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The life of a boy that never knew a mother s love
I first give thanks to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and my Father God, for being right here by my side, day and night, taking me through all my troubled times and hard struggles to the life I now live. I give thanks for my angel who¶s been watching over me, who was sent from heaven by my Lord and Savior. Thanks to my Father God for giving me such loving and kind grandparents, brothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins in Jamaica. I give God thanks for my two brothers. No matter what, we will always love one another, and be there for one another. They were the ones who snuck me inside the house whenever their mother wasn¶t around and I needed a shower and food to eat. Whenever they could, they offered me a roof and a bed to sleep on at night. They have given me another reason to stay here and live a life on earth and achieve success in my lifetime. I give thanks to all of the nurses and doctors who have given me love and support time and time again, particularly Marise, a worker from Memorial Hospital. She cared for me as if I were her son, even when I was discharged from the hospital. They inspired me to do the right thing and set goals in life, and not just sit down feeling sad and mad at life. I thank God for all who have supported me with food and love, wanting nothing in return, even though they did not know me while I was living on the streets. I give God thanks for all those homeless men who were not living a clean life at that time, but who still encouraged me and taught me about the consequences one can suffer not only from the police but also from our father God. They taught me to be the best man that I could be and to try to take advantage of each opportunity and chance presented to me, and to try to live a right and astonishing life. I thank God for my friends who gave me a place to rest my head at night time and time again. Many have encouraged me to do right in my life and to let go all of that was hurting me so drastically. I give thanks to all the people who helped me including all the parents of my friends who were there for me, and who chose to help guide me away from certain influences. They told me not to follow the bad examples of others because they did not want me to end up like friends and family members who never had the inspiration and courage to do better.
I give thanks to all the churches for giving and teaching my Father¶s words and for helping me to start thinking more positively, which helped to make me into a better man. Thank you to all the pastors and ministers for all their strong words of encouragement. They said that if one has faith in one¶s life, no matter the obstacles and struggles, our Father God will shower him or her with blessings in an unbelievable way. I give God thanks for bringing that special friend, best friend, and sister into my life. I began to love her the most because she not only approached me with words of encouragement, but also insisted I do better. Even though I kept thinking and doing wrong things in my life, I thank her for her trueness toward me and for the feelings that I felt from her that had me thinking about true love. All I have to say to my mother is that I wish someone could have been there for you and I am sorry for everything. You are my birth mother, and I have love for you and I thank you for giving me life. However, I have not been presented with the chance to say this because of how we have departed from each other¶s lives. There are many to whom I convey my thanks. However there are a few VIPs that I especially thank for coming into my life and for every word of encouragement they have given me:
Lynn Burkett (Grandmother) Arnold Burkett (Grandfather) Alexander Archer (Brother) George Archer, Jr. (Brother) Joyce Hyman (Cousin) Marise Christophe (Godmother) Violet Townsend (Godmother) Miriam Simon (Friend) Loleth Corpus (Friend) Clara Diez (Friend) Tracie Koonce (Friend) Renee Jean (Friend) Pauline McCartney Wallace (Editor)
Life in the Valley This is a story about my life as a young man going through many struggles. This account is how I remember the events that took place from losing the one I loved the most in life to having my first mental breakdown in elementary school. Being told, ³I wish you would¶ve died´ by the one I was told loved me more than my grandparents. Finding myself at the early age of fourteen, sleeping on the streets, in cars, and parks, with a broken heart and mind because of the life I was living. While living with a brain disorder due to stress and anxiety that caused me to have seizures and hallucinations, my continuous questions were ³Will I ever be given love? Will I truly ever be loved by another in this lifetime of mine other than my grandmother and grandfather? Was I destined to be?´
Introduction There have been so many wrong routes that I¶ve taken in my existence because of the confusion and neglect that my mother has shown, because she saw another man when she looked at me. She never allowed herself to see me. Why so much hate, so much unwelcome criticism? I constantly asked myself, ³Am I not her son? Am I that ugly that I frighten her making her despise me?´ I had so many unbelievable experiences that I feel if I say too much, I would be looked at differently in my lifetime by whoever reads this book. However, I still feel that I need to let it all out to be able to move toward a better life like my psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselors, and the ladies in my anger management classes told me. I now say that this book is an example of how some people hide their problems in life by holding them all in. They may say to themselves that they can handle it all, and never expect problems or changes in their minds. They may keep it all held in until another situation occurs that makes them feel as if they cannot handle any more problems in their lives. These feelings are made worse by loneliness; therefore, they could end up committing suicide. I was always one inch away from doing that myself, and not caring if I made it to heaven or hell. I had to live a stress-free life, but I did not know how I was going to do so when I believed I had no one to truly love me and be there for me daily? I wondered how I was going to make it when I could not find a job because of my criminal record. What was I going to do? I had depression and anger built up and simmering deep inside of me, and surprisingly, that one love that I felt I would have died for, was out of my life. With all of these thoughts going through my mind, I started wanting time by myself. I would sit down quietly, looking out at the highway in front of a complex that I was living in for a while after my brain surgery. I wondered why those people out there were not living a life like mine. I had no car, no family at my side in America, no job, no money, no one telling me ³I love you,´ and if I went back to the hospital, no one would be there at my side waiting for my recovery. Therefore, I started thinking, writing, watching television, and reading my roommate¶s books, which was something I had never liked to do. Having gone through illness, troubled times, near death experiences, and feeling unloved; I began writing and became an entrepreneur. I hope to have a great future now that I¶ve persevered. I now say to those who ask how I¶ve made it through, ³Be confident in your approach to success in having a better future. Take
risks, try new things, become diligent, and find new techniques because in the end you will develop a compelling emotional element.´ These are still inspiring words for me. I know that I have made it through trials, so now let me see if I can make it through challenges. I now want to have the most that I can have in life. Therefore, I am now doing the best that I can do in everything that I undertake including my first real book. I give my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and my Father God an apology every night day for the times when I did not believe in his works or existence because of what I was going through. Still to this day, I apologize because of what I have learned about life. Today, I believe that life is an adventure to be enjoyed. Again, the events that are chronicled in my autobiography are being recounted as I remember. Here¶s my story!
I say to you today Never believing my childhood years Was about to hit the ground and, Heartbreaking trials and tribulations Were along the way But I stand here today Neglected but undefeated Striving to succeed Into a pathway of victory I woke up smiling because I could smell plantain and eggs, my favorite breakfast foods. As I opened my eyes, I realized that I was on the floor ± the laundry room floor. I wondered how I had gotten there. Aching, I struggled to my knees and pushed myself to my feet. As my mind began to clear, I realized that I was in pain from last night¶s beating. I slowly limped toward the laundry room door and heard my mother talking on the phone in the kitchen. I walked toward her while glancing at my arms and saw belt marks and scratches all over me. I started to recall how badly she had beaten me early last night and then again in the middle of the night, as she was calling me by a name that was not mine. I guessed she was mad at that person so she decided to take it all out on me. Glancing at the kitchen clock I saw it was 8 a.m. ³Good morning mom,´ I said. ³I told you don¶t call me mom because I¶m not your mother. Your mother is dead, now leave me alone,´ is what she screamed at me. ³Yes, you are my mother because that¶s what my grandmother and grandfather told me before I left Jamaica and came back here for school. They also told me not to listen to you, whenever you tell me that you¶re not my mother or that you hate me and want me dead´. I replied. ³Your mother is dead, Jonathan, and is in hell waiting for you to join her. Now leave me alone! Don¶t think that you¶re getting any of this food that I¶m cooking because I already know that¶s why you¶re standing in front of me,´ she said. Salivating, I asked ³Why aren¶t you cooking breakfast for me too?´ ³I¶m not because bad boys don¶t deserve to be fed. They deserve to burn in hell! Now get out of my face and go brush your teeth and wash your face before I beat you and put you back in the laundry room and make you stay there until you rot.´
³Okay I¶ll go and brush my teeth mom,´ I told her. I walked into the bathroom upset and confused again because I remembered I had gotten a beating for calling my mother by her first name and not mom. After I finished, I walked back into the kitchen and sat at the table looking at my mother while she cooked. I could tell by her stance and her face that she was still upset. ³Don¶t look at me! You¶re ugly and couldn¶t be my child anyway,´ my mother said to me. ³Why are you saying this to me?´ I asked my mother because she was saying the very words that my grandmother and grandfather told me not to listen to. However, I still wanted to know why she felt this way about me. ³I hate you because I didn¶t ask for you to come into my life! I just want you dead, and out my life. That¶s all I want,´ my mother furiously screamed. ³Then why don¶t you just kill me then? Since that¶s the only thing that¶ll make you happy! Are you scared to kill me because you know that my grandmother and grandfather would beat you to death if they ever find out that you killed me? or are you scared to go to prison?´ I asked my mother. ³No, I¶m not scared! It¶ll just make me even happier if you killed yourself. If you want, I¶ll give you a knife right now and when the police asks me why you killed yourself, I¶ll just tell them that I don¶t know the reason why,´ my mother said to me as she began preparing her plate. ³I want to go and live with my grandfather!´ I whined to my mother. ³Why? He doesn¶t love you or want you near him again. Why do you think they sent you here and I¶m sure he wants you to kill yourself like I told you before!´ my mother said to me. ³No, he doesn¶t! Stop saying that!´ I angrily responded. Who do you think you¶re raising your voice at? You had better respect me before I beat the hell out of you,´ my mother said to me. ³You¶re not my mother, right! So I don¶t care,´ I screamed back at her. ³I never said I was, now go in the corner and stand up there until you calm down,´ my mother said to me. ³No!´ I replied. ³Who are you telling no to?´ my mother screamed. My mother then dropped the egg on the floor that she was going to fry and picked up the hot frying pan and began hitting me with it until I fell down on the floor. I started to scream from the pain and the heat. I screamed ³I will get you back one of these days before I die. I hate you! You¶re stupid! And I also want you dead!´ I screamed at the top of my voice. ³Are you threatening me?´ my mother asked. ³I hate you!´ I screamed again.
