Raw and Unedited/Chapter One Excerpt
“It’s approaching one o’clock in the afternoon, and I’m here inside of this interrogation-like room to begin my interview with Lilith Maurelle Sullivan” I’m speaking in the tape recorder while waiting for the inmate to enter the room. Stacks of files are alongside photographs ready to be seen as they lie on the rectangular table. A faint odor wafts through the air. It’s not unbearable, but enough to know it’s there.
I also set up a camera to document our encounter, a necessity for my probable findings. “Subject is twenty-six years old” I continue to speak in the handheld recorder as I notice the green light from the camera is blinking. ‘It’s all ready to go.’
Then a loud thud interrupts my train of thought. I glance at the door while holding the recorder to two CO’s and a petite woman, with caramel-skin, entering the room. She wearing the standard orange uniform, except her top is a regular long-sleeve t-shirt. Lilith and I make full eye contact as I observe her natural beauty and soft long hair that’s in two French braids. One of the CO’s points to an empty chair and directs her to sit. She seems meek by nature, and yet cautious. “Lilith Sullivan?” I say, looking into her slightly dark-circles eyes. “My name is Dr. Mary Delaney, and I appreciate you allowing me to have this visit”
Appearing to be unmoved to what I’ve said, she sits stoically while the other CO chains her handcuffs to her leg shackles. “Is that really necessary?” I ask him.
The man with reddish-brown hair answers, “Yes” and returns to check for any loose chains. He joins the female CO as they head out the door. “I know the Warden says it’s okay for you to be left alone with her, but are you sure?” the woman’s voice concern.
“Of course, we’ll be fine” I look to Lilith and smile.
The woman shrugs and closes the door shut, echoing a strong thud that ricochets the room. And now finally Lilith and I are alone, just the two of us within the confines of steel and cement walls. “I’ve read a lot about you and you have an interesting life,” I say to her.
Again, she sits stoically without saying a word. Her eyes then wander around the table of the files and photographs, and the camera with an uncontrollable, blinking light. I follow her gaze and ask, “I hope taping this interview is okay?”
Lilith heaves a long sigh, rolling her eyes away from what’s on the table. “Uh, may I tell you something a little about me before we get started?” I ask. She responds by raises her eyebrows and shrugs.
“Well, okay then” I cheer at her response, “I’m from Illinois and attended St. Peter High School and later attended Indiana University in the fall of 1995 to receive my B.A. in Psychology and my masters…”
“Where’s your Habit?” Lilith interrupts.
Flabbergast by her sudden outburst, I pause for a second to recollect my specific instruction to the Warden not to let her know I’m a Nun. I glance into her narrowing eyes and ask, “How do you know?”
“It’s just how you carry yourself; how you speak and how you look”
“How I look – what Nuns are supposed to look like?” I ask with curiosity.
“Opposite of you: frumpy, homely, and always smiling”
“But I’m smiling now” I express.
“Yeah, but something in that smile ain’t right” Lilith points out.
“Behind that pretty face, blonde hair, and…” she looks to my necklace and back at me, “And physique…is a woman with many issues and uses that smile as a shield”
I continue to smile, even though my smile is shielding but it’s not of her truth. Rather it’s subtle irritation of thinking she knows the truth – my truth. “I would like to talk about you” I change the subject.
“Ain’t nothing to tell” she shakes her head.
“We all have a story to tell, Lilith.”
She acknowledges by chuckling her under breath. “The only people who called me that name were the Nuns and Teachers in school…”
“Do you prefer to be called by your street name – was it…” I say, looking through one of her files and conclude, “Here it is – Peaches?”
“Lady, I don’t care what you call me as long as it not nigger” she smirks.
Taken aback, I gaze at her brash comment and then reply, “All right…how about we’ll stick with Lilith?”
“I told you, I don’t care” she shrugs. “And besides, imagine going through Catholic school with the name ”Lilith”. You do know about its origin?”
“That Lilith was Adam’s first wife in the Garden of Eden.”
“And she didn’t want to submit to him…”
“So God created Eve.”
“You do know the history” she breaks into a smile. “But did you also know the darker side to the name?”
“That some religions believe she’s Satan’s wife”
“Bingo,” she says, narrowing her eyes.
“What do you believe?” I ask.
“I believe that the whole thing is bullshit. But then again, you should ask my mother, the Atheist, she’s the one named me.”I furrow my eyebrows at her sudden news and ask, “Your parents are Atheists, but sent you to Catholic school – interesting”
“Of course” she answers. “Do you really think non-Catholics students’ parents go to church? Shit. They sign their children to these private schools for the education – not for God or Jesus or a need to get to Heaven – they do it so their children can live the lives they never did”
“Valid point,” I say as I move some of the files in front of me. As I open one, I see a handwritten note by the court-appointed psychiatrist about Lilith’s biological father. “So, tell me about your dad,” I ask.
“He’s dead,” she says with no feeling.
“Biological father?” I question.
“Who – I don’t know that muh’fucka” she angrily responds. “All I know mom screwed some head honcho of DCS smack dab in his office and later got pregnant with me. And from what I heard through the years from eavesdropping on her conversations, she told him immediately she was pregnant; he denied it; transferred her to another office, and dared her to ever contact him again. So as far as I know, I’m the product of an Executive’s sperm. But my father is Rick.”
“Richard Sullivan?” I ask.
“Yeah – Rick.”
“Let’s talk about him for a moment” I begin to say. But Lilith makes a sudden outburst. “You’re very pretty you know that?” she inquires.
“Thank you” I politely smile. “But if you don’t mind, I really would like to talk about your stepfather”
“How long have you been a Nun?” she interrupts.“Shortly after I received my Undergraduate Degree” I patiently answer.
“It must be hard,” she says, shaking her head.
“That you haven’t had some dick in years – or worse, not ever” In an abrupt move, I lean back into the chair and exhales from her callous mind games. I then clear my throat and says, “Let’s talk about you and your father…”
“Let’s not” she cuts me off.
“Cause I ain’t in the mood to. I rather talk about you”
“But I rather not, Lilith” I express.
She begins to show visible anger from my refusal to give in to her demands. Her burning gaze feels like it’s radiating into my soul. And she shouts on top of her lung, “Guards”
“But the session is not over,” I say, raging with disappointment.
“Well, now it is” she huffs and then shouts again, “GUARDS!”
The scurry of feet echoes with the sound of keys jingling outside. The COs rushes inside as if they’re preparing for a fight. “Take me out of this muh’fuckin’ room!” Lilith demands.“Okay, we’ll have it your way” I cave in.
“We can talk about anything other than your stepfather”
“Too late, Nun” she replies while the male CO unchains the leg shackles. She gets up with a swift move into the grasp of their arms. “I’ll be back tomorrow; I have nothing but time” I express.
Lilith stops in the doorway like she’s contemplating my offer. Then she turns around with a smirk and says, “And if I do come back tomorrow, you have to share a little something about you”
“Fine” I agree. “But you have to share a lot in order for me to share a little from my world. Is it a deal?”
She rolls her eyes and proceeds out the door, leaving me to wonder if this interview was a great idea. I’ve come across many temperamental inmates with mental issues far exceed Lilith’s, but neither of them had ever tested my patience.
“Maybe Mother Superior is right; maybe this is too much for me to handle.”
©2015, Imani Wisdom
Pink Noire Publications
Coming in 2021