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Succumbing to sin: PRIDE
Four days, six hours and forty three minutes.
That's how long its been. The police launched an investigation, like always.
And the cops did little to find out who killed him, like always.
He was a criminal, a dealer, a wanted man, as far as they were concerned the person that murdered him actually did them a favor.
So much for the justice system not being corrupted.
They did care. No body did.
I guess I should have expected that much.
The funeral was scheduled for today. Honestly I hadn't made up my mind if I would go or not. I know I should but...
Once again my Pride got in the way.
It was my Pride that stopped me from telling Trey how I felt about him.
My Pride pushed him away.
And now the one moment I should be there for him the most, my damn Pride wouldn't let me.
It kept telling me that shit like this happens everyday. Trey was a drug dealer so it was bound to happen sooner or later. It said I was a fool. Holding onto to foolish dreams. It reminded me the reason why I didn't want to get involved with Trey in the first place. How I should have never allowed myself to feel. To be vulnerable again. Didn't you learn your lesson before?
My Pride kept me from loving him even after he said it over and over again, and even now, on the day of his funeral, my Pride prevented me from expressing any kind of emotion. I wasn't allowed to cry for him. To grieve over him.
I just felt numb. Pride smiled triumphantly. It had finally taught me a lesson. It had finally won.
I sat in the middle of my bed just staring at the wall. The same bed that Trey and I shared the night before he was murdered.
Outside it was raining. Its been raining all week. Since he died. The rain fit my mood though so I didn't mind.
Brandon had called and came by nonstop. For someone who didn't like Trey, he seemed to be around a lot. It angered me, no it pissed me off. Why did he choose to be around? Why now? A knock on my door interrupted my thoughts. It was Janice. She had a bag of crack in one hand and a bottle of some kind of alcohol in the other. She was high.
"Boy." Her words were slurred. No surprise there. "Ain't cha gonna get ready for yer friends funeral?"
I just ignored her. Maybe if I didn't respond she would just leave. Not likely. She staggered over to my bed and grabbed my arm.
"Yew listenin to me boy?" She said shaking me, "I'm talkin to yew?"
I snatched my arm away from her an turned my head the opposite way. If she thought I was gonna give in that easily, she thought wrong. Since when has she ever made me do something I didn't want to, besides living with her, and that was out of necessity. That I couldn't help.
She continued to rant but in all honesty, I just tuned her out. She wasn't saying anything I was interested in anymore. She finally came to her senses and realized that I wasn't listening to her or had no intentions of doing so. She cursed a little more and left frustrated. Whatever.
I returned to my thoughts, but was interrupted yet again by a knock at the door. This time it wasn't Janice like I expected. It was Brandon and he wasn't alone; Shawnice stood behind him quietly avoiding eye contact with me. I took in their appearance. They were both dressed in black. Brandon had on an all back suit with a white button up shirt and black tie. Shawnice wore a black dress that stopped just above her knees. She had a black shawl and heels to match.
I sighed. What was this annoy the hell out of Noah day? I narrowed my eyes and just glared at them. Shawnice glanced from Brandon to the floor. She looked like she was five minutes from running away.
After five minutes passed and no one bothered to say anything I figured that their true goal; was to annoy me and they were doing a damn good job of it. If this was their way of making me change my mind, then they'd better had a plan B.
"Is there something you wanted or are you here just to stare at me all day?" I asked managing to keep my voice as emotionless as possible regardless of the fact that I was severely annoyed.
After a while I just gave up. If they wanted to sit here and baby sit me, that's their problem.
"Get up." Brandon demanded after what seemed like forever.
"You heard me. I said get up." He repeated this time more forcefully. "Now!"
I rolled my eyes in protest. There was noting else to say. I wasn't going and that was that. He should just leave now and save his breath.
Brandon silently walked over to the bed, grabbed my arm, and pushed me so that my back was resting on the bed. I was shocked and my face must have showed it. His face was so close to mine that I could feel his breath on my lips. I knew I was blushing, but I couldn't help it; this was a...compromising...position.
"Why don't you just listen for once!" He yelled surprising me. I turned my head so that I didn't have to face him. I tried to struggle and get him off me, but he held me firmly in place without much effort.
"Get off me!" I screamed.
