Fifteen-year-old Kenisha Lewis has it all: good friends who also live to dance, a hot boyfriend headed for the NBA, loving parents and a bling-filled home in the burbs.
But all that changes when her dad drops a bomb: he wants a divorce--and his pregnant girlfriend is moving in. Suddenly, Kenisha and her mom are squeezed into her grandmother's small house in the city, and Kenisha's sharing a bedroom with a cousin she barely knows. Could she hate her life any more? Yeah. Because her boyfriend dumps her, her friends are acting weird and her mother is getting more and more depressed. Time for Kenisha to push the pause button on her life and take a long, deep breath--.
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October 01, 2007
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Excerpt from Pushing Pause by Celeste O. Norfleet
The Other Shoe
"You know when you have this strange feeling that some-thing's up and you just can't shake it? Well, I've had that feeling for, like, a month now. It's weird. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop but I haven't even heard the first one yet."
One thing you need to know about me is that I don't do the status quo thing and for that reason, my mom and I argue, my dad and I argue, and my boyfriend and I argue, but one thing that's set in stone, I can count on them no matter what to always give me my way. You see, that's because bottom line is, it's all about me, Kenisha Lewis.
I'm cool and all, they say I'm spoiled, pampered, whatever, I'm just like my mom, but make no mistake, I handle my business. I love to dance and I dance everything, jazz, modern, tap, even a little ballet, but mostly I dance hiphop. Dance is the one thing in my life I can count on and I'm good, real good.
I go to Hazelhurst Academy for Girls in Northern Virginia. It's right across the bridge from D.C. so we can, like, look out the window and see the for real world. My school is all right, I guess. Seriously preppy, but that's okay sometimes. Right now it's summer, Tuesday, August-something, hot like somebody kicked open a furnace door and just left it.
So, up until a while ago my candy-ass life was perfect. At least that's what everybody thought from the outside looking in and I just let them think it 'cause up until then it was kind of true. It wasn't a never-ending extreme shopping spree or anything like that but I was seriously cultivating my significance. I had the perfect family, the perfect house, the perfect boyfriend and the perfect life. Until...
It was about five-thirty and I was getting ready to step out. My music, a Lil Mama Lip Gloss remix, was blasting at top volume 'cause I didn't want to hear it anymore, their muffled voices, the shrill cries, the deep confessions. I learned a long time ago to tune out, first with cartoons, then with television and then with my music.
"...so that's it, you just gonna walk out..."
"...we've been playing this thing over and over..."
I had no idea what they were arguing about, but whatever it was, it was serious. I only heard bits and pieces every now and then when they got really loud, but mostly I just tuned out.
"...this is my house and I'm not leaving..."
"...you don't have a choice..."
"...we'll see about that..." "...take whatever, I don't care..."
That one started an hour ago. They fought so loud, it sounded like World War III had jumped off up in there, friggin' scud missiles and nuclear bombs and all. My mom and dad are a gen-u-wine trip like that. They always got something going on, but lately it's been worse than ever. He walked out two weeks ago with his bags in his hands. I knew that something was up with them, but neither was talking. When I called my dad at his office and asked him, he was, like, ask your mom. And when I asked, my mom was, like, nothing. But something was definitely up.
"...you and that bitch can think again, you hear me..."
"...bullshit, this is a long time coming, you know it, here, take this..."
"...what's this, what am I supposed to do with this..."
"...read it, it explains everything..."
So tonight he stopped by and they got into it again. It's always about the same thing, my dad stepping out. He's fiftysomething, old as hell and still frontin', thinking he's a player. He used to be a professional football player, but now he's owns a computer software business and, like, fifteen years ago they developed this new software program, then sold it for big bucks.
"...screw you and your other women..."
"...you don't have a choice, my attorney..." So now he's got deep pockets and those stupid skanks at his office flock to him like flies to new crap. It pisses my mom off and I don't know why he does that, 'cause he knows that my mom is going off on his ass. She seriously needs to control her man. Thank God I don't have her issues. "...a piece of paper don't mean shit to me..."
"...this is no joke, I'm serious, it's over..."
"...you think you can do this to me, you can try..." It went on like that for a while, then I heard the inevitable slap and then a scuffle. My mom's a slapper. She'll reach up and slap somebody's face in a second. I remember we were out to dinner one time and my dad turned to check this big-boob, big-butt waitress out and just as he turned back around, my mom was there meeting him with the flat of her hand across his face. The crack echoed all over the restaurant.
Everybody turned to see what he was gonna do. As usual my dad played it off like it was nothing. He joked and laughed, lightening the mood, but I knew he had to be seriously embarrassed. He's, like, six-feet-four and all muscle at about two hundred and thirty pounds. And if he were to ever hit her back, he'd seriously knock her into next week.
Mom knew that. She took great pleasure in hitting my dad, knowing that he'd never hit her back. He'd hold her and back her away, but he would never lay a hand on her.