Updated: Feb 29, 2020
This is the short story, The Purple Bike Man. This story will be distributed in parts and was written by Naava Dae. This document is the property of Naava Dae and upon illegal distribution, reproduction, editing, altering, or use, will be punishable by law. This is all the figment of Naava Dae's imagination. All of the characters, places, and events that take place in this story are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places, or events is purely coincidental. © 2019 by Naava Dae
“Dad, I can’t do this anymore. I- I can’t not… anymore. I hate myself; I hate my life; I hate it all. I can’t…”
The tears stole the rest of her sentence away. Her body trembled underneath my arm as she cowered into my chest. I looked down at my daughter. I knew that she was hurting. And I wanted to help, I wanted to take all the pain away from her. But I couldn’t. I didn’t know how. She would continue to tell me that it wasn’t my fault that she felt this way. But I can’t help but feel like it is.
“Noelle, sweetheart...” I choked on my own words. She looked up at me and I tried to wipe the tears from my face so she wouldn’t see them. Her eyes were the same eyes I fell in love with 16 years ago while in the hospital at 5:35 am, holding the baby version of my baby girl. These eyes were the same eyes I loved when she was small and she would walk around the house saying “Dada, I’m going to sing!”, as she held a toy microphone to her face.
I looked at her and I saw my sweet daughter, but I also saw her pain. I saw the look she gave me when her nine-year-old self asked me why her mom was sick. Why she was losing hair, why she wasn’t acting herself, why she had to live in the hospital. I saw her eyes as she stared at the casket lowering in the ground, tears dried on her face, sadness building into anger. I saw her dismiss school as a lost cause. I saw the weed smoking, the disrespectful boyfriends, I saw her depression, and I saw my failure to her.
Now I look at her eyes and I see what she could’ve been. I see her as a singing at church again like she used to. I see her on track for college and picking out possible schools to attend. I see her going to prom and her graduating and living her life. But I couldn’t even provide her with a way out. I worked hard, 5 nights a week, to clean the school that was harboring all her feelings of failure, anxiety, and depression. The irony of it all.
“Dad, it’s not your fault. I’m not your fault.” She was doing it again, that thing where she would read my mind without her knowing she was.
“Honey, this is my…how about we call Dr. Martin again. Maybe- “
“No! Not her again. All she is going to do is try to put me on those stupid pills again.” She stood up and clutched her head, pacing the room. “Dad, I can’t take those. They will make me want to go through it. They will make me do it! I swear…” her voice trailed off as she stared at the corner of the room. I remained silent.
“Why out of all the girls at the school, they pick me. What was so special about me?”
I replayed the scene. The four girls were surrounding my daughter’s locker. Bernice, Ariel, Dasani, and Lila. All surrounding my child, Bernice, Ariel, and Dasani taunting her and mocking her. They have been bullying her for a while, but this is the first time I seen it in person. I figured it was just typical name calling but it was so much. Social media made it so that everyone could see them too. There were screenshots, videos, tapes of my daughter in positions that is a father’s worst nightmare. The three girls have been hovering these things over her head, and I had to do something.
I confronted them. They got it on video. And I lost my job. Noelle and I were sent home. As I cleaned my office, Noelle napping at my desk, Lila came in.
“Mr. Allen,” she knocked on the door.
I looked at her for a while before walking over to the door myself.
“What do you need?” I was surprised that she came by. She apologized on behalf of her friends. Lila wasn’t like them I knew that. She told me how she got her friends to delete the footage against Noelle. She said that she never wanted any of that to go the way it has for so long. She said she reported the girl’s behavior privately to the principal.
“They may reconsider your job. I know that isn’t much, but I feel it may help.” She looked at me carefully looking for insight or emotion from me. I stayed monotone although I appreciated her gestures.
She raised her enclosed fist to me, and I matched hers breaking character for a moment. She walked away, Noelle and I went home. Now I’m sitting on my daughter’s bed trying to stay strong while she breaks down. It’s honestly the worst feeling in the world.
“I think I just need a minute alone Dad. I’ll see you when you get back from work.” She tried to give me a weak smile. Something she was practicing reassuring me that she was okay. I looked at her and gave her one back, trying to trust her. She’s not going to do anything.
I went to work like usual that Friday night. It was the worst mistake I could have ever made. The dumbest mistake I could have ever made. Because she did do it. I watched the Monday morning after as they lowered my daughter’s casket next to her mother’s. I watched my life, my sanity go down with her. I failed them. I failed both people I care for. I was angry at the world and I was angry at myself. Neither of them deserved to be there. And someone now has to pay.
Did you enjoy that so far? Come back Sunday night, May 5, 2019 at 8:15pm(ET) for Chapter 6!
Copyright©Naava Dae 2019