From Twenty-One To Sixteen

January 21, 2009
By Gloria Ifanse, Olympia, WA

The night was loud, it clamored with sounds of the city. I can hear the sounds of gunshots, screams of terror, and sirens wailing. This is what it was always like living in South Central. My life was the life of a teenage girl. I am twenty one years old with four children, still living at home with my mama, attending high school, and socializing.

My boyfriend Jemarquis is supposed to be coming over tonight to bring me some vodka and weed. I checked myself out in the mirror to see if everything was straightened. We’ve been together for a year. He’s every high school girl’s dream man. He’s the star player of the basketball team, and an honor roll student. I love getting stoned; it makes me feel relived and zoned into a world of nothingness. I watched as someone opened my bedroom door. There stood Malik Jr. I gazed at him curiously. He looked a spilt image of his father. He had the dark smooth skin that women envied, long curly eyelashes, big brown eyes, a masculine jaw line, and short curly hair. I wanted to hate him for resembling his father. The man who had raped me and fled off after giving birth to our son, but I couldn’t. I loved him unconditionally. “Mama may I please get some milk for Jaleyn and Jaliyah?” He asked in a low voice that sounded almost like a whisper. “Yes, baby you may just make sure you keep your bedroom door locked because I have company coming over.” I responded firmly. “Thank you. He replied with a quick smile. He quickly scurried to the kitchen. The door bell rang. I quickly took the milk from Malik’s hand and put it back in the refrigerator. I watched him hold the two glasses and lock the door behind him. I answered smiling.

Jemarquis looked fine as hell. He is tall and skinny, light skinned, blue green eyes, he had his hair cut into a fade, and wore a black and red warm up suit, with matching shoes, and an Air Jordan earring on his left ear. He wrapped his arms around my waist. “Hey sexy how have you been?” He said in a seductive tone. I giggled. “I missed you so much baby.” I responded while leading him into the living room. He pecked me on the lips. We went from chatting to smoking and drinking. I felt so relaxed. I saw a familiar figure staring at me. It was my grandfather. A man who had been a father figure in my life. He had a sad look on his face and shook his head with disapproval. My appetite became huge. I was so hungry that I could eat a whole cow. “Baby I’ll be right back I’m going to fix us something to eat.” “No baby lets just chill. He said pulling me closer to him. His lips brushed against mine, my top was off and so was his, and the passion became intense. My eyes blurred and the sounds were distant. Everything swirled and all I saw was darkness.

The house fell silent for what seemed like hours. The children were supposed to say grace but couldn’t in fear that something happened to their mama. They opened the door and entered the living room. There she was sprawled on the couch half naked with her right arm beside her, and her left hand outstretched still clutching to the beer bottle. Letting it slowly drip on the carpet. This was not a surprise to the children they were use to seeing it. It had been going for many days, nights, months, and weeks. Suddenly the children’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the front door opening. They dashed into the room and hopped into their beds pretending to be fast asleep. Big mama appeared and set her things down. Big mama appeared and set her things down. It had been a rough long day of work for her. All she wanted to do was fall into a deep sleep. She looked at the couch where her daughter lay; half naked and still clutching a bottle of beer on her left hand. She had given me a look of fury. Even though I was asleep I knew she would yell at me tomorrow. She entered the children’s room to see if they were sound asleep. She knew they weren’t and was too tired to confront them.

The next morning I woke up in my bed with a horrible hangover. I didn’t feel like going to school. Mama entered my room with a scornful look on her face. “DIDN’T I TELL YOU THAT NO ONE IS ALLOWED IN THIS HOUSE?!” She screamed. “YOU HAVE FOUR BABIES THAT YOU DON’T EVEN TAKE CARE OF!” “ALL YOUR MATES ARE IN COLLEGE RIGHT NOW!” LISTEN YOUNG LADY YOU ARE TO STAY IN YOUR ROOM AND IF YOU LEAVE THIS HOUSE AGAIN THEN YOU’RE OUT THIS HOUSE FOR GOOD!” My temper flared with anger. “WELL FINE THEN MAYBE I WILL! “IM TIRED OF YOU TREATING ME LIKE A BABY! I yelled back slamming the door. I had called my three best friends Keisha, Capri, and Martinique. They were my girls for life we had been together through thick and thin. I told them about how mama was treating me like I’m some little girl and the plans for the weekend we should do. I talked to them for a good three hours.

Later on that night I climbed out the window and snook out to go see Jemarquis. Since then I had been away from home for three months now. I had dropped out of school a week ago. My children had been use to me being gone for long periods of time. These days it had been hard to reach Jemarquis. It was almost as if he had been avoiding my calls. I called him again and he finally picked up. “Hey baby I’ve been trying to call you, what has been going it’ feels like your avoiding my calls.” I said with an upset tone in my voice. He hesitated for a moment. All I can hear was him breathing into the phone. “I’m sorry I’ve been busy. He responded falsely. “That’s bullshit! “Tell me the damn truth!
“Ebony I’m sorry but I’m just not feeling you anymore, “I’ve met someone else.
Tears had streamed down my face. I had begged him to stay with me, but all he did was keep denying me. All I could think was how could he do this to me after all I had given him.

Lately I had been working for one of the top pimps in California. Slick Rick was his name. I was labeled his main bitch. Rumor went around that the girls finished off his main bitch when she tried to turn him into the police. I entered my room it was so beautiful. Just the way I wanted it. The walls were a shade of light pink decorated with glittery stars, the bed was a king size with four bed post around it, the sheets were a light pink mixed with gold, the pillows were light and fluffy, a canopy, and two lamps that shine brightly. I had posters of my dream guys. Will Smith, Bow Wow, Romeo, RobinThicke, 50 Cent, and Soulja boy. I stared at the posters dreamily.

About a week ago I saw my little xiomara with the twins. She looked even more beautiful and had been growing. She was a split image of me. Her face was round, high cheekbones, dark skin, thick medium length hair, and dark brown eyes. I saw her looking at the display window. She had been staring at a doll. It suddenly clicked me that tomorrow was her birthday! Maybe I’ll buy the doll and leave a quick note on the door step I thought. The next day I had entered the store and bought the doll and a card. I quickly left it on the door and scrambled fast.

I had skipped a night of work for an appointment. Slick Rick wasn’t happy with me and gave me a blow in the stomach and beaten me all over my face. I looked at myself in the mirror. My face was so thin that I could see my bones, I had lost so much weight and looked to be eighty pounds, and my eyes were bloodshot red. At that moment I wanted my life too end.

I got ready to prepare for Keisha’s party. I wore a mini red, black, and silver dress with black pumps. My hair had been flipped and I dabbed a bit if lipstick. I danced all night and had a few drinks. Jemarquis kept giving me the eye. I ignored him and flirted with other guys. Just as I stepped out for a smoke I saw my children. There stood Malik, Xiomara, Jaelyn, and Jaliyah. They looked at me with worried expressions. I took their hands and walked away.

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