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SouthernINGLISH

by MoodSwingz 7 months ago in Short Story · updated 7 months ago
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A Short Story by Bridgette Overton

“For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, who art as black as hell, as dark as night.” – William Shakespeare

Inglish DaNaeya Jones – 21years old:

Tulane University of New Orleans – Fall 1992

“BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!”

“BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!”

“BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!”

“Marq!” yells a very upset female voice on the other side of my boyfriend’s bedroom door. “Open this goddamn door! I know you’re in there!”

What in the hell was going on? Why was my cunnilingual moment of bliss being so suddenly interrupted?

I demanded, “Marquel, who in the hell is that and why is she banging on your door like she’s crazy?”

Then I crawled away from him and sat up on the other side of the bed. He wasn’t answering me fast enough, so I heatedly repeated my question. The volume of emotion and fury in my expression prompted him to attempt the unthinkable, as he placed his hand over my mouth in an effort to keep me quiet. So I bit his ass.

Ouch Inglish!” he wailed, “You bit me dammit!”

“And I will bite you again if you ever try that shit again! Now answer me! Who is at your door?!”

He began rubbing his bald head as he hesitated to reply, “It – it sounds like Erica.”

Erica?” I repeated in dismay. “You mean the Erica that you dated for almost two years? Your ex you told me that you no longer dealt with as of three months before we started dating?”

Marq just sat there looking at me as if he suddenly didn’t understand Inglish anymore. I could see the deceptive male wheels of his mind turning behind his beautiful light brown eyes, as he hesitated to explain. The young man that sat before me had been my boy friend for a little over seven months. He was no longer articulate; but speechless with bewilderment and sweating bricks. His chocolate complexion flushed and anxious with worry.

“Answer me!" I said, jolting him out of his daze.

Yessss Inglish...

“But Marquel, you told me that your relationship with Erica was over. You said she transferred from Dillard University back to a school in her home town in Alabama,” I argued.

He almost tripped and fell as he stood up, and began frantically pacing back and forth in a desperate fit of nervousness. Then he started putting his clothes back on and packing up my things while I sat there – just watching him. Watching him and feeling like I’d been casted in a bad movie. The plot thickening from the unexpected betrayal I found myself suddenly thrust into, as it continued to unfold before me. I was literally frozen with amazement until Marquel brought me back to earth by grabbing my arm and standing me up. A rage I never experienced before leaped deeply from within me, when I realized he was attempting to guide me into his closet.

“Yea Lish, I know that’s what I told you baby but….” he whispered as he continued looking around frantically and making sure that everything was put away – being careful to leave no sign of my presence lying around anywhere.

Marquel’s dorm room was like an apartment within itself. There was a queen sized bed, a custom built desk, entertainment area, and a bathroom and large walk in closet. Right before the debacle of truth appeared at his door, our clothes were strewn across the floor from his desk to the bed.

The past month had both of us pretty busy with getting back into the full swing of our studies, and after being spoiled by all of the time we’d spent together over the summer, we were missing the hell out of one another. So Sundays had become our special day of the week. Before the interruption, Marquel and I were heavily into some serious sexual relief after returning from spending the day together perusing the shops and art galleries in the French Quarters.

“Look Inglish, I need you to do something for me baby,” he spoke lowly, “This is gonna sound a little crazy, but please bear with me – okay? I need you to get into the… ”

Before he could finish his statement, I slapped him as hard as I could across his face. Then I reached for the hardback human anatomy book off of his desk and hit him as hard as I could on the forehead with it. I kept hitting him over and over again until he released me. Afterwards, we locked one another into a grueling war stare as neither one of us backed down. The moment was finally broken when Marq started rubbing his head from all of the licks I’d given him. And without anything left to say, he retreated. He knew his ass was busted, and he knew he was wrong for ever contemplating what he was asking of me.

At that point, the truth of who my boy friend really was and who he really was not became crystal clear. Evidently, Marquel was still dating Erica, which meant that he was not only my man, but her man too. I stepped away from him, walked over to the bed, grabbed a sheet to wrap around myself and headed straight for the door to greet his crazed and scorned other girl friend. She never stopped kicking and banging on the door the entire time he and I were having it out. But I didn’t have a chance to let her in because Marq wrestled me to the floor, begging me to be quiet and to not make matters worse than what they already were.

