So now we come to the topic that still makes me quake with fury: Stephanie.
Again, you said that you would not have Na around any women that you weren’t in a serious relationship with. I had no idea that Nadjah was seeing Stephanie until the day you told me she spanked her for climbing on her CD case. What pisses me off the MOST about that incident is not so much that your story changed every time you told it: First, she spanked her; then she grabbed her; then it was she said “no, no baby” and carried her away from the CD tower. If it was that simple, why did you threaten to choke her out if she ever touched Nadjah again? What pissed me off the MOST was this:
“Well, I guess I messed that relationship up.”
THAT’S what you cared about??? Not this woman, who I DON’T know put her hands on my child, but that you had messed up a relationship? I was speechless.
Over time, I not only lowered my expectations of you as a man and a father, I totally eliminated them. You lost 2 jobs, and I could not demand any money from you. YOU severed your relationship with Nadjah for a few months because you felt like you didn’t deserve to see her, even when I offered to bring her by. At the same time, I was still supporting you with money, groceries, sending out your resume and looking out for jobs. You have to admit, you could have taken a part time evening job to somewhat support yourself. I didn’t suggest it because I thought you could figure that much out on your own.
Life went on like this for another year and half. The you decided you wanted to play a little game.
“Tell me something about yourself that I don’t already know. Something that would shock me,” you said. “I’ll go first.”
That’s when you told me about the girl from Eritrea, how you were so in love with her and had gotten her pregnant 6 months after Nadjah was born. I told you I was shocked, but not surprised. I told you how I slept with someone else when I went to Ghana in 2003, when you told me not to because you would know. You didn’t have a clue.
Did that make us even? Absolutely not. But 6 months after Nadjah was born you were still telling ME how much you loved ME and it was a mistake to marry Marshall.
Later on, when I asked you about this woman, you told me that you were so in love with her that you begged her not to have an abortion, but she had one anyone for cultural and family reasons. I asked you why you begged her not to have an abortion and not me? Was her baby more important than mine? Did you care about her more than me? You never really answered the question. You went on about how I read too much into stuff, and how I’ll never know what it was like to drop her off at the abortion clinic, sign paperwork and come back knowing that a part of you was being sucked out her.
A flood of offenses hit me at once: All the broken promises, the shit you put me through, the total lack of support, the slinking into my room to demand that I put you on Nadjah’s birth certificate…on and on until I finally snapped. You ended the conversation that day by telling me about how you’d gone to get a smoothie and this “fine red bone” behind the counter told you that she would make it with extra fiber and you eventually needed to take a shit. What?
The only thing that matters to me about that conversation is that my last memory of you matches up to my first impression of you. You are a womanizer. This last call was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The next weekend, I had already decided that was the last time I was going to let Nadjah go over to your house. I offered to let her stay until 8:30 pm, because I knew that would be the last time she was coming over. Remember what you said?
“Can we make it 6:45 instead?”
I said sure.
You asked me if I wanted to know why you had to drop her off early. I really didn’t, but I asked anyway.
“Because I’m going to a singles retreat at church. Don’t you think that’s the best thing for me?”
“I think it’s best thing for you, but is it what’s best for them?”
You told me I was being mean and evil.
You’ve had your own struggles these last 3.5 years with blood pressure, losing your job and problems with women. I’ve asked you to keep our relationship business-like in the past, but you’ve insisted that we try to maintain a level of friendship. I’ve been a friend to you Douche Bag, but you have not been a friend to me. I’ve listened to all your issues and tried to give YOU solutions. We’ve only discussed my problems once in the 5 years I’ve known you. Once in 5 years, you have taken the time to really talk me when we weren’t arguing.
Now, keep in mind behind all this activity are the following variables:
1. Loved and cared for you deeply. I told you (and again, you weren’t listening) that after God and my dad, there was no man that I loved more.
2. I had to deal with a culture and a religion that says it is a disgrace and a sin to have a baby out of wedlock.
3. I had to explain to my father (an African man) how his first born daughter managed to allow to get herself pregnant, and how the baby’s Black American father WOULD NOT be of any help. I had to hope that that wasn’t going to be my reality, but be prepared to face the reality and the possibility.
Have I been a completely innocent party in all this? I would be the first to admit that I have not. I’ve said some things that were unkind, and probably done some things that might seem unfair to you. But they sure don’t add up to half the things you’ve done to me.
Finally, in case you were wondering, in 3.5 years you have contributed a total of $2810.00 (I’ve loaned you $750), a few changes of clothes and 5 pairs of shoes to Nadjah’s well being. You have also had her hair braided a few times by a neighbor or a relative.
I don’t know how you feel I owe you anything, but I don’t. I am not trying to hurt you. I am, for once, taking care of me when it comes to you.
This was my confession in July 2008. Forgive me world, for being of such ‘weak mind’. For listening to a man who was in the Marine Corps and spoke incessantly about honor and courage, and the pain of not knowing his own father. Who wept openly when I tried to break it off with him at one time. Who, up until I got pregnant really wanted to marry me. Who laughed scornfully after recognizing the pain he put me through. Who sneered at me in his emails. After all I had done for him, and after all I had done for him I spat back. I clawed at his pride and tore at dignity. I remind him at every opportunity of his failings when juxtaposed to my success and that of my husband’s.
Because according to some Black men, being compassionate is being weak minded – but I ain’t that weak.