By Keyana Fraser
On a cold fall day, there was a family awaiting the birth of their new baby girl. When the baby finally arrived, the doctors put the little baby in the mother’s arms. The mother pulled the covers away from the baby’s face and looked into her beautiful brown hazel eyes.
“Oh my gosh! You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. “The mother exclaims. “What should we name her?” the mother asks the father.
The father looks nervous. He makes a face. Looks at the mother and turns away. “I’m not good at this…but maybe we should call her Talysah.”
The mother looks down at the baby sleeping in her arms, “I love it! Talysah, hi, you’re my new baby girl.” The mother gently rocks her in her arms. She smells like baby milk and fresh wipes. It’s a good smell. “I am so proud to have you, my daughter. I will always protect you and keep you with me, so help me God.”
Fifteen years later, Talysah found herself alone. Her mother wasn’t able to protect her baby girl like she always promised. Her mother got sick and her father became addicted to alcohol. Their life completely changed when her mother died. One day, after school, Talysah found her father drunk with a terrible attitude. He got mad at her for no reason, blamed her for stuff she didn’t’ do, and hit her until she couldn’t stand. Her older brother walked into the house and he saw a mess; pieces of glass with blood on it and a fist size hole in the wall.
“What the H**L happened in here?” He screams at his father. The father doesn’t move from the couch. He is on the couch with a bottle in his hand, and hazy look in his eyes.
“Wat ya doin heya?” he mumbles.
The brother gets excited. He clenches his fists. He yells, “Where’s my sister?” he looks at the blood on the glass. “What have you done with Talysah?”
“I don’t know who you’d be talkin to like dat?” The father says barely able to talk.
The brother turns around and searches the house. He runs upstairs and notices a faint cry from the bathroom. He knocks gently on the bathroom door, but there was no reply. He knew she was in there and all he could think about is his little sister in pain. His hands were shaking as he took his house key and forced it into the hole of the door knob. The lock clicked open. His heart was beating so fast. His hands were barely steady, when he found Talysah lying in the tub, bleeding. She was scratched and bruised up and down her arms. Her lip was swollen, and tears made wet marks down her face. She had a paralyzed look.
“Oh my gosh. What happened? What did he do to you?”
Taylsah was unable to answer him. She was too scared. The brother leaned into the tub and wrapped his arms around Talysah.
“It’s gonna be all right. I’m gonna getcha out of this house.”
Rei-Shawn picks her up out of the tub and carries her down the stairs. As soon as her reached the bottom of the steps he found his father walking towards him still with that hazy look still in his eyes.
“Where yah takin her? You aint goin nowhere with dat girl. She’s stayin here with me.”
Rei-Shawn holds Talysah protectively in one arm and with his other arm he blocks the father from their way. “I’m taking Talysah and her things back to my apartment. And we’re getting the h*ll out of here!” He swiftly moves to the door.
“Fine, you all can stay the F**k away from my house. I don’t want to see your f**in faces here no more. And don’t try comin back.” The father yells and throws the almost empty bottle at their heads, but misses them. It crashes against the wall. The door slams shut, and the brown liquid drips down the wall. The broken glass sticks to the wall and scatters on the ground, while Rei-Shawn gently places Talysah in the back seat of the car. She lays there almost unconscious.
“It’s gonna be alright from now on. I’m not gonna let anyone or anything hurt you.” Talysah can’t answer. She’s half asleep, and Rei-Shawn closes the car door gently. He looks at her and can’t believe the father went this far. She’s really messed up. He turns the key in the ignition and feels overwhelmed by sorrow. He holds the tears back and drives away.
Rei-Shawn opens the door to his apartment building. People in the lobby stare at him holding Talysah up as they walk to the elevator. He looks at them looking at him and realizes that they think he did this to her.
His neighbor comes over and asks him, “What happened to her?”
“Aw, it’s my father again. He got drunk and beat her bad. Really messed her up. I don’t want to talk about it, I’m too upset.”
“Sweetie, come get me if you need anything. I’ll be next door. You can ask me for help anytime.” His neighbor picks up her grocery bags and walks down the hall. The other tenants stop staring at him. But they look at Talysah, all scratched and bruised, and he can feel them judging him. I don’t have time for this. I gotta fix situation.
Two weeks later, Talysah is feeling so much better. Most of her scars have started to heal. Her hazel eyes are greener and brighter, and she feels more confident about herself than she has in the past ten years. The house phone rings. She walks over to the phone. She recognizes her father’s number. Too timid to pick up the phone, she walks away, trembling.
“Rei-Shawn, the phone is ringing. It’s Dad, and I don’t want to pick up. I really don’t want to speak to him.”
“Don’t pick it up!” Rei-Shawn shouts. “He’s just gonna keep calling until he gets you, but I’m not gonna lethum near you.”
An hour later, there is a knock at the door. Talysah walks to the door and unlocks all three locks. She wasn’t really thinking about anything, when she cracks the door open a few inches. She is shocked to see her father standing in front of her. Her heart races. Both her hands are shuddering as she slams the door shut. She runs away from the door.
“Rei-Shawn, Dad is here. I don’t know why. What’s he want? I don’t want to see him. I don’t want to be hurt.” She cries.
Their father calls out from the door. His fists smash against the door “Open up. I just want to talk. I need to talk to you.”
“Calm down, Tay Tay,” Rei-Shawn says, gently guiding her to the bedroom. “Just stay here. I’m gonna handle him.”
Rei-Shawn opens the door. “Whatcha doin at my apartment? You not welcome here.” The father shoves Rei-Shawn out of his way and enters the apartment. The father unclenches his fists and tries to calm himself down. He didn’t come to fight. He was still sober, hadn’t had any alcohol all afternoon.
“Where my daughter? I need to speak to her.”
“She don’t want to speak to you. You gotta get the f**k out of my house NOW!”
The father gets a temper and raises his voice. Both of them argue shouting and cursing at each other. Talysah comes out of the bedroom. She tries not to cry, but she watches them. I can’t believe this stuff is happening to me again. I am so sick of the arguments. She walks swiftly to the kitchen, and dials the police. I just can’t keep dealing with this in my life. “Mommy, I wish I got to know you…I wish you were here. Everything would have been so much better.”
Rei-Shawn grabs the father jacket and pulls him out the door. “You better leave us alone. Stay the f** away from us or there’s gonna be real trouble.”
Talysah looks out the window and says, “The cops are here.”
“Girl, ya called de Po Po on me?” The father says, raising his voice even louder. “I’m gonna getchou back for dis.” He says, running down the hall. The policeman opens the stairwell door and snatches the father.
Talysah holds Rei-Shawn’s arm and grips him tightly. “I’m so sorry that I called the police. I just can’t deal with this anymore. I can’t just let you do everything. I gotta do stuff for myself too.”
Rei-Shawn wraps his arms around Taylsah and holds her tight. He smiles softly. A tear glides down Talysah’s face and squeezes him back.
“I’m gonna be all right. I’m not gonna let him do anything to me.” Talysah says.
“We’re gonna get through this together.”