CHANNILLO

Nightmares and Secrets (1)
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Mercedes he blaring of the phone ringing snapped Mercedes out of the dream world and back into reality. Without thinking twice or checking the caller ID, she answered with a groggy hello. “Yea bitch you thought you were gonna get away from me!” “I’ll see you soon!” The call ended as fast as it started. Mercedes sat straight up in bed, clicked on the light, checked the time on her phone. 2:45 she said to herself. Grabbing her notebook off the stand she wrote down the time the call came in, what was said along with the other calls that had come in earlier. The calls had started up again a few days ago. Mercedes thought she had done everything right, never taking the same way twice and always looking over her shoulder. She was just always being extra cautious. Despite months of being careful and hiding, her ex had found a way to contact her again. In her mind she had already started packing up and moving yet another time, but something inside her began to grow stone and callous. The word NO screamed so forcefully in her mind that it bellowed out her mouth into the darkness of the room. I’m tired of uprooting my life, and my kids. The tears were falling soaking her night gown within minutes. After letting herself cry for a moment Mercedes dried her face with her hands and got out of bed. She stopped for a brief moment to check the baggage under her eyes in the mirror on the dresser before she went down the hall to check on the kids. They were perfectly sound asleep tucked tight under the covers, not affected by the madness and she wanted to keep it that way. Mercedes checked the windows, under beds, and in the closet before leaving each room. She then made her way around the rest of the house making sure every nook and cranny was the way she left it. After checking her fortress from top to bottom Mercedes climbed back into bed. “Lord I ask you to protect us in our troubled times. Let us come to no hurt, harm, or danger. In Jesus name I do pray, Amen.” Mercedes snuggled into her pillows and let sleep take over, Mercedes met her ex when she was 16 years old. At that point in her life Mercedes felt like a pawn in a custody battle between her parents. The constant war between them and the never ending moving from house to house left her confused. She felt misunderstood, lonely, and that fueled with raging hormones turned her into an out of control teenager. To cover her pain, she turned to alcohol and sex. She would constantly run away and get in trouble at school. Mercedes was on a whirlwind path to a troubled life. Until one day while she was visiting her sister Michelle for the summer she met a tall light skinned brother named Hakeem. He walked by her sister’s porch, he most definitely caught her eye, but she wasn’t sure if she caught his. “Mmm mmm mmm!” Mercedes said to herself as she watched the light skinned cutie turn the corner and disappear. After taking a sip of the forty of Ole English she had just popped open Mercedes bent down to finish painting her toes. “What you doing drinking that?” an unfamiliar voice said above her head. Mercedes quickly sat up and was looking right into the brown eyes of the handsome stranger that had passed by earlier. “I guess I had caught his eye after all.” Mercedes said to herself. They exchanged pleasantries, he sat down, she poured him a cup, and they began to talk. By the end of the night they felt like they had known each other forever. Over the next few weeks Mercedes began sneaking Hakeem into her sister’s house at night while everyone was upstairs sleeping. They would have sex all night and she would sneak him back out in the morning before everyone got up. Mercedes just knew she was in love. But at 16 who really knows what love is. She was about to get a rude awakening. The smell of chicken frying awoke Mercedes and she got up and headed to the kitchen. “Man, that food smell so good that woke me out my sleep!” Mercedes said as she peeped inside pots on the stove. Her sister shooed her away and she went upstairs to relieve her bladder, wash her face, and brush her teeth. Moments later Mercedes came back to the kitchen and sat at the table. While waiting on her sister to finish cooking Mercedes ate two lunchables and three oranges. “Dude I’m starving.” Mercedes said to her sister as she began rummaging through the fridge for food. She found some left over food from the night before. Mercedes warmed up the food ate it but was still in search of more food. It felt like the more she ate the hungrier she became. After watching her sister devour what seemed like an endless array of food, Michelle turned around, put her hand on her hips, and said “Mercedes you pregnant?” “What! No!” Mercedes responded. She played back the amount of food she had just consumed and thought to herself, “I can’t be pregnant? Can I?” Mercedes got up from the table, dumped her plate in the trash, and went back downstairs to her makeshift bedroom. The words swam through her head like a swarm of hornets nesting in the flesh under her skull. She spent the next few days pondering the question in her head. It wasn’t until her friend Charity confided in her that she thought she was pregnant and she was going to the free clinic to take a test, that she decided that she should do the same. They two girls had been friends for some time and over the summer became practically inseparable. Charity had already become a mother last year to a beautiful little girl that Mercedes just adored. However, looking at her friend with a baby on her hip and listening to her talk about thinking she could be expecting another scared the life out of Mercedes. “I don’t know if I’m ready to become a mother.” Mercedes thought to herself. Despite her uneasy feeling Mercedes quickly agreed to go with her but she didn’t disclose her own reason for going. Charity and Mercedes arrived at the clinic late one evening. Mercedes hadn’t told anybody in her family what she was going to the clinic for. She had finally broken down and told Charity that she thought she was pregnant too. They both signed in but when they were called up to the counter the receptionist said that since they were under age they had to have an adult consent for them to be seen. There was no way Mercedes was calling anybody that she knew to get permission. There would be too many questions asked. Finally, Charity called her mom, and she agreed to consent for both of them. The walk to the back rooms was like a walk of death for Mercedes. Her heart was beating out her chest so loudly that she could hear it thumping in her ears. The nurse came into the room asked her a few questions about her period and gave her a cup to take to the bathroom to give a sample for the test. Mercedes was so nervous that she was trembling so bad she almost dropped the cup in the toilet while she was peeing in it. After she finished she wiped the cup off, put it inside the little window, washed her hands, and went back outside to the waiting room like she was instructed to do. It felt like an eternity as they sat in the waiting room to hear their names called again to learn their fate. “Charity Adams and Mercedes Jackson” the nurse at the door called them both at the same time. The two friends stared at each

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