• Bre'a Belle

Red Right Hand

Out of all of my sisters with Sa'Miyah and Alexis being the ones I could always relate to the most, Olivia being more like me than I ever would have thought, Chanda being a bit of a mystery, and La'Ziya helping me discover how to love another human being in a way that I never thought possible, Mia has always been my right hand. My red right hand.

One year and seventeen days after the birth of me, Bre'A Shicole, along came Tamia Nhicole. A lot of people called my mom Fertile Myrtle, some thought she was insane, some thought she would end up being a statistic, and some thought that she had her hands full (she did but didn't figure it out until MUCH later in our lives). I can't remember a time where she wasn't in my life.

We grew up glued to each other's hips, we were often dressed like we were twins, I was Bubbles and she was Blossom, she loved red and I loved blue, we were like night and day with me initially being the tom boy and her being girly and then we swapped personalities (I can't describe it any other way. It was literally like a switch had been flipped), and we scrapped like we wanted to kill each other, but our fighting meant nothing when it came to my first day of kindergarten when I got on a school bus for the very first time and I looked out the window and she was bawling her eyes out (according to Momma and Daddy, she cried almost the entire day. It was the very first time we had ever been away from each other). We didn't end up being separated from each other until late 2015 when she went off to college and I shit you not, I really felt like I had lost a limb.

Just like I am today, my fluffy ass has always loved cakes, cookies, and pies. Mia was known for being the tiny sister and I was the chunky solid sister. Sometimes I refer to her as the runt of Momma's litter because she weighed in at only five pounds and few ounces when she was born (it wasn't until much later in our lives that we found out that she was the surviving twin of Vanishing Twin Syndrome, which is basically like survival of the fittest shortly after conception. There might be evidence of a twin pregnancy discovered at some point, but a lot of the times, it can go unnoticed). She was little and still is, but she's always been vicious, like she walks around thinking that she has the strength of a hundred men. She was as mean as a snake when we were little and didn't really grow out of it until we were in middle school and you better believe that she had me wrapped up in a lot of shit when we were kids. No matter how ridiculous it may have been, I didn't care. I was proud to be a big sister and still to this day, just like from the very beginning, I'll move Heaven and Earth to protect her and stand by her side.

One memory in particular is one of the few that I remember clear as day. Mia and I were about three and four at the time. She was always tiny and she still has a big ass attitude and temper that you wouldn't have expected from such a small little girl. For some reason, throughout our entire lives, I swear to God, Mia has NEVER picked a fight with somebody her own size and she's whooped more boys than girls simply because she would never back down from anyone (ask her about the time she beat up a set of brothers all by herself when she was in elementary school).

There were two little boys, a white boy named Chance, and a black boy named Damien, that had to be at least my age or at least a year older than me, and Mia gave the both of them hell every time they were bothering her. Hell, sometimes she'd pick a fight just because she knew that she could handle them on her own (Mia is evil ya'll. That's where Devin gets it from). The fights that she got into with them were like watching Tom and Jerry. If "When I see you, it's on sight," was a person, then dammit to hell, it would have been the three year old Tamia Nhicole Joyce. Momma and Daddy had no idea that they were going to get more than they bargained for with us. They usually dressed us just a like and sometimes people thought we were twins if they didn't know any better. They fucked up when they put us in matching sweat suits that said, "Here Comes Trouble," for Mia and, "Here comes BIGGER Trouble," for me (remind me to ask my mom if she was trying to make a fat joke).

On a Friday during play time, I was watching over her protectively but from a distance just to make sure Chance wasn't bothering her because Damian wasn't there that day. One minute, I didn't see him anywhere near her and the next thing I know, the damn boy was shrieking like he was being murdered and it was because Mia had her jaws locked onto a pretty good chunk of his back. Seriously, I'm pretty sure the kid thought he was about to be eaten by a cannibal. When she finally let go, a spot on his back about the size of a fifty cent piece was already turning black, blue, and purple and you could see her teeth marks that would surely leave a scar.

