Tess Times have changed since the nineteenth century; slavery had ceased and Moors were freed to most careers and were admitted into the same restrooms as the Caucasians.
But, even though times had changed, the struggles had not, and they seemed to have grown even more onerous.
As the years ran on, gangs became an issue, and newly discovered drugs, an even bigger issue seemingly appearing out of thin air, awaited to be smoked or shot into a once healthy vain.
One particular drug nearly destroyed a good family. In the fall of 1983 a young Indiana couple lived happily married for five years, they were the epitome of a happy marriage, and knew they would live on just as gayly as they would through any obstacle that threatened to surpass them. Tess Framp had known she would love her John as long as they both lived and until either one of them died.
But soon after their honeymoon John's mother died of cancer and his father hung himself shortly after. He hadn't been the same since.
One breezy autumn night Mrs. Framp had baked a pie for her good friend Ms. Jameson while her husband lounged around, unemployed and lazy, and watching a seemingly boring baseball game.
John Framp had developed a small heroin problem and every so often he would get his supplies out of a clever hiding spot the even his wife knew nothing about.
But she was very well aware of her husbands growing addiction.
“John, I need you to the dishes tonight.” said Mrs. Framp to her husband as he sat in a overstuffed recliner in their living room, with a needle in his hand.
“Do it your own damn self, Tess.” grumbled Mr. Framp wrapping his arm with a plastic band.
“Come on , please? “she said, approaching him with her hand outstretched. “Come on give me the needle- I need to go to Ms. Jameson's and give her the pie I promised her-”
“FUCK THE PIE!” he screamed at her as he plunged the needle him into his banded arm. “ I ain't gonna do no damn dishes!” He throw the empty needle at his wife and it hit her in the chest.
“John, I just need you to-” she stopped suddenly because she had never seen her husbands eyes look so red and dangerous before in all their five years of marriage. He was drenched in sweat and his veins were so dark she could see the blood working through them.
“How many times have you done that stuff today, John?” she asked as she took small careful steps away from him.
“What does it fucking matter? It ain't like I got anything else to do.”
“You can't survive on those-those things! They aren't natural! You'll kill yourself!”
“You think I care about that? You think I'm afraid a death?”
She didn't answer his question, she could not answer his question- not because it wasn't meant to be a answered but because he asked.
'Why was he doing this to himself?' she thought.
He tipped over their TV, his dark chocolaty face– the one she fell in love with- was now filled with blood and his eyes were wide with wild anger and evil lust.
He looked like a completely different man to her- not the one she married and promised to have and hold- no, he looked like the devil himself. And he was scaring her. Hurting the heart she gave to him with the promise of a lifetime her love.
“Come ere, girl.” he said smoothly through a sweaty mouth, his eyes never leaving her chest.
“John...stop. Please.” she quietly said, knowing full well that he would not stop.
Not even for her.
He started to undo his belt and she backed away from him until she felt the wall behind her.
He stopped suddenly and looked around the room. 'what are you looking for?' she thought, and then she saw the needle on the small end table where the phone sat. She looked at him and he noticed that she saw the needle and he lunged for it right when she dashed for it.
She tripped over his body when he landed nearer to the table than she did and hit her head on the hard wood of the floor. He snatched the needle off the table and pierced her arm with it leaving her feeling a satisfying dizziness in her head that gave her body a jolt of energy.
She looked into her husband's eyes as he lay on top of her- the needle still plunged into her arm- to see if she could tell if he felt the same thing she felt, but she only saw the redness in his eyes as lust seeped from every pore on his body even in his bloodshot eyes.
She was shocked; she afraid for her life- though she wanted to run and play and love her husband all at the same time- and she wanted her husband off of her, she did not want his sweaty bulk lying atop of her any longer.
She nudged his leg with hers and he seemed to snap back to reality, as far as reality went for him. But he did not move his body, he only braced himself against her pitiful nudges. He pulled the syringe out of her arm and tossed it aside like a used tissue and pinned her arms hard against the floor.
“Get off, John...” she said lazily as her body picked up on what was about to happen. She started kicking wildly and she let out a blood curdling scream.
Then he did something she thought he would never do, what her family thought he would never do to their daughter, what she knew every good man would never do to their wives; the love of their lives, their child bearers, their soul mate. He balled up his left hand lifting it into the air in what seemed like slow motion to her, she could see his wedding band shine in the light from the lamp on the little table, and as his fist moved towards her face she closed her eyes and turned her head to the right. She did not want to see his face when that stranger's fist met her face. She did not make a sound when she felt it, the ache, the cracking of her jaw, the blood seeping through her lips, the ring scrapping her skin when he pulled his arm back for three more blows. She saw her own tooth land in a tiny pool of blood next to her face and when he was done hitting her he turned her over and yanked off her pants.
'I'll never be the same after this.' was her final sensible thought before she plunged into a nothingness, a feeling-less place that left her emotionally plain, and she didn't care. She let him take her, no fight or flight.
She let him go without a scream, or a curse to him for causing her so much pain.
Her husband had died the night he first stuck that filthy needle in his arm. He use d to be a beautiful man, so kind and generous, he loved her tenderly taking care as to not cause her any discomfort, he would kiss her in a way she knew meant that he would never leave her for anything in the world. He had the most exuberant spirit, so happy and alive, she could do nothing but love him more and support him like a good wife should.
But he was gone now, not one trace of him left behind, his body was alien to her now, too heavy and sweaty. And she knew that if she looked into his eyes she would not see John, she would see darkness.
Her John was gone.
Taken away from her by evil in a needle, evil she craved for as her husband violated her, grunting in her ear like a savage beast. She was not going to let that evil take her like it took her husband; she was not going to become a stranger to herself.
The stranger stole her husband.
Never a stranger.
She will fight the stranger, the evil, before she lets him take her too.