A voice whispered from the depths of time:
“Hold on, be strong.”
She felt the energy as it filled her spirit, washing through her sadness, ringing it up like a cold towel.
She felt no relief, only understanding.
She glanced down at her wrist and pulled the blade back.
The studio session ended and the choir exited the booth.
“Damn y’all, that shit was fire. We’re gonna make a banger out of this one, it’s gonna change the game.”
Andre leaned back in his seat, taking a sip of his cranberry juice.
“So many knuckleheads running around these parts acting like a buncha clowns. My girl, my car, ima star…man fuck that. We need some realness. We need transcendence. We need something more.”
Big Boi took a pull from his spliff, cloud release in a haze of smoke.
“I feel ya Dre, but there ain’t shit to do about it. Real nigga this, real nigga that. It’s been that way, we’ve been that way, actin like we know something we don’t already know.”
Big Boi took another pull.
“And fuck it man, Y’know? There are things we want, paper makes all this shit happen. We can’t deny it.”
Andre bent over his chair and put his head down.
“I know dude, I know.”
Andre lifted himself up catching Big Boi’s eyes. They nodded in unison.
She pulled herself up from the floor and stood in front of the mirror.
“It can’t feel this way forever. I can’t feel this way forever.”
She stared at herself and held her gaze, looking deep into her eyes.
The world around her began to shift and bend, blurring in and out of focus. Her left eye slid down her face. She saw through her body and into her heart. She saw the moment as it existed and felt a separation from pain. A separation from her body. She observed herself as she fell deep into the gaze of her own eyes.
The crowd moved and vibed to the beat.
Andre stepped up stage center, mic in hand. He pulled back a breath and began to flow:
“All of the bullshit, we on our back staring at the stars above, talkin bout what we gonna be when we grow up. I said what you wanna be?
She said alive.
It made me think for a minute and then I looked in her eyes. I coulda died. Time went on, I got grown, rhyme got strong, mind got blown, I came back home to find lil Sasha was gone.
Her mama said she with a nigga that be treating her wrong.
I kept on singing my song and hoping at a show, that I would one day see her standing in the front row.
But two weeks later she got found in the back of a school. With a needle in her arm. Baby too much doo…”
Andre lost the moment. His body shuddered as he fell into the past, the crowd looking up expectantly as his head slumped down.
The beat continued to bump as Andre stood motionless. Alone in a sea of people.
She felt a surge of cognition as her mind came back into focus.
She saw herself, standing softly in front of her boyfriends mirror.
Her body was beaten, but her spirit felt alive. She would stay alive.
She sat down on the toilet seat and gathered her thoughts. What would she say to him? How could she stop him?
She knew she was in for more pain, more heartache and abuse, but she loved him. She loved him.
“Sasha!!!! What the fuck you doin in there?!? We gots to go god damnit.”
Her body tensed up and she snapped back to reality.
She gathered herself and put a thin layer of makeup on to cover the bruises.
She slid her supplies into her purse and took one last look in the mirror.
She saw herself.
She took a deep breathe and exhaled.
She shook her arms out, puffed out her chest, and stretched the muscles of her face.
She turned around and opened the door, the smell of alcohol and weed sobering her senses.
“What the fuck?!? You gonna take all god damn day? God damn!”
He grabbed her wrist and they moved through the apartment. Out the front door.