It’s weird. I have been feeling the urgent need to revive my cause against domestic violence on social media. With the release of A Recipe for Disaster, my second (but first) novel and my computer issues, I haven’t been on top of domestic violence awareness. Well, yesterday, as baby girl and I were walking home, the Universe reminded me of why I need to continue to raise my voice against DV.
At first I thought they were playing, tossing love taps that young couples often engage in. But then I heard the resounding sound of fists as they landed and knew it wasn’t for fun. He hit her and she hit him back. In the middle of the sidewalk, a couple (about 20 years-old or so) was fighting.
They would throw a few punches as they kept walking down the street, saying a couple of words along with the punches. I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I kept walking up the street toward them. A little girl was crying and getting between the couple (she had to be about 7). My heart broke as I stopped with baby girl and wondered what I should do.
They were coming toward us and the punches continued. My first instinct was to get between them to stop the fighting, but I thought of my daughter and the rough section of town we live in and thought against it. I looked around for help. I saw a woman in a car on her cell phone and prayed that she was calling the police. In case she wasn’t, I fumbled around for my cell phone in my diaper bag and came up with a sippy cup and diapers instead. I cursed myself for not cleaning out the bag so I could find my cell phone easier.
My lips parted to yell “stop” at the couple, but nothing came out. And then I saw him. An old lover. Big. Tall. Strapping. I knew he would be able to stop it. He was walking out of a building toward his car. After years of not seeing him, my first thought in the midst of the frightening situation was, “Wow, he still looks the same. He looks good.” He had noticed the couple, too, but I don’t think he saw me.
“_____, stop them!” I yelled out to him. He said a few words to the young couple and so did I.
“Ya’ll shouldn’t be doing that in front of that baby,” I said. What I really should have said was, “Ya’ll shouldn’t be fighting period.” But we don’t always say the perfect thing in the middle of the moment. It’s only after the incident is over that we come up with the right words.
I looked at the young woman who had also been throwing punches. She looked at me. I saw tears rolling down her face, probably from a mixture of embarrassment and gratefulness. How many times had she and her boyfriend been fighting like that in the middle of the street? I wondered. The boyfriend glanced at my ex-lover. He was skinny and I knew he didn’t want any part of my big, hunk of an ex. They stopped fighting and kept walking as me and my ex watched. Finally, they parted ways and the ex and I were left standing there.
I introduced him to my baby girl. “What?! You done went and had a baby on me?” he said, commenting on how pretty she is, and I smiled with pride. “Yeah, her father is a bastard, but I love my little girl,” I said and told him about my baby daddy and my unlucky streak with life.
“Well, I’m rich now,” he said in that ever-confident, joking manner that he always had. He looked good, like life was treating him well. I glanced down at my worn-out clothes and felt embarrassed. This was the man who had seen me in my hay-day when I was able to get my hair done, buy nice clothes and strut around like my shit didn’t stink. I felt like I was reduced to a lower denominator, but I began to wear my scars with pride as I recounted the past few years. I’m still standing in spite of everything, I thought.
Then he did what I wasn’t expecting. He blessed me financially at a time when I need it the most. He put the money in my hand and hugged me and I couldn’t help but rejoice as I thanked him profusely. God is so good, I thought over and over again. The bitterness that tainted our relationship and caused it to end was gone. Old wrongs were forgotten as we stood there looking at one another. Yes, he’s still sexy. Could I see myself testing those waters again? No. But I can’t see myself with anyone right now. I have a lot of work to do on me before I get involved with anyone again. Besides, the only person I’m concerned about is my daughter and how I can get back on my feet. And knowing my ex, I’m sure he has a gaggle of women in his life right now vying for that #1 spot.
But I’m grateful. Grateful that our paths crossed and he was able to stop a potentially explosive situation. Grateful that he was able to help me and my daughter. Grateful that God used an instrument that once brought me pain to bless me so I could forgive and move on. Grateful that I got a reminder to continue the fight against domestic violence so I will never forget that there’s someone out there who needs to hear what I have to say. And so I’ll continue to speak on.