall several inches beneath our framed wedding picture for our little one-year old boy when Malik hit the back of my head with one of his expensive wine bottles. My head slumped onto the piano’s keyboard. It was the last song I played, the last time I felt the rhythm of the piano and the last time I felt my little boy’s paws grab my ankle.
My lost love is all I remember of the earth. During our first wedding anniversary. Malik stopped the room of black folks to render his vow he had written for me. It said:
“I remember our first date. A dinner at my cousin’s place. It was outside, in the garden where the earth showed its beauty the most. We talked, laughed and listened to songs from the stereo by Whitney Houston. You had a smile that traced the boundaries of the earth. And your teeth looked like the cornerstone of America. An earthly beauty that made me fall in love with you. Like the way America protects its land and the earthlings fight for the good of the planet so will I fight for you, protect you and our little one to come.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.