My mother turned and quickly walked out of the kitchen into her bedroom and returned with a high heel shoe. She already knew how much pain I felt whenever she had beaten me with it in the past. As I saw her coming toward me I wanted to run but couldn¶t because of the extreme pain I was already in. ³I hate you!´ she screamed at me again and called me the name of a man I did not know. I wondered who this person was but I was in too much pain to ask. My mother began beating me with all her might, hitting me as if she didn¶t care if I lived to see another day. I was screaming at her to stop then I began begging her to stop because she was torturing me. She finally dropped the high heel shoe after seeing how much pain I was in, I wanted to pick it up and hit her with it but I couldn¶t because I could hardly move. I looked up at her face as she walked away but I could tell she couldn¶t believe how badly she had beaten me this time. My mother came back from her bedroom after a while to unplug all the phones and turn on the house alarm. Lying down on the floor, I didn¶t know what I was going to do. I tried standing but my legs were weak and the pain was excruciating, especially in my right knee. I stayed on the floor for hours sobbing and groaning. Later on that day she came and helped me up, and took me into my room before my father arrived home. The next day she didn¶t allow me to attend school. She called the school and told them that I was sick. My mother then began taking me everywhere she went because she was scared that I might call the police, or tell someone what she had done, which might have made them call the police on her. Trust me, this wasn¶t the first and only time this had happened or would happen again.
Chapter 1 I knew nothing about my mother¶s earlier years so I decided to ask some of my mother¶s former friends and they told me some interesting information, which she had never imparted to me. My mother was born and raised in Jamaica and was loved and supported by everyone in her parents¶ home. She was likely the most loved because she was the baby of their five children. She was helped and defended in almost all her conflicts and fights during her younger years. Even if one member of the household wasn¶t around, another family member or friend would be around to help defend her. Given money, clothing, and encouragement, she began wanting to achieve in life. Since my mother always wanted more and wasn¶t giving up until she got it, her parents began believing it was indeed possible for my mother to have a promising future because of her determination. My mother grew into a young adult and she still wanted it all, but didn¶t know how to earn her own way. I believe this is the reason she started messing up her life up by not using common sense at times. She was always jumping before thinking, and depending on someone else. She was also jealous and a follower while wanting more than anyone else. I can tell because she never knew how to handle her own problems, when I was around her. Her friends also told me that she was calm and nice to others and didn¶t expect to have to fight for anything. She expected to be babied even when she was no longer a child. When my mother finished school she was working hard, but was only making a meager income for herself. However, she seemed filled with delight, and told everyone that she felt happy with her life. In fact, not only did my grandmother and grandfather love only my mother, they never wanted any of my aunts or uncles out of their sight either. All of the fights, shootings, and killings that were happening in Jamaica made them this way. So each one of their children was loved with the only difference being age and gender. After hearing about the American life from teachers and others, my mother began seeing the United States as a place that had much more to offer her. She wanted more happiness and more money, and America looked like the perfect setting for it all to happen. My mother told her brothers, sisters, and other family members her dream of going to America and asked them to help her to get there, and they all agreed to help. They began working on obtaining an American visa for
her so she could become a United States citizen. Many of her friends and family were also trying to become citizens. They wanted a life in the United States of America for the opportunity to have an outstanding moneymaking career. This would enable them to return to Jamaica to help out their family and friends. There was one family member who was already in the United States, and he was trying his best to help, so their family could branch out and into the States. He put his time and effort into assisting my mother and many more to make it to America. After some time, my mother and several family members had succeeded in getting their papers for a limited amount of time. They left Jamaica as soon as they could to live in Miami, Florida. I¶m sure they all were happy to arrive at the place where they believed their lives would be much better. My mother began living like any other foreigner. She first became familiar with the area in which she lived so that she could survive in this new land. She made it through most of her struggles and hard times in the beginning of her migration because she was determined to achieve her goal of living the wonderful American dream. A better job with better pay was all that was on her mind. She made friends and they helped to give her all the love and attention that she missed from back home. My mother began living with a friend, Nicole, who helped her to find an even better job. Nicole was an active lady who was living happily with her husband and three children. She shopped, worked, and partied but took care of her family. Nicole¶s husband, Mario, was an all-work-and-no-play kind of guy but made time to do things with his wife, children, and friends. My mother started to become jealous, wanting that same kind of man in her life to love her and support her. So she started dating but still could not find the right one. Soon, Mario and Nicole¶s home needed to be repaired. Since it was my mom¶s home too, she was asked to help out and she became frustrated. She didn¶t have that much money in the bank because she still didn¶t have any specific profession. So she began shopping less because she had to help Mario and Nicole to fix their home. Her frustration and unhappiness disappeared when one of the contractors who was working on their home asked her out on a date. My mother told everyone at the dinner table an enchanting story the next night. She told them what a wonderful time she had and how her date had treated her so special. It seemed as if she wanted to make Nicole and Mario jealous; however, Mario and Nicole had a good relationship ± theirs was not all about sex.
They were in love with each other while my mother¶s boyfriend, of course, just wanted a woman to put a smile on his face whenever they spent nights together. My mother continued talking to him and began loving him after some time. I heard, but I don¶t believe that she really loved him. I believe she kept in a relationship with him because he was a fast moneymaker and freely handed her cash so she could live the lifestyle of a diva. One night, she came back home after a ³special night´ with her man, looking sad and upset and said, ³Tonight will be the last night I¶ll ever spend with that man.´ Nicole said that my mother did not tell anyone how, why, when, where, and who was the cause of her having certain marks on her body. She thought my mother was embarrassed and in pain deep inside. Nicole sensed she was hiding her hurt and holding it all in, away from everyone. My mother tried to forget about this man and what he did to her because it was all bringing her down. My mother soon realized that she had gotten pregnant although she didn¶t think she was, at first. She hadn¶t gone to the doctor to be tested for pregnancy or for AIDS/HIV. After a while, she finally built up the courage to confide in one of her friends, named Lisa. Lisa wanted to know what happened to her awesome relationship. She truly trusted Lisa, so she told her what happened and Lisa then told her to immediately go and get tested for pregnancy and HIV. The doctor confirmed that she was pregnant, but it was too late for the baby to be aborted. Plus she didn¶t have the money for an abortion. Although she was not happy with the father of her first child, or her pregnancy, she saw this as her opportunity to remain in the United States forever once she reported the birth to the Social Security Administration. I was born in Miami, Florida, at Jackson Memorial Hospital on February 1, 1987, and named Jonathan Anthony Burkett. I was not wanted or cared for by my mother because of the memories of ³that man´. So she asked my grandparents if I could stay with them in Jamaica because she was struggling in America. However, my mother never told them how she had gotten pregnant, or the identity of the father. I was sent to Jamaica on a ship to live with my grandparents. I truly felt that they were my mother and father because of the love and care they gave me every day, through all the days and years I spent with them in Jamaica. Growing up with my grandmother and her mother - my great-grandmother, and my grandfather who was like a brother, best friend, father, and cousin all in
one to me, I felt my life couldn¶t get any greater. I instinctively always knew that my grandfather would always and forever appreciate my days with him. While living with my grandparents, I was very happy, and received the best treatment. I was called Johnny while in Jamaica and I still reminisce about the happy times shared with them. Of course my aunts, uncles, and cousins made me feel truly loved as well because they were at my side each and every day feeding me and making me feel wanted, and appreciated. I loved being in Jamaica because of the food, long nights of music, dancing, and freedom. On the streets, I kept the nickname Johnny until I started to do bad things; they then called me Bad Boy Johnny. Even though I was a bad boy, I was always walking the streets and climbing hills because I loved to stay active and surrounded by nature. Many family members, young and old alike, were always around me but sometimes I was on the streets with or without my grandfather or cousins at my side. As I grew older, good and bad, crazy and wild started to wind their way into my life. My cousins did some bad things around me as if I wasn¶t really there. Whenever my cousins were with their girlfriends, they would tell me to go and sit on the couch and close my eyes as they took them into their rooms. As soon as they began making out, I would open my eyes and stand just outside their room, which had only a sheet covering the doorway. With no actual door, I was fascinated by what I saw and could¶ve watched them night and day as they made out. A rough, Jamaican male attitude surfaced in my personality. Therefore, I went from being quiet, to being loud, crazy, and very energetic. I was turning into a different person day by day. Growing up in Jamaica, I never feared getting a beating because I screamed for my grandfather, or I would just run into his arms, and the Doctor would save me from all troubles. That was what really made my grandfather my superman. My superman slept with me at night even though I wet the bed. He wanted to make sure no one scared me or kidnapped me; although mostly beautiful girls were kidnapped in Jamaica at that time. I loved my grandfather so much. We were like brothers so I never called him grandfather; instead I called him Doctor because that was his nickname in the neighborhood. My Grandfather loved to care and help others as much as he could, which was why he was called Doctor.
