The little girl with wavy locks of blonde hair sat in her mother’s room on the third story of their triple-decker apartment, watching her get dressed up for an evening out. The bright red lipstick that was her mother’s favorite went on with care as she spoke to her little girl: “Adire, always remember, kitten, that men like to have control over you. The point of this game between us is to have the man give up his hold over that power. Once he does, you have him exactly where you want him.”
Adire watched in fascination as her mother transformed herself with the things in front of her. Her blue eyes looked big with the cat-like eyeliner and false eyelashes, and her dark hair was piled on top of her head with curls pinned in place.
“Ma, do men have to use so much stuff to get purty?” she questioned.
Her mother laughed. “No, kitten, men don’t have to go through anything to get a woman. Just remember, first appearances matter to a man. And don’t ever let them see that they’ve hurt you. That will always give a man an upper hand on you.”
The little girl nodded at her mother’s wisdom. “Okay, Ma. I’ll remember everything you told me.” Adire smiled as her mother got up from her vanity in her lingerie and walked over to where her little girl sat on the bed. “After tonight, I think I’ll have a man who will be able to take very good care of us.”
The little girl lay on her stomach, watching her mother wiggle into the very expensive dress she’d bought just for the occasion. “Zip me up,” she told her daughter. After she did, she stood on the bed watching her mother appraise herself in the mirror, making sure she was perfect for her impending date.
“Do we girls have to have boys in our life? Couldn’t it just be you and me forever?” she asked.
Her mother frowned, walking over to her young daughter. “Oh Adire, a woman always wants a man in her life. What makes us so powerful is when they want us just as badly. Again, it’s all part of the game,” she explained, kissing her forehead.
They heard the doorbell ring. “All right kitten, you stay put. Just remember, Aunt Sally will be here in five minutes to watch you for the night,” she told her, kissing Adire goodbye once more. “Love you, Adire,” she whispered, blowing her a kiss.
“Love ya too, Ma,” the little girl whispered back. She heard her mother’s footsteps quicken to answer the door. A man’s deep, good-mannered voice could be heard telling her mother how beautiful she was.
The little girl peeked around the corner, and she saw the man taking her mother by the neck and kissing her roughly. When he finally released her, his hand came around, grabbing her backside in his hand. “Baby, I’ve got plans for you tonight,” Adire heard him chuckle.
Something seemed wrong to the little girl. But she knew her mother would be mad if she came out of the room and didn’t do as she was told, so she stayed hidden. Maybe when Aunt Sally came over she would tell her the fears she had of the man that came tonight. Maybe she’d know what to do? Maybe…