Funny thing about life is that sometime the smallest things can change your life, even something as simple as *69. I enjoyed living with my aunt Valerie, she was beautiful (high yellow, sandy brown hair, and freckles) and fun to be around. We talked about everything and she is the person that taught me to make peach cobbler, I still use the same recipe to this day! She was like a really awesome big sister I loved her and looked up to her a great deal. No, she hadn’t been to collage and didn’t have a great job, but she was a good mom and a good person and that counts for a lot. That summer right after high school started out just fine, I was looking for a job and had applied to Forrest Park community college and would take classes there in the fall. It wasn’t what I wanted but it was a start. While everyone spent their evening outside that summer I spent most evenings inside watching Star Trek Next Generation. I had the biggest crush on Jean Luke Picard! I loved the adventure and exploration of course but what really got me to love the show was the ethical and moral situations to be found in each episode. With each dilemma Picard always chose the moral and ethical path. He was a man of his word and of principles. How could I not love such a man! One evening while I was inside watching Star Trek the phone rang, and I answered. The hello on the line belonged to my aunt’s boyfriend Will, I had answered the phone and heard his hello hundreds or thousands of times. This time he asked for Patricia, when I asked him who was Patricia he hung up. Of course, I immediately went and told my aunt, it was the moral and ethical thing to do. She grabbed the phone and hit *69 he picked up and hung up, then called back pretending that it wasn’t him that had just called asking for Patricia. I didn’t say anything my part was done I was a woman of morals and principles, and so I went back to watching my show.
Over the next few days, I started to feel a bit of distance grow between my aunt and me. She had done some investigations and found out that he did know a Patricia. I believe she talked to her, I’m not sure what they talked about. I just remember her telling me that my voice was a spot-on replication of Patricia’s and that was probably the reason he messed up on the phone. I knew she was hurt and I felt that having to look at me every day knowing I knew what he had done to her was embarrassing and hard for her because she planned to stay with him. She started to stay out more (at his place) and made less eye contact with me. I knew it was time to move on. I wasn’t angry with her, I understood the desire to be loved and the pain she was in. I didn’t have many options, so it was back to my aunt Josie’s house. There were a lot of jobs near her, easy access to the bus and I didn’t have to worry about my safety as much. But I knew that I wasn’t a “kid” anymore and I would have to get my shit together quickly!
I got a job right away at a thrift store on Natural Bridge. It was only a few miles away and I could walk to and from work. On my way to work, I also applied to other places that I passed because I was glad to have the job but sorting clothes at a thrift store can be a tough gig. I got hired for the night shift at Walgreen’s on Natural Bridge and Lucas and Hunt. So, for a while I worked two jobs and stacked my moneys! I didn’t want to over stay my welcome at my aunts, so I went to stay with my friend Tamika (Mikes niece) and at her parents house. I stayed for a while but it was just until we moved into our apartment.
Our apartment was a shabby unit in a four family flat her granddad owned. We furnished it with golden velvety sofas, wonderful old-school tables, and art donated from her family. We were grown! Hah! We had people over, we worked, we went to school, and we did as we pleased. It was cool but after a while Tamika began staying at her parents more and more (I didn’t know it, but she had gotten pregnant) and so I basically lived alone in a kinda sketchy part of town. One night after taking the bus home I was scared out of my mind when I found a homeless man asleep in one of the corners of our porch. I told my dad what happened, and he asked me to come stay with them. I accepted even though I figured I wouldn’t be there for long. I didn’t feel safe at my apartment. I had planned to get my own place in a better area but shit he owed me!
The next semester of school started and again I paid for my classes and books myself. I was very proud of that. I worked (I had to drop the thrift store job though) and went to school. I also had to do dumb cleaning, shit for my dad and Kim, but now I was older and wiser I just did whatever they asked and kept to myself as much as possible. I still wanted to get my own place just figured that I would save money and possibly find a better job first. One day, after work, dad wanted to talk to me apparently, they had “found” a paper (in my backpack) I had written in English class about my high school graduation and were concerned. I held in my anger and annoyance about them intentionally going through my thigs. I brushed it off telling him I was over it, that I was fine, that it was just for an assignment in class and it meant nothing. In reality I was not over it, I was not fine, I chose to write about it because it meant something to me. To this day I sometimes fold in the face of difficult conversations. Not that I can’t have them, I can. It’s the starting of a difficult conversation that I struggle most with. Had my dad pushed just a little past my softball teenage response, I would have opened the flood gate. I needed to know that he really cared and truly wanted to know before I would allow myself to be vulnerable . He didn’t so I didn’t. Moving time was approaching.
A few weeks later I was cleaning the upstairs guest room and noticed the mirror with a dusty film and the accoutrements for cocaine use. I was flush with emotions and sadness. I couldn’t believe it, and I added a lot of anger to my treasure trove. I knew they were not perfect people, but I didn’t want them to be this imperfect. I pretended not to see it and never mentioned it, but Kim went in the room later she knew that I knew. Moving time was near. Not long after they got into bad argument, I was put in the middle. Dad came home from work early and as he was heading upstairs turns to me and says “if Kim calls tell her I’m not home.” This was a small breach of the moral code that I instinctively knew could have negative consequences. But as a young adult living with my father, it was hard for me to say, “dad I don’t want to lie for you, please don’t put me in this situation.” Also, I was still angry with Kim and it felt good to have this secret. I know so unPicard like. But what I didn’t know was that my guilty pleasure meant that moving day had arrived. Kim came home pissed. She and I argued, I ended up getting kicked out. Mike came to get me in the middle of the night and helped me get my stuff while Kim yelled terrible things at me as my dad watched and did nothing.
I moved in with Mike…