The Dreadful 21
I stood in front of my old home in Harlem and just stared at the orange bricks and burnt orange door with a gold knocker attached. I shook my head and smirked as I felt the relief and happiness of being far away from this place. It is such a nice home but is engulfed in so many of my bad memories and hard experiences. I took a deep breath, ran up the three brown cement steps and hurried inside. Just when I was about to enter my old bedroom to have another moment with ShanayaZalam a male voice penetrated through the door and I froze. I leaned in towards the door a little closer and heard him say “Look stink I know I messed up, she seduced me what was I supposed to do?” I sucked my teeth and rolled my eyes because I remembered the voice of that malignant individual all too well, then I heard ShanayaZalam say “you know what? I knew all this time that you were cheating and betraying but my love for you made me ignore my instincts every time it set the alarm off. Please just go and I hope you can live with the fact that you stepped on the heart of someone who genuinely loved you, I promise you will never find someone who would sacrifice and love you the way I did, I promise not even your own mama would do for you the things I have done, now I know why she doesn’t even like you, you shameless dog.” I heard a shuffling of a bag so I jumped inside the bathroom that was next to my old room and watched as my forever ill willed ex-boyfriend exited the room, with a nap sack on his back and a look of disturbance on his face.
After the door slammed behind him I walk in the room and found ShanayaZalam staring out the window in a daze. She took a deep breath and said “Hi ShanayaNour, I feel your presence and I know you’re around because I only remember you when you decide to pay a visit.” I said “can you at least turn around and look at me?” she turned around slowly and I was shocked to see myself in such a low state. I said “Believe me he is not the one for you, so try to shake off the hopeless feeling that’s in your heart.” She covered her face with her hands and said “you know ShanayaNour I can’t even cry, it’s like my heart is dead. He is the second man who I loved that slept around on me and got another woman pregnant like a nasty animal, yet after my first love broke my heart I can’t feel a thing. It’s almost like I expected it.” I took a deep breath and said “I remember all too well this dreadful feeling you carry inside of you.” She looked at me and said “Well at least for you it’s a distant memory.”
I rolled my eyes and said “not that distant, I remember these things like it was yesterday.” I sat on the bed with a tense feeling in my chest and said “I am now certain ShanayaZalam that we invited all of those men into our life in order to run away from our unexplained problem. We kept this going for so long only to learn that the problem of getting harassed, beaten and seeing things in our sleep never goes away because of the company we keep, and giving ourselves to men doesn’t make it better it only robs us of our dignity. Every time we trust another boyfriend enough to let him into our personal circle, that demon gets stronger. It feels like abuse only we could never prove it. How could we go to the police and tell them that a spirit is harassing and raping us, they probably would lock us up for being insane.” She shook her head in agreement but then started to cry.” I smiled and said “See ShanayaZalam you can still feel something.” She started crying harder and said “I am crying out of fear. Last night I was looking for that bastard ex-boyfriend of mine but he could not be reached, of course now I know because he was out with another girl, I finally was tired enough to fall asleep and then suddenly a spirit came to me in my sleep and said that no matter how many boyfriends he allows me to have that I ultimately belonged to him and he would eventually take my soul and do whatever he wants to me. ShanayaNour what is this hell that I am living in? I tried with all my might to wake up from this nightmare but I couldn’t and then it happened, he put his hands around my neck and began choking me. I tried my best to fight him back but he was too strong and then I called on one of those saints I learned about but this only made him stronger. I swear to you I couldn’t breathe; I thought he was going to take me. I finally gave up and just accepted that I was about to die and then suddenly I was able to jump out of my sleep. I breathed hard and tried to catch my breath, then I heard a voice say “that’s just a preview into the hell I am gonna put you through if you don’t do what I want you to.” I just cried, and cried, and cried some more.
When I calmed down a little my phone rang, I jumped up because I thought it was my ex-boyfriend, in hopes that he was on his way to me so that I could sleep in peace. It’s funny how I only am able to have peace when I have a man next to me. But it wasn’t him. I picked up the phone and all I heard was a female voice say “Hey you Miss Wonderful Shanaya that you know who loves so much, He is my man now and you better stay away from him or I will come to broke down Harlem and it will be over for you.” I just sighed because all I could think about was that terrible experience I just had and said “You can have him; apparently my life is already over, so do whatever you want.” I don’t think she was expecting that response so she just tried to ensure that I was intimidated and said, “You just better remember what I said” and hung up the phone. ShanayaNour I hate my life and even though you stand in front of me to give me hope, I still don’t believe I will make it another nine years to get to thirty.”
After ShanayaZalam finished talking I grabbed her arm to hold her up because she looked as if her knees were weak and could fall at any moment. I looked her deep in her beautiful brown eyes and said “You will have a loving Husband who only see’s you, You will find a way to beat the devil that appears to have won the fight, you will become a success and travel throughout the world, you will never quit because you are not built for that, you will overcome all the odds even though your enemies may not think so, you will be a great support in giving direction to your family and others and most of all you will write a book entitled, Nothing Is What It Appears To Be so that others can learn from your life experiences. You will stay strong and keep believing that you have a purpose and that God most high does not hate you and has not forsaken you. You will refuse to give your soul to the devil no matter how strong he may seem to be and no matter how hard he fights you for it.”
She looked at me with a tint of inspiration in her expression and said “Ok ShanayaNour, I still believe you.” I smiled and said “Hold on tight, and by the way that nasty ex-boyfriend of yours or ours I should say has chosen the devil, so do your best in staying away from him. You will find out some horrendous things about him that you would never believe. He sleeps with many women, he raped a little boy, and he will do his best to come back and hold onto you because after a while he will realize that you were the only light in his life. He will even try to do magic on you to try to get you to go back to him. He will want to make your life miserable because he will want you back so badly. Yet I don’t want you to worry because God breaks the tie between you and him and releases you from his insanity forever. You become purified and protected from all that he attempts to do to you and he will never be able to reach you or affect you ever again. Whatever he did to you will not even be a second thought and you may even forget that he ever existed. He is like a devil in disguise and that’s far from what God has for your life, so don’t worry and appreciate that he went out and was a shameless dog because you really don’t need that in your life. This pain will cease and you will move on and be so grateful that he is gone from you forever.
ShanayaZalam looked at me and said “This is why I love your visit because you always give me hope, But what am I supposed to do about this damn demon that has been harassing me all of my life?” I grabbed her hand and said “you will find the truth and know what to do, right now is not the time because you have so much more to learn before the answers will unfold to you. Just trust that you will make it and always do whatever your heart inclines you to do for that is God guiding you. Oh and being with men does not help the problem but I can’t stop you from catching another fish, like I said before, what’s done is done.” ShanayaZalam smiled and said “I don’t know why but I just feel like I always need a boyfriend, I just wish all the men that I attract were not always a well-dressed lie.” I laughed and said “ain’t that the truth, But the one for you is awesome and no one will be able to keep him away from you, he was made just for you and will trump them all. So be patient.” She smiled and said “ok ShanayaNour, ok.”
I left the house and walked up the street staring at what my beloved Harlem used to be. It was the same but for some reason the energy felt different to me. I headed home and once I turned the key to my apartment I was back in 2015 happy to be thirty. People complain about turning thirty, but for me it’s such a blessing. I was able to get the answers I needed to get out of the hell I was living in and write it all down for the world to see and yet again after seeing ShanayaZalam I was sure that Nothing Is What It Appears To Be.