Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Breaking Point- Chapter 3

Chapter 3

A few more weeks passed and my twelfth birthday had come and gone. They took me to a place called Boblo, and I had my first boat ride. The boat took us to an island that had an amusement park and we had a blast. Mr. Epps brought us cotton candy and gave us money to play the games. Mrs. Epps doted on Chad and nit-picked me as usual. I really couldn't understand what her problem was, but she seemed to have a real problem with me ever since the day she demanded that I not tuck Chad in anymore. But, I had fun in spite of her.

Our home life was pretty bleak while Mr. Epps was at work, because he was the one who liked to do things. When he was away, all Mrs. Epps did was sleep, drink wine, cuddle Chad, and pick on me.

It was, "Marion, do this. Marion, do that.” or “Chad come here and give Mommy a kiss. Oh Chad, this or that." It was really sickening. It was like she was competing with me. And the weird thing was that Chad was different somehow. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but it was there just the same. I would ask him what was wrong and he would just say nothing.

Finally it became time to enroll in school. We would be attending the Detroit Public Schools. We were tested for placement and Chad would attend Walker Elementary for first grade (he would be six in November) and I would go to Jefferson Middle School for sixth grade. Classes were to begin the following week.

As I was leaving the counseling office with Mrs. Epps and my new counselor, to take a tour of the school to see where my classes would be, that's when I met him for the first time. His name was Marshall Washington and he was beautiful. I was only twelve, but I swear that when he looked at me and smiled for the first time, I thought my heart would break. He had hazel eyes and light brown curly hair.

"Hi," he said.

"Hi," I replied. All of a sudden my mouth became very dry.

"I'm Marshall, are you new?" he asked.

"Yes." I said. Then we just stood there with him staring at me and me staring at the ground.

"Come along, Marion," said Mrs. Epps.

"Uh...I have to go," I stuttered.

"Well it was nice meeting you," he said, as he walked into the office.

I don't remember a thing about the tour that I got that day because I swear I could not get that boy's face out of my head. I was not one that could be considered boy crazy; hell, I had never even paid attention to any boy other than to fight before. But this was different and it came out of nowhere. I was really hoping that I would see him again or maybe he would even be in one of my classes. Only time would reveal and classes were only a few days away.

On the drive home, I was still day dreaming in my own little world when all of a sudden I felt my brother tugging on my arm.


"Yes, Chad, dang calm down!" I snapped, as I snatched my arm away.

"You watch your tone, young lady," she said to me. "Chad, mommy will take you to the park. Would you like that?"

He shrunk down in his seat and poked his lip out.

"I'll take him, Mrs. Epps, he likes for me to play tag with him."

She looked into the rear view mirror and saw Chad's expression and said, "Very well, I suppose."

So when we got home, Chad jumped out of the car and grabbed my hand and I took him to the park. While I was spinning him on the merry-go-round, I asked him why he didn't want Mrs. Epps to take him and he just looked down at the ground.

"Chad, do you hear me talking to you?" I asked in my grown up voice.

"I wanted you to bring me that's why," he said.

"Is that all?" I asked.


"Ok, then. Are you excited about your new school?" I asked trying to change the subject.

"No," he said, "I don't like school. The other kids always make fun of me."

"Well, you tell them little bastards that if they mess with you, then your sister will come up there and whoop all their asses. Ok?"

He smiled at that and said, "Ok."

When we got home about an hour later Mr. and Mrs. Epps were sitting in the living room. He had just gotten home from work and she was sipping on her wine, as usual.

"Hey, kids," he greeted us with a big smile, "how would you like to go out for dinner tonight?"

"No," said Mrs. Epps, "we are not going anywhere. I cooked dinner and we are not going to waste good money when we have food right here."

Mr. Epps just looked away in an effort to avoid causing her to get upset.

"Mike and Chad, you boys go ahead and wash up for dinner and Marion and I will get everything ready," she said.

"Come along, Marion and you can set the table."

"Yes, ma'am," I said, as I followed her into the kitchen.

I went directly to the silverware drawer and started to gather up what I needed and when I turned around-

WHAM! She slapped me right across my face and the silverware went flying everywhere. I looked up at her with tears in my eyes.

"Don't you ever do that to me again!" she said in a menacing voice. "How dare you try to override me with Chad! You don't think I see what you are doing? Trying to come between me and my son? I am his mother now, so you'd better start acting like it and this is the last time that we are going to have this discussion!"

Clearly this bitch had lost her mind. My natural reaction was to ball up my fist and just start swinging, but I was really scared of what might happen next. This woman was crazy. She had really lost her mind!

"Are we clear?" she asked.

I just stared at her.

"Good," she said and continued to fix dinner as if nothing happened.

Somehow I made it through dinner and then went up to my room. As I sat on the bed, I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into. I told myself that maybe she was just having a bad day, and not to think anything of it but I knew that wasn't the case. I made a promise to myself right then and there to just bide my time, do what she said and try not to make her angry, because I had no clue what this woman was capable of.

On the brighter side of things, I was starting school next week and with any luck Marshall Washington would be in one of my classes. That thought alone was enough to spark hope in my heart.

Somehow I made it through the weekend, and finally the first day of school was here.

"Come on, Chad!" I yelled up the stairs, "we're going to miss the bus!"

"I don't wanna go!" He screamed back at me.

I stomped up the stairs and pushed his door open only to find him sitting on his bed, with his arms folded across his little chest and tears streaming down his cheeks.

"You'd better get dressed and come on! Why are you crying?" I asked. I was really irritated that he was taking so long.

"I ain't going to first grade and you can't make me," he stated matter-of-factly.

