" Love Story and Some Other Stuff "    by Ophelia Hackshaw

Leon was 6’2, dark and so fine that women drawled over him.
I didn’t. I was only 17 and he was 26, a bit too old for me.
I fact, I never paid any attention to him.

Him and his family owned a popular dance place that was
packed every weekend. They served delicious hot food, had
good bands and a large parking lot, ripe for cruising.

I was always the life of the party and guys were drawn to
me like bees to honey. I was 121 lbs, very pretty, nice
boobs and I didn’t mind showing off my pretty legs, under
short dresses. I could dance the night away, flirt and have
a good time without any serious commitments.

Women were jealous of me, but I was completely
unaware of it. I  never felt jealous of anyone so I didn’t
know what it was or how ugly it could get. I was young,
carefree, about to graduate from high school. The moment
I graduated, I was leaving that small town for the city and
a better life.

My running partner was my best friend, Gretchen. We
were inseparable since we were 10 years old. When we
were 12, after school, we’d go to the local bar by the
Ocean. It was a short walk from where we lived. It had
a wooden floor and a jute box with all the latest hits on it.
Between 3 and 4 pm, the bar was empty, so the owners
mind us being there.

We’d leave long before the crowd of rowdy men and
women poured in. As soon as the men got off work from
the dock and fishing boats, they partied. The men had
plenty of money, fresh seafood and the women were
very receptive to both.

Anyway, I’d get plenty of dimes from Mom so we could
play as many songs as we wanted. In the day, a dime
played 5 songs. Me and Gretchen danced our heads off
for at least and hour, almost every day after school!
James Brown, Aretha, Temptations, Jackson 5, Johnny
Walker and The All Stars, Tina Turner, and everyone else
that was popular during that time.

When I look back at dancing with my best friend, it was
the happiest, most free time I’ve ever known! We danced,
ate egg salad sandwiches with olives in them and then
danced some more. The owners’ wife made those
sandwiches fresh every day and they were delicious.

To quench our thirst after so much dancing, we drank 2
or 3 real orange sodas. Not that artificial mess; these
were made from real oranges, with sparkling water.    


Now that I think of it, Gretchen kinda danced like Elaine
on Seinfeld!

Wild, jerking motions, jumping all over the
place. I was smoother and both of us were perfect! 

We had a ball. It was the best time I’ve ever known.

Years later I understood Elton John’s’ song about dancing
to the “Crocodile Rock” with his friend Susie; that being
the best time he’d ever known and them having so much
fun. It was identical to what me and Gretchen did.

When we got older, we started going out and dancing
with the guys. That’s how we ended up at Leon's  Place.
My brother and cousin would drive us there on weekends.
We’d dance, eat, drink a little, then go to another hot spot.
By the time everything closed, we had hit at least 3 joints
and was good and tired.

I only got drunk once. My brother, who always drove and
never drank,  had gotten us a bottle of liquor. 
Me, Gretchen and my cousin started drinking the
moment we got in the car.

I remember going in Leon's place, sitting on a bench,
waiting for our food, when a group of guys surrounded me.
My brother told the guys to leave me alone, but he got
distracted by a pretty girl he liked. I wasn’t in any danger
but it was uncomfortable to have so many guys around me.

That’s when I first met Leon. He came over, towering
above everyone else. He told the guys that I was his wife
 and we had 6 kids. They scattered real fast. I laughed
so hard cause he said it with a straight face. He laughed
too after the other guys had left. I was very impressed by
him rescuing me and making me laugh.

When the food was ready, he let me and my crew eat in
the back with him and his friends. I hear I got half way
through my sandwich, when I passed out! I remember
someone picking me up, taking me to our car and putting
me in, but I had no idea who it was.

The next thing I remember was waking up on the couch
at home. I raised up, saw Gretchen, my brother and
cousin, sitting around watching me. I turned to my brother
and said, “Hey, I thought we were going out.“

They started laughing as my brother told me we had
already been out and it was almost 3 am. I laid back
down and didn’t wake up again until the next afternoon.

Mom sure wanted to know why I was drinking so much
that I passed out. That’s when I started remembering
Leon and how nice he was to me. He wasn’t married and
didn’t have any kids, so I decided to see him again.