"No not until you stop being a child Noah, its frustrating. I've known you for three years and you haven't changed. You never let anyone in and you run away from your problems. You can't run away from this Noah. If you do you will only destroy yourself. Is that what you want Noah? Do you really want to destroy yourself?" I felt tear drops on my cheek and turned my head so that I was staring into his eyes. He was crying. Because of me. "I care about you don't you get that yet? Stop running Noah...and let me in."
I finally managed to push him off me, not hard, just enough for him to get off me. I stood up and walked towards the door. "The last person who told me they cared about me died." I whispered stopping at the door. "I'll go." With that I left the room. Pride was alive and kicking.
I lied before. I was in love. Once. He was 25 and engaged and I was 14 and involved with Trey, he wasn't ever my boyfriend so technically it wasn't cheating. We met randomly on the street, I was running and not watching where I was going and bumped into him. When I didn't apologize he followed me, yelling something about me being a rude little brat. So naturally I gave him a piece of my mind. He was shocked but not mad. He never had anyone talk to him like I did. We talked more and things happened. I could tell that from the moment we started talking that he was attracted to me. I was hesitant but continued talking to him. I'm glad I did. This guy, Javan, he was different than any other guy I had been with. He made me for the first time in my life, want to commit to him. It wasn't his money, though he was rich, it was simply the fact that he was the first person to treat me like a person. Being with Javan showed me that I was capable of loving someone and to have someone love me back. Its hard for me to talk about him, so I never told any one about him. It was my little secret. I believed Javan loved me, it was just...the wrong time. He was engaged and forced to marry someone he didn't love just for the sake of solidifying his family's power and the bond between his family and his future wife's. His family was part of some legendary Latino mafia. They were real heavy in the stuff to. Next to them Trey looked like a saint. But Javan was different, he wasn't like his family, mainly due to his mother's influence. She was African American and she was beautiful. If I could pick one word to describe her it would be perfection. I've only seen her once and we weren't formally introduced. Trey made sure to keep me away from his mafia life, he didn't want me to get hurt because of it. I fell deeper for him. He brought me many things while we were together, even though I told him it wasn't necessary. He just replied that he loved me and that this was his way of showing it. The most memorable thing he gave me was a solid gold ring with a message engraved on the inside. `El amor vence todos obstá culos' : Love overcomes all obstacles. That became our motto. After he bought the ring he took me to a fancy hotel, I don't remember the name, just that the night was perfect. He had the room decorated with flower peddles, candles lit everywhere, soft music playing in the background, and champagne. Now I was far from the romantic type, clearly, but when I stood in that room and saw how much work and money he put into it, I couldn't help but get caught up in the romance. He did all this...for me. Because he loved me. We spent the night talking about our futures and how we were going to work this out. He said he wasn't going to marry her, he wasn't in love with her like he was with me. I believed him. We spent the rest of the night making love. It was the best moment of my life. I felt like my innocent self again. The next morning I woke up and he was gone. He left a note on the table next to the bed. He said he had gone to confront his family and tell them he couldn't go through with the wedding. He said the hotel was paid for, for another night and that he would be back later. Minutes turned into hours and before I knew it, it was almost midnight. I spent the night alone, he never came back. The next morning I checked out and the woman at the front desk said that a man dropped a letter off for me. I grabbed the letter from her and left. When I got back home I quickly opened the letter and read it. It was from Javan. He said that he had to marry her. It was his duty to his family. He said that he loved me and that he would come back for me someday. He signed the note: `El amor vence todos obstá culos.' I've never cried so hard or felt so betrayed in my life. Days went by, then months, and years until I finally had to face the fact that he wasn't coming back . I didn't cry anymore. It was time to face reality. I threw away everything that he ever gave me...except...the ring. That was the one thing I couldn't allow myself to throw any no matter how hard I tried. It meant to much to me even if it was based on lies. I don't wear it anymore; it stays in the same spot where I keep my journal. The day I stopped believing he would come back, the day love gave up on me, was the day Pride was born.
