Linda had successfully petitioned to be discharged from the Navy. I was settling in and enjoying my work environment. We would go out occasionally together but after a few close calls with fisticuffs I decided I was not interested. I am not a fighter, I am more of a press charges and file a law suit type of person. Yeah, I know it doesn’t sound street but again I am FROM the streets. I was not OF the streets, so nope not interested in fighting in any way.
With the addition of us not going out we rarely saw one another or even spoke. Linda worked nights and I worked during the day. This is how the time passed. I made few new friends and hung out a lot with Ron, Boo B, and all their friends. Linda made friends and went out with them. We would cross pollinate on occasion, but I didn’t really like hanging out with Linda’s friends. They were cool girls, but they were all dancers and I could feel the sadness they carried around. I could see it in their eyes from the moment we met. Each one pretending to be happy enjoying life and having a good time while in their eyes I could see the truth. They had the eyes of hurt child longing for a hug and reassurance. Most used drug and drank heavily and at least one or two would tell me how they found themselves in this place and what lead them to their current profession. There were tears and yes hugs of reassurance. Every girl that I met that danced with Linda had experienced some sort of physical or emotional abuse. I could not enjoy myself as I watched their attempts to wash away their past with drinking, drugs, and dancing. I stopped going out with Linda and her friends almost completely.
Most people don’t know this, but I am extremely emotional. I don’t often show it visibly but inwardly I feel things deeply and intensely. I am also very empathetic but to a point. People often share their stories with me it always amazes me how broken things can always find other broken things. Each story is simulcast into my mind as if I am the lead actor. In my mind I see what they saw my soul I can feel what they felt. For the duration of any story shared the sharer and I are soul Siamese twins. Our souls fused together virtually sharing one heart. A heart whose every beat transports the joy, laughter, and light of their story but also their pain, sadness, helplessness, and anger. All are felt in my real body as if we experienced everything together. This deep emotional state can be overwhelming and debilitating. Linda and now her friend’s stories weighed heavy in my soul and their inability to move past the hurt was unbearable for me. What starts out as empathy will gradually transition to frustration and eventually rage. Only one person has ever fully experienced this rage. Most times I can contain it long enough for me to peacefully remove that person from my life. I have to do so to save myself. Thus, began the process of peaceful removal of Linda from my life.
My sister Kokie was Graduating high school! I was so proud and excited for her and her future. I flew to Arkansas for the ceremony and flew her out to San Diego for the summer. I still lived with Linda, but we rarely hung out or talked. Our lease would be up at the end of summer and I planned to move into a place of my own. I thought we could have one last summer of shenanigans. I took my sister around and introduced her to all my friends. I had a few get togethers and we went out on base and in TJ a few times. We went to the beach, parks, movies, and talked about life. I was so happy before having kids I don’t think I loved anyone on earth as much as I loved her. In my mind she was this combination of daughter, sister, friend that I would do anything for. She was smart, funny, and so beautiful. Yet, she too had suffered at the hands of my mother. When she shared her pain with me, I felt all of my normal emotions, but I also felt guilt.
I truly felt that I had abandoned her. Even though I was just a child at the time I felt responsible for leaving, like I had caused her to have to endure a life that I refused to. These feelings coupled with my deep love made it simple for me to ask her to move out to Cali with me! We were so excited and giddy like Celie and Nettie in the movie The Color Purple when Nettie came to visit Celie at Mr.’s house. I could literally hear the theme music! You can guess who played the role of Mr., Linda. She was not happy about any of this. If kokie and I were in the living room laughing and talking when she came into the apartment she would flash a resentful look but quickly follow it with a fake smile and a “hey guys what are we doing today?” I always invited her and tried to include her in whatever we were doing, but I could tell she was not really enjoying my sister’s presence. It reminded me of the scene in The Color Purple when Celie told Nettie the she would have to leave before Mr. could get her. I felt the same energy from Linda.
Linda finally found her moment to pounce. Linda had enjoyed being sought after and pursued by all of our guy friends and felt it was a betrayal when those same guys began directing their attention at my sister. It was one thing to lose my attention it was too much to also loose the attention of the guys. She felt disrespected and wanted my sister to leave. I know if she could she would have run my sister off throwing rocks just like Mr. Of course, there were no rocks and kokie would stay until her planned departure. For the remainder of her stay with me we were just like Celie & Nettie we would share huddled whispers as she leered and watched on. We planned to keep in touch and plan for our new life without Mr.