At nighttime, I had scary dreams about ghosts because of the television programs I watched. This is why I never became extremely interested in TV. I did enjoy watching dance-hall tapes because I learned how to dance with girls and like them, even though I felt as if it would have been better for me to actually be in the dance hall. If I could not sleep, I would hold Doctor¶s big stomach during the night and his breathing would rock me as if I was being held in his arms and rocked. I would always look at his stomach and wonder if my stomach would grow as big as his when I became older. My grandmother loved her husband¶s stomach too, rubbing it, and making jokes about it, saying, ³Johnny, you¶re about to have another uncle.´ Grandma had her own room with designs painted on the walls, nice curtains, and a fan above her bed. She grumbled whenever I sat on her bed, especially at nighttime, because she didn¶t want me to fall asleep and wet her bed. I had learned a lot about the importance of doing good and not bad from my grandparents, but I still did not really care until grandma started locking me inside the house. Nevertheless, I still did whatever, whenever, because all I had to do was call on Doctor and he would help me and then talk to me about the things I was doing wrong. I drove around a lot with my grandfather because he was a taxi driver and I loved driving his car. Mario Go-Cart, the video game, was not enough for me; I wanted to experience what it was like to drive in real life. So whenever I went out with him, I sat on his lap and grabbed the steering wheel. While I was the driver, I listened to music, moving and jumping up and down, while my grandfather pressed on the gas and brake pedals. I would move around and sometimes stand on my grandfather¶s lap while dancing to the music. People looked at us as if we were crazy because we would drive fast with four hands on the steering wheel. I loved being with grandfather because he was agreeable to almost anything I did but he was opposed to one thing: smoking cigarettes. He allowed me to sip beer and rum, which of course would then put me straight to sleep. I could not even remember how I got back into bed on those nights after I partook of my grandfather¶s drinks. However, holding me close one day on his lap, Doctor told me, ³I love you and will be with you always, Jack. When one man says I hate you; remember, Jack, I love you. If you ever need me, please call me because I am here for you. Do not run from any man or problems or else many more may come your way, so face them all, one at a time. Speak and do not hold back, when one wants to fight, do
not run because my fists are your fists. Do you see how big they are? Use them, but do not bully with them and just to let you know, doing wrong or right, I will always be there for you. However, never put your hands on a lady in violence even if she puts her hands on you first. As a man you should be able to take the impact of a blow from any woman, remember that, Jack. ³Just be a truthful young man with me and your family. It will take you far in life; sometimes you¶ll be thrown down because you¶ll end up getting punished. However, still be truthful with me because you will not have to suffer any consequences whenever you explain your mistakes to me. I am here for you, and I love you like no other will ever do; even when I am gone I will love you still, Jack. Just remember me and what I have said. I will never forget you, Johnny, and I will always love you. So smile because your Doctor, loves you, and I will be a part of you for the rest of your life. ³One more thing, Jack, even if you have to put me aside, just remember to put your Father God first.´ Hurricane season was one of the greatest times on our streets in Jamaica because our community was high on a hill. Before or after a hurricane, the crossroads would be crowded with boys and girls, young and old, because they were all able to have hours of long showers in the rain. I walked around naked with a bar of soap in my hand cutting through neighbors¶ yards while looking for naked girls, making loud noises, and playing hide-and-seek with them. Those times were some of the best times in my life and I feel may always be the happiest times. When I began my first year of school in Jamaica, I did not want to attend because I felt no sense of freedom at all. While in my classroom, I felt I was locked up. Sitting down for long periods of time and not being able to get up of my own free will without the teacher¶s permission made me want to do something to get in trouble and get kicked out. I constantly threw objects at my teacher, but once she realized that I resorted to mischief so that I could get thrown out school, she asked me to stop. I was the only student not drawing and coloring pictures, so sometimes the teacher just made me sit in the corner until I was ready to participate in class activities. The one thing I loved to do at school was to play football (soccer) and cricket. Fights occasionally broke out but I did not take the punk¶s way out because I was always taught to not let anyone put their hands on me. In these instances, I would have to serve detention. One day during detention, the teacher asked what I was interested in and I said ³playing football.´ She continued talking to me about different things in life until one day while in detention, the topic of sex somehow came up. The teacher asked me what I knew about sex. I said that I was a grown
man and I already knew all about it because I watched my cousins have sex with girls all the time. ³Show me,´ the teacher said. From that day on, I always did what I wanted in her class because she didn¶t want me to tell anyone about what happened between us. Especially my uncle, who had wanted to be her man for so long. I then began looking for girls to have sex with even though I wasn¶t fully developed. I tried and tried to perform the same way that my cousins had with their girls, but I could not understand why I couldn¶t perform like them. In Jamaica sex is not hidden from the young. We heard men asking women all the time for sexual favors. Surprisingly, many people encouraged me to get a girl and have sex with her to let her know I was a man. Of course, my family did not encourage me in this pursuit at all. I saw many people lying dead in the streets as a youth in Jamaica but never fully understood the meaning of death. I began wondering why at the end of a fight, one man would stand, while the other would just lie down unmoving in one spot. I pondered this asking myself if they were being killed just like the animals we kill to eat. I asked my grandfather to explain this to me. He said, ³That person is just sleeping on the ground, Johnny, because they¶re tired and have nowhere to rest their eyes.´ Of course I knew that my grandparents wouldn¶t tell me the entire truth to shield me from reality. So I asked an older man on our streets to explain the reason to me He told me that whenever I see a man lying dead after a fight on the street it meant that he either went to heaven or hell. I then understood what happened because at church I had heard the difference between heaven and hell. I knew that heaven was where good people went and hell was where bad people went. Yes, I know I was young because I was only about 5 years old and I probably have you wondering how I remember so much about my childhood. Truly it¶s because they were the best times in my life and I had always had flashbacks to my early years prior to me having a seizure. Of course, I will bring you up to speed on this farther along in my story.
After celebrating New Year¶s 1993, my sixth birthday was just around the corner, so my grandfather had planned a big birthday party for me on February 1 to be held at crossroads that nighttime. It turned out that many people found out about Bad Boy Johnny¶s first big birthday bash from their children and friends¶ children. Before the party, my grandfather took me out to buy a new outfit so that I could impress the girls. He even bought me new shoes. He also made sure I had a nice and fresh pretty-boy haircut, even though I was far from being one because I looked like a young, street bad boy. When we finally returned home, the crossroads were set up with speakers scattered around and a DJ was hired to play music, which would of course make the girls go wild. Honestly, my grandfather didn¶t want the party to be big because he didn¶t have the money for it. But in Jamaica, once you mention party a lot of people get to know about it so more guests are naturally expected than invited. Plus all of the people who knew me and my grandfather wanted to attend if only to just show their love. At 8:00 p.m. sharp, masses of people were dropped off near our house, or walked there, because no cars were allowed on the crossroads that night. As each guest arrived, they walked over and wished me Happy Birthday. Everyone wanted me to cut the cake before the music started playing because once the party started, it definitely did not stop. There was such a crowd, and many of the partygoers were telling me that I was no longer a baby but a young man. My most treasured presents were, of course, the women who danced with me because that was what I loved. There were so many women, men, and young kids trying to compete with my dance moves at my birthday party. Therefore, I danced with the grown Jamaican women with the fast and flexible dance moves to show them how I really moved. My grandfather, uncles, and their friends were just sitting in a corner having fun with one another while drinking and playing dominoes. All of my cousins and friends were in the middle of the crossroads dancing with all the women who were there alone because I couldn¶t handle them all; of course. That night, I finally started releasing my feelings of fear. My hands and my kisses were all over the females, which I would not have done previously. I felt that I could finally tell an unfamiliar girl that I liked her and wanted her to be my girlfriend.
Before I knew it, it was two o¶clock in the morning, and everybody was telling me that my grandmother was looking for me. They suggested that I hide from her so I started running and hiding because I just knew that she wanted me to go inside the house. She could not catch me, so she called my aunties to help her since she knew everybody else would have been working to get me to stay at the party. When she finally caught me, she was mad at me because she only wanted to check on me to ensure my special night was going well. Since I hid from her, she told me to go inside the house and get to bed. I had gotten so angry because everybody was still outside dancing and partying for my birthday without me. I laid down on my bed fully clothed and listened to the music play and everyone celebrating. I was mad and couldn¶t even sneak out because grandma was sleeping on the couch in front of my bed. I could not sleep; I tossed and turned because all I could think about was those girls that were outside. I was awake until eight in the morning. When I got up I went back outside, without asking my grandmother, who was still sleeping on the couch, and watched the DJ and his friends clear away the speakers. Before they left, they saw me watching so they walked over and wished me happy birthday again. I told the DJ that next time I have a party, I would be able to stay there all night with all the women dancing and doing the butterfly dance for me. I confided in the DJ that I did not even get a girlfriend for my birthday, so he said that all those girls who were with dancing with me last night were my girlfriends. He jokingly said that he had never gotten as many kisses as I had in one night. The DJ and his crew left, and I sat down thinking about what probably went on after I left. I still can¶t believe that I had just turned six years old and had such a massive birthday party. However, I did not know that there were more surprises in store for me, surprises that I never even dreamed about or even thought of because I was still young. Unexpectedly, my father showed up in Jamaica out of nowhere to take me home to Miami, Florida. My aunts knew that he was coming to get me but I believe that my grandparents did not because they never told me anything. It was their first time meeting my father and I found out that he and my mother had recently gotten married.
My grandparents called me inside to introduce me to my father, but I did not want to get to know him at all. I was disrespectful to him because I did not want him anywhere near me or talking to me because he did not know me. Over the next couple of days, my grandmother told me that I was leaving Jamaica, so I had to say good-bye to all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends. Lastly, of course, I had to say good-bye to my grandparents. My greatgrandmother, who was always quiet and wondering about me, gave me a big hug. She told me that she loved me and to never forget about her because she never knew when her last day on earth was going to be. My grandmother told me to go to Miami and respect and love my parents in the same way that I loved them. Nevertheless, my grandfather did not want me to leave, even though I could tell that he needed some freedom in his life now because of how old he was getting. Therefore, I hugged my grandfather and said, ³When I come back, you had better be here.´ Grandfather said, ³Okay, as long you respect your mother and father.´ I had almost forgotten to say good-bye to my teacher, so I ended up going to see her thirty minutes before I left that day. My teacher told me to go and be thankful because I was going where she wished she was, away from all the aggressive men, diseases, and infections in Jamaica. She knew that I was born in America and that this day was coming soon for me. I figured that was why she wanted me to get her pregnant; even though I¶m sure that she knew I wasn¶t fully developed yet. I ended up wetting my pants and throwing up during my first flight home because of the ringing in my ears and a funny feeling that I felt inside me while I was eating, but I had decided to ignore it. ³We have landed safely,´ I finally heard and all the passengers were applauding and smiling except for me. After walking out of the plane into the airport, I had to change my clothes after my accident plus my father did not want me sitting in the car with wet pants and smelly. I was not really expecting everything that I saw as we walked to get the rest of our luggage. I was amazed to see shoes on every man¶s feet, electronics, and computers everywhere. Walls were painted in nice colors and they were extremely clean, with all kinds of pictures and designs. Even the people I saw looked clean and polished. Everywhere I looked was so organized. They remind me of my grandmother I thought.
