All that Jazze

by DBryant

"Ouch!" Marie said looking at her eye in the bathroom mirror. Earlier that day she asked her husband to come over. After an hour or so of a conversation that was moderately escalating to a full-blown argument, Kevin jumped to his feet and smacked her so hard that she dared not to rebel.

"How in the hell am I going to explain this to Jazze, she'll freak out at the mere sight of this, asking all sorts of questions and stuff; Mama what happened? How'd you do that? Mama you get in a fight or something? Marie knows she hasn't got the answers or the strength to smooth this over.

Finally, Marie got her mind off her eye and the stupid argument she had with Kevin, when Jazze came bangin' at the door. "Girl, stop that damn bangin' before I hurt you!" Marie hollered through the door.

"Hurry up," she said, "I got to go to the bathroom!" Opening the door to let her in, she nearly knocked her mother down running by. "They don't have a bathroom next door?"

"You know I don't like the way it smell in there, like they miss the toilet or something. So I held it 'till I couldn't no more."

"Any more, not 'no' more."

"Okay, anymore," coming back in the living room to where Marie was. Jazze stared at her mother whose eye was now blue and purple courtesy of Kevin when Marie said, " what are you staring at?" As if she didn't now that her face was discolored. Jazze got closer and pointed, "Your eye Ma. What happened to your face?"

"Don't worry about that."

"But mama what..."

"Don't worry about it, now go back and play with Ashley if you goin'," Marie said cutting her off. Jazze looked so upset. Marie would have done anything to have saved her the pain of seeing her mother like this. "I just asked a question, DAGG!" Jazze yelled back and as she was leaving, slammed the door behind her.

Now she lays there thinking what's next. Do she go grab her and shake her silly? Or should she go for the ice for her eye? Or an aspirin for this developing headache. Just as she makes the decision to get aspirin and ice the phone interrupted her.

"Girl, where have you been all day?" The voice on the other end of the receiver sounds familiar, so Marie sits and listens as she goes on.

"I made some old lie up for those people at the Child Development Center. Told them that you'd be in for sure on Thursday. Which you will, right?" It was Sandra. "Chile, I completely forgot about the siminar today, but yeah, yeah I'll be there early on Thursday. How'd it go anyway? Did those kids drive you crazy?" Laughing, she gave Marie the run down of the days events. After a while of that Marie got bored and found an excuse to get off the phone.

"I guess I'll make dinner," Marie says as she relieves the couch of herself. She headed for the kitchen pulling the chicken that she had thawing in the refrigerator, a jar of Bar-B-Q sauce, cornbread mix and some sweet peas. She figured that she'd make Jazze's favorite dinner to ease things between them. She didn't like it when they had spats, even though mothers and daughters will have them, she still didn't like them.

Once dinner was over, Jazze flipped through the channels looking for something on TV and playing dolls on the floor. Marie lay on the bed recalling her visit from Kevin;

"Kevin, I need more support from you. You don't come home like you are suppose too, and you know I go to school at night. How often do you think our neighbor Jackie is going to keep understanding your sudden ' business trips' Damn it! How do you expect me to understand? Kevin, I'm tired. Dead tired of what this marriage has become. I've three weeks left at the University before the summer and when I graduate I want a divorce." Then Bam! There it was, the man Marie vowed to spend the rest of her life with hit her.

"I don't know where all this attitude came from but you better lose it. You won't talk to me like that. Not where I pay bills!" he told her standing over her with his fist balled up. Marie wanted to tell him that he hasn't paid any bills here in over 7 months and that this house was pretty much hers and Jazze's. But of course she knows her limits.

After he said more and left, she stayed there for a minute then got up when she mustered up the strength, but for that moment she went back to all of those years that they were together, she went back to when Jazze was born, and then to the night she found out that he had been cheating on her, it was then that he had to go, so she made him leave. Everything was fine, but he messed things up. He had to mess things up! "Mama, what time is it?" Jazze brings her back to date.