Finding out that I had more siblings when I met my biological dad and that side of my family has always been a little difficult for me up until a few years ago because I didn't want her or Shakur thinking that I would just toss them to the side for the others. I love all of my siblings equally, but me, Mia, and Shakur have really been through some rough shit together and I feel like I'm slightly closer to them than the others.

As we grew up, Mia and I were each other's backbones because we were so close in age. I know that we gave Mount View hell when we were there and I know that they were glad that Mika's kids were finally out of there when Shakur was the last of us to graduate. No one could fuck with her and there would be hell to pay if something got back to me. Even though she was the little sister, she did and felt the same thing as I did.

Softball was one of my most favorite things we did together (since cheerleading was a disaster, we went on to t-ball with me being #5 and Mia being #6). We went on to little league playing as #15 and #16 for Jancare, and then middle school as #17 and #18 when we found our places of being the hindcatcher and third baseman. I'm proud because when it came to softball, we were the shit. A lot of the reasons why we played with so much aggression is because one of us was always afraid of the other one getting hurt, there were too many dirty umpires that called our games, and we were tiny enough to make our opponents think that they could just roll right over us during a game.

My junior year, we went off to play at Liberty Raleigh, but something was off with Mia. She was giving off a strange vibe and she only told me that someone's dad from the other team stood by the fence right beside third base running his mouth. A few innings passed with the man running his mouth so only Mia could hear him. One of their players was about to take off to steal third and that was when he yelled, "Take her out!" loud enough for all of us on the field to hear and the chick gave him a nod and a thumbs up. She was able to steal before the ball made it there, but she made it very fucking clear that she only went for stealing third in an attempt to hurt Mia and take her out of the game (the girl was their pitcher and none of their players were able to make it to first without being thrown out by my sister and they were pissed off about it. The bitch went to slide with her foot stuck straight out and if Mia hadn't have moved when she did, she would have probably destroyed Mia's knee or her shin).

That was one of those situations where Mia was quiet and withdrawn and I was the one with a hot head. The girl danced between third and home plate for a little and the same loud mouth asshole yelled, "Mow her ass down!" referring to running me over to either steal or take me out of the game due to an injury. Every time she hopped back to third, whether it was intentional or not, she would either step on Mia's feet or she would bump into her. She was tall and lanky and thought that she could intimidate one of us because she was at least a foot taller than us (everyone knew we were sisters and they underestimated us). She made one last attempt to steal home after bumping into Mia again when she had been on third base and I got tired of it. I ran just enough to make sure I got the ball from Mia and the girl was literally charging me, trying to mow me down like that asshole told her to. I just said fuck it and dropped on one knee right in front of her. Her knee connected with my shin guard and she immediately fell over and started screaming in pain. She had to come out for the rest of the game. The man at the fence was screaming for me to be ejected for foul play, but the umpire we had that day ignored him and stated that he'd noticed the other girl trying to hurt Mia. We didn't win that game, but it was close. After witnessing someone trying to hurt my sister, I didn't give a damn about the game. The only reason why we didn't decide to square up with the whole team was because Momma wasn't there.

I didn't really about the girl having any serious injuries. The plot thickened back in 2017 when I worked at the Village and a phlebotomist came to draw our labs at the facility. She stared me up and down and I just thought she was being a creep. She then asked me if I had gone to Mount View, if I had a sister, and if I played softball. I said yes to all of her questions. She revealed that that had been her senior year and she ended up with a torn ACL (or meniscus, I can't remember which was which), and it cost her a softball scholarship. I didn't feel bad when it happened and I didn't feel bad when she told me what happened afterwards. I just told myself that karma was a bitch.

No one expected either of us to throw like we did, catch, or bat and no one expected Mia to be so fast (she had to run for me most of the time because even though I was a powerful batter and great at hind catching, I ran like a turtle stuck in the damn mud). People eventually took to calling us Thunder and Lightening. It's cute to look back on and it might sound a little ridiculous after all of these years, but the reputation we gained during the time we spent playing softball was definitely something to be proud of. With the two of us, no one could hit a ball down to third base and make it to first because of Mia and if they did, there was no way that they were going to make it to second because of me.

