Brown-Eyed Heaven

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51


***


Paige, Danielle, Crystal, Mackenzie, and Casy walked in the hallway at Emille.

It was a cloudy Monday morning and the hallways were packed with students from all backgrounds. Paige was glad that her first day of her menstrual cycle was over the weekend.

“So, how was your experience at the police station the other day?” Mackenzie asked Paige.

“It was okay. I was a little nervous but Officer Boyce helped me calm down. I hope Zack doesn’t get angry,” Paige answered.

“Oh, he’s going to get angry alright,” Mackenzie nodded.

“Paige, the police are going to investigate even after you said you don’t remember all the details?” Casey looked bewildered.

“Yeah, they are. I went to the hospital yesterday to get a rape exam,” Paige sighed deeply when she thought back to that nerve-wracking experience at Summerville Emille Hospital.

Her parents went with her. The doctors were nice and patient to her. The doctor and nurse were black. Paige had been scared and looked around the hospital room that the doctor put her in.

A white serious-looking police officer stood guard near the exit. Paige was glad to be sitting down and she couldn’t wait to leave the hospital.

She was cold and felt shy. Paige didn’t want strange doctors examining her at all. She was wearing a hospital gown and waiting for the medical staff.

Paige waited for a while before the doctor came to see her. The woman was of medium size and height, dark-skinned, middle-aged, her natural hair was pinned back, and she wore glasses.

Paige’s parents were in the waiting room. The doctor approached her then a nurse came to help the doctor. The nurse was a younger woman, mid-brown skin, stocky, short, and wearing a short haircut.

That’s when Paige lost her composure and jumped back. The doctor and nurse looked taken aback. They tried to calm her down but it didn’t work.

Paige continued to back away from them. She cried loudly and told them she changed her mind about the rape exam. The doctor placed the medical instruments on a sterile table. Paige saw their name tags for the first time. Dr. A. R. Curtis and Nurse Pam Wright.

“I don’t want this! This was a big mistake! I’m sorry. I’m fine. I have to go!” Paige jumped up, pushing past the doctor and nurse.

They repeatedly tried to talk her out of her decision. Paige didn’t listen instead she ran down the hall.

She slid to a stop when she almost collided with the same police officer from earlier. The doctor told him what happened.

They both tried to get her to calm down and come back to the exam room. The officer offered to take her home after she resisted her rape exam. Another officer, this time a black one, came to help out.

“No, my parents are in the waiting room. If I had to accept a ride, I wouldn’t want a cop like you to take me home because you may become trigger-happy and fear for your life, if I don’t obey your commands fast enough or you unable to see my hands!”

Paige glanced at the black cop and said, “With you, it’s a little better but I’ll still be concerned.”

The nurse had alerted Paige’s parents about her outburst. Paige saw them and ran to them, still crying and hugging them tightly.

“Daddy, Mama!”

Paige and her parents had left the hospital. She blinked rapidly and her focus came back to her surroundings at Emille High School.

“I didn’t do the rape exam. I told them no. I didn’t want to be violated a second time. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.”

Jasmine came out of the restroom and ran up to them. She looked sad and breathing hard.

“Hey, y’all! Crystal, the police caught those girls that jumped you. They were arrested last night. Word on the street is that Juan is going to bail them out soon.”

Anger and bitterness came into Crystal’s eyes. “Damn.”

“No, that is so unfair! Those bitches don’t need bail!” Mackenzie grumbled.

“I know right,” Casey agreed.

“Oh, no, you’re sure, Jasmine?” Danielle shook her head.

“Yeah, it’s all in the news. I got to go home early today. Sorry, Crystal. I’ll see y’all tomorrow,” Jasmine walked off.

“That is sad and mess up. You know we here for you, hon,” Paige reassured Crystal.

“Yeah, thanks.”

Casey left for her class.

Mackenzie’s phone rang. “I got to take this call. It’s my man. Talk to you girls in a bit!” he switched off.

Crystal’s eyes filled with tears but they didn’t fall. “I want to apologize. It was unfair how I treated y’all about the melanin beauty party and those heifers jumping me.”

“It’s okay. We understand, boo,” Danielle commented.

“Yeah, we know you were going through some shit. It’s cool,” Paige added.

Crystal nodded.

“Sistas for life! Sistas forever!” Paige, Danielle, and Crystal hollered.

