post-procedural

I.

She saw blood whenever she looked at her hands and heard the crying of newborns. The guilt, the crushing weight of it, threatened to suffocate her; not even tears of grief were rightfully hers to be shed. So she suffers, tries to wash her hands. The world sees only raw peeling skin but no one asks why.

II.

She dreams of blinding white walls and streams of gore running down her legs. Somewhere far off is the whirring of a machine, it sounds like a vacuum. The song of death is a plaintive wail that pierces the walls and tears through the air. It is the fire that sucks the oxygen from the room, clawing raw and naked from the very bottom of the lungs. This is anguish. She knows it all too well now.

III.

Here is no forgiveness. There is no one who can grant it. He or she died with the whirring of the vacuum-like machine. There is now only pain, fresh and sharp, scraping. And then there is the emptiness where once there was the budding of life. Know this.

IV.

The specter of what if and what could have been is real. Torture unseen in the dead-eyed smile that covers the gaping wound, this mask she wears so everyone believes all is well and she is not one of those girls who had it done. Don’t look too close or you’ll see it: the ghost in her eyes. Was it a boy or a girl?

V.

What then is left, after the removal of the thing they told you was just a simple removal of a cluster of cells? It’s just so, so simple, they promised. No big deal and you will barely feel a thing afterward. You will go on with your life and you will forget and things will just be peachy-keen and oh-so-fucking fabulous. You’ll be better for it. No scars. That part is true. No scars. If no one sees it, then it doesn’t exist. Right.

VI.

And then…and then…there was the milk. Three days on with the emptiness and the blood she felt fluid drip onto her thighs when she sat down on the toilet and when she looked there was fluid leaking from her nipples. Milk. Thick, white, sticky and sweet when she touched it to her lips, her tongue. The sweetness nearly killed her. She took. Her body gave. There is no mouth to feed, to catch the bounty of what her breasts yielded so willingly. Blood, tears, and milk, this is the aftermath. No one tells you about this.

VII.

One day, the doves came. They are her favorite birds. Mother dove feeds her children with milk from her body. On that day, there were two. One flew to the window, tapped the glass with its beak. It’s alright, it seemed to say to her. It’s alright. The soul never dies. Remember this. Forgive yourself.

VIII.

I will forgive myself when I am ready. I’m almost there. Almost. I look at my hands and I see a little less blood. The years have smoothed the edges of mourning and frayed, dried skin that’s been rubbed raw by all the washing.

Forgiveness will come. There is no forgetting, not for all of us, ever. Let me be the one to tell you about this.

 

snapshot.

WARNING–ADULT CONTENT!!

When Erika led K__ upstairs by the hand to her bedroom, there was a Labor Day party taking place in the courtyard behind the house. Hundreds of people, a “little” shindig thrown together by her housemates. Some knew what it was between the two, some didn’t, no one cared by then.

They’d barely gotten inside and locked the door before tearing the clothes off one another. Their lips pressed together in hard kisses, over and over, as they made their way over and plopped onto the bed. They paused just long enough for her to hand him a condom (polyurethane because it felt much better than latex) and he slipped it on before sliding on top of her and burying himself deep inside her as the music thronged and people danced and the smell of food cooking in the courtyard wafted up through her window which directly overlooked the area.

Somewhere in the back of her mind as their bodies moved under the hue of the red light she installed above the bed, she wondered if anyone could see and yet she didn’t give a damn, it was so good, so good. It didn’t appear that anyone did or if they had, no one made any noise about it.

They’d first gotten together a year prior, Erika and K__, in this very same house, at a different party. The occasion for that was Memorial Day. That was before she’d had an argument with her overbearing mother and decided to move out once and for all and it just so happened this room at this house was available. She moved in two days later. It was just as well, she was 25 now, a good age, long overdue in Erika’s opinion to go out into the world and do what she wanted without anyone giving her shit over it.

On the way to the Memorial day party, she rode the train with her friend Rye and as it sped through Brooklyn, they’d reviewed the list of guys they haven’t yet slept with in their circle.

“Who would you sleep with next?” Rye asked Erika.

