Three Years Later

Have you ever been on a roller coaster? Not like the mine train at six flags. Im talking bout a real daredevil, twist and turn all over the place roller coaster. You know that feeling you get when the roller coaster approaches that steep fall-off? When you
e sitting in your seat and you can see the next few tracks. Realistically you know you
e gonna be okay. You know that the rollercoaster is magnetized and will perform as it should. Yet your heart starts to beat faster and fear kicks in.

Some people close their eyes to cope. Some people scream and some people love the thrill. I hated that shit. I hated how my stomach dropped with that fall. A person like me, all I thought about on those roller coasters was that Im strapped to this seat. If anything happens there ain a damn thing I can do about it. Id be at the mercy of the angle that I fell. I didn like not being in control or not knowing what the ** was going on.

Right now, thats how I felt. Like the wind was knocked out of me and my heart was racing and every corner of this room was a steep drop. I wanted to rage and scream at everyone around me, I wanted to knock on doors until I knew what was going on. On the outside, I was the perfect shell of control, but on the inside, I felt like I was on a rollercoaster that I knew for sure was going to be my last ride.

”Anna? ”

”What! ” I snapped, before lifting my eyes to meet soft brown ones. Terrance stood next to me. His eyebrows raised and his hand outstretched as if he was going to touch me.

He knew better and his hand never connected. He was concerned. They all were, because anyone who knew me, knew that I was like a carefully contained bomb. Fragile and deadly. They also knew I would gladly burn down this whole city to find my man.

”Are you okay? ” Terrance asked, his hand dropping to his side.

Was that a trick question? Rhetorical maybe? I was not okay. Christian had been missing now for three months. Three whole months that he should have been serving in prison. At this point, I was starting to feel as if there was nothing I could do. What if he wasn even in Missouri?

”Im fine, ” I said through clenched teeth. It was the best I could do.

”No, you
e not, ” Joey said, leaving his perch on the wall to come closer to me.

I wanted to yell stop. I needed fifty feet and it felt like everyone was getting closer. ”Its been three months Joey. If he wanted to be here, he would be. ”

The only piece of information we had was that he had been released from prison early. Three months ago. He had known two months prior to his release and he said nothing. I had gone to see him every Monday and Wednesday for the last four years. Imagine my surprise when I went to see him only to be told he wasn in residence there. They had lied and said he was switched to another prison. A quick search on inmate.com had proved them wrong.

It had come as a shock to know that Christian was no longer in the system. He was a free man. Yet he was not with me. I hadn received so much as a ** you. All these years of being faithful. All these years of building something for him to come home to. All for nothing.

I looked around at the guys as they all looked like they were expecting me to lash out at any second. Initially, not knowing where Christian was had sent me on a little bit of a rampage. Pissed was too small a word to describe how I had handled that not knowing where he was. I had been livid. Taking my anger out on anything and everyone. I had started **ing different niggas and acting a fool. My friends though had been there every step of the way. Especially Terrance. Since he and I lived together he had received the most of my vicious behavior.

We were currently in the basement of Terrances cleaners. It was time for our monthly meeting and all business had been handled. I had waited for us to check off everything else before bringing up Christian. Before the mood had been jovial and uplifting. Life was good right now.

We were all young and successful and finally ready to pass the torch of the streets the lil locs in the hood. Most of us were in our early twenties and had enough money to do whatever we wanted to. We had businesses and employees. We had property and respect. What started as a huge mistake had taken us a long way. The last few years had been easy, with little drama and a lot of money. Ten minutes ago we had been talking about Joeys wedding

Ten minutes ago we had been talking about Joeys wedding now the mood had turned somber and I knew there were no updates. The truth was at this point I had accepted that I had been dumped like a bad habit. I had come to terms that for some reason Christian was keeping his distance and he didn give a good God damn about me. All I wanted to know was why. I mean who did that? Every nigga dream is coming home to a home-cooked meal and some pussy.

I, however, had more than pussy to offer. I had half my closet filled with clothes and shoes for him. He had a spot on my dresser with colognes I longed to smell on him. I was in the process of buying a house so he could come home to a place that was ours. He has an SS Monte Carlo sitting in my garage. Everything I had done, every move I had made had been for us. We had a **ing plan and for some reason, he had aborted the mission, without telling me.

”Man ** that nigga, ” Leo said randomly in the quiet basement.

I blinked away the tears that threatened to fall and laughed a little. Soon we were all laughing and Terrance finally came closer and slung an arm around my shoulders. ”I second that, ” he said.

I still felt like someone had hit me in the stomach, but I knew being angry at them was not right. These men in this room had had my back when Christian didn . They were largely responsible for me not spiraling out of control too much. They didn deserve my anger. Christian though, if I ever saw him again was gonna feel me.

I now owned a bar and recording studio, complete with an LLC. Charlie was in college playing football. Joey owned a funeral home that doubled as a fight club at night. He was getting married next month. Dale and Sara were a duo rap team, who came to the studio regularly. They were actually really good. Montel owned a janitorial business. Leo was still doing Leo, although he had three kids now and two baby mamas. He had become a counselor for newly released prisoners. Terrance was running the cleaners and my sister still ran the Club House.

We were all on to bigger and better things. If I could just make my heart stop hurting, I could enjoy it.

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