That was a motto the girls had been saying since they were young children. Some of the students briefly looked their way. They didn’t care who saw or heard them.

“I see that Watkins boy got a crush on Crystal with his cute chocolate ass!” Mackenzie had made it back.

They were walking to Emile’s front steps outside. It was about twenty minutes before the first bell rang.

The Watkins boy that Mackenzie was referring to was walking down the hallway, holding hands with Cindy, the girl that wanted to invite the Go-Getters to her swinger party but they had declined her invitation.

“No offense, but I only date guys that look like me,” Crystal muttered.

“Ooh, Crystal is color-struck,” Makenzie hit her.

They sat down on benches in the front of the school.

“I’m not. That’s my preference, that isn’t color-struck, Mackenzie. The Watkins boy is the color-struck one. I refused to be used by negroes like that. I’ll have a better chance with guys that are like me.”

“Whatever, that’s still colorism, girl. Guys like you can be color-struck too. Ain’t nothing wrong with those chocolate boys!” Mackenzie rolled his eyes and waved his hand at Crystal.

“I didn’t say there were.”

“I agree with Mackenzie on that one,” Danielle remarked.

Crystal smacked her lips.

“What about the Go-Getters? Would you date one of them if they were into you?” Paige asked Crystal.

“Yeah, I would but they ain’t into me though!” Crystal cracked.

Paige looked up and saw Zack coming her way. He had a knowing look in his eyes. He knows, Paige thought.

Zack looked amazing and sexy in his creased, blue jeans, silk cream-colored, shirt, and designer shoes.

Paige looked down at her plain outfit. She was wearing a pink jumpsuit and casual shoes. The other girls wore bright dresses, mini-skirts, fancy tops, and pantsuits followed by heels and boots. Mackenzie wore a plain t-shirt, slacks, and slides.

“Hey, Paige, can I talk to you privately?” he asked.

Zack looked angry. Should I be left alone with him? Paige worriedly thought.

“I talk to you guys later.”

Paige walked with Zack inside the school.

“The cops came over to my house and questioned me, Paige. They showed us a warrant and search our property. What I want to know is--what kind of judge signed off on that crock of shit and lies!? Why did you talk to me before you went to the cops?” Zack’s eyes angrily stared into hers.

“Look, now, my dad encouraged me to file a report after my brother overheard me talking to my mom about what happened. Steven told him then I was forced to explain. I still don’t know what happened that night! I was scared. I think you might have raped me, Zack!”

“What? How on earth did the police take your report based on what you think might have happened. I did not rape you, Paige! What the hell! I remember. We were both drunk. You were drunker than me. We had sex then woke up the next morning. The end!”

“I’m not so sure. I hear what you are saying but that’s your side. I can’t remember everything. The memories are all jumbled. I only see bits and pieces. I’m sorry but I do believe you raped me that night!”

“I didn’t rape your stupid ass bitch!” Zack exploded, hitting the lockers hard with his fist.

That made Paige shuddered. The warning bell rang. Students had started coming inside the school. Paige and Zack stood near some lockers. She shivered. She never heard Zack reacted like that before.

Zack calmed down a little. “You women always talking about you want a good man but then when you get one, you treat him like shit! You turned a good man bad. I’m not the way I used to be. I admit that I’m a better person now. I have been through a lot in the past two years, Paige. I lost my last girlfriend, Camille, I lost my paternal great-grandmother not too long ago, and now this jacked-up shit with you! You are straight-up lying and we both know it! What’s wrong with you? I thought that you were different from the rest.”

“First of all, I’m not a stupid ass bitch! How would you feel if I were to call you that? I am different. I’m a good person. I just wished that night never happened. I shouldn’t have drunk that whiskey and got drunk. I shouldn’t have let you persuade me.”

Zack rolled his eyes. “What do you mean persuade you?”

“I mean encourage me to drink. You kept on persisting me to and I was a fool to do so.”

The tardy bell rang.

“I’m late for class! I got to go. I ain’t got time for this shit right now!” Zack hurried off, leaving Paige alone.


***


The bell rang dismissing the school. Paige, Danielle, Crystal, Mackenzie, and Casey were together again.

They couldn’t wait to leave Emille even though it was for a short time until tomorrow. They were walking to Paige’s locker and stopped dead in their tracks.

