True Story by Rosemarie G. Roth
A Hidden Knife: The door to the church slowly opened by the Funeral Director for the incoming casket. The pallbearers followed his direction to be gentle as they gingerly rolled over the thresh-hold of the door connection with the tile flooring; even though a thump wouldn’t have made a difference to the deceased.
As they rolled the casket to the front of the pews they positioned her face facing the east as if a resurrection with a rising sun was imminent. The carpenter had varnished the wooden box with a natural stain which gave an appearance that someone of wealth laid within. As the Funeral Director opened the casket the family members waited for his beckon to enter to view the remains of their loved one.
The first person, her cousin Valerie, gave a gasp as she looked on a corpse that had no resemblance to the loved one she played with many days as a child. She was not recognizable due to the fact she was wrinkled from the months of refrigeration. Without saying a word; others rejected the thought that the remains could possibly belong to the vagarious Beverly Hylton. It had been three months since her murder as they waited for the trial to be completed and the release of her body for burial.
The Saturday, which was to be her last day on earth, began as usual with her caring for her two small children, a boy two-years-old and a girl ten-months-old, keeping a doctor’s appointment for birth control and a visit to the hair salon. All was well because there was to be a birthday party that night and she was invited. She volunteered to cook the curry chicken as a gift to the birthday girl. Which was graciously accepted. She gathered the ingredients and hurried to her apartment to begin the preparation so to be on time for this celebration.
Her cousin Valerie gladly offered to babysit which gave her a sense of freedom and glee as she dresses her babies for bed. Very quickly Beverly dressed in her party clothes and a new pair of shoes to match. She pulled a scarf off the hat rack, just in case it got chilly or to protect her shoulders from the bites of the mosquitos as she would walk home.
The party was joyous, as they greeted each other and paid compliments of their attires and shared a few gossips. As she danced, eat and laughed, she was being watched from afar by her husband. He mentally documented her every move with precision as not to miss any detail. Without dancing with him, she danced the last waltz with the father of her first child. This was simply too much for Valentine to bear, so he walked out of the room with embarrassment and disappeared in the darkness, wishing he could eradicate the thought that his wife mothered a child before marrying him.
He was thirteen years her senior and her youthfulness and beauty was admirable and far beyond what he considered as a blessing. Even with three children, her body showed no signs of stretched marks of weight loss. Her storytelling and laughter brightened his days and he secretly wished she belonged to him alone. The father of her first child was a constant reminder that she had loved someone before him. This was challenging to him, as he tried to move on and create a family with her. That last dance should have been with him not with her first lover. The demon of jealousy taunted his mind and his soul. She was not his, she belonged to her first child and her father, and he felt insignificant.
He went to bed and waited patiently for her to arrive. He questioned her about the party and wanted to know who she danced with. Beverly thought the questioning was intrusive and tried to evade them by rolling over in the bed and ignoring him. Yet, he pressed for more details! In her frustration, she gave him another “play by play” with attitude this time. Not the kind of response from a wife who had excluded her husband from her night of entertainment. He was looking for an apology, but she responded, boasting about her youth and his lack of stamina. To him this was too much, so he pulled a knife from under his pillow and plunged it into her small frame. She yelled on top of her voice for him to stop but he pulled and re-afflicted the stabs thirteen times with the final plunge entering her heart. He pulled the knife out and she ran down the stairs, beckoned to Uncle Jim to call for an ambulance. When they arrived, she collapsed in the medic’s arms and she watched her husband handed the knife to a waiting hand. She lost consciousness and died before reaching the hospital.
On that night in January 1964, Beverly Hylton died three months before her twenty-second birthday leaving behind three children under age seven. Her mother, father, four siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and co-workers to mourn her death.
Within her children came nine grand-children and four great-grandchildren to continue her legacy. (True story).