~Noah 10.20.07 6:45pm
The funeral service was to say the least...dramatic. Full of old women in giant hats screaming `bless his soul' or `lord have mercy' and speaking in language that I personally feel they made up. I wondered how they knew Trey, or if they even knew him at all. They seemed like those old ladies who get dressed and pick out funerals from the Sunday paper just to visit and make a scene. Pathetic. I glance over at Brandon and Shawnice. Brandon just sat there and listened. He seemed like he was in a trance and was tuning the rest of the world out. Shawnice...was being her overly dramatic self as usual. Sobbing loudly and making a scene. I don't know why she was crying so much. He didn't even like her. If anyone deserved to cry it was me, but that's what makes me different from them. I'm not weak. I didn't need to cry and scream at the top of my lungs just to prove that I knew him. Wasn't the fact that I was there proof enough? Crying wasn't going to bring him back. Shouting at the lord wasn't going to bring him back. He was gone and there was nothing anyone could do about it.
I continued to look around and saw one old woman sitting alone, staring at the casket and crying silently. Besides me she seemed to be the only normal one there. Something about her made me curious and I spent the rest of the service wondering who she was. As the service ended and Trey was lowered into the ground, I did feel something. I couldn't explain it, it was just a feeling. As quickly as it came on it left and I was back to my old self again. The people were able to walk forward and throw dirt into the ground where the casket lay, as a sign of him resting in peace. I didn't bother. I left everyone alone and walked back to Brandon's car to wait for them. When I got to the car I realized that Brandon still had the keys and I refused to walk back over there to get them. Pride smiled. That's my boy.
I sat outside the car, a little annoyed. This whole funeral thing was taking too long. How long do people need to cry? I looked around and made eye contact with the woman from before. I guess she took that as her cue to come talk to me. Great just what I needed more boredom.
"Excuse me," Her voice was soft. I barely heard her speak. "I don't mean to bother you but how did you know Trey?"
She was polite...nosy...but polite. I figured the least I could do was be polite back, at least until she became annoying. "He was my boy--" I had to catch myself. It wasn't like I was scared to say it because of her reaction...it just wasn't true. He wasn't my boyfriend. "I just knew him from around." I said adding a fake smile. "How did you know him?"
She smiled warmly. "Oh he was my grandson dear."
Okay I might have heard her wrong for a second it sounded like she said grandson. "Did you say he was your grandson?"
She nodded like it was nothing. "Yes sir." Wow I didn't know Trey's grandmother was still alive, let alone stayed in touch with him. I knew his mother left him a long time ago, but his grandmother stayed around. There was so many questions I wanted to ask her but I couldn't. Pride.
"Oh dear are you alright?" She asked reaching her frail hand out to touch my forehead.
"Yeah I'm fine...really." I said pushing away her hand politely.
He looked at me regretfully. "I understand. Trey's death is hard on us all. I miss him so much."
"Yeah, but people die it's a natural part of life." That was Pride talking now.
"I see." She mumbled. "You cared about him a great deal didn't you?"
Okay this woman has officially gone to far. Now she was asking questions she had no business asking, about things no one has any business to besides me!
"I can see it in your eyes. Its hurting you more then you are letting on. You keep your feelings bottled up hoping that eventually that they will go away, but you know they won't ever go away for good. Not until you face your problems." She was delusional. Senile. What was she some kind of psychic? She didn't even know me. "Your pride clouds your judgment. Until you realize that you will never be able to let this go. Learn from your mistakes boy, your past is your key."
I was speechless. What exactly does someone say to something like that. Honestly I was thinking someone forgot to give this woman her meds this morning, but all that talk about Pride and your past is your key crap made me think.
I turned around to see Brandon and Shawnice walking towards me. She was still crying. Great.
"Noah what are you doing out here by yourself?" Brandon asked stopping in front of me.
I looked at him confused. "I'm not out here by myself, I was talking to--" I turned around to point to Trey's grandmother but she was gone. For and old lady she really does move fast.
"Talking to who?" Brandon asked looking behind me. "Nobody's there?"
I rolled my eyes. "Never mind. Its nothing."
He looked at me suspiciously. "Alright...I guess if your ready to leave we can go."
"Yup I'm ready." I replied and jumped into the car.
The ride home was silent. I actually fell asleep.
When I woke up I was back in my room in my bed. I wasn't alone in my bed though. I looked over to my right to see Brandon's sleeping face. The last person someone slept in my bed with me was Trey.
I didn't want to think about him. I couldn't think about him. He was dead, gone, and buried. Nothing and I mean nothing could change that. So why spend time crying over something you can't change. I didn't want to cry over him. I was stronger than that, I wasn't weak anymore, I didn't need anyone's help, I didn't need to rely on someone, I didn't need love. If I had loved Trey his death would have been a whole lot worst. Good thing I didn't love him or anyone but myself. Pride.