In our teens, we could handle our own, but we knew that the other would be there even if we didn't need each other. Mia has had to choke me until I passed out to keep me from fighting someone. I did what I never even dared to ever do, which was get out of character while in my cheerleading uniform when she was approached by a couple of strangers that resulted in an altercation at a basketball game. It went right over my head at the time, but the next day in the principal's office, we watched the footage of Mia taking a sip of grape soda from the can she had just opened right before she slammed it into the side of a girl's head and she added a punch with it. I swear to God, if she hadn't opened that can before hitting her with it, the bitch would have been knocked out completely. Mia was so upset because the administration at our school was basically trying to belittle her for defending herself, trying to say that I was acting crazy (and I shot right back that they were lucky that I was acting crazy and not homicidal), and our mom was banned from all school activities (when she always did whatever she could to support the school for us). They honestly should have been ashamed of themselves.

They sat there aiming everything at her until she was in tears. My chest burned and I felt my filter slip away. When I saw that first tear fall down her cheek, I started talking shit. I told them with the most smart ass tone that I had in my that yes, my mother would be at games and events (one of them kept repeating himself about Momma being banned and I repeatedly told him that we'll see) and they weren't going to sit and fucking talk down to my sister like she was in the fucking wrong for defending herself (word for word). I ran my mouth until one of them flat out said that he wasn't going to be disrespected by my mouth as he tried to ease his way out of the office, and I got ghetto and told him to come say it to my fucking face. We were both sent home that day with Mia leaving with a five day suspension because she punched a girl that put her hands on her while on school property and me leaving for just one day because I was arguing, being disrespectful, and using profanity. I got hit with the threat that Ms. Jack was going to kick me off of the cheerleading squad and I replied that she wasn't going to because she knew that the situation was wrong just like the rest of us did (Ms. Jack was the only one that could calm me down that night and the next day, she told me to defend my sister and fight for her suspension to be lifted simply because she shouldn't have been punished for defending herself. She made it very clear that my position on the squad was untarnished because I was standing up for what was right). With the help of a few respected members at the Board of Education and Uncle Andrew, her suspension was lifted the next day.

Mia and Shakur switched roles with me as becoming my protectors when I got pregnant with Draven. Mia would help me make it to and from the classes we had together and they acted like my body guards right there in the very end.

Our childhood was spent with us constantly trying to remind ourselves to protect one another. Our teens were spent with the two of us raising hell. She's always been there, but it feels like there was an invisible wall between us sometimes. I knew her like the back of my hand because she was the closest thing I had to a twin, but I often felt like I really didn't know her that well. It was like there was a blind spot. Our personalities were vastly different, even more than they always had been and she struggled with a lot more stuff than I did.

Adulthood for us has been something that I felt like I was always waiting for but I never really thought it would happen. She smiles more now just because and I can tell that she's finally getting the chance to be the person that was trapped inside her. She doesn't get as angry or agitated about things so easily anymore. I realize now that the true Mia was trapped inside of a shell for all of those years, driven insane by anxiety and a childhood filled with domestic violence, verbal, and emotional abuse.

My only issue with the people we've crossed paths with throughout our life or the fact that people truly judge her by what she looks like and who she is. She's been in a situation where she asked one of our neighbors to move a vehicle so she could part and as soon as the bitch laid eyes on her, she was intimidated by Mia enough to threaten to call the police on her, even when she let the woman know that she was my sister and I lived two doors down. It may not have bothered her as much, but when I found out about it, I waited every day for two weeks for that bitch to step outside so I could whoop her ass. She's firm, hard headed, and stubborn, but she has come an incredibly long way with who she is today. I know that she's truly happy and no matter how old she gets, just like always, if you come at her, then you better believe that my ass is coming at you without question.