I learned that his family had other property as well.
This guy was looking better and better every minute.
He was already so fine that he didn’t need any help.
He had beautiful chiseled features, a lean muscular build,
deep full eyes that drew you in and made you want to stay
a while. His lips were full and too perfect for his face.

Those lips were inviting, smooth and innocent looking,
even though you knew many women had drank from that
tasty well. And his smile was divine, perfect white teeth,
cool refreshing breath.

I loved being with him and he was as anxious to see me,
as I was to see him. We didn’t hold back cause there was
no reason too. I soon learned that his good looks took a
back seat to his good character. Here was a man.

One night I was curled up, asleep, in the passenger seat
of Leon’s car, while my friend Gretchen was asleep in
the back seat. We were getting a second wind for more
partying at another place.

Suddenly a burst of cold air hit my back and I was being
snatched out of his car backwards. I was barely awake
when my first thought was that we were in an accident.
I opened my eyes to see Leon about to jump out and
tried to look back at Gretchen to see if she was alright,
but I couldn’t. I was being hurled out so fast that I hit
the ground. It didn’t hurt but I was confused. Hands were
grabbing me, pulling me and finally someone had me
pinned to the ground with their legs wrapped around my

I looked up to see 4 other women looking down at me,
saying something, while another held my feet. As close
as they were to me, I still couldn’t hear a word they were

By now it was obvious that I had been jumped by a group
of bitches. I didn’t know who they were or why they
jumped me, but I knew I needed help! There were 6 of
them and only one of me and I was pinned down.

Then I saw Leon racing past us at top speed. Immediately
I thought, “I know damn well he’s not leaving me!” .
And he wasn’t. What happened next was so funny that I’ll
never forget it.

Leon came back with half a tree! He started hitting
those bitches right and left! Since I was on the ground
looking up, he looked like a giant, with a broom, sweeping
little people out of the way.        


As soon as he hit the one that was holding me down, she
let go and ran off with her buddies. I started laughing so
hard I didn’t get up. Leon started laughing too until
another woman jumped on top of me and we started

It was an even fight now. I was awake so I started
punching the fuck outta that bitch, who ever she was.
Leon couldn’t hit her with the tree because I rolled on
top of her, trying to bash her head in.

Just then another strange thing happened; when I was
getting the best of her, she said, “Cuz, cuz, it’s me
your cousin Mary”.

“Who? Mary, Eric’s sister? What the hell did you jump
me for? “

She didn’t get a chance to answer. Leon came over, 
swooped me up,  and carried me back to his car like
he was cradling a precious baby! As we walked away,
I heard her moan. She wasn’t hurt. That moan was from
seeing him carrying me so tenderly and leaving her on
the ground!

Gretchen had actually slept through the whole thing
since they didn’t drag her out. I knew she must have, 
because my girl could throw down and there was no
way she wouldn’t have helped me.

Back at home, she went inside while me and Leon
talked. He told me the whole story. My cousin Mary
was deeply in love with him and had been for years. 

They had dated, but he broke it off when she wanted
to get married. She knew he was seeing other women
at the same time he was with her and that he wasn‘t
serious. After she talked about marriage, he broke it
off and remained single until we started dating a year

When she found out we were together, she approached
Leon about it. He told her we were together and that
he wanted to marry me. She went off, threatening to kill
me if he married me. Notice, she didn’t threaten to kill
him, she wanted to kill me. Leon told her to back off,
he never loved her or made any promises to her or any
other woman. He wanted to marry me.

That was the first time he had mentioned marriage. 
As he talked, I thought about it and knew I could have
easily married this man and loved him forever. I wasn’t
in love with him yet but I could be and we enjoyed
each other so much.

If he had asked me to marry him before my crazy cousin
jumped me, I would have said yes. Now everything had
changed. Mary was not taking no for an answer and had
even convinced others to attack me. Leon said the other
women were also my cousins.

I felt strongly that he should have told me about their
past relationship and especially about her threatening
me. By not telling me, I was exposed  to danger.