"Oh, yeah?" I asked, as I started toward him, but then I thought better of it and decided to take a more diplomatic approach.

"I wonder what all those kids are gonna say when they see you playing outside and don't see you at school? They’re gonna come up to you and ask you why you don't go to school and you'll have to tell them that you're a big baby. What a shame."

"I AM NOT A BABY!" he yelled.

"I know that, but how will they know if you don't go to school and show them you're a big boy?" I asked, with fake wonder in my voice.

By that time he was off the bed and pulling his pants on.

"I'm not no baby," he said again, as he finished getting dressed.

"Ok, I'll be downstairs waiting for you."

By the time I ran downstairs and grabbed our lunches and my backpack, he was waiting for me at the front door. We had just made it to the bus stop a few minutes before it pulled up. Chad and I found a seat and when we got to the school I walked him to his class and then I ran next door to the middle school.

I found my homeroom class with no problem, and as I walked in, I couldn't help but notice how many of the other girls were pointing and snickering at me. My clothes, although a million times better than what I used to wear, still were not the name brand stylish clothes that most of the other girls were wearing.

"Nice shoes," said a light skinned girl with shoulder length black hair, "I'm guessing K-Mart blue light special?"

"No," I replied coolly, "your mamma's closest."

She just rolled her eyes and I continued on to my seat. I was pissed but I was determined not to get in trouble on the first day of school. Just then I felt a tap on my shoulder.

"Don't pay her no mind," the voice said, "Crystal is just a rich little black girl, who doesn't get enough attention from her daddy."

"Shut up, Marshall!" The girl shot back.

My heartbeat sped up immediately, and I had to remember to breathe evenly. I turned around and there he was; Marshall Washington looking as handsome as ever.

"I don't remember getting your name," he said.

"Mm..Marion," I stuttered.

"Welcome to Jefferson, Marion, and don't let these jealous hoes around here get to you," he whispered.

"Thanks," I said and turned to face the front in an attempt to keep him from seeing me blush.

After that, the rest of the day seemed to fly by. I continued to get icy glares from Crystal and the other girls in her clique but I didn't care. If they kept it up, her and all of her bitches would be collecting their teeth in a shiny container. I had a very low tolerance for people trying to bully me, even at the age of twelve. There was very little in this world that I was afraid of, and girls my age was not one of them.

I collected my homework and bookbag from my locker and made my way to the elementary campus to pick up my brother.

"Hey, Marion, wait up!"

I turned around and Marshall was running across the grass to catch up with me.

"Do you mind if I walk you home?" he asked.

"If you want to," I said and shrugged my shoulders to try to act like I wasn't pressed one way or the other. Inside I was doing cartwheels.

"Good, I'll save you a seat on the bus," he called, as he ran off to the bus parking lot.

I found Chad and almost ripped his arm out of the socket because I was practically dragging him to get the bus. By the time the bus pulled up to our stop, Chad had already made himself Marshall's best buddy. The whole ride home, Marshall listened patiently to Chad ramble on about his day at school. He even asked him questions to make him feel important. I was very impressed.

When the bus finally got to our stop, I asked him, "Why weren't you on the bus this morning?"

"My mom had to drop me off this morning because I had a doctor appointment," he replied.


"I like your brother, he's a smart kid,"

"He's ok as far as little brothers go. I wouldn't trade 'em," I said, as I tried to suppress a grin.

"So, where do you live?" he asked.

"On Archdale," I responded. "Where do you stay?"

"Right around the block, on Parker. Where are you from?" he asked.

I was silent for a moment. Did I want to tell him the truth, or make up some elaborate fairytale existence? I decided that it was best to tell the truth, especially since Chad was right there. He was bound to blurt out the facts, if he heard me telling anything other than that.

"I am from Detroit, but I used to stay at the orphanage on the other side of town. Our parents were killed in a car accident."

"Oh. I'm sorry to hear that," he said sincerely.

"It's ok. It's not like we're missing out on anything. Our parents weren’t the most loving," I told him. I was kind of embarrassed to say it out loud, but it was the truth.

After about ten minutes, we came to our house. In that time I had already made up my mind that this guy was special. Even though he was only twelve, he seemed more mature than the other guys my age at the orphanage.

"Well, this is our stop. I guess I'll see you around"

"Yep, I'll come by and pick you guys up tomorrow. Bye, Chad!" he called, as he began to jog down the street.

I don't think I even touched the ground as I went up the porch steps. We walked into the house and I didn't even take my coat off good before Chad was yelling, "Marion has a boyfriend," at the top of his lungs.

"Shut up, brat!" I said, as I tried to grab him before Mrs. Epps could hear the racket. But I was too late.

"What's going on in here?" she inquired.

"Marion has a BOYFRIEND," Chad taunted in a sing-a-song tone.

"Is that so?" she said, with one eyebrow raised.

"No, ma'am," I replied nervously, "I made a new friend at school and his name is Marshall."

"He walked us home! I like him!" Chad happily volunteered.

"That's wonderful, sweetie," she said and she bent down to give him a hug and a kiss.

"Now, Marion, I won't tolerate any mess do you understand? This boy better just be a friend. I won't have no sluts livin' in my house, you get me."

"Yes, ma'am," I said as I tried to hold back my anger. I simply picked up my bookbag and made my way upstairs. The whole way up I was running through my mind all of the different things I could have said to her; like where to go and how to get there. I was really starting to hate her. My only saving grace was Mr. Epps, who really seemed to care about me and Chad, but he was always working. It made me sick sometimes because I was always worried and feeling like I had to watch my back.

I went to bed that night and prayed for God to watch over me and help me to stay out of her way.

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