When I and my father went outside, I did not see any trees or bushes anywhere around. I wondered if there was food here because I did not see any trees growing naturally. I saw nothing but chaos ± lots of cars, and people screaming for taxi drivers, while horns were being blown. I wasn¶t paying attention to anyone. All I wanted was to go back to my great-grandmother, grandmother, and grandfather because I was not interested in knowing anyone else other than girls of course. When my mother picked us up she said nothing to me and looked at me with a mean face. She stared at me during the entire trip to her friend¶s house. Of course I was wondering why she was looking at me so hard. I just ignored the looks and concentrated on all the big buildings that I was just seeing. I had only been in two cars thus far in my lifetime. This third one was different because everything in it looked new. I had never sat in the back seat of a car before, only in the back of a pickup truck. This was also different for me because I was looking at the back of another driver without loud music playing or anyone screaming directions for where they wanted my grandfather to drop them. ³Hello, how are you doing?´ a woman named Nicole asked me when we arrived at her house. I thought she was my mother at first because she told me to call her mother. I was puzzled wondering how could this lady could be my mother when she lived with another man and family and my father lived with another woman. Plus I knew that my parents had recently gotten married, America is weird is all that I told myself afterwards.
It turned out that Nicole, who had helped my mother when she first came to America, had a husband whose name was Mario and they had three children, two boys and one girl. Clinton, Gary, and Latoya were there names. Nicole¶s boys lived a straight street-life. Clinton and Gary were in fights all the time except for Sundays, the Lord¶s Day. They went to church and gave him thanks and praises. Latoya loved school but partied with her friends all night from dusk µtil dawn.
Over time, I became really close with Nicole and her family before getting to know my own real mother who I would only see once in awhile. Whenever she visited she would only stare at me and not say one word to me. So in my mind Nicole was my mother and her home was my home. Nicole treated me like a son; she would beat me and punish me the same as she did with Clinton and Gary.
Sometimes she would tell me to get out of her children¶s rooms as she rushed in with belt in hand to beat them. I would hear them get their beatings but in my mind the beatings did not make any sense because all it did was make Clinton and Gary madder and want to fight others.
One day, I told Nicole that I did not have enough clothes to last for two weeks. We were only allowed to do laundry every two weeks because they did not want their water bill going up. Nicole called my father my clothing dilemma so he dropped off some clothing for me.
I continued to be an active young boy, as I was still in Jamaica. I snuck out of the house to hang out with Clinton and Gary all the time. Whenever I was told to stay inside, I would sneak my new young friends into Nicole¶s house because no one was around to watch us. All of my friends back then were mostly the little brothers or cousins of Clinton and Gary¶s friends¶. All they did was play football and watch as their brothers or their brothers¶ friends fight other people in the streets. Then when we got back home, we would all have an aggressive backyard brawl. Of course, I always got beat up because I was always the youngest and the smallest. One night, Clinton left me alone to go on a date with one of his girls although he was responsible for watching me. That night, because I was all alone and had nothing to do, I heard a conversation going on in Latoya room with her and her friends so I went to check it out. Her door was left open so I began watching Latoya as she was changing with her friends in the room because they were about to go to a party. As soon as they saw me they had just shut the door and before they left told me that I was a bad boy.
Whenever my father came by to drop off clothes for me or to have dinner, I would always want to be by his side. He would sometimes disappear but I would always find him. However though one day when they must¶ve thought that I was nowhere around I watched as he and Nicole kissed and made out. After a while they always went into her husband¶s bedroom and locked the door. Nicole caught me watching them one time and told me that if I opened my mouth about what I had just seen she would kill me. I wondered why she would kill me and puzzled over the fact that they were married to other people but sleeping with each other.
I did not get away with all the bad things I did so whenever I was caught, Nicole chased me with her belt. But sometimes Clinton and Gary would take me and run whenever they saw Nicole coming after me. Then at nighttime, when they knew she would be looking for me to beat me, they had me sleep in their shower or in one of their closets because no one could¶ve locked a door in that house except for Latoya since she always had a friend sleeping over. Of course, Clinton and Gary were not allowed to have any friends sleep over because all of their friends were bad. Neither Clinton nor Gary¶s friends were allowed in Nicole¶s home because of how much trouble they got into and their stealing. However, Clinton and Gary would invite their friends over at nighttime, when their mother and father were not around. It always felt like they had a party going on, without their parents¶ permission, but Nicole and Mario always found out when they realized their favorite liquor bottles were empty or missing.
Nicole always wanted me to snitch on Gary and Clinton whenever she suspected they did something wrong. However, I learned not to do so because when I snitched in the past after getting beat with a belt for about an hour straight they would beat me up then punish me by locking me in one of the car trunks for a while. They did this to me a couple of times when I first began living with them so I quickly learned not to open my mouth about what I had seen. I grew up of course learning not to snitch on people or else my life might get taken away but I wasn¶t use to those long beatings.
Nicole¶s home reminded me so much of my grandparents¶ house in Jamaica because of the liquor bottles in their house. At first when I asked Latoya to sip some of her drink, I was always told no. After a time Latoya let me drink whenever she got tired of me bothering her while she was with her friends or boyfriend, or if she had a lot of homework to do. Clinton and Gary never actually studied like Latoya. All they would do was lock me in another room whenever their girls came to the house. If I came out, I would have gotten beaten and bruised up.
I would accompany Gary and Clinton and their friends as they walked the streets during the day and night. As we walked we talked and made jokes with each other just like I did in Jamaica with my friends and family. However, in Miami I had a curfew and I had to be in the house by at least ten o¶clock sometimes eight because of the violence on their streets. I never complained, I would just look out of the windows hoping not to miss a fight. I was never scared in Miami, and I did not want to leave Nicole¶s home. I actually felt unwanted by my father even though I didn¶t let it bother me. He only stopped by once in a while with a strange woman, my birth mother, and she would just stare at me as if I were her enemy. One day, that same lady came up to me and said, ³Let¶s go, Jonathan.´ I asked her where we were going. ³Home,´ my mother then said. ³But I am home.´ I cried. Then she kept telling me, ³No, you are not home. Nicole¶s house is not your home,´ Nevertheless, I would not listen. So she asked Nicole to deal with me.
When Nicole came, she told me to get up and start getting ready because the time had come for me to move in with my real mother. ³The one that gave birth to you,´ Nicole told me, ³Plus it¶s time for you to start school, so respect and listen to her before I beat your behind.´
I hurried and got ready and my mother took me to the house she and my father had recently purchased. I was so sad because I never thought I would live with another family since I felt that I was already living with my real American family.
Their house was not similar to Nicole¶s especially because it only had two rooms, and no master bedroom. I stayed in my room most of the time because that¶s where my mother said that she wanted me to be because she did not want me anywhere near her. But when my father would come home I would run to him and stay at his side. He loved watching baseball especially his team the Florida Marlins and I just sat with him until it was my bedtime.
My father was always working and never around that much. It seemed as if he would only pay the bills and come home to rest. However, my mother seemed to have many material wants but no love for me and no interest in parenting me. She did not even want to feed me; I had to wait until my father arrived home. When my father ate is the only time when my mother would willingly give me food.
I still spoke with a deep Jamaican accent ³Potwa´ and I had a bad boy Jamaican attitude. Whenever I spoke with adults or even kids my age, I would speak improperly. I was lazy and did not like to do other people chores, but not lazy when it came to walking around on streets all night and day. Everybody understood that the reason why was because all that I grew up doing was walking streets in Jamaica and climbing hills.
I ignored most of the things my mother told me not to do in the house because I liked to explore and touch things. Whenever my father bought new things for their new home, I would play with them and most of the time end up breaking them. I would be sent to my room for the remainder of the day without being able to come out, eat or use the restroom. However, I knew I was not bad enough for my mother not to love me. I saw the way my mother looked at me and always wanted someone to tell me what and who my mother was seeing whenever she looked at me. She would have a serious face and whenever I would break something it would turn to a sad face. She held her head down sometimes as if I would say something bad to her.
One night for the first time since we all moved in together, my mother just started crying when I was looking at her at the kitchen table while we were eating the dinner that she had brought home from Nicole¶s house. So from then on, I could not sit and eat beside her or across from her, my father told me. I had to eat beside my father, who usually sat at the end of our six-chair table.
My father had told Nicole what had happened and she told my mother to stop fearing me. Nicole told my mother that she needs to start being a real woman and a real mother to me. My mother cried ³I guess´ because of the bad memories.
Nicole also told her that first, she needed to spend less time with her friends and raise her firstborn child the right way. Plus unlike many of my mother¶s friends, she had responsibilities which were to take care of her child and husband. Second, she needed to start cooking every night for her husband, because her husband was out there working hard for his family and she cooked for him every night.
So my mother tried to start to control me and my behavioral problems, but she could not handle me because she was afraid that I would hit her. I use to curse at her but I did not realize that I was disrespecting her. At that time, I would scream at anyone who tried to boss me around. So, my mother went back to Nicole for more advice about how to raise me. She told Nicole that she didn¶t know what to do anymore because I cursed at her if she ever screamed at me, or told me to do something around the house. She also said, other than my rudeness, the main problem was that I never looked at her as a mother and had never really called her ³Mother´ and meant it since I had come to Florida and met her. Truly, I had never regarded her in the same way I looked at my grandmother. I felt that Nicole was truly more like a mother to me because she would be there, teaching me right from wrong and punishing me whenever she knew I deserved it. After meeting with my mother, Nicole told my mother to let me stay at her house for a couple days. Nicole immediately continued to tell me right from wrong again and how to be a good and a respectful child because I was scaring my mother. Plus when my mother got out a belt to beat me and I made a move, she would jump back and away from me. One time, I grabbed the belt from her hand and she ran into her bedroom and locked the room door. My mother was always so frightened of me but I did not know why. Now I know that she obviously thought of me as the predator person from her past.
As a young aggressive child, of course, I was going to take advantage of every opportunity to avoid getting a beating from anyone but Nicole.
