Thursday, May 8, 2014


Don’t Miss Your Destiny

(Memoir)
When the bus pulled into the depot in downtown Detroit, Eunice was waiting there for me. I felt limp. My mind was spinning like a whirl wind. It was as if I had stepped back in time and picked up right where I left off. This dreadful city with its garbage strewn in the streets laughed at me for trying to release myself from it's maniacal grip. While the derelict buildings and colorful graffiti grimaced me as if to say "We don't want your ass here!" Even the bus driver literally growled at me as I  walked past him. The yellow-green halo of smog that emerges upon you as you travel north on Interstate seventy-five seemed to hover over me as I took one giant step back from my destiny. It was all so gloomy, all so familiar; dread, failure, emptiness, and fear, engulfed me. Had I missed my destiny? Why did I have to come back to this awful place?

Dawn was happy to see me, it had been three months since I sent her back home to live with my mother. Mom had us in her control again. We were paralyzed like flies in a spider’s web. I allowed myself to fall apart. I took that old worn out suitcase, the one that daddy found on the curb, the one that had been in his basement for years before he died, the one that I packed with high hopes and deep aspirations when I threw caution to the wind and took the Grey Hound Bus to Atlanta to pursue my dreams, yes that one. I lifted it up each stair at Mom’s house till I reached the top. It felt like dead weight, my dead weight. I plopped it down in her spare bedroom, the room that used to be Lynn’s room, the room where I made the alcohol torch, the room where the demon hit me in my back, the room where some dark spirit hovered over me and Dawn when she was six months old. I set it down and sat down on the bed. This was the second time that I came back home to this dark, dusty room.

My marriage to Wesley only lasted six months. He was some sort of demoniac when we got married. I didn’t know much about demons but I knew that Wesley was not the same person that he was when I met him at the tender age of eighteen.

It was the end of my first semester at Mercy College of Detroit. we had just finished taking our last final exam. Vernita wanted me to go to a house party with her. The party was on the west side of town so I felt safe. When I descended the basement stairs it took my eyes a minute to adjust to the darkness. I seemed to be stepping into a cloud of smoke. Music invaded my senses. It felt heavy and annoyingly loud, as if the beat of each note leaped and danced right before my eyes. The smell of cheap wine and weed wisped past me and then encircled my head and lingered. Unfamiliar voices and laughter echoed from wall to wall. Dark shadows lurked, peeping,  prowling, sensing fresh innocence. Darkness stretched out his hand to me.

"Wanna dance?"

He was an average looking, unassuming man, with soft brown skin, and small eyes, wearing a blue walking suit, psychedelic print Nik Nik shirt and black leather Florsheim shoes.

 "What’s your name?" He asked, as he danced all up close and personal.

"Dana, Yours?"

"Wesley"

I could almost taste his Royal Copenhagen cologne.

"I’m going to marry you"

What kind of Negro is this? We just met, he must be high. We danced and laughed, and danced, and smoked Kool cigarettes, and talked and laughed and danced, all night. Then we exchanged phone numbers. I usually gave the wrong number, but not this time. I was hooked. He had me in his grip and I didn’t want to get out.

Wesley picked me up every night. We went over Ron and Niecy's house to play cards. Spades or tunk, was always the game of choice, rise and fly. The topic of discussion was always sex. How to do it, how often to do it, how many women to do it with. Wesley was the facilitator of this group discussion. In the wee hours of the morning Wesley, Ron, Darryl, and Pierre went down stairs to the basement to play ping pong. All the ladies were married except me. Niecy, Gina, and Deborah would continue the discussion on sex. I couldn’t figure out why the only thing these people could talk about was sex. Niecy was very curious about everybody else’s sex life. I never joined in on the conversation. If Wesley was having so much sex. It wasn’t with me. We had not slept together.


During the winter break of 1975 Wesley and I became inseparable. I started to lose interest in school. Wesley was like some kind of drug. I moved back home the next semester. Wesley picked me up and drove me to class everyday.

“I want you to be addicted to me, like a junkie is addicted to dope.” He said as he slowly lifted my blouse over my head, unsnapped my bra and kissed my breast.

 “Do you love me?”

“Mmm, yea I love you so much. You make me feel so good.”

Every day, every night, all night long we made love.  I was addicted, obsessed, in love, young love is so blind.  We did it In the front seat, the back seat, his bedroom, the four hour hotel, under the stars at Belle Isle. No, I refused to do it there, so he ripped off my pants and took it. This is rape, isn’t this rape? I thought.

 “I said NO! You don’t own my body when I say no, it’s NO!”

“You are my woman, you belong to me, I want you everyday baby, any time, any place. Don’t you want me every day, any time any place?” I cried as I fixed my clothes.

“Take me home”

We drove to my mom’s house in complete silence. Wesley kissed my lips softly before I went inside. My head was spinning. My mind was racing.

“Dana, are you crying?”

“No Mom I’m alright”

“You are staying out too late with Wesley, don’t let him pull you down..."

I turned on the hot water in the tub to drown her out. Why did I let him talk me into moving back home? I need to move back into the dorm, I need to finish school. I was safe in the dorm, no male visitors on weekdays and only two hours of male visitation on weekends. Mercy College was a safe, quiet, Catholic College. Home was a den of iniquity. I was eighteen and wanted to be free but at what cost?


 Wesley showed up the next day with a bag full of gifts.

"I got you your favorite Donna Summers album. Love to Love you Baby, that’s your favorite song, right? And look at this blue blouse with these bell bottoms to match, and these platform shoes!”

He wrapped his hand around my head and pulled my face close to his mouth, while holding my head tight next to his lips he started kissing my ear, singing “Ah love to love you baby.”

Then he kissed my eye lids, my lips, my neck, “Ahh love to love you baby.”

On August 8, 1976 we moved into a four family flat on North LaSalle Gardens. My grades were starting to drop, but school was no longer a priority.