“Why did I even agree to let yall niggas ride in the car with me?” I asked out loud as I closed my eyes in frustration.
“All because I said I was hungry?” Demarco snapped from the passenger side.
“I been said you shoulda stopped,” Gunner retorted. “On top of that, I didn’t even say shit about being hungry. I just said, aye? It’s a Taco Bell right there on the corner–––.”
“Nigga we not eating no fucking Taco Bell!” I snapped, turning around to look at this burnt corner of a biscuit head ass nigga. “I am a real cook! A chef! What I look like eating at Taco Bell?”
“Like a nigga that is hungry!” Demarco argued with a laugh. “Man how much longer we got?”
I looked at my phone then looked ahead at the line of cars leading up towards the school. I could see the orange and yellow vests coming out while school busses parked on the side, waiting for the kids. I pushed my locs back and leaned back into the seat with a sigh.
“All I’m saying is you coulda had something for the kid,” Demarco said as I raised my arm like I was getting ready to slap him. He crouched to the corner of the door, laughing with them swollen ass arms trying to block the hit.
“This is the last time yall ride with me to pick Mai up. I’m not doing this no more.”
“Mannn…I ain’t ready for mine to leave me yet,” Demarco said out loud as he looked at the school, “I ain’t ready for it.”
“Me neither,” Gunner replied.
“Well get ready because who else gon teach em? I wasn’t ready either but you gotta let em go. Mai on her first day…she didn’t even look back. Nevaeh was taking pictures and shit. I was still trying to hold her hand and she just…alright deuces nigga,” chucking two fingers in the air with a laugh. “When I say, my heart broke right there and that lil girl just…tripped on it on the way to her class. I said, Mai?! Lemme walk you to class? Let daddy walk you to class? Nigga, I’m already tearing up but she yelled out NO, so damn loud…even the other parents holding they kids hands looked at me like, nigga you must ain’t shit as a father,” I mocked. “Nevaeh was like..let her go…she’s growing up. I want her to have a sense of independence. I said, nigga she’s five! Lil Boosie wasn’t talking about her when he made that song!”
“You cried?” Demarco asked.
“Nigga, I’m about to cry now. I ain’t been the same since. She comes home from school like it's the place in the world, and she don’t…like I lost my baby…my best friend, and now we gotta do it all over again with Kobi…Nevaeh gon lose her shit this time, not me.”
“Nah, I told my daughter she gon have to see me when she get to school. Already told Devyn, I’ma be right in that class from the time they start till they finish.”
“Yall both crazy,” Gunner said coolly as I turned to look back at him. “Yeah I said it. I can’t wait till mine get to school. I be practicing making lunches now.”
“Yeah okay,” I said dumbly as I adjusted the number on the window, seeing the vests walking out to check the cars. “Mine don’t need me no more but every once in a while…I want my lil baby girl back.”
Just as I said it, we started to see the crowd of kids bubbling at the main entrance of the school, starting with the lowest grade first. I could see Mai being escorted with her number tag as she gripped her book bag and kept her head down. She was starting to look more like Nevaeh but her personality, her eyes were still me. Emotionally, she was her mama and I could tell by the way she walked, something was wrong. I sat up at attention in my seat, peering her surroundings for any fuck shit from teachers to kids.
“What’s wrong with her?” Demarco asked as Gunner stepped out of the car and held the door open for her.
“Mai Mai?! What’s wrong?!” Gunner hollered as she looked up. I could see she’d been crying but she managed a smile when she looked at her Uncle. All three of us had our Dad antennas at alert when the teacher politely escorted her into the back seat, adjusting the booster seat herself.
As soon as the door closed, I turned to look at my daughter who just kept her head down and didn’t say a word.
“I told you, you should of had some food,” Demarco muttered. “Neicey baby, what’s wrong?”
“Nuthin,” she muttered.
“Nah, it ain’t nothing. Speak it and tell me what happened at school,” I demanded before playfully punching the air, “tell me who it is so daddy can knock em out.”
Thinking she would at least crack a smile, she began wiping her face aggressively before sniffing.
“They kept messing with me and I told em to stop it,” she cried.