My mother was so scared of what she thought I was going to do to her. One day after I had returned from Nicole¶s house, she hit me just like Nicole had told her to, and I had gotten very mad. So she left me home alone, and she slept at Nicole¶s home in Latoya¶s room.
The next day my dad dropped me off again at Nicole¶s house, but she and my mom did not realize that I had been dropped off as yet because they were locked in the room talking. In the kitchen, I overheard their conversation, with my name being spoken loudly and repeatedly. So, I went to the door and laid on the floor and listened to their conversation.
My mother was crying and asking Nicole, the friend who had introduced my father to my mother, for advice. She said, ³I would do whatever you tell me to do because you have been the greatest friend that I have ever had in my life.´ Nicole was a great friend to my mother, but every friend has a secret waiting to be revealed, and because of the things I had witnessed I wanted badly to reveal all of the secrets that I knew about my father and Nicole.
On another occasion, I had caught Nicole and my father locked in Nicole and her husband¶s bedroom. Aside from them, I was the only other person in the house. The must¶ve thought I was outside playing; however, I had never gone outside because I wanted to play Clinton¶s video game. The time came when I just had to use the bathroom. Since I had already known that they were in the room talking, I did not pay them the least bit of attention but it didn¶t sound like they were talking when I passed by. So I leaned up against the door to listen and it sounded like the noises my cousins made when they were making out with their girls. Nevertheless, I thought I was mistaken because I knew they were both married to other people.
However, I was thinking no way it must be Nicole and Mario. But when I came out the restroom I saw my father coming out of the bedroom and Nicole was walking into the shower, screaming at him to turn his head.
Then another day, Nicole and my father were hugging as I came around the corner. I was only going to ask if he was ready to go and if he wasn¶t I had intended to go outside and play. I was shocked by what I saw and they screamed at me to get away from them and not to tell anyone or else Nicole would kill me just like how they had threatened to before. So even though I was young, I figured out that Nicole loved my father. They always seemed as if they were best friends, even though she had a husband that she loved and three children. In my father¶s case he himself had one child and was married.
Chapter 3 My mother sought Nicole¶s advice again. She told her to stop being so afraid of me and to release all the anger and hate out on me. All that hate and anger that my mother had for that unforgotten man who had brought me into her womb, Nicole was telling her to release it. Since she was not able to fight back that night, she encouraged her to start fighting back right now. Nicole kept telling my mother, ³Remember when Jonathan¶s father did not want to listen that night, well, now make Jonathan listen and get him to know that you are not a woman to mess with.´ Nicole kept urging my mother to take it all out on me, but while I was listening, I was wondering why and who they might be talking about. I did not understand because my mother and father never argued. They hardly talked, and had a calm relationship. I could hear my mother¶s attitude, and voice were getting more outrageous in there, and I began getting scared just from standing outside the door. It actually sounded as if my mother was tremendously hyped for a death match of some sort. I ran when I heard them walking toward the door. My mother came out of Nicole¶s room and screamed out, ³Jonathan, get over here now! Get all your things together because we are going home.´ ³I am tired of your attitude and bad habits,´ she told me. ³I am going to have you start respecting me and listening to whatever I tell you to do, you hear me? Whenever you do something bad, I am going to beat you until you learn not to do it anymore. You pee the bed that I bought you, you sleep on the floor until you learn.´ ³So get in the car, and I am going to start hitting you from now on, and when we get home, I am going to beat you for all the lies you have told me and Nicole,´ she told to me. When we had gotten into the car, I intended to snitch on Nicole and my father because even he had heard Nicole talking behind his back. I was going to get back at her for all that she had told my mother. So as we left Nicole¶s driveway, I said, ³I got something to tell you,´ but she told me to shut up and not to say another word to her. So I was thinking of how I should tell her. I was going to go against what my family in Jamaica had taught me when I was growing - when one talks, one goes and if one keeps his or her mouth shut, that one lives and breathes another day.
³Take off all your clothes,´ my mother said to me when we had finally reached home, while she went to get a belt from her room. Waiting in my room for her, I began laughing because it seemed as if she was acting. When my mother came inside my room, she told me, ³Get in the corner. Face the wall and close your eyes. She then put my sweaty socks in my mouth and told me that if I spit them out, she was going to kill me. Whop! ³Jonathan, you¶re going to learn from your mistakes.´ Whop! ³You are no longer going to be disrespecting me in my home.´ Whop! ³You are a child and I am an adult so you have to listen to me.´ Whop! These are the things she said as she beat me. I just dropped on the floor crying and telling my mother that I was going to kill her. ³What?´ my mother asked Whop, whop, whop, whop, whop, whop, whop! She went into the kitchen, and got a knife and then gave it to me, telling me that if I wanted to kill her, this was my chance. ³No!´ I said, because I knew that if she survived my mother would tell my grandparents whom I love and respect to death that I tried to kill her. I had promised them that I would never kill anyone like someone I loved had done. Then she put the knife close to my face threatening to kill me, telling me that if I didn¶t listen, I¶ll find out what was going to happen to me. This all happened one week before I started attending Sunshine Elementary School. Before classes started, my mother kept telling me that when I began school I could not tell anyone that she hit me or else she would beat me when I got home. When I began elementary school, I was always getting into trouble because I never wanted to do any of my schoolwork. The teachers never understood anything that I was saying because of my strong Jamaican accent so they put me in speech therapy and recommended that I started reading a lot of books to help me speak properly. My mother started hitting me again telling me that I needed to start talking properly whenever I went to school because no one understood anything that I was saying. So she told me that until I started speaking properly she was going to beat me every day. She warned me that if I spoke to her or anyone else in a Jamaican accent while in her presence, she would beat the hell out of me until I lost my voice. One day after telling her how much I hated her and for her to stop calling me by another man¶s I tried to run through the front door but I couldn¶t because she
held my shirt and dragged me back into the house. Then I made my way to the bathroom and locked myself in there for about two hours. She ended up breaking down the bathroom door to get me and started beating me. Then she made up a lie, telling her husband that she broke the door down because she was worried that something had happened to me in the bathroom because I was in there for so long. She told me that if I told my father what really happened, I would have the life beaten out of me. Every day, even if I did not come home with a bad report, she would beat me, telling me that she hated him and calling me by another name while beating me. Friday was when all first graders would be taken outside for recess, but I was too bad one week, so my teacher put me in a corner in another classroom with older kids. I was bored and feeling lonely because the kids were so quiet and doing their class work. I started looking around at the interesting pictures that were hung. Some of the photos showed big stomachs with little babies inside of them, so this made me wonder if that was what was going on with my grandfather¶s big stomach that I used to sleep on. However, he never said that he had a baby growing in there and if he did, I wondered if it had come out as yet. I wanted to call my grandfather and ask him if what I had seen was true. I went home with that question in mind, and asked my mother if that was where I came from. She just looked at me and started to hit me as hard as she could with a clothes hanger that she had in her hand because she was doing laundry. I ended up lying on the kitchen floor not moving, but still in pain with tears streaming down my face. She then went back into her room to get a belt saying ³You¶re wanting babies right now instead of an education´. She then beat me with the belt buckle while I laid there on the floor. She beat me on my knees, back, and head. I spent the whole weekend in bed. All of my mother¶s friends thought that I had gotten into a fight in school because that¶s what she had told all of them. On Monday, I went to school in extreme pain. I was limping because of my hurt knee. My head was hurting me the most. After that incident, I finally started to listen to her and started doing chores around the house every day. On the days when I didn¶t, she would hit me with her belt ten times a day, until I started behaving correctly and speaking when allowed and told to.
It turned out that I became the head house cleaner and my father¶s servant. My mother never embraced being a housewife and the responsibilities that came along with it, and she told me that I had to do everything instead of her. I had to start take off my father¶s shoes whenever he came home from work and was sitting at his computer. I had to offer him grapes, or juice. Then after a while he would eventually fall asleep and I would be able to take a break. At the end of the day, I would sit on the couch and watch television while eating my father¶s leftovers because that was the only time I was allowed to eat any of my mother¶s food. One day I was not feeling well so I came home from school, went into my room, and fell asleep. I felt so sick that I forgot all about cleaning and serving my father. When my father realized I was ill he understood why I could not serve him. However, when mother came home and saw me sleeping and her husband fixing his own food, she got mad. My father explained that I was sick, but she evidently did not care because when her husband fell asleep she started beating me, telling me that she did not care if I was sick and dying. ³No matter what, I want you to be feeding your father and working until you drop down and die in my house.´ My mother then dragged me outside naked and crying and told me to stay there until I learned my lesson. But the joke was on her because she did not realize or remember that I loved being outside naked from Jamaica, and I loved to walk the streets naked, loving it more though when it rained. Therefore, when she returned outside she saw me sitting naked in the backyard on the grass and throwing a ball in the air playing catch, acting as if I did not have a care in the world. In fact, I did not care if the neighbors were looking at me so I just looked at my mom with utter satisfaction as she stood there staring at me in disbelief. Then December came and the temperature dropped. It was like punishment for me to go outside in the cold weather. Every weekend I was happy that I did not have to go back outside so early in the morning. ³Jonathan, I hope you did not think I forgot what I said the day after you had such a wonderful time outside naked. So let¶s see if you can handle being outside naked tonight,´ my mother said to me one Friday night.