He’s reasoning was that he could protect me and he didn’t
think she would harm me anyway after he straightened
her out. He was wrong about her. If she had stabbed or
shot me when they pulled me out of his car, he couldn’t
have gotten to me in time to stop it. And what if they
had attacked me when he wasn’t around?

Here’s the other thing; Mary knew I didn’t know about
her and Leon. That’s why she told me who she was,
when we were fighting. She knew I was ignorant of
their relationship but she had those women jump me
anyway. That was messed up and it showed what lengths
she’d go too. That chick was determined to harm me.

There was a separation in our family line. Mary and all
those cousins, were not very attractive and at least
10 years older than me.

I, on the other, was very pretty, and guys liked me
whether I wanted their attention or not. Girls like Mary
fought over guys, where as it was the guys who fought
over me. 

I knew those cousins were low down and sneaky. Desperate
bitches like that tended to mess up your face if you
were pretty. I was determined to stay in one piece,
to leave that hell hole and have the life I wanted.

Leon did try to convince me to be with him, but I
just didn’t feel it anymore. Besides, his roots were
there and I wanted to move to the city. 

I left that area not long after that. My best friend
Gretchen decided to stay there. I got a job with a
corporation and stayed at a cheap rooming house
for almost a year. It was clean, in a good neighborhood
and I had fun partying with the other women who
lived there. When I was able too, I took business
classes saved up and 2 years later I opened a small
shop selling natural soaps, candles and other luxuries.

After 3 yrs. in business, I finally had the money and
time to travel.  I traveled abroad and all over this
country.By the 4th year, I bought the building my shop
was in and rented out the other spaces for a sum that
took care of me nicely each month. 

Another year later, I rented out my shop also and went
into real estate, buying and reselling property for a profit.
I enjoyed the life I built for myself, but I never fell in
love and didn’t want to get married.

Leon never married either but for different reasons.
He had changed and women didn’t see him as the catch
he use to be.

In the 30 years that passed, I had known good
men and my affair with Leon had faded from my mind
when I first left that area. The few times I went back
home over the years, I never saw him or even thought
about him.

Nothing had changed in that area in all those years.
Women still fought each other over no-good men.
Since crack had invaded every corner of America,
a lot of them were on or had been on crack. That shit
had  further destroyed their lives, their family, their
looks and their minds. I still looked the same, with
more curves now that I was a woman, had never used
drugs and was well off financially.

And yes, I did help my family and friends as much as
I could. Sometimes people  can’t or won’t change.
When that's the situation, the best thing is to walk
away rather than let them drain you.   

My relatives couldn’t relate to the life I lived. They had
never traveled or owned a business. All they could talk
about was what they knew of me as a teenager. Some
of them made a point of telling me how Leon treated
Mary. He beat her, stabbed her, kicked her and even
shot at her. They said it so casually, as if it were an
every day occurrence, nothing major!

I was horrified that he'd do that to a woman! Hearing
that inspired me to talk to several people in that area
about ending violence against women and children.

That’s not the reaction the relatives wanted. They
expected me to be one of them and say she got what
she deserved, so they had something juicy to gossip about.
I realized I had never been one of them. I always
thought different, acted different and wanted to get
as far away from them as possible!

In 30 years, I only went back home 5 times. My mother
had passed away before I left, my brothers were going
in another direction and Gretchen still didn’t want to leave,
so I had no real connection to that area anymore.

Anyway, Mary and my cousins had told everyone about
fighting me that night . Only they left out key details;
Like me not knowing about her and Leon or that I had
been asleep when they pulled me out of the car
backwards and that 6 of them jumped me.

And they certainly  didn't tell about Leon beating
the hell outta them with that tree. I had to fill in those
details, years later when the topic came up.

When I attended an aunt’s funeral, Mary made sure she
was there to see me, after all those years. She came
up to me, with her posse in tow and asked if I remembered

I didn’t have a clue who she was. So naturally I said,
“No, just tell me who you are.” I later learned that she
was really embarrassed by that. This little creep actually
thought I spent time thinking about her and some nonsense
from almost 30 years ago. Traveling, my businesses, my
friends, the wonderful life I lived, was nothing compared to
remembering her. Dear God, this bitch was still insane.

