Faith carefully attended the bruise on her leg. If she wore a long skirt it would hide the swelling on her leg. From the vent in the bathroom, she could hear him talking to that stupid poodle of his.
Her eyes fluttered to hold back the tears that wanted to fall.
‘No sense of crying. Toughen up, Faye,’ she heard the shadow in her brain sneer.
Since she was a little girl, living out on the streets with Shadow, she learned the mean things in life would happen to her and there was nothing else to do about it.
‘You gotta fight for it.”
Unfortunately, there hadn’t been a fighting bone in Faith’s body ever.
Biting her lip to push back the painful sob that wanted to be released. Physical pain was becoming more and more accepting in her life.
She looked out the bathroom window down in the far corner of the backyard where that cursed doghouse was – A stupid doghouse that took him a whole year to build.
What an idiot! Who took a whole year to build a doghouse for a lap poodle? It wasn’t even that big!
The only good thing it represented was the happy days. The days when James had a job, they lived in the suburb in a beautiful home and she loved him, despite his occasionally weekend drunkenness.
As time went by the drinking became worse, then it turned into drugs – First uppers, then downers and finally heroin. He lost his job, lost all their assets and ended up homeless.
Faith had to get three jobs to support them. In the mornings, she worked as a home nurse for an old woman with diabetes, in the afternoon she worked fours hours as a telemarketer for a carpet cleaning company and at night she was a waitress at a restaurant in the St. Royal Hotel in downtown Chicago.
Limping over to the full-length mirror, she opened her robe and looked at the black and blue marks on her light brown skin. If she had been dark as her adopted sister, Glenda, the bruises would not show so bright, but at least the new bruises on Faith didn’t show as much and since she had good strong bones, James never broke any – at least not yet. The beatings were getting worse. This time he had slammed her against the wall because she had forgotten to open the beer before serving him.
If she wore the proper clothes, she figured she could cover up the visible bruises and deal with the rest when they decided to show up. She had always hated her skin. Not only was it light. From what she knew about her birth father, he was white and her mother was black.
It wasn’t because she had met them, but because she remembered when she was ten and they had picked her up for picking pockets at Hart Plaza in Downtown Detroit, some man was saying how they pulled her file form long ago.
“It says right here her daddy was white and her crack whore mother was black.”
Faith had tried to get her hands on that file, but had been unsuccessful and when asked about it later, no one knew anything.
There were assets to Faith’s body she liked. She had been skinny all her life, and fortunately had not gained any weight like Glenda, yet Glenda had gotten all the attention from their adoptive parents. Faith wasn’t bitter about that because by then, she was used to being ignored. Glenda had been already adopted when this family had taken Faith in. Spoiled to the bone, Glenda didn’t need beauty to get her way. She had cunning skills and devious styles to get what she wanted.
Faith just had her own street smarts and the experience of staying out of the way of others who really didn’t want her around.
Twelve years, Faith had tried to make the best of things for herself, but whenever she made decisions for herself they usually turned out to be screwed up. The only things she had ever found herself good at was living on the streets, being a Girl Scout and excelling in her education. During her last year of high school, she met and married James Calsey, five years her senior the summer right after high school.
While James worked to become the best salesperson for a corporate company, she attended community college to receive her Liberal Arts Associates. She had a good eye for art and was going to transfer to Wayne State University to study Art Appreciation, but things began to go very wrong early in their marriage and she gave up her educational plans to support her husband. Yet, it seemed the more she supported him the more hateful he became. Soon after the drug abuse, the beatings started soon after.
Telling would mean leaving and leaving would mean she’d be alone. Though James was the worst person she could ever imagine staying with, he made her feel like she was important in this world and Faith knew she was not confident enough to be out there all by herself anymore.
“I love you too. I love you too,” she heard James coddling the poodle through the vent.
She flinched as the hate built up in her gut even more over that poodle.
He had gotten that stupid poodle from a bet and had spent her money re-building that stupid dog house when they had to move here to this two bedroom ranch style home in Detroit’s crappy Westside. Even after they moved, he made sure that dog lived in the lap of luxury by making sure the dog house was placed in a specific location of the backyard and that the dog had the very best food and toys.
“Faith, get your ass down here and get me another beer,” James growled.
A shudder passed through her as she closed the robe, hiding the perfect house glass figure underneath it and went to get her husband a beer.
The Other Side of Love Chapter 1 (c) 2007 Sylvia Hubbard