That night was one of the coldest nights I spent in Florida. True to her word, I ended having to sleep outside. There I was naked in the freezing old, shivering, and thinking I was about to freeze to death. However, I lived through it and saw the sun rise after hours of intolerable conditions. I was actually surprised because I did not know that cold temperatures were associated with South Florida. It was now Saturday, and I knew my father was going to leave their house before seven a.m., so I went to the front yard to knock on the front door and ask him to let me in. Surprisingly, I saw no car in the driveway and I already knew that my mother was not returning home again until just before my father got home. I just knew that my father wouldn¶t have allowed my mother to punish me like that. Because every time this had happened before, my father found out where she had left me and he would open the door and tell me to come on into the house. That was why one of the reasons I always wanted my father around me, so that he could help me out of situations with my mother. I started asking my father if I could go to work with him whenever I had no school because I did not want to be at home alone with my mother anymore. My father never screamed at me, no matter how much trouble I had gotten into at school, honestly I was thinking that he didn¶t really care. My teachers began to love me, especially when I reached second grade, because I would make everyone laugh. For that reason I began looking at school as the only times when I¶d be able to have a good time, but sometimes I admit, I went too far. I continued coming home with bad grades on my interim reports and getting punished for a couple of days. However, all I had to do was suck up to my father to get off punishment. My father loved purple grapes, so I prepared them for him in a bowl every day and night, and he was able to have them whenever he got home or wanted them. I was not allowed to watch television at any time other than when my father watched the Marlins play. All my mother wanted me to do was work ± cleaning, washing clothes, sweeping, mopping, cooking, or any other chore she could find. Then if there was nothing else for me to do, she would give me a book to read and tell me to write a long essay about what I had just read. I realized that she did not read my essays so I just started to read the same book and give my mother the same sheet of paper repeatedly. She never did find the time to read what I wrote about the little Daffy
Duck books that her friends would buy me. The good thing about it all though was that my Jamaican accent was going away. I was not a 100 percent good boy; actually, I was not even a 50 percent good boy. I still cursed a lot when I was around my new friends and even adults. I did not think of my mother and father as my real parents anymore because of how my mother treated me and how my father seemed to care for no one but himself, his jobs and of course his side of his family. I felt as if they were just grown adults raising me in America; they were more like cousins to me, especially because of the lack of affection in their marriage. Their relationship seemed more like a sister and brother because I had never seen them close to one another, except in their wedding pictures that were hung on the wall. My survival skills kicked in and I resorted to sneaking food to eat because I was determined that I would not die from hunger. I still can¶t believe I got beatings for drinking all of the strawberry syrup. But, I just did what I had to do to make it. I would collect every quarter, dime, or nickel that I saw and put it inside my book bag for the next school day so that I could buy candy. I always saved my pennies to buy ice cream on ice cream Wednesday. I still had that bad man Jamaican personality that taught me to do whatever I had to do to get what I needed to survive. My mother then began wanting me to change more because of how some people perceived me. Especially since I wasn¶t looking happy due to my not being provided with anything that I wanted. I went to school with my shirt tucked in and my pants were pulled all the way up to my waist but that¶s not how Clinton dressed. Whenever Clinton did see me after school he would always laugh at me. My mother bought me bigger clothes and told me to stop following my grandfather and to start wearing my shirt on the outside and to let my pants sag. Weird right! I know. Usually, when young children see how other people dress they start to imitate them but it was my mother who started letting me wear big clothes, sagging pants and baggy clothes. I guess cause that¶s how her friends¶ children wore their clothes. I remember when my mother wanted to lose weight and she began taking some appetite suppressants that one of her friends had given her ³I don¶t think that it was though because the medication that they were getting was from a hospital that one of her friends worked at´. . I felt that she did not have to take pills but needed to stop being lazy and start exercising but I kept my opinion to myself. She
continued to take the pills but she ended up having to be admitted to the hospital because of them. Of course when she came home her friends were nowhere to be found so I had to take care of her night and day. She actually ended up losing weight but was in bad shape. I regarded her as a follower even more. After she had gotten better some information had been told to her by someone. All of a sudden, my mother started being quiet in the house, locking herself in the bedroom, and telling me she didn¶t want to be bothered. My father started to sleep on the bottom bunk in my room, and I did not know why. Then my father ended up moving all of clothes and shoes into my room. So I started staying home more and I wasn¶t asking to visit Nicole¶s house anymore because it seemed as if something was going on, especially when my mother would have her friends over to our house. I found out what happened when I reached home from school before my mother one day. She came home, not expecting me to be in the house because she had taken my key away´ I had found an extra house key when I was supposed to be cleaning me and my father¶s room´, since she did not want me to invite anyone in the house without her express permission. I had heard my mother talking to one of her friends about why she was so sad and what she had seen to make her feel that way. She was telling her friend she had found out that her husband was cheating on her with her best friend, who she loved like a sister. She began crying in front of her friend, asking her why her life had to continuously have problems that always caused her heartache. I started to feel guilty because I knew my father was cheating on her. However, I never told her because of the way she treated me, and she had told me that she hated me. I walked to her room to tell her that it was true because I had seen them, but every time I wanted to say something, especially when I was mad at Nicole, my mother always told me to shut up. Besides, I had been threatened that if I said anything I would not like the consequences. However, as soon as my mother saw me coming out of the room, she just got up and asked me how I got into her house without her knowing. I told my mother that I had found a spare key that my father kept in one of his drawers. She just looked at me then grabbed me and started hitting me, with her
hands for the first time, which made her break her nails. Her friend came out of the room and pulled her off me, but then she told her friend to get out of her house. When her friend had finally left, my mother started fighting with me. She told me that she hated me and wanted me to die. I didn¶t get mad at her that time, even though I was crying. We were both crying. So I said, ³Go ahead and take it all out on me because he should¶ve told you, but he didn¶t.´ Mom said, ³You knew about it all and you did not tell me.´ I said ³Yes, but I thought you already knew, and if I would have told you I would have gotten a beating from Nicole and she beats me harder than you ever do. She strips me, put me in the shower and then beats me.´ ³I would not have cared,´ My Mother said. ³I don¶t care if she would have killed you! You should¶ve told me. Get out my house, get out now! I do not ever want you back in here. Pack up your stuff and go!´ So, I put some clothes in a bag, and when I was walking out of her house, at eight years old, my mother called me Satan, telling me to go back to hell and burn. Truthfully, I was looking at myself as a bad person back then with a bad mind. However, all that I was going through was weakening me somehow and making me want to be loved by someone. I went to one of friend¶s house whose name was Rick, and told him that my mother had kicked me out. He laughed while letting me in because I believe he was not surprised. When Rick¶s father came home and we told him what happened he only wanted to know if I wanted him to report this to the school but he did not want to call the police because of his personal life. I stayed there but did not going to school. Rick¶s father was trying to be there for me. He was a Jamaican, so knew about these sorts of family conflicts. He said to me every day, ³Just don¶t go back over there and become a killer´ because I¶m sure he already knew was going through mind while I was just sitting down on their chair and looking lost, not knowing if I should do something about my problem or not. I had missed two days of school and my friend told me that the school wanted some information regarding my absence. I heard that my mother was not answering the telephone call from the school. The school was asking all of my friends at school about my whereabouts. The only good friends I had were girls and all the A students who helped me to pass all of my tests.
I further learned, Sunshine Elementary School sent someone to my mom¶s house to find out where I was and why I was missing school. But no one answered the door ³I heard´ even though there was a car parked in the front of the house. Every time the district sent someone to the house they reported to the school that they were unable to get any information, so then the school took it to another level. Rick came home from school and told me that I was being searched for by the police because my mother had told them that I had run away from home. Rick¶s dad told me that I would have to go back home now because he didn¶t want to go back to jail. So Rick and a couple of my other friends who knew what I was going through, got one of their older brothers to pick us up to take me back home. There were about 5 of us in the car. When we had reached my mother¶s house, they all stayed in the car as I walked to the door and waited until someone opened it. Someone did open the door, but walked away before I could see who it was. My friends told me that if I needed them they¶d be outside for some time, waiting with Claude¶s older brother to make sure I didn¶t get kicked out again and have to walk the streets alone. Truthfully I wished that Rick¶s father would¶ve bought me a ticket to Jamaica because I already knew that she was going to beat me, tell me that she wanted me to burn in hell while calling me by another man¶s name.
When I walked in, my mother was right there sitting at the kitchen table asking where I had been with a worried look. However, I still saw stress and depression written all over her face. Her eyes were red and she looked as if she hadn¶t looked at herself in the mirror for days. I said, ³You wanted me out, right? So I left. Plus I don¶t want to live here I rather go and live with someone else or even better, send me back to live with my grandfather and grandmother´. ³Whose house were you sleeping at every night?´ she asked, but I was never going to tell her. I told her that I had been sleeping in boxes and bushes. ³You think this is a joke!´ she said. ³Leave me alone, you don¶t care anyways so why are you asking me for? Leave me alone! Kill me since you want to so bad because I don¶t want to talk to you anymore!´ I told her. Nevertheless, while looking at me with anger, she said, ³Sorry for kicking you out because it was wrong of me to have done that. I was just mad and I decided to put all the blame on you because you knew something that you should¶ve told me. You¶re only a child so you probably don¶t understand what I¶m saying at all´ But I knew that she only apologized because of the school¶s investigation that was going on. My friends had told me that my teacher and counselors wanted the police to find out about the details on everything that was really going on in my life with my family. That same night, my mother cooked me dinner, telling me that she would like to talk to me about everything that had recently happened between us. She told me that she had lost her temper because she was going through something with my father, and she did not know what to do. She didn¶t know how to handle the problem and did not know who to believe. She then told me that bad things didn¶t start happening to her until I came to America, so now she wanted me to stay out of all her personal business and only talk to children my age.
³So you blame me for this, right?´ I asked her. ³Yes, who else could I blame it all out on? Like I said has ever happened to me like this before´ she said. Then I looked at her and put my head down feeling bad. ³I am going to try to be a good mother from now on, OK?´ she said. ³If you say so, because you don¶t like me´ I responded. ³However, you have to work on how you talk to me.´ I was silent and just looked at her again wondering why she was talking to me so calmly all of a sudden. She looked then looked me straight in my eyes and told me she loved me; even though I knew there was an underlying reason for her saying this to me. I began feeling so happy deep inside! I have never heard her say that before! I thought to myself, with a smile on my face. I never heard her say I love you to my father. Feelings of being special came over me. I felt I was wanted and loved by my mother finally. We then played cards for a while because she knew that I liked playing cards and dominoes. My mother then told me that when I returned to school some people were going to question me about why I was absent from and where I had been. ³I want you to tell them that you ran away because you didn¶t want to stay trapped in the house anymore, OK? Say that you wanted to be with your friends and walk the streets all day and night like you did in Jamaica,´ she told me. ³If they ask you if I beat you, tell them that your mother has never put her hands on you and if you tell them that, I will give you anything you want OK, Jonathan?´ I listened to her and said OK because of how happy I was to hear my mother say that she loved me. I actually felt a bit giddy when she smiled at me and when we played a game of cards. Before the night ended she bought me some of my favorite foods. She even asked me how I enjoyed my meal after I had finished. I don¶t remember my reply but I do remember that I smiled. It felt so good to be finally bonding with my mother. I went to bed that night with a feeling of satisfaction. The very next morning, my mother dressed me for school ensuring that I was dressed and groomed extremely well. She told me to make sure that I said everything she had told me to say. When I arrived at school, the school security officers informed the school¶s authorities that they had seen me in school.