I reached over and shook Brandon until he was awake. He mumbled in his sleep, no doubt grumpy about being woken up early.
"Noah what's wrong?" He asked between his yawn.
"Get out." I mumbled.
"What happened? What's wrong?"
"Get out...don't you understand. I want you out of my bed and out of my house now!" I thought I was doing a good job at masking my emotions since Trey died but for some reason I was suddenly filled with so much anger I could barely stand it. It wasn't all directed towards Brandon, but I couldn't help thinking that he somehow triggered it.
He was pissed and his face showed it. I didn't want to hurt him, that was the last thing I wanted to do, but if he didn't leave now I couldn't be responsible for what I was going to say. "You know Noah you are real fucked up." He started. "You just have to push everyone away until you have no one left. You have people who want to be around you, to love you, yet you'd rather push them away because your scared. Your pathetic. You think that by putting on a show, acting like your so tough, that you will be okay. That all your problems will just slide right past you well they won't!! When you stop acting like a child and own up to your problems and mistakes; then Noah they go away! Not before! You know what your problem is?" He asked. I was going to reply, probably tell him to fuck off, but his glare told me that it probably wasn't the best choice right now. "Your Pride. You're so damn foolish to push people away because of your Pride. I'm curious though about one thing. Did you ever tell Trey you loved him?"
That question caught me off guard. What the hell business was it to him? Whatever went on between Trey and I had noting to do with Brandon? How dare he ask me that? That was beyond his boundaries. "What the hell is it to you if I did or didn't. I think its none of your business!" I yelled.
He smirked. "Just like I thought." He got off the bed and started walking to the door. I got up and followed him. This conversation was far from over, he wasn't just going to throw around all these weird accusations and yell at me like I'm some child and get away with it.
"Thought what, what did you think oh wise one. Please let me, a child who can't own up to his problems, in on what you thought." I mocked sarcastically.
He turned around and I had to catch myself so that I didn't bump into him. "Your pathetic." He repeated. "You didn't tell him you loved him, just like you can't tell anyone you love them, because of your stupid Pride. Your Pride prevented you from telling Trey how you felt about him and now its too late. You can't even be sad about him because you won't allow it. I hope your happy with that because your Pride is the only thing you will have left when you've pushed everyone away. I would say that I pity you, but you've done it all to yourself." With that he turned and walked out the door. This time I didn't bother chasing after him. I walked back to my room and laid down on the bed. It still had Trey's scent on it, like he was still here.
As I laid there I started thinking about what Brandon and the old woman said to me. What if they were right? What if I am pushing everyone away? Is that really what I want? To rely on myself and never open up to anyone ever again.
Of course you do. Pride spoke up. People come and go, and they hurt you over and over again. Why subject yourself to that? Why love someone when it only ends in sadness. Trey left you, just like Javan left you. Love isn't worth the pain.
Trey didn't leave me, he was taken away. Someone murdered him! Why? Why did they have to take him from me? I buried my face in the pillow, unconsciously breathing in his scent more.
"You know I love you right?" His voice rung in my ear; playing over and over again like a broken record.
"Go away!" I whispered trying to hush his voice. Pride was slowly losing its grip.
"I will stay wit you for as long as you want me to. Baby I swear--" His voice played again.
"Please...stop..." I whispered. My throat felt like I had a lump in it. I didn't want to cry. I couldn't cry. I haven't cried at all since he died...why now?
His voice sounded again. "Tonight I realized that I love you."
"Wh-Why...?" I couldn't say anything else. It was getting harder to hold it together. Pride's influence ceased.
I hugged the pillow tighter to my face breathing in more of his scent.
Memories of us in bed together. Just lying there.
Him kissing me.
It all came back to me. It was too much, too fast. I couldn't keep it together anymore. I couldn't deny it any longer.
"I love you..." I whispered into the darkness.
That's all it took. I couldn't hold back the tears any longer.
I finally allowed myself to cry.
I finally allowed myself to admit it.
I love him.
But he won't ever hear me say it.
"I'm...so...sorry baby." I whispered through tears. "I should have...told you...how I felt about...you."
Now he'll never know.
And that was the worst part.
If there was such thing as forgiveness, I only hoped that he could forgive me. Then maybe I could forgive myself.