“I don’t know…most of the guys we hang out with are knuckleheads.” They both laughed. Then she thought about it. “Well, maybe K__. He’s short but he’s got a nice body.”

“Studies martial arts too!” Rye chimed in.

“Yeah there’s also that! If he has the discipline for that then I’m willing to bet he’s good in bed too!” they both laughed again.

“He’s a virgin though.”

“Yeah? Ain’t he 22 years old?”

“Never been with a woman before. He admits it.”

“Damn. I bet you if he so much as touches your arm you’ll come in your jeans!” They fell all over themselves and almost missed their stop.

At the party, the booze flowed and before long Rye pulled K__ aside and told him what Erika said. From that point on he stayed glued to Erika’s side until sometime towards the end of the night and they found themselves in the corner.

“So,” he breathed right into her face softly, “Is it true you really said those things about me?”

“Is it true you really are a virgin?”

He nodded, smiled. A beautiful row of teeth glowed in the dim light as the other partygoers moved all around them. “It’s true.”

“How did that happen?”

“Just turned out that way, I guess.” They chuckled at this and before Erika knew it, K__ was kissing her. She heard the stunned OOOHS!!! and AHHHHS! all around them as her face seemed to melt onto his and they were pressed up against the wall and holding each other as the cheering and hooting and hollering became louder and next thing after that someone put a latex with an orange wrapper in her hand and was ushering them up the stairs to a spare bedroom right across from where her own bedroom-to-be was and then they were taking their clothes off and she slipped the condom onto his hard member as he didn’t know how before mounting him, lowering herself onto him. He was huge, much larger than his short height would ever indicate, and young, and so ready.

She rode him, hard, this virgin who was no longer a virgin thanks to her, and she felt his energy and his youth and his thickness and length and before she knew it she was hollering and howling and had three orgasms one after another and somewhere lost in her screams were his own moans and groans and she felt the condom fill up to the brim and then it was done. That was the first time.

Now here they were, in her room, with the party below and the stereos blasting reggaeton and hip hop and r&b with the room awash in red. Over the course of the year he’d go to her and they’d sleep together, then sometimes out of the blue dump her and tell her about how he was in love with some Indian girl he was friends with but how she didn’t want him in that same way. It hurt Erika when he’d wax on and on about the other girl. One time, just after sex in that very same bed, he got to talking about this other girl and how her family arranged for her to be married to some other guy, and laid his head on Erika’s shoulder and cried real tears over it.

Erika forgot about all this and more, as their bodies rocked and the bed shifted and creaked underneath their bodies that dripped with clean sweat. She stifled the moans and cries that threatened to burst forth from her mouth as the oblivious light shone down on them and the liquor flowed downstairs and no one gave a damn. Finally after an hour, she shuddered and came for what must have been the 5th or 6th time and then he came too and plopped down on top of her.

They laid like that for several minutes before he rolled off her and down to the end of the bed. Sat there in brooding silence for a minute, his penis still wet and exposed, with his head hanging down between his shoulders.

“What’s wrong?” she asked him.

He sat there, unmoving.

“Hey K__, what’s wrong?” She reached out and stroked the back of his head and neck.

“I can’t see you anymore.” His voice was barely above a whisper.

Her blood ran cold. “What?”

“I said I can’t see you anymore.”

She blinked. “Wha– what?”

He turned his face halfway in her direction. “I can’t see you anymore. I just came here to be with you one last time. I thought maybe I could take a piece of you with me.”

“What the fuck do you mean? You mean you knew you were going to dump me before you even came here?”

“I’m sorry.”

“What the fuck.” She jumped off the bed onto her feet, still naked. “You know what, just get out. Get the fuck outta my room!”

He rose to his feet while awkwardly trying to pull up his pants. “I’m sorry I thought–”

“Thought what? That I’d be okay with this shit? Omigod just get out of my room!” She was pushing him now towards the door. “Just get out, just go!”

“I thought we could be friends–” Erika slammed the door hard in his face. Picked up his shirt, opened the window wider, and tossed it out. Then she threw herself back onto her bed and cried.