They sent me directly to the principal¶s office and the principal and my counselor started questioning me. They immediately asked ³Tell us why you ran away from your mother at such a young age? Because there has to be a reason. What has been going on in your life? Are our parents treating you right?´ they kept asking. However, I just kept telling them what my mother told me to say because that would have made her even happier with me. Plus, in Jamaica I was taught that anyone who divulged their personal business to the police rarely lived to see another day. Mrs. Vigness, my second grade teacher at that time, knew me very well because it was my second year with her as my main elementary school teacher. I had become really close with her and a couple of other teachers at that time. I would open up to them and tell them what was really going on in my life. One time, my friend had told them the truth about why I had come to school with a black eye. She had said, ³He¶s the only one that cannot stay after school to play kickball because he has to rush home to his mother.´ Mrs. Vigness already knew that I did not get into street fights because everyone knew that I didn¶t want to be looked at as a bad boy or get into any trouble anymore. Plus, I became less talkative and everyone was wondering what was wrong with me and why I wasn¶t making as many jokes in class like I always did. Mrs. Vigness had previously told me not to let my mother beat me. In addition to my friend telling her what was going on with me, she had seen me at school with marks on me and parts my body was swollen and hurting. However, I told everyone else that my older brother Clinton beat me up. Since Mrs. Vigness knew the truth, she asked me why I was lying, to the police and administration about how my mother was mistreating me. I told her that I had to because I was finally making my mother happy with me, and that she was making me feel good because she was finally telling me that she loved me. I felt that she understood how I was feeling because any child would want their mother to love and care for them. I believed that if I was still living with my grandmother and grandfather my mother love would not have mattered to me at all because of just how satisfied I was with their unconditional love. Mrs. Vigness just looked at me and started to cry. She told me that I needed to learn how to not be manipulated. She went back to the administration and told
them that I was lying about it all because I was being told something that I¶ve always wanted to hear my mother say to me since I first met her. When the school called the state and they questioned me, I gave them the same answers. They made sure I was watched over and checked on every week until they were able to hear what they¶d been expecting to hear from my counselors, teachers, and friends, to start a case of child neglect on my mother. At home, my mother was so happy because she¶d heard that the case had finally been dropped, even though it hadn¶t been. At this point, I did not really care about the case because I was happy with the way I was being treated by my mother. A once in a lifetime opportunity to be loved by my mother who had always wanted me to die since we first met. What child wouldn¶t want that? At school, Mrs. Vigness, would talk to me about my situation. ³Jonathan, you need to open up your mouth and talk before something happens to you again.´ However, I told her my mother had told me that I would be all right, and that she would love and take care of me. My mother said ³Do not to listen to anyone else anymore no matter what they say. I will continue to love, care, and feed you. The police only want me to either go to jail or to start a case of abuse against me. They only want me to pay them money that I do not have. If they start a case on me, I would not be able to buy any more toys for you or food for us. Plus this summer I want to send you to Jamaica so that you can visit your grandmother and grandfather.´ My teacher never called home again with any complaints, even if I got into trouble in school or didn¶t do my school work. I had also found out that my mother told the school that she did not want Mrs. Vigness to be my teacher anymore. On the contrary, I told the school that I did not want to come out of Mrs. Vigness¶ class because she¶s the only one that I trusted with all of that was going on in my life with my mother. Plus I loved her. Suddenly, my father moved back into the house one day when I came home from school. I found out that my mother and father¶s relationship had started again and that they were now planning to have children. My parents then took me to Universal Studios and Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for about four days that summer. We went with my father¶s sisters and everybody was now feeling great and getting along with each other.
When we returned to South Florida, I was hoping that everyone would remain happy and continue to get along with each other. I was overjoyed when my mother told me I was going to Jamaica to visit my grandparents and other family members. My mother warned me not to tell my grandparents about anything that had happened or else when I came back she would start beating me again and I didn¶t want that to happen. I still told my grandparents about all that was going on between me and my mother. I told them that our relationship had gotten better but I still didn¶t want to go back. I begged them to stay but they still said that I had to go back home. My cousins told me to find my passport and to throw it away when I told them that I didn¶t want to go back. When I had found it my grandmother spotted me with it in my hand and took it away from me. My grandmother then hid it so I would not be able to get hold of it again. The summer was almost over and I cried when it was time for me to leave but my grandfather talked to me and told me again that he wanted me to go back to America to finish school and find a job so that I would be able to come back home and take care of them. Their happiness was all that really mattered to me so I promised them I would and returned to America with the determination to accomplish those goals and become successful. When I got back my mother asked me if I had told my grandparents anything and I lied and told her no. Smiling she said ³Good, now get in the car but first let me just tell you I don¶t want you telling anyone else about all of what me and you have been through.´ As time went on I found out that my mother was pregnant and but I had not known. She had made another best friend named Lori. Lori started to visit our house every week to spend time with my mother. I had gotten to know Lori after a while, and because she was such a nice churchwoman, I ended up loving Lori so much. She helped to correct me when I was wrong as well as with my homework, so that I could keep the good treatment that my mother was giving to me. Lori introduced me to Monica, her sister, who was also very kind and caring. Then she introduced me to their mother Tiffany also a strong and loving woman.
One day after school, I went to Lori¶s house because my mother asked her to babysit me. This is when Lori introduced me to her nephew Tim, who became my best friend because of how much time we spent with each other.
Tim, at first, seemed like such a well-behaved boy, but it turned out that he was just as bad as I was. However, Tim did not get beatings for any of his wrong deeds because his auntie, Lori, always protected and shielded. Lori was like Tim¶s bodyguard - if you messed with Tim, you messed with her too. She always told me that she would protect and shield me as well if my mother ever tried to beat me in her presence. While I would always drink water or Kool-Aid, all Tim drank was Coca-Cola as if it was water. I believed that¶s why he had already started to develop a stomach like my grandfather. I then began drinking Sprite because the family urged me to drink something other than water and kool-aid. Tim and I were together every day after school. Those times were great and such an escape and contrast from my home life. We ate all day while watching Home Alone parts one and two. We laughed like crazy while watching those movies. One time, I laughed so hard that the juice that I was drinking ended up coming out of my nose. I even wet the couch one time, and Tim choked on the food that we were eating, because he was laughing so hard. So we were not able to eat or drink anything while watching Home Alone movies, because Lori did not want us to choke to death. We had to eat and drink either before or after watching our movies. We looked so funny whenever we went out together. I looked the funniest though. Tim had a little bit of brand name clothing, and I only had 100 percent cotton clothing. Tim laughed at me so hard one day because I proudly wore BUFU clothing, not the correct brand name which was FUBU. We¶d both go out wearing pants and shirts that fit at times. Of course, this was when my mother wasn¶t around. By the way, although she did not want me wearing anything tight she did not buy me underwear frequently. So underneath the baggy clothing, I wore tight uncomfortable briefs. They were actually so tight that I had to rip holes in them because if I hadn¶t they would have probably cut off my circulation. Also, we usually wore slippers on our feet, night and day. We did a lot of mischievous things to like throwing rocks at houses and breaking windows. We threw rocks at cars because Tim lived near the highway but then we stopped after a car turned around and tried to find the culprits but the person didn¶t catch us. We watched each other cause trouble, because we were trying to imitate some of the things we had seen done in the Home Alone movies.
We would make fun of each other and other people. While we were in the mall we launched spit spitballs from the elevators while people were in them. Instead of rocks, we started throwing water balloons at cars whenever we would walk on certain streets with a lot of traffic. Then our actions turned bad again because we started throwing rocks at car windows when they passed by really fast. We made a game out of it whereby the first one of us who broke a window got to choose where and what we would eat that night. Of course, whenever we broke a car window we ran for our lives so that we would not get into any trouble. Eventually we were caught and punished, me more so than Tim, because my mother had to pay to fix someone¶s car window. Then I started having a series of babysitters on the weekend, mainly my mother¶s friends. Tonya, my mother¶s friend, a thirty-something-year-old woman wanted to watch me at my parent¶s home for about a week because my mother and father were going somewhere to celebrate their honeymoon before she gave birth to my little brother. I did not really know her so I stayed in my room most of the time. I remember I had taken a pornographic tape to Tim¶s house. Since my mother was not going to be around I felt no one was really going to bothering me, so I closed the door and began watching it. I had forgotten to lock the door and, Lori came in and saw me watching it. I could see the shock on her face and she said ³John, tell me what do you know at such a young age about sex?´ She also asked me if I was still a virgin at the age of nine years old. I told her that I had watched my cousins and I had experimented with some girls in Jamaica. I also confided in her that my teacher in Jamaica had taught me how to have sex. Lori said, ³Prove it to me´ I said, ³No,´ because I knew she was going to tell my mother. ³No, I would not tell anybody, I promise´ she said. Lori told me to take off my clothes so that I could prove to her that I knew how to have sex with a woman. Lori was a bit on the hefty side so I didn¶t know what to say to her because I did not know if I could or couldn¶t but I tried. Afterwards, Lori told me to come back to her when it grows because I can¶t do anything for a woman like her, right now. I must say that one reason I was so into it was because I wanted to prove that I was already man and could fulfill manly duties.