That’s when his other girl friend’s voice rumbled through the door again, “Marquel Antoine Thornhill! Dammit I saw your car in the parking lot and your teammates have already told me that you’re up here! And I know you’re in there with some bitch too! Now open – this – goddamn – door!” she screamed as she twisted the door knob and kicked at the door again, making it rattle like crazy. I was still on the floor with him, wrestling to get away when I realized the angry Erica's footsteps were walking away from the door and back down the hallway as she yelled, “That’s okay! You’ll have to come out of there sooner or later, and I’ll be right here baby! I will – be – right – here!”

*********************************************************

Okay yall! This scene started rather quickly, so keep up! I’ve lived in New Orleans since my parents divorced. Daddy’s military career moved us around a lot and momma and I moved back to NOLA after she caught my father cheating. Yea, I know right? Betrayal is a reality exposed to me early in life.

Daddy was a First Sergeant in the Army, and working his way onto a Sergeant Major promotion kept him traveling. During one of his trips, momma planned a very abrupt and painful departure for us. Life wasn’t the same after that, and despite the destruction between my parents, I missed my father terribly.

After high school I wasn’t feeling college so I followed daddy’s footsteps, joined the Army and was deployed to the Gulf War.

By my 21st birthday, my education and my life were back on track – so I thought. But Marquel’s ugly truth proved otherwise. That Sunday was dreadful as hell and made me reflect hard about my parents. Why? Why was it so impossible for a man to have only one woman? And more importantly, for a man to be truthful?

*****************************************************

And now I was on the floor wrestling to free myself from the grasp of Marquel Antoine Thornhill, a 6foot – 220 pound – country fine – collard green and corn bread fed – darker than I don’t know what brotha’ from Jacksonville Florida. I made the mistake of identifying him as a worthy possibility; only to have him tussling with me on the floor because he didn’t want me to open the door for his other girl friend. All Marquel turned out to be was another male being who entered my life with nothing but deception and drama. He added one more unpleasant experience to the intimacies of my emotional resume.

Marq was a senior running back and full back on a full football scholarship for Tulane University. The Sunday when the arrow of truth showed up and showed out at his door, he and I were chilling in his quarters as we always had for the past seven months. And it was that particular Sunday that ended up being like none other I’d ever witnessed, and wished not to ever have to witness again. Little did I know how so early on in life, everything I was encountering with men was only the beginning of all that I had to learn.

I sat there in complete and total disbelief of Marquel, and how I’d grown terribly fond of him. Yet I was so terribly wrong about whom and what he was, and even more importantly – whom and what he was not. My reflections of the male encounters I’d already experienced disturbed me greatly, and I wondered – hoped – and prayed that they all would not be like this - not be like my father. Because Marq had transformed from a terribly handsome and sexy well educated and aspiring athlete, into a lying, cheating and cowardly disrespectful little boy right before my very eyes.

He was running around his dorm room like a mad man, cleaning up, putting things away and packing up my belongings as if we were going somewhere. It gradually became evident to me that since I refused to get into the closet, and how determined he was not to let his other woman see me there, that he’d devised yet another ridiculous plan of escape. He was so desperate not to have to face the adversity that stumbling over his greed and his dick had caused.

Marquel had the nerve to say to me, “Inglish, what are you doing? C’mon girl, I need you to get dressed so we can hurry up and get out of here.”

His urgencies for my cooperation continued as I watched him open up one of the floor length windows of his bed room. He walked out onto the balcony of his second floor dorm apartment, and looked back at me more frustrated than ever. The longer I sat there observing him, the more surreal of a moment I began to have. Our moment became so bizarre, that I found myself laughing uncontrollably at the lengths his cowardly ass was willing to go to, just to avoid facing the other woman in his life.

“Marquel, what in the hell are you doing?” I asked as I continued laughing at him. “And why are you out on the balcony? Surely you’re not thinking of climbing down from there? You can’t be - ”

“Yes,” he interjected, answering me seriously. “That’s exactly what I’m gonna do and you are coming with me. Now get your clothes on Inglish and let’s go.”

Boy I’m not going any where with you,” I replied emphatically. “First you lie to me about your relationship with Erica, then you put your hand over my mouth to try to keep me quiet, then you have the nerve to ask me to get into a damn closet so you can hide me, and now you want me to climb down off of a second floor balcony with you? All so your cowardly ass can avoid facing all of this madness you’ve caused?”

