Part 1: Clarissa

Knock, Knock, Knock… my mom had been knocking at my front door for the last five minutes. “Clarissa baby it’s momma please let me in, baby, I just want to know that you are okay,” she said. I sat on the couch not saying anything wrapped in a blanket. All I wanted was to be left alone. she knocked again and said “Clarissa baby are you okay? I know your in there I can see your car.  I’m not leaving until I know that you are okay.” I still said nothing. I let her keep knocking because I knew eventually she would just go ahead and leave the way she did for the last three days. I laid back on the couch, and eventually, the knocking stopped. I closed my eyes and cried out. “God please just let this be a bad nightmare that I am going to wake up from soon.”

at that moment I heard glass shattering in my kitchen so I jumped. I sat on the couch looking into the direction of the kitchen. to be a fully black female at this moment I was acting like one of the white girls in the humor movies that wait for the bad guy to come and kill them. in a few moments, my mom came out of the kitchen breathing heavy. “mom what in the world are you doing? you scared me.” I said to her as she walked into the living room. “well the feeling is a mutual little girl. you’ve had me scared for the past few days while you been locked in this house refusing to talk to anyone or see anyone. no one knew if you were okay or anything.” she said with her hands on her hips.

“mom not today,” I said to her as I flopped back on to the couch and pulled the covers over my head. If not now then when Riss?” she asked. I said nothing. “Clarissa Lakeisha Jones do you not hear me talking to you?” she asked in her parenting voice. “Mom I hear you but what do you want me to say”I asked. “Riss it's not about what I want you to say it's about what I want you to do. I know that you are hurting because of Nate’s death but you gotta get up and face the world.” she said. “his death? we are going to say that like he just passed away from an illness or something; he was murdered. No, I’m  good I don't want to go out there to the world I am good on the world. I want to stay right here and sleep because that's where I am still able to see Nate.” I told her.

my mom walked up to the couch and pulled the covers from off me. “ I did not…” my mom stopped talking when she took a good look at me and realized what I had on. I was still wearing the same clothes I had on when Nate was killed. they were covered in his blood but I had never taken them off.”Clarissa are those the same clothes from that day?” she asked me. “Yes, I have been in the same spot since I got home from the hospital,” I told her.

   “baby get up and let's get in the shower.” she said softly. “momma I can’t I don't want to move. I want Nate back, that cop killed the love of my life in cold blood for no reason at all.” I said as I started to cry. My mom sat on the couch and grabbed me and held me tight. “baby I know” she said comforting me. “they are supposed to be here to protect and serve right? But they are killing black men left and right and getting away with it. All Nate and I were doing were walking home from the lake that was up the street and that white cop pulled up harassing us. He jumped out of the car yelling and screaming at us that we were in the wrong neighborhood and to go home. Nate tried to explain to the cop that we were heading home that we lived in this neighborhood. But when the cop started getting disrespectful saying there was no way we lived in this neighborhood I got mad. I started going off telling them that they were only giving us all this hassle because we were black in a majority white neighborhood.

   the cop told me to shut the fuck up and to turn around and walk away. Nate stepped in and told him not to speak to me in that manner. that was when the cop pulled his gun and yelled again for us to go home. Nate went to reach for his wallet just to get his ID so he could show them the address so they could understand that we were heading home. that was when the cop fires his gun. when I started crying and yelling as I held Nate as he laid on the ground bleeding out the cop said that Nate had a gun and it's his job to shoot before being shot.

do you know that the cop never even called for backup or an ambulance. a little white lady that was watching the whole situation from her window called. when the cops got there and emptied out Nates pockets they saw that he had no gun or weapon of any type. that cop didn’t even offer a sorry. none of the cops did. all they told me was that the cops body cam would be reviewed. but that meant nothing and did not fix the fact that he treated Nate like he was another dangerous thug just because he was black instead of listening to what we had been trying to tell him over and over again.

he passed judgment on Nate without knowing anything besides the color of his skin. he didn’t know that Nate and I were coming home from a picnic in the park near the lake where Nate had just proposed to me. he didn’t know that Nate had dedicated his life to the lord a month ago and had been attending church faithfully sine. he didn’t know that Nate was a manager at his job and had a bachelor degree in human resources . he didn’t know that Nate had a family he mattered too. That he was a son, a future husband, a brother, godfather, friend, uncle, and so much more. he assumed and then killed. He’s a murder.” I said crying.

my mom held me and let me weep. “baby I get it and as god is my witness we will get justice for Nate one way or the other. but right now I need you to get in the shower and pull yourself together. I know for sure your a strong woman because that's what I raised you to be. you need to go stand with your mother in law like Nate would have wanted you to.” she said. I looked at my mom for a moment. as much as I didn’t want to admit she was right I needed to make sure people heard Nate’s story and that they heard it correctly because we know the news would try to make Nate look like the bad guy and that the cop did the correct thing.

I got in the shower and went to Nate’s mom house because we are black and it is a normal thing for people to all be at the family’s house of the person that was deceased. I took a deep breath and endure all the hugs and people. I never realized how annoying hearing people say sorry for your loss or I am here for you if you need something over and over again was or could be.    

when everything was over, Nate’s mom and I had planned his funeral down to the tee. we then said our good nights and I drove home. when I got there I sat in my driveway in my car for a while looking at the neighborhood. I didn’t feel safe or comfortable here anymore. to think that the reason me and Nate got a house in this community was to be safe and away from the drama, murdering and negative thing we had grew up around. I went into the house and what once was a home that you felt so much warmth and life when you walk in the door was now just so cold.

I went upstairs and laid across our bed and cried until I fell asleep. in my dream Nate met me with a smile. “Hello beautiful,” he said. “hello handsome,” I said smiling at him. “ I am so proud of you Clarissa,” Nate said. “why?” I asked “because today you did the hardest part you took the first step and faced the world and accepted that I am gone.” he said still smiling. “But I don't want to accept it. I miss you so much.” I said. “it's only right that you miss me. but know that I am in a better place now. God wrote it in the plan that I was going to leave that world at that moment. so that also means that he has a plan to make sure you get through this.just remember that I got my life right with the lord before leaving earth. I was able to love you, be loved by you and then declared my love to you by asking you to marry me. hold on to that memory and the smile you had that day as we sat near the water. don’t let my bloodshed be all that you remember. they may have taken me in physical form but I am always with you in spirit and that something no one can take from you Clarissa baby. I love you.”

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