But when she said her name, I did gasp and ask,
“Oh my God, how is she doing?”  She looked at me like
I had lost my mind, so did her posse.

“How is 'who' doing? I’m Mary!” was her  reply.

You see, relatives had told me that when her daughter
was 5 years old, Mary's brother Eric had violently raped
her daughter and she had to be hospitalized as a result.

She barely made it and hadn't spoken a word since then.
So when I said, “Oh my God, how is she doing?” I meant
her daughter  and  I told her so.

Mary and the rest of those idiots looked even more
embarrassed that their nonsense was more important
than the life of her own child. Without getting an answer,
I just walked away. These people were too ignorant to
deal with a second longer

At this point you’re probably wondering what happened
to her brother Eric after he violently raped and almost
killed his 5 year old niece. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

You see, my relatives and most everyone else in that
hick town, are insane. A man can get away with the most
heinous crimes and no one calls the police or takes care of
it themselves. Men beat the life out of women, kill them
in front of their children, and the man gets away, if the
police aren’t called immediately.

Mary, nor anyone else, even called the police on her brother.
That monster should be locked up forever, but instead he left
the state. The last they heard, he was ‘somewhere’ down
south, living with a woman that had 5 daughters.
I’ll say it for you; Dear God NO!!

Those crazy bitches wouldn’t fight the men that beat them
or have him arrested for violating them or their children.
However, they would get together and beat the life out
of another woman who dared mess with their no-good men!

The reason Eric could rape his niece without blinking is
because him and Mary were molested by their father
when they were children. The mother knew about it,
but she was deadly afraid of him. He beat her like she
was a rag doll, so those kids grew up in hell, like a lot
of families in that area. Everyone knew, but no one said
or did anything.

I’ve only had one abusive relationship. When I was 24,
a man I was living with, slapped me across the room.
He asked me to marry him, I didn’t answer, so he back
handed me. That was the first and last time he hit me.

It was also the last time I saw him alive. No, I didn’t kill
him. I put him out immediately and went on with my life.

A couple years later, I was back in that city and got a
strange call. It was from his old aunt. She said she still
had my number and didn’t know who else to call.
Her nephew died of a drug over dose and she was too
weak to go view his body, to identify him. Would I do it?
I couldn’t believe my ears. Why in the hell would I want
to do that?

The aunt was in her 80’s, so I did as she asked. At the
morgue, they showed me his face by camera instead
of me  having to view his dead body. Yeah, that was
him and he actually looked very peaceful.

For a second, I resented him looking peaceful as I
remembered how hard he slapped me.

After I put him out, that same aunt called me, telling
me she had expected that to happen. I learned that her
nephew was a drug addict, alcoholic and was shell shock
from serving 2 turns in Vietnam. He beat women too.

I was livid! I asked her why she didn’t tell me those things
when I first met the guy. She said she thought he would
straighten up with me!

We had been dating for a year when we decided to
live together. I lived much closer to his job and we got 
along really well for the first 3 months. Then came the
fourth month when he asked me to marry him. I had
told him in the beginning that I was not ready to marry,
but I guess he purposely forgot. I didn’t answer so he
slapped me so hard I sailed across the room, landing on
the floor, barely missing the glass coffee table.

I got up, went in the kitchen, got a huge knife and went
after him at full speed. He ran out of the apt. and didn’t
come back. I threw his clothes and other belongings off
the balcony, called the police and he was escorted off
the premises. He never bothered me again and I never
saw him again until I identified him at the morgue.

What bothered me was that I hadn’t known this man at
all, even after knowing him for almost 2 years. I didn’t
know anything about drugs, so I didn’t know the signs.

Yeah, he had some scratches on his arms but that was
from his job as an army mechanic. He was never drunk, 
so I didn’t know he was an alcoholic either. Never
smelled it on his breath and he only had one drink when 
we went out to dinner or dancing. I’m the one that
always had at least 3 gin and tonics. He went to church
with me, sang on the choir.

He was not the face of a double addict and woman beater,
yet he was all that and a liar too.

As I looked at his face in the morgue, remembering all this,
I felt a certain satisfaction that he was dead. One less
monster beating up women! I called his aunt, confirmed
that it was him, wished her well  and went on with my life.