Dammit Inglish not now,” he argued with me, “don’t do this shit to me right now Lish. I need you to…”

But whatever else Marquel had to say was suddenly muffled to the point where I could not understand him anymore. Why? Because he was speaking to me from the outside of the window I just slammed shut on him, locking him out onto the balcony. I closed the blinds, drew the curtains and went into the bathroom to start myself a nice hot bath. About an hour later, I ironed myself a fresh out fit, curled my hair, packed up all of my things that had accumulated at Marquel’s place since he and I started dating, and called to make arrangements with my partner in crime, roommate and best friend of eleven years, Felecia Domino. Felecia was from Tyler, Texas where I lived last before my parents divorced, and the two of us had been jam tight ever since.

When she answered the phone, I could hear Mary J. Blige’s song Love No Limit blasting in the back ground, “Hey girl,” I said.

“What’s up Lish? Girl are you still hanging out with Marquel? Or are you on your way home now?” she asked.

“I’ll be home as soon as I say good bye to Marquel’s other girl friend on my way out.”

“Wait a minute – what did you just say?!” exclaimed Felecia. “Marquel’s other girl friend? Inglish do I need to be on my way to Tulane right now? Girl are you okay?”

“Yea Felecia, I’m fine,” I laughed, “I’m just disgusted and disappointed as all hell. But there’s no need for you to come to my rescue. Believe me when I tell you that I definitely have this under control.”

“Girl what is wrong with men?!” she exclaimed, “We are entirely too damn young for all of this drama.”

“Felecia, I have no idea – I just hope like hell that it all gets better the older we get.”

“Well you know I can’t wait to hear all about Mr. Thornhill and this other damn woman.”

“And I can’t wait to tell you about Mr. Thornhill and his other damn woman,” I responded. “I’ll fill you in as soon I get there. And are you still studying? Because I took my last midterm on Friday and I don’t have class tomorrow.”

“I’ve been studying like mad all weekend, and I have my last midterm tomorrow at 3o’clock. So at the rate that it’s approaching 7o’clock now, dammit if I don’t know it by now then I won’t know it. Why? You feel like getting into some trouble tonight?” She asked laughing.

“Something like that,” I replied. “I was thinking we could go to reggae night at Charlie B’s to see The Shepherd Band, by the way of Port of Call for a burger and a Huma-Huma.”

“Sounds good to me Lish, see you when you get here.”

“Good. See you in a few.”

Before we hung up, Felecia asked me once more, “And you’re sure I don’t need to come on over there?”

No crazy,” I laughed, “I got this. Now go get dressed because you know how long it takes your butt to get ready.”

We both laughed and hung up.

Felecia transferred from Tyler Junior College to Xavier University in New Orleans the year I returned from the Gulf War. Over the years my mother had invested in several real estate adventures in uptown New Orleans, and Felicia and I lived in one of the many houses she had renovated.

I finally left Marquel’s room, only to discover his other girl friend lying sound asleep on the sofa. The den was dimly lit from the television that was on an ESPN station, and some soft light illuminating from around the corner of a wall separating the dining area from the den area. Tulane University took very good care of their athletes, and the dorms where the players lived were more like town houses than actual dormitories, with every amenity a college student could ever wish for.

I stood there for a moment, staring at Marquel’s other woman and squinting as I tried to see her face in the semi darkness. I hadn’t decided if I actually wanted to wake her yet, so I was hesitant about turning on a brighter light. But the longer I stood there the more heated and disgusted I became, and the more adamant I felt about letting her know who I was.

I shook her gently awake. “Ericaaaaaaa – wake up.”

She sat up slowly, rubbing her eyes and giving me a once over as she started to focus, “Who – who are you?”

I smiled at her and replied as I sat my bags down onto the coffee table, “I’m Marquel’s other girl friend, and the bitch to whom you were referring earlier when you were banging on his door and trying to kick it down,” I smiled at her sarcastically, “would you like to repeat that?”

She stood up instantly and said with a cross expression on her face, “W – wait a damn minute, Marquel’s other girl friend?”

“Yes.” I repeated, as the attitude in my chest began to rise, “I am his other girl friend. Or shall I say at this point, his new ex girl friend.”

“You’re lying,” she snapped as she stepped towards me from around the coffee table.

“Look honey,” I said, rolling up my sleeves and taking off my earrings, “if you got it on your mind then I can damn sure help you get it off. But before we dance, you might want to consider the fact that I have a key to his room and his car.” I snapped back at her holding up a key with the Tulane Green Wave logo imprinted on it along with a Ford Mustang remote and key as well.

