She held in her arms the most precious thing she had ever beheld and instantly felt an involuntary transmission of fullness and warm fuzzies transpire within her. Her mouth neatly folded into a smile as her eyes sent a copious amount of tears down her face. She had no idea of her capability to feel this much, but she had an idea that her life had just changed forever. She looked up into the ceiling for a moment and smiled.
“Peace! I’m going to call her Peace.” Keisha said in her mind.
She was in incredible elation that had quickly absorbed the memories of the pain she felt a few moments ago. She was the only one responsible in a situation she had never asked for, but she remained indifferent to the status quo and had decided to be proactive and overcome her struggle. What was, was and she had realized she could do nothing about it except to pick herself up and live.
She felt a sense of peace. She felt alive, she knew love in a more refined way- to meet a new person and have them in your heart instantly. The past few months were a dark cloud. It had been a real struggle.
A number of months ago….
The weather that afternoon was horrendous. Sweat dripped off people’s bodies as though tiny water falls had been planted on them. Perhaps it was time for humanity to pay for neglecting the environment. It was a fitting rehearsal for anyone going to hell. On a typical afternoon like this one, you really had to be cautious with how you approached people or you would be greeted by their ticking time bombs.
Fortunately for everyone, the local supermarket, 24/7 remained convenient. They lived up to their name and on such a day they could certainly come to your rescue. You could always get a cold bottle of water, ice cream, a cold beer, a cold drink or a smoothie. After a long day at school, Keisha was here for the latter.
“Here for the regular?” she heard a familiar voice say.
“Uncle Ash” she exclaimed as she turned around while beaming. “You bet.”
“Knock yourself out”
She always enjoyed the customer service whenever she was here. This was the only business place one could feel like family. As she was leaving the store, she suddenly grew a dull countenance, she had just seen Raymond. He had seen her see him and had started towards her.
“How many times will I tell you I am not interested?” she shot as he now stood within her proximity.
“Good afternoon.” He replied with a big smile that revealed his nice white teeth.
“Well you and the heat just sucked out everything good about the afternoon, now kindly excuse me” she said and started to walk away.
“I know Keisha, its getting a little too much and I am sorry, but you just drive me crazy. I think about you all the time.” he chased after her.
“I don’t care, that’s your problem” she retorted “It is too hot, do you not have places to be except make a woman’s life miserable with your presence?”
His big smile returned like she had said something nice to him “Listen, please lets hang out just once this weekend and if you do not like it, I promise to never bother you again” he pleaded with her.
She stopped for a minute and took a sip from her smoothie. “Fine, this weekend and that’s it, Raymond .” she said
“Thank you.” he said in disbelief.
If only Keisha got a dollar for every time Raymond made his advances, she would probably buy the Iphone 11. She was in the least impressed by his persistence and she was truly determined to send his advances to the grave by accepting to hang out with him so he could bother her no more, but perhaps she should have realized saying no was enough. At nineteen she had never had a boyfriend and was no stranger to the proverbial societal comment of “how are you this pretty and single?” She was fired to end Raymond’s advances this weekend, but what she did not realize was that her life was about to change forever.
When that weekend came, it was a master of irony. It started out so well. Raymond was a real gentle man and he made her feel so comfortable and special. He had picked her up and had brought her some flowers.
They went to the local pub and grill for some food. She enjoyed the greek olive burger a little more than anyone else, but what she never expected to enjoy too was the conversation with Ray. He was an expert at conversing with people so much so that she had opened up in a short time.
“I like Whitney Houston as much as the next guy, but Aretha Franklin is the greatest female musician of all time” Ray argued
“Fair enough, but you cannot leave Tina Turner out of the equation” she retorted
They had talked about everything, debated a few points and laughed about a number of things. It was so strange how she easily related with someone she had loathed the past few months. Everything occurred so smoothly. She was enjoying it all. “Perhaps, I should have been less mean to him” she thought.
“Listen, Keisha.” Ray suddenly said in a serious tone. “I have liked you for as long as I have known, and I am really sorry for all the bother I cost you, but I just wanted a chance to get to know you and I want to confess that this is the best day of my life, so thank you”
Her eyes lit up. She couldn’t use her voice in the moment. After what seemed like a minute she said “I honestly do not know what to say”
“You do not have to say anything, I just wanted to let you know” he said softly and smiled at her. “Now off we go”
They decided to end their day with a stroll in the park. Her hand in his, his in her’s. She had no experience of this, but this was something she had seen in movies and was happy to see. He smelled so nice and she appreciated his sense of responsibility and his ability to plan.
“I just want to say I am so sorry for being mean to you before” she said
“Do not ruin the moment” he joked and put his arm around her shoulders.
Suddenly three boys about Ray’s age stood in their way.
“Is this your girl?” the first boy asked Ray
“So you can’t respond because you are with your hoe?” the second one said in a mocking way
Like a flash of lightening Ray released what seemed like an involuntary punch to the second boy’s mouth sending two of incisors flying out. At the sight of this, the other two boys jumped on Ray and beat him until he seemed unconscious.He lay in a pool of blood. Keisha had been screaming the whole time, but no one seemed to come to their rescue let alone heard her cries. The boys shifted their attention to her. She too was left in blood, not that she was beaten.