"Why, you have somewhere to go? It's 8:32," she said with surprise of the lateness. It just seemed as though she looked at the clock and it was 6:40.

"Mama look! Toeshy and Friends is on!" The child said bouncing and clapping on the floor.

"What? " Looking up, she asked and now really doesn't know why she asked. She really doesn't care. Besides, with a name like 'Toeshy' I don't think you have too much to worry about. Though, she still turned to see it and his funny looking friends, then turned to her daughter who was laughing at the silly things these puppets did.

After Marie heard the channel shut off she realized that she fell off to sleep, and so did Miss Jazz. Jazze was in the bed with her. "I don't think so Ms. Lady! Go get in your bed. Come on wake up!" Marie nudged and pushed and slapped playfully. Finally she woke up, whining of course that she was too tired and couldn't she just spend just one night in her room.

"No now go to bed. Good night." She jumped from bed and put on her slippers.

"Night." She said and kissed her mom and left the room. Marie came in from her last night of school and placed her things on the table as she walked in. "Jazze" She called out, "Are you in here?"

"Yes, Mama." She said in her cheerful voice.

"Well, come give me a kiss." She told her chocolate colored child.

"Ma, Daddy came by and he said..." stopping to give her mom a kiss on the cheek, "that he was taking us out because you graduating. Mama am I going to graduate from 4th grade?"

"No. You will graduate once you finish the 6th grade. When did your dad come by?"

"He just left, that's why I was home and not at Ms. Jackie's."

"Did you let him in?"


"Didn't I tell you that if they do not have a key not to let them in?" Marie yelled.

"Yes, Mama but it was Daddy and he came and got me from Ms. Jackie's. I have my own key." She dangled her key chain in the air and Marie couldn't say anything. How do you tell a child that you don't want the other parent waltzing in and out of the house. After he hit her a few weeks back she had the locks changed and the phone number too. She hadn't seen him and was fine with it." I don't think we will be going with him." Marie said trying to change the subject.

"But why Mama? He is happy that you are out of school. He said maybe you would have more time for him," Jazze said with these yearning eyes. 'Please mama I want Daddy home' is what they are saying. But fortunately Marie's healed eye begs to differ.

"Well, I had some plans to take us out to uh…uh… that new kids and games place." Marie had to make up something to for one get out of the house before Kevin gets here, and to take her mind off him.

" You mean, Dave and Buster's?" She lit up.

"That would be the place." She said and told her to get ready and they could go when she was done. Kevin will not weasel his way back here this time this life. After a few minutes, she came out ready to go. Marie picked up her purse and headed out.

The place was packed for a Thursday, and Jazze took off, "Wait!!" Marie yelled and ran after her. "You stay close don't walk off, you hear me. There are too many people in here to be too far apart," she told the child that was beaming all over.

They played a lot of games. It was late and they both were worn out. By the time Marie parked the car in front of their apartment building, Jazz was knocked out. She shuffled around to get the things that they won, and locked the drivers side door. Just as she walked around to Jazz's side of the car. Kevin leaped out of nowhere and swung his bald up fist in her direction.

"Where in the hell have you…" He was yelling and was causing a scene.

"Don't you dare hit me ever again!' Marie screamed at him. He looked stunned, almost scared.

"That's right. You better not touch me now in the presence of my daughter or any other time. This will end right here and now. So you move out of the way so that I can get my child and go to bed." Marie starred straight in his eyes, and watched him move from her path.

"Baby, I ju…."

"Leave now and I won't call the cops or kill you myself." She cut him off in mid-sentence and walk up the few steps with Jazze in her arms.

From that day Marie and Jazze took care of themselves. Jazze never told her mother that she heard what went on outside the car that night nor did she tell her that she knew it was her father that gave her the black eye sometime ago. She admired her mothers courage and vowed to never let a man hit her.

All that Jazze by DBryant

© Copyright 1993. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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