Character Voice: Marlena Brown-Mason

Tomorrow Never Comes

Marlena Brown-Mason is Bernice’s sister and Otis’ wife in “Tomorrow Never Comes.”

My name is Marlena Brown-Mason. I’m a housewife … an abused housewife. Life has had countless twists and turns for me. I reckon that’s typical, but for some reason, it just seems to be especially hard for me.

The hard times started for me when my father, Haxton Brown, walked out on mama and us kids – all because she got cancer. People always said he was a selfish man, and I think they’re right. What man would reject his dying wife and his own children?

Did he even care that growing up without a father made me feel as empty as a hole in a doughnut?

However, as much as daddy’s departure hurt me, mama’s death hurts worse. I miss her so much. I remember feeling like the world kicked me in my stomach when she died. Although the sun shined that day, I’ll always remember it as a rainy day.

At least that’s how it felt in my aching heart.

After mama died, I was lonely for her for maternal presence. I cried a lot – inside and out – whenever my classmates talked about doing things with their mothers: cooking, shopping, learning how to wear makeup, etc.

I wondered nonstop why I couldn’t have my mother in my life like other girls had theirs. We missed out on so much!

I wanted her to see how happy I was when I became a cheerleader in high school and went on my first date. I especially would have love for her to meet her only grandchild – my daughter, Alicia.

I would love to have had her comfort me through all those heartbreaking times, such as having my boyfriend dump me in favor of my friend – the same guy who took my virginity.

There were so many other times I wanted my mother alive, just to hold my hand as I faced life’s trials and tribulations, but her body just couldn’t hold on in this world any longer.

I’m just blessed that I have my sister, Bernice. I appreciate that she raised me and Rico. Otherwise, I reckon we would’ve become children of the system. Some relatives even suggested we go into foster care. Being the angel she is, Bernice ignored them and honored mama’s wish: take care of her babies.

Bernice always supported me in my darkest hours. No matter how big the challenges were, she never turned her back on me or Rico. She’s so many things to me: my sister, a second mother, my best friend … a godsend.

I love my siblings. Along with my daughter, they’re my heart. The thought of them being hurt hurts me.

Family is so important to me that when a family member hurts me, the pain scars me to the depths of my soul. And that’s exactly how deep my father hurt me when he left.

To be honest, his selfish departure stirred my desperation for love. I wanted some man to love me; to hold me. Instead, I got a man who hates and hits me.

I got Otis Mason.

Otis and I have been married for five years. All of these years have been pure hell. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel like he’d kill me. With every slap, choke, and kick, I knew I was at death’s doorstep.

So why did I stay?

Because I had been beaten down to feel only one thing: fear. And that fear grabbed my heart like a robber snatching a woman’s purse. You know if you dare fight that robber back, he’s going to kill you. So, you’d best to let him have your purse.

The same thing goes for Otis.

I knew if I ran or fought back, he’d kill me. He’d do it too without an ounce of guilt – all because of his hatred for his mother.

That’s right – my husband hates his mother. His unwavering hatred for her was the driving force for every abusive act he afflicted upon me. It was the reason he forced me to quit my bookkeeping job and center my mere existence around him – so I could be more accessible to his brutality.

Why would I marry a man that hates the woman whose womb he comes from? The reason is simple: I was a broken soul in need of love from a man. Also, I was too blinded by the fantasy I created of him being the right man to actually see he was the WRONG one.

I should’ve known that he was no good from the moment he first hit me, which was three months before we married. Prior to that, he yelled at me a week after we first met in a grocery store.

One good thing did come out of my abusive marriage: my daughter, Alicia. She is the light of my eyes. I was beaten and raped the night my angel was conceived. Granted, she was conceived under ugly circumstances, but she’s still my beautiful, precious angel. I saw her birth as a blessing. She’s the reason I want to live. She’s the reason I smile.

She’s the reason I took a chance and left Otis Mason.

Read about Marlena in “Tomorrow Never Comes,” available at Amazon. To download it, click here.

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