“Ooh!” Crystal was the first to make a sound

Their eyes were glued on the graffiti that someone had plastered across Paige’s locker. Paige couldn’t believe what she was seeing. This was the first time that someone had desecrated her locker.

There was blood-red paint spelling out WHORE in capital letters. Drops of paint covering the front of her locker. Her locker was open. Meaning someone had broken into it.

Paige had always carefully locked her locker. She rushed to open it and saw more dripping red paint on the back of the locker door that read CUNT.

Everything in her locker such as her notebooks, textbooks, papers, pencils, etc had been broken, shredded, and destroyed.

Paige covered her mouth with her hand. “What in the world?” She became scared and shaken. “Who did this? Was it Zack and his Go-Getters’ friends? It had to be him. It’s not a coincidence that this happened after our altercation.”

“Oh shit, whoever did this needs an ass-whupping!” Mackenzie remarked. “Girl, you know Zack did this. Your man is psycho, Paige!”

“I got to go to the office and tell them what happened,” Paige sighed deeply.

“Yeah, hon, you better report this shit. Don’t let Zack get away with what he did,” Danielle said.

“They probably gonna be like I didn’t see it and nobody was around when it happened,” Paige replied.

“So, Emille got all kinds of surveillance cameras, bulletproof glass, armed police and military guards! They know they got receipts and shit!” Crystal laughed.

Paige scoffed and chuckled at Crystal’s joke. She looked further in her locker and saw red paint spelling out LIAR and every misogynistic word there was.

She saw BITCH and HO spelled out at the back of her locker. Red paint was everywhere in her locker.

“Let me take pictures of this mess and report this to the faculty.”

That’s what she did. Principal Silverson took her complaint and documented what happened. The janitor cleaned up the mess.

Principal Silverson gave Paige a new locker. Paige’s friends shared their notes with her. Paige had needed to study for upcoming pop quizzes and her homework.

All of her notes were destroyed in her locker. She was glad that her completed homework was in the book bag that she carried on her back.

Principal Silverson arranged for her to get new textbooks for her classes. He also said that he was going to review the footage from the surveillance cameras at the time.

The principal asked Paige if she needed more time studying for her class and homework. She told him that it was fine because she had carried her homework in her book bag.

Paige was very concerned about what happened. When she approached the exit, she noticed Zack and his friends walked past and glared at her. They didn’t say anything.

Paige hurriedly got into her parents’ ride. Her father was driving and her mother was in the passenger seat. She was surprised when she saw Steven in the backseat.

“Yeah, it’s me. What’s up? Where Zack at? He come to school today?” Steven asked her.

Paige groaned. “Yeah.”

“How was your day, Paige?” Edward asked.

“It was fine, Daddy.”

“That’s good, babe.”

“Your principal called today about someone breaking into your locker and trashing it,” Jude reminded her.

“Yeah, I hate that someone could be so cruel.”

“Zack probably did it,” Steven said.

“Yeah, probably.”

“It’s good that they are working to find out who did that.”

“Nana helped us make some awesome supper. Salad, steak, corn on the cob, pasta, cheesecake, lemonade, all y’all favorites!” Jude announced.

Later, Paige got full on supper and went to lay down in bed. She heard a notification on her iPhone. It was a text message.

HOW DARE YOU STUPID BITCH!

Paige sat up and was fully alert. All of a sudden she started receiving texts from different numbers. They were all sexist, degrading, and threatening messages:

Whore

Bitch

Crazy

Pathetic

You need your ass whupped!

Die bitch!

Lying trash

Paige thought about deleting the messages but decided to save them to show Officer Boyce. She wanted to collect the evidence.

Paige went online and surf all of the major social media channels and saw her name trending in the local hashtags. She saw people taking sides when it came to her and Zack.

The guys were defending Zack and the ladies were split between her and Zack.

“What in the world going on here!?’ Paige said aloud.

People online were talking about her. Mostly negative conversation.

Paige had never been the center of social media conversation before. She turned off her notification sounds.

She received another text. This time someone sent a picture of Porsha hanging from the ceiling of her bedroom with a caption that said:

THIS IS GOING TO BE YOU IN THE END!

“Oh my God!” Paige moaned.

She blocked all the numbers that sent her the disgusting texts. She found Officer Boyce’s phone number and called to report all of the threats.

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