As I walk toward our bed, I can feel the shame showering down on me. I am too young to be in this kind of mess. Looking around me, I can see women with worried faces and whining children. I feel for the children because this is not a place that they call “home”. My kids seem to be okay, but they really do not know what is going on. I keep reminding Nyla that it’s a sleepover but this sleepover that can turn into many months until I find somewhere stable. I found this women’s shelter through an old co-worker of mine. She was the only one I could vent to since I did not have anyone else in my life that I could talk to. I have not spoken to my parents since I left Nyla’s father fours years ago. They did not approve of my life choices so I chose to cut all communication with them. One of the worst mistakes I made. The friends I did have were graduating college, getting engaged, and pursuing the “corporate life”, but I did not fit into that “social circle” anymore.
My children were starting to look sleepy after getting something to eat, so I pull a blanket over them as I sat on the floor beside them. I pull out my graduation picture and stared at it. The only question was How did I end up here? Well the answer to the question started about seven years ago on my graduation day…….
I was excited to finally graduate high school and go off to college to get my degree in education. Around that time, I was also working with the inner city kids at the youth center, and they even threw me a surprise graduation party. I wanted to be a good example to them and show them that they can be successful no matter where they came from. On some days, I spent time daydreaming about opening my own recreation centers and creating success programs at local schools. Of course, I could not stop there. I also dreamed of serving on the school board one day so I can truly bring change. I was attending the local community college so I can stay close to home and continue to volunteer with the youth. During my freshman year, I met this charming and sweet guy in his mid 20’s, but he soon showed his true colors. He became controlling and wanted to know my every move. After dating him for six months, I became pregnant. I was afraid to tell my parents and decided to go get an abortion. I did not leave the guy because he was giving me money and gifts that felt like he truly loved and supported me. The next year, I became pregnant again and decided to move in with him so my baby and I can have support. My parents begged me to come home but I was too ashamed to face the church I was attending and the youth I worked with at the center. So I decided to quit going to church and resigned from the youth shelter. Then my nightmare began after that. Nyla’s father started to emotionally and physically abuse me so I decided to leave one day while he was at work and stayed with a friend for a few months. I dropped out of school because I could not focus due to what was happening to me in my personal life with Nyla’s father. I met Corey later, and found myself back in the same situation.
After my little trip down memory lane, I got up to go the bathroom while praying no one touch my children. I walk in the bathroom, and wanted to hide in there away from the trouble I was facing. Staring into the mirror, I could see a woman that was once filled with promise and acceptance of herself, and now filled with regret and loads of pain. I am twenty-five years old with three children with no home or father by my side. Nyla just turn five on this past Monday, which she was expecting a birthday party at the house today but the only birthday gift I can give her is a warm meal at a shelter. Mason is three years old and Michael just turned two last weekend. I could not even provide them with a decent place to live with their father because the atmosphere was toxic for young children to live in. The house looked pretty on the outside, but on the inside it was filled with arguing, fights, abuse, and harsh words that tore my self-esteem and confidence into pieces. I lost my job two months ago due to my obnoxious and selfish now-ex boyfriend storming my workplace over something I did not do for him. Other times, he will assume I’m messing with one of my co-workers. He even got upset because I took some of my paycheck to buy the children shoes that they needed but he wanted all my money to go gamble away on Friday nights. My manager finally got tired of the drama he was bringing and let me go. Now, I am back at square one with trying to figure things out by myself just like I was when I was pregnant with Nyla.
I reach for a paper towel to wipe my eyes and left out the door to check if my kids were still safe and sound asleep. As I walk back from the bathroom, I heard my name called from behind. I turn around slowly to see who called for me and suddenly went into shock…
“What are you doing here?” I slowly speak.
…..Stay tuned for the finale (Part 3). I missed yesterday due to a long-awaited nap between schoolwork lol but hey I want to keep my word and give y’all another part of the story. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts!
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