This piece was originally published with AbsoluteWrite.
“I can’t believe it. I am finally here,” I thought as I left the green room. “And, I’m about to go on stage.”
Everyone is so wonderful, especially Reggie, the make-up artist. He listened attentively when I told him my pageant-induced phobia of people applying eyeliner to me. He worked patiently and flawlessly as I flinched with each stroke.
“See, Makasha. I told you I wouldn’t poke your eyes out,” he said with an expressionless, Botoxed face. “Now, get on out there!”
The walk to the stage entrance takes forever. I know I’m close. Busy producers run back and forth giving cues to the audience and each other. Finally, I hear her voice and she’s talking about me.
“As you know, I am retiring from the show in a few months,” she looked solemnly into the camera. “But, after reading Holidays I had to do one last book club selection. It is a poignant autobiography that delves into the mind of an abused child.”
A pre-recorded tape of me talking about the book plays on television prompters. And, then she said it: “Please, welcome Makasha Dorsey to the ‘Oprah’ show.”
The audience stood, clapping and cheering with some even praising my work. When I reached my chair, Oprah gave me one of those follow-my-lead hugs and whispered, “Don’t be nervous. You can do this.” She turned to the crowd, thanked them, and gave the cue to be seated.
“When I got this book from my producer, I was a bit skeptical. I receive so many manuscripts from sexually abused people because they think we have a kindred spirit. But my staff assured me that Holidays was moving, honest, and provided real insight into how a child copes as he or she is being abused,” she said then turned to me. “I know why you wrote the book, but how did you find it in yourself to be so honest about the abuse and falling in love with your abuser?”
When I opened my mouth to speak a crunching sound came out. I took a drink of water and it happened again. Oprah kept talking as if it was totally normal but I crunched every time I tried to speak.
CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! SCRATCH! The sound awakened me from a deep dream that I wanted to be real. Well, I wanted most of it to be real.
I listened closely as I lay alone in the dark. My husband, who normally investigates this sort of thing, was away at a speaking engagement. I felt around the side of the bed for my golf club. Finally, I could feel the rubber handle of the nine iron.
The sound was coming from my closet. Tredell had told me time and time again not to leave crackers in the baby’s diaper bag. A chill went down my spine as I thought of a rat or some other vermin feasting on my baby’s things.
“My baby,” I whispered. His crib was right next to the closet door. I had to move it, without waking him, just in case this thing runs out. I pushed Jaden’s bed into the hallway and closed the door.
I exhaled deeply, held the iron over my head with my left hand, opened the door with my right.
“No, Mommy. No!” my oldest son screamed, sitting in the bottom of my closet. “I’m eating crackers. They are so good.”