Excerpt from "The Sidechick Chronicles Vol. 1: Misplaced Love"
There was once a young girl who had been raised in a loving, happy two-parent home. She went to all the right schools, graduated at the top of her classes and was raised in the church. All her life she’d been surrounded by influential people—groomed to become a successful black woman. After a while, the woman eventually grew up. She learned about love, happiness, heartbreak, all the things that made up a lifetime.
Then one day, the well-groomed woman met a man who came from a different world than she did. He looked like a god—smelled like perfection—touched her in places she didn’t know could bring her satisfaction. He even said all the right things.
As time passed, the woman fell deeply in love with him. She opened her heart and let him bury himself in places no one had ever been, but her had demons. The kind of demons that could ruin a girl and shatter her idea of perfect love.
The kind of demons my grandmother would warn me about when she said, “The devil comes in many forms, Riah. But know this, he doesn’t come with horns and a pitchfork. He’s comes as everything you’ve ever dreamed of.”
For the past year and a half, I'd been in a relationship with my boss, the man of my dreams. He was the devil my grandmother had warned me about. To make matters worse, I was madly in love with him. I never thought we would be a forever kind of thing, but that was exactly what we’d become.
My name is Mariah Alicia Hancock. I am thirty-five-years-old. I was what people would consider a man’s ideal woman. The kind of woman he proudly boasted to the world about. The take her home to meet his mama kind of woman. I grew up watching my parents love on each other and bring one another happiness. My childhood resembled the Cosby Show. My family lived in an upper-class neighborhood where my brothers and I attended the best schools. My father was a surgeon and the head of neurology at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital. My mother was an attorney and law professor at Emory University. I graduated at the top of my class in undergrad at Clark Atlanta University. Like my mother, I pledged Delta Sigma Theta. I was even crowned Ms. Clark Atlanta University. I then went on to graduate school at Texas Southern where I soared in academia. Soon after, I established myself as a force in the advertising realm.
I landed my first job at Atomic Advertising Firm in Atlanta. For six years, I worked hard and by the seventh year, I got promoted to Art Director. I was on the fast track in my career field. Everything was falling into place. All I was missing was a husband to help make that perfect picture complete.
Day and night, I prayed and prayed for my perfect man. I attended church every Sunday as I strengthened my relationship with God. Like most women, I had my share of horrible men. Whoever came up with the term change your circles, didn’t know that horrible men did the same thing. I ran in some rather sophisticated circles. Still, I’d run into men who pretended to be into me and were nothing more than players, hoes, lazy or social climbers.
Eventually, I got tired of it and threw myself into my work and church. Once I turned it over to God, I found my perfect man in the one place I never thought I’d find him. The day we met I was scheduled to be a keynote speaker at a conference in Atlanta. Little did I know, he was scheduled to be on the same panel.
The moment I sat down, I locked eyes with him. Mr. Byron Quincy McDaniels; my tall, dark, and handsome prayer come to life. I’d forgotten he attended Clark Atlanta since he was a couple years ahead of me. Once we started reminiscing about the school and campus life, I knew exactly who he was. We talked about everything under the sun. My childhood, his childhood and what we’d been up to since leaving CAU. I told him about my parents, the neighborhood I’d grown up in, and what I was doing professionally. In turn, he told me about starting his own firm, his family, and where he’d grown up. It was obvious his upbringing was different than mine. Our conversation then shifted to him telling me about his daughter. He even told me about his previous relationship with her mother, Haven. I was shocked at how transparent he had been about their relationship.
He told me he didn’t believe in keeping secrets and mentioned how they were just friends, focusing on being good parents for their daughter. Even though I preferred to be with someone who didn’t have kids, I was turned on at how involved he was with his daughter. We went out every day while we attended the conference. Before I knew it, that week evolved into more dinners, late-night conversations, and weekend visits. We were on the road to dating. I couldn’t have planned it better. I was happy and in love, so much so that a year flew by. Eventually, we both grew tired of flying back and forth and wanted to be closer to one another.
After months of persuading me to move closer to him, I packed my bags. I bought a house and accepted the senior art director position at his company, Iridescent Creatives. My parents weren’t too keen on me moving to another city for a man. I had to explain to them that love was about taking risks. It was about laying all your cards on the table and going all in. Byron and I were in love. My heart was in St. Louis, so I had to follow it.
I couldn’t lie though. I had some serious reservations about it. I never wanted to be the woman who uprooted her life only to end up heartbroken. Knowing this, he promised me everything would change once we were in the same city. After extensive prayer, I finally agreed. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I became Mrs. Byron McDaniels. I never could have fathomed what it would feel like to be swept off my feet by my best friend.
Since I’d moved, we’d spent almost every night together. The nights he wasn’t with me, he was working late, spending time with his daughter, or traveling for business. During my move, he found me a cute three-bedroom home in the Central West End and paid the rent up for six months. Prior to me moving, one of my stipulations was I didn’t want us to cohabitate until we got married. As crazy as it may have sounded, we were practicing celibacy.
After my last train wreck of a relationship, I wanted to form an emotional and spiritual bond before we got physical. Aside from that, my father had warned me about living with a man before marriage. He and my brothers constantly drilled into me that if a man would lay up with me without a commitment, chances were he wouldn’t marry me. To be honest, I was more in love with the fact Byron was a man of God. He was perfectly fine with us residing in separate domains until he made an honest woman out of me. Up until four months ago, I had been adjusting to a new city and a new job, with my new man.
That was until my Mr. Right became someone else. Until a secret about him I never saw coming slammed into me like a typhoon. A secret that, on the surface, I would have never saw it happening to me. I wasn’t the kind of woman that sort of thing happened to. I came from a great background with outstanding upbringing. I did everything right in life. No one and I mean no one would have ever thought the daughter of two successful people, who had been married for forty years, would fall prey to such a thing.
Most women are the same when it came to dealing with relationships with someone we were in love with. Some of us see the tragedy before it comes, while most of us are blindsided by it. The fact remains, the heart wanted what it wanted. My body fed off the ecstasy it was given. My soul, no matter how hard I pulled away was connected to the core of his being.
Every woman had a story as to how she found herself as the other woman; a story as to why we couldn’t walk away the very moment we found out we’d been lied to and hurt. My story may have started differently, but the outcome was still the same.
Welcome to The Side Chick Chronicles.