I can smell him before I see him. He enters my room looking for me. First, under the bed and then in the closet where I’m hiding. I can hear him coming towards the closet door. I close my eyes and wait. I don’t want to do it again. I don’t like it. I know that if he finds me he will make me do it again. Tony. I hate Tony.
Tony or as he tells me to call him “Uncle Tony” is mama’s new boyfriend. He is big, dark and strong. He stinks. He smokes and drinks dark colored things out of a red cup. Tony comes to the closet door where I am hiding and grabs my hand. He pulls me to the bed and makes me lie down. “Lift your gown up girl” he says loudly in my ear. Tears roll slowly down my face. I lift up my gown and he smiles. Uncle Tony has crooked teeth. I hate Uncle Tony.
“Yeah, I like that. You’re so pretty Cassie. You look like a princess.” I hate princesses. Princesses are evil. Princesses get bad things done to them. But, I hate a lot of things. I hate princesses, dolls, the boogey man and police officers. I pretty much hate everything, but Jacob.
Jacob is my only friend. No one knows about Jacob. Jacob says I have a light and I must let it shine. Jacob tells me that he sees me and God is going to help me. Jacob goes to church. I don’t. Jacob taught me a song about my light.
Mama tells me I don’t have friends. She says that Jacob is not real. She says no one likes me and I can’t have friends because I’m not allowed to go to school or play outside. But, I know Jacob is real. He teaches me things.
Uncle Tony starts to touch me. Slowly. I cringe with disgust and turn my head. I wish that he would hurry up and leave me alone.
I start to sing. I sing slowly and in a low whisper. The only song I know. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” The smack is hard on my face, “Shut up gal! I can’t concentrate!”
My face hurts and tears begin to fall down my cheeks. I can’t see. I can’t see through the tears. The door opens and I hear a loud bang. I jump. I scream and cover my ears.
I see Uncle Tony hit the floor. I close my eyes hard to the sight of the red ring forming on my floor. Uncle Tony’s eyes are open. I cry harder.
Jacob comes to my bed and shakes me. “Cassie, it’s me! It’s me, Jacob. You’re okay Cassie. I got him.”
I open my eyes and Jacob is smiling. Jacob reminds me about my light. I smile and start to sing. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” Loudly.
I look down and see my mama’s gun in my hands and continue singing at the top of my voice “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”
© Tikeetha Thomas