Deep down she knew it was coming sooner or later. She knew it. She also knew that before long they’d find their way to each other again. The chemistry was just too good. Besides, where else was he going to go? To the Indian girl? That wasn’t ever happening. So Erika laid there bare naked and crying and humiliated, but still hopeful. Downstairs the party was beginning to die down. She took out her cell phone and took a couple of pics of herself crying. She didn’t know what she was going to do with them yet. Then she got dressed and went downstairs. Maybe there was still some booze left.

MeToo and TimesUP

From women to men, a basic simple request for respect of boundaries. That’s what this is all about. I can’t tell you how many times in my life that I’ve simply walked down the street and had some dude grabbing at me, groping me on the subway, following me down the street, practically stalk me at work because he couldn’t or wouldn’t take no for an answer, and it goes on and on. I’m grateful that things have never gone as far as some of the horrific stories we’ve all seen, heard or personally witnessed and experienced but still it makes me so damn angry that us women have to put up with any of this mess at all. And when a woman actually stands up for herself and speaks out, here is one of my favorite responses:

“Well maybe you shouldn’t wear those jeans/that top/that skirt/that dress.” Here’s another I’ve heard too many men say: “You must be dressing for us. If not then why are you wearing that?”

Wearing what? I don’t have to look pretty for anyone but myself. I am not obligated to look good for you; these tight ass jeans are for me. I like how I look with this outfit on. Sometimes I might just be dressed down or like a slob because I feel like it–doesn’t stop you from breaching boundaries while all I’m trying to do is go about my day.

This is MY body, my hips, my ass my tits. MY vagina. Within this body is a heart, a mind and a soul that stores all the trauma you inflict when you treat me like a piece of meat or a walking hole to stick your pisser in, whether I agree to it or not. You do not own this; all this is mine. When I lay down with you (if that’s what I choose to do, more on that shortly), I’m not giving you anything–I’m sharing it. Yep there’s a difference. It is mine to share with whom I wish, it is not yours to grab and take. Only I have the right to say yes or no to whomever I want to say it to for whatever reason–if it ain’t you then that’s just too damn bad. Go stomp off and be mad. You are not entitled to any of this.

Just like your parents (should have) told you back when you were a kid on the playground and at school, “Son, you do not take what isn’t yours, you ask permission first!”, this is what we are telling you now. Simple as that. There is no reason in the world though to have to remind grown ass men to act their age, not their shoe size. No reason why we should have to fear for our job security, our well-being, or our lives just for saying “NO!”

I’m happy to see so many women are standing up and speaking out. However I will say that it is within out best interests to see that truly innocent parties aren’t getting swept up in the current. While us women are doing our part in speaking out, what I also want to see is more parents stress to their sons the importance of maintaining boundaries. That whole “boys will be boys” mentality is not going to fly any longer. Biology has nothing to do with it–it’s about respect for your fellow human beings who happen to be female.

 

 

What this is all about

My name is N.E. Langston. The N. is for Nicole, E. is for Erica but I wanted to abbreviate it because it just fits together like a warm bowl of stew (or chili, mashed potatoes what have you) on a cold winter evening. I am a WOC, a Black woman, a Mother, a Wife, increasingly restless and bursting with all the things I should have said some time ago but it’s better late (though it’s not TOO late) than never, right?

I am a writer and have been all my life but I’ve never been published. Not yet. Picked up the pen at 8 years old, took the ball and ran with it all the way through high school, then dropped it and went bullshitting for 20+ years till I finally got tired of the bullshit, picked up the pen again and the words and ideas flow as they always have. If words are water, I am never thirsty.

I am writing a book, the subject and contents of which I’ll post about later. I’ll also be posting original passages, maybe some prose, some vignettes, and some thoughts on a matter of different subjects-mostly current affairs.

Today I decided to create this little blog here to post at length what I cannot on Twitter and chose not to on Facebook. I may be all over the place as that is often the nature of my thoughts but know that I write from the heart–and those are the truest words that anyone can write. My words pour forth with a great deal of urgency as I feel I have a lot of making up to do. Please excuse the mess.