A “Kathleen Nicole” Short Story: “Hers for The Taking”

A “Kathleen Nicole” Short Story: “Hers for The Taking”

“She once believed that the damage to her mind and heart was permanent, until she met wisdom, who taught her that no pain or wound is eternal, that all can be healed, and that love can grow even in the toughest parts of her being”

Yung Pueblo

“Get the fuck out my house!” Kimani began to count silently in her head as he thudded down each stair. Two, three, four…eight, nine. ten. Boom…the slamming of the front door. She knew her aunt hadn’t actually wanted him to get the fuck out. She wanted him to love her, be loyal to her, and she wanted peace in her home. She wanted the lies spoken on her wedding day to become her all-encompassing truth. But deep down, Kimani’s aunt knew that would never happen. And she blamed everyone, especially 11-year-old Kimani for her failed marriage and miserable life… He would be back though. She always let him come back.

Kimani tiptoed out her bedroom to go check on Isaac and JD who were doing a poor job of pretending to be engrossed in their video games when Kimani knew they heard the same commotion she did. “What y’all doing”? Kimani asked as she lovingly rubbed the top of each of the boy’s heads. “Just playing the game. And I’m whopping him too,” JD her little cousin replied. “Not for long” her younger brother Isaac bantered back. Those two boys were her heart and the reason she remained soft while life treacherously hardened everyone else around her. “Well, I don’t play video games, so do y’all wanna get whooped in some UNO?”  The boys quickly dropped the controllers and grabbed the cards. “I’ll shuffle and you deal” Kimani instructed Isaac. “JD, you can go first.” These were the moments that kept Kimani going or maybe the moments that kept her still. Either way, this was one of the ways she managed to survive life with her aunt.

The reason she and Isaac lived with their aunt can only be described as succinctly as she was told to “pack her things and come on.” Daddy had died and mommy was frail. What else was there to say?

Kimani had a way of knowing things others thought they had hidden, buried, or forgotten. Kimani was especially able to sense her aunt’s true feelings toward her. Her aunt hated her. And for no other reason than some people are so mired in their misery and pain, the slightest glimpse of light and love in others enrages them. And for their own survival they must diminish the light. That is exactly what June set out to do to Kimani. Everytime she looked at Kimani, June saw everything she wasn’t. Her husband saw the same. 

Kimani found solace alone while taking baths. It was as if the water would carry her to another life. On one of her many voyages, Kimani heard a knock on the door. “I’ll be out in one minute” she called out. The door gently opened, and June’s husband peeked his head in and smiled. Kimani said again more softly, “I’ll be out in one minute.” He slid in and gently closed the door. Silently, Kimani began to reach for the nearby towel to cover herself. He grabbed the towel before she could, held it out and said, “C’mon, I’ll help you.” 

He had been watching Kimani for years, calling her his “cutie pie niece.” He appreciated the stark contrast Kimani presented when he compared her to June. June had made his life a living hell. He never intended to marry her, but once she got pregnant, the pressure from his family and hers, left him no choice. He resented June. She was never his first choice. And he didn’t try to hide it. They fought and yelled constantly. June was aggressive and loud and sometimes he had to put his hands on her to shut her up. Each year as their “love” lessened, June grew, becoming less attractive to her husband, forcing him to find pleasure elsewhere. But nothing compared to the pleasure he knew Kimani could give.

For months, each time she shut the bathroom door to take a bath, he came. He unzipped his pants, pulled them down and positioned himself. One day as Kimani was positioning herself, June opened the door. Darius quickly pulled up his pants and began to stammer. “Get out” she calmly told Darius. He left the bathroom and June shut the door. June knew what had been going on. She suspected it for quite some time. She saw the way Darius looked at Kimani. She turned toward Kimani who had grabbed her towel to cover herself. “You raggedy, little bitch” June began. “You been fucking my husband. You ain’t shit but a whore. I been letting you stay in my house, and this is what you do? You trying to steal my husband. Bitch, you can’t. He mine. Let me catch you doing this again. And I swear to God imma fucking kill you.” She spat at Kimani and slammed the door behind her. 

Kimani cried. And cried. And then cried some more. She didn’t have to ask, pray, or wonder why. She already knew. Because she knew the things others had hidden, buried, or forgotten. She knew that this life, with this struggle was the gift she never asked for and never should have opened. But she intuitively knew, that once she finished unwrapping all the pain, sorrow and suffering that had been so tragically gifted to her, one day, many years later she would triumphantly unwrap all the joy, peace and abundance that belonged to her. That was hers for the taking.

Thank you for reading this short story. At the age of 4, I began to be sexually and verbally abused. The sexual abuse lasted for 7 years, but the verbal abused continued for 21 years. I find it very difficult to recount all I’ve endured and tell the story as is. It would be too much. Throughout my life, I found an escape in reading and I’ve learned to appreciate fictional characters. Kimani is a fictional character, but she is me. And she is so many other little Black girls and still so many other little Black girls that have grown into women. Like Kimani, I accepted my fate with an understanding that fate is fluid and destiny was in my hands. This year I turn 38. And I am learning to unwrap joy, peace, and love as gracefully as I have unwrapped my pain. Both are mine for the taking. And they are yours for the taking too.


Kathleen Nicole

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