“WHO?!” All three of us yelled at the same time, but she pointed to her elbow where she had a fresh bandaid, but just underneath you could see where she was bruised.
It took everything in me not to ram my car through the line to get to the front and demand answers but I took a deep breath and just watched every child come out, wondering who thought they could get away with putting their hands on mine.
“Who was it?”
“Alex and Austin,” she mumbled, wiping her face as she tried to sit up and look through the window.
“What they look like?” I pressed.
“Matter of fact, where they parents at?” Gunner asked. “That’s who I’ma run up on.”
“That’s them right there Daddy,” she said with a point. I watched two little white boys, blonde bowl haircuts with their uniform on as they walked past us.
“They pushed me down on the ground at recess and told me…they wanted to see if I could fly,” she sniffed.
I turned my car at an angle, blocking off any other car from driving past before getting out. Demarco was already out with Gunner grabbing Mai to throw on her hip.
She’d been having issues with controlling her…Mama’s side of the family when it came to certain things but she knew better than to reveal to others what she is, and still comments like witches, ghosts, and whatever they said, came back to us so I know she was drawing attention to herself.
They got the right one though.
“Sir! You’re blocking the path for other parents!” someone yelled but I kept moving until I saw a black Escalade where the two boys hopped in the back. I saw the mother in the middle of drinking her expresso while on the phone, not realizing I was at her door until I brushed my knuckles against the glass with two hard knocks. She jumped just as Demarco knocked on the passenger door while Gunner stood in the middle of the street, letting it be known nobody could pass.
“I’m sorry, what is this? Is there a problem?” she asked, rolling her window down with confusion. I peered into the back where the boys watched with wide eyes.
“Ma’am, my daughter right over there,” pointing at Gunner, “just informed me that your sons–––.”
“Nigga, why is you putting on this white voice?” Demarco stressed through the window. “Now ain’t the time to–––.”
“Because I’m talking to her like a fucking adult. It ain’t a white voice nigga, it's speaking proper english!”
“Proper english my ass, let’s see if these lil niggas in the back seat can fly since they fucking with my niece,” he snapped as the boys began to panic.
“What the hell is going on?!” the mom snapped. “I–––”
“Your sons been picking on my daughter and from parent to parent…I’m coming to you before I come to them. They put their hands on her––.”
“My sons would never–––.”
“Okay great talk,” I cut in before reaching inside to hit the lock before yanking the door open. Demarco opened the passenger side to lean in.
“Aye!” I barked. “Junie Mai Skye. You know her?!”
They both nodded, ignoring the mother screaming for help.
“Put yo hands on my daughter again and I’ma show you what a real witch do. You leave my daughter alone, you hear me?” I threatened as they nodded together in unison.
“Nah that ain’t enough,” Demarco said with a laugh, “let’s push em to the ground and see if they can fly, yall can fly?”
“Noo,” one of em said with tears in his eyes.
“You sure? I can grab you and toss you in the air, you might fly then,” he growled as they both broke down in tears. “We’re her security guards, you understand? Any time she’s in trouble, she hires us to protect her. You don’t want us to come after you, do you?”
“Nooo,” they cried.
“No what? Nigga, I’m grown,” Demarco snapped as I watched Gunner talk to the teachers, explaining the situation. Nobody was moving as the mother forced her way out the car, demanding something be done. I popped the back door open and leaned in just before security could come.
“Look into my eyes,” I threatened with a low voice, “when you see her, always remember my face next time you wanna push my daughter.”
“Act right or we fucking on yo mama next,” Demarco threatened as I cut my eyes at him with a twisted expression.
“Did you have to say that?!” I fussed, closing the door shut.
“Sheeit, it had to be said. See this why?!” Demarco hollered. “This is why I ain’t ready for mine to leave me because I will kill if someone even looks at my child wrong!”
“You gotta show self control,” I schooled as we walked back to my car, “it’s fine! Everything is under control! Sorry for the wait!”
“NOBODY BETTER EVER FUCK WITH JUNIE MAI CARTER!” Demarco hollered as Gunner raised her hand high in the air. More than likely, we were probably gonna get her kicked out of school but to see the proud smile on my daughter’s face was priceless.