Erica stood there glaring at me for a moment as if she had it on her mind.

“So where is he?” she asked, cutting her eyes at me as she turned to walk down the hallway to Marquel’s room.

Oh,” I answered laughing as she walked away, “our man flew away.”

He flew away?” She repeated after me. “I don’t understand, what do you mean he flew away? Where is he?”

“Well actually,” I explained, “He climbed away is more like it. Marquel was too afraid to walk out here and face you and all of the lies he’s told, so he chose to take the cowardly way out and climbed his ass down off of the balcony instead.”

What?!” she exclaimed as she walked back towards me up the hallway, “No. Oh hell no!”

“Oh hell yes,” I responded, “And he wanted me to go with him.”

Erica sat back down. She was completely dazed from everything I was telling her.

“But we were supposed to graduate together,” she said looking at me, “scouts have been courting him for months now from NFL teams, and I’m in school getting my BSN. We have so many plans and…”

Her voice trailed off as she began to cry. She began to cry because, whereas I had dated Marquel for seven months and was very fond of him, she had dated him for almost three years and was deeply in love with him. And though I had once experienced the disappointment of heart ache because of how things ended without really ever ending between me and a love of my own, I knew that hurt was hurt regardless of why or how things may have happened.

On that note, I was on my way out the door and away from the craziness of yet another unwanted and undeserving experience with another woman’s man, that just had its way with me – again. I figured that Erica needed to be alone to figure things out for herself, and to prepare herself for the argument she was destined to have with Marquel later on that night. I knew for a fact that I was through with him and never wanted to see him again. I hoped that ultimately she would be smart enough to end her involvement with him as well. But I also knew how love had a way of handicapping a person into not making the best decisions for them selves.

“Wait,” Erica said, walking around and turning on the vertical lamps in each corner of the room as I walked towards the door, “You never told me your name.”

“My name is Inglish – Inglish Jones,” I said.

It was once I turned around to tell her my name when I realized with all of the bright lights on in the room now, that how looking at Erica was almost like looking at myself in the mirror. Surprisingly, she and I resembled one another very strongly, all the way down to our keenest features. For a moment, I thought about my half brother and how I’d found out about him by accident when I was seven, and how there were so many similarities in his appearance that were identical to mine. From the few people I’d met on my father’s side of the family, it was evident to me how strong the Jones’ gene pool was. And at that very instance, I was completely shocked by how many of those very same features I witnessed on daddy’s side of the family, were staring right back at me from Marquel’s other girlfriend.

Erica’s eyes were green like mine, she had freckles like mine, our facial features were almost identical, and her hair was jet black and thick and wavy just like mine but longer. My hair was cut symmetrically into a bob that fell just below my ear lobes, and she wore hers symmetrically cut about mid way down her neck. And on top of that, we both had very light and fair complexions, and we were pretty much the same height and had the same build. Small waist, nice hips, thick legs and an overall toned and athletic build with all of the right curves. So no wonder Marquel wanted both of us; it was almost like having twins if not sisters.

Erica stood there dazed in amazement for a moment as she stared back at me. I wasn’t sure if she was also caught up in the realization of how much we looked alike, or if she was about to have another reaction to everything that had just happened. No matter what her moment of silence was about, I was well prepared to go toe to toe with her if she suddenly decided to act crazy.

Then finally, she extended her hand to shake mine and said, “Well my name is Erica, Inglish – Erica Jones, and you can consider me Marquel’s new ex girl friend as well.”

And that’s when the moment became stranger than ever. Within the deafening silence of that very minute, our realities crashed, forcing the air out of both of us at the same time. Why? Because I was left handed and so was she. I had a distinct birthmark on the back side of my left hand between my index finger and my thumb that was shaped like a butterfly…and so did she. We stood there enthralled…staring at one another’s hands for what seemed like an eternity – neither one of us letting go.

“Inglish,” Erica said, whispering my name as if it was suddenly difficult for her to speak normally, “Wh – what’s your daddy’s name?”

And I answered her in a whisper as well. Because the bewilderment I felt creeping up and over me had robbed me of my voice too.

“My daddy’s name is Ethan Hamilton Jones,” I replied slowly, feeling more and more dazed as a voice inside of my head murmured the very next thing Erica said to me before her lips actually moved.

Then a tear rolled down her face and I felt her squeeze my hand tightly as she whispered, “So is mine.”

Short Story

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MoodSwingz

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