Lori ended up telling my mother what happened while she was babysitting me. My mother said, ³Do not be bringing any small, little girls in my house because I heard you were over here already having sex in my house with one of my friends that¶s not even your age.´ My mother told me that Lori told her that I had asked her to have sex with me and that she said yes because she wanted know just how much I knew about sex at such a early age. She also said something about me forcing myself on her also but I don¶t really remember how that went´ My y mother told me that I was going to grow up to be a rapist because I was already trying to rape a grown woman. However, the one thing that she did not know was that every woman that I had tried to have sex with was an older Jamaican woman and they encouraged me to, without me even having to ask them. ³Anyway, what do you know about sex. So you are not a virgin, Jonathan?´ my mother asked. I then asked her what a virgin is. ³Never mind,´ my mother said. My mother then told me to have sex with her like I had with Lori. I thought, ³Are you not my mother?´ I started to think my grandmother lied to me when she said that this woman had given birth to me. I told her that I could not because I did not want my grandmother to come to Florida for me. My grandmother had caught me touching a particular older lady inappropriately, so I began thinking that she was trying to trick me. ³I am your mother, and what I say goes,´ she said. ³and it is not what your grandmother says, it is what I say.´ She even took off her clothes and put them on the floor, telling me to get on top of her, which I started to do but then I immediately stopped myself. I got off her and was shaking my head and asking myself ³What the hell are you doing?´ and that was when I truly felt that she was just another woman, not my mother. I was so confused. I kept asking myself, ³Who is this woman really, and why does she want to have sex with me, while she has a husband?´ I just kept wondering and wondering who she was, my mother, or my grandmother¶s friend. I was so puzzled and after a while I went back to her and told her that she was not my mother. ³So tell me, who are you? Really, I want to know. Truly, if you were my mother, you would not have treated me the way you did when we first met and you almost killed me. I should have listened to Mrs. Vigness and gotten you locked up.´ I said.
My mother just looked at me and started crying, telling me to get away from her, and locked herself in her bedroom. Then I called Lori and asked her why she had told my mother that I raped her. Lori told me that it was because she could get in trouble for having sex with a young child like me. So she had to protect herself by making up a lie, just in case I told my friends and the police come looking for her. Since that day I did not see Lori at my mother¶s house for a long while, and my mother told me that she was not mad because Lori had allowed me to have sex with her. However, in the end I found out that everything that had happened was all planned out by them. After my mother gave birth to my first brother, I started to get beatings again on a daily basis. The new school year had started and I was happy to get up and go to school every day. Every morning before I left, I would always look into my mother¶s room and smile because I had a little brother in there. One day when I had got home from school my mother began beating me because she had an argument, I believe, with one of her friends. She beat me for about two hours straight yelling that she no longer loved me and wanted me out of her life. ³This so weird´ I told myself as I was crouched in a corner being beaten like there was no tomorrow. I wondered if she even knew what she was saying to me. During the beating, the phone kept on ringing so my mother stopped and answered the telephone. Her demeanor changed instantly when she answered. She was smiling as if she was the happiest person in the world because it was my grandfather calling. He had called to speak to me because he had told me that he was going to start calling more often to check and see if my mother was treating me right. However she looked at me and then told my grandfather that I was outside playing with my friend and that she didn¶t know where I was because I never tell her where I¶m going whenever I leave the house. I wanted to scream out and let him know that she was lying and that I was right there. But I didn¶t because I already knew that it was going to result in another beating for me. I just wanted to get up and hit her because I had to sit there and listen to her tell my grandfather how bad I was. Instead, I just went in the closet in my room
and cried. That same night my mother called me out of my room and said, ³Jonathan your dinner is on the table and make sure you eat all of it´. She then looked at me and smiled then went inside her bedroom and closed the door. I kept looking at the food because she never made a meal for me like this before and graced me with a smile. The food honestly smelled like a strong chemical was inside it but I wasn¶t sure. For some reason I didn¶t trust her that night and I felt as if she must¶ve put something in the food to kill me. At first I was going to throw the food away in the garbage can that was in the kitchen but when I opened it up. I saw an empty bottle of ammonia. My heart began beating like a steel drum so I went outside and threw the food in the outside garbage can. That sly, cunning smile that she gave me just seemed to have a hidden meaning. I went back and sat at the table for about 30 minutes and then put the plate inside the sink and washed it. As soon as I turned around I saw her grinning at me. ³Did you enjoy your dinner´ my mother asked. Even though she never cared whether or not I liked the food that she fed me every night. That night is when I knew she tried to poison me and I made a promise not to eat anything from her again. The next day, she had the tenacity to ask me if I was feeling alright. If God had not given me the power of discernment at my young age, I may have been died. However though I don¶t know why she decided to do that, jealous of my grandfather¶s love for me is all that I could think of.
Chapter 5 The next week, ³John, pack up and get ready. We are going back to Jamaica,´ my mother said to me out of the blue. I was so happy that I could hardly sleep or remain focused. When I got there, I realized that everyone met us at the airport looking sad. But I excitedly jumped in the car because when I got home I would see my superman. As we turned we journeyed up the hill to crossroad I was overjoyed. So when we reached the house I ran inside calling for my grandfather with a huge smile on my face. Of course, I stopped and gave my grandmother a big hug and she asked me, ³How have you been doing in America, Johnny?´ She hugged me so tight and long, as if she did not want to let me go but I didn¶t know why. I realized then that no one had answered when I asked for my grandfather so I went outside to look for him. I saw his car parked so I thought if he is not inside he must be at the side of the house or hiding from me. After searching and calling for him, I realized my grandfather was not in the house or outside. Yet, nobody told me where he was. I was so puzzled because he was always near and I was certain that he would be at home when he knew I was in Jamaica. Also it was weird because usually he would be the one trying to find me but for the first time I was the one looking for him. I was awakened early on Saturday morning by my mother and my grandmother bathed me like just she did when I was younger. While she was bathing me, I asked her why she had lied to me and told me that I was going to live with my mother in America. My grandmother said, ³She is your mother, and do not think she is not, because she is.´ ³No, she is not.´ I said a bit angrily. Then my grandmother told me to believe her and no one else. ³She is your mother; it is just that y¶all are not close to each other because you grew up with us.´ Then my grandmother dressed me in my best clothes and told me to sit in the living room and not step outside until she was ready to go. I did not ask another person about my mother after that conversation with my grandmother.
When she finally got ready, we all piled into a nice new car. I could not believe it! I was about to have my first ride in a nice car. We were all dressed up as if we were going to church in our own private Bentley. Indeed, our short trip ended at a church. It was the biggest church I had ever attended in Jamaica. There was an enormous amount of family and friends standing outside and seated in the pews. They were all crying and hugging each other. Some of them whispered ³Your grandfather will always and forever love and be here for you, Johnny.´ I already know that,´ I would say, with a big smile on my face. ³Where is my grandfather? I want to see him now.´ That is when they all found out that I did not know my grandfather had passed away. They were all so surprised that he had passed on. I just sat there very still and in mental pain wondering where and what happened to my grandfather. I saw his casket being rolled into the church, but I didn¶t know that he was in there at that time and then everyone stood up, even my great-grandmother stood with some help. My grandmother told me to stand, but I ended up sitting down before anyone else. I saw the funeral program on the bench and picked it up to doodle when I saw a photograph of my grandfather¶s face on it. So I started laughing because of how he looked in the picture. Truthfully back then I took life and death as a joke because I didn¶t fully understand it. I¶ve watched others get their lives taken away and laughed at them while I was growing up in Jamaica. Really though because I never understood how precious life was. I use to always be told by grandfather that they were just sleeping after a fight and that they¶ll get up soon and return back to their home. I was in the third grade at that time, and I was able to read the brief description about the kind of man my grandfather was, and that he would be missed because he was loved by many. On the program, I saw RIP, my grandfather¶s name, ³Doctor,´ the day, month, and year he was born and the date of his death. Amazingly, it was only a few days before I had arrived in to Jamaica. I still did not fully understand what was really going on because no one was preaching or singing hymns to our Father God. Then service started. At first the organist piped out some of his favorite hymns then the choir belted out more of them.
The pastor thanked everyone for showing their love and respect t then he said ³Come, brethren. It is time for our last words to our good brother that believed in Christ our Father and God our Creator. Our brother is now with him in heaven, living a better and more loving life.´ The service continued and I truly zoned out and focused on the casket being opened. I kept looking at the casket and raising up out of my seat to get just a glimpse in it, not knowing for certain who was in there. I was told to sit down and not get up but as I looked at everyone else walking over there I was so tempted to just get up and go over but I was obedient in the house of the Father. I was drawing my grandfather¶s face on the program and laughing at him because I had given him a beard like Santa Claus. Every chance I got, I slyly looked over to what my grandmother was doing. If she had not been watching me so closely, I would have walked over to the casket and looked inside. After a while, I fell asleep because I was feeling lonely and bored. When I awakened, I saw that my grandmother was still keeping a close eye on me. Then I was led to the car again, and I thought we were being taken back home. We ended up at one of my grandfather¶s family member¶s house. We all walked to the side of it and they the casket was buried. The Pastor was saying ³Ashes to ashes, dust to dust´ and the casket was being covered with dirt in the meantime. Afterwards, we all sat around and celebrated my grandfather¶s life. We ate curried chicken, brown stew chicken, ackee and salt fish and my very favorite, goat soup. Everybody was talking to one another and enjoying the local drinks. I began looking at my grandfather¶s car, with no one telling me, where my grandfather really was. My mother and I then returned to Florida, and Lori picked us up from the airport. Lori asked how the funeral went, and whether I was going to miss my grandfather. I did not answer her because I still had no real understanding about all that had recently happened. I went directly to Lori¶s house from the airport and waited for Tim to come home from school. I went looking for a movie that I had never seen before. I found a movie called Ghost, which reminded me of the movie Ghostbusters, so I watched it.
However, to understand Ghost I had to watch it three times until I finally understood the reason the woman was crying so much, and it was because her husband had died. At first, I laughed at her because she was dreaming about her husband, all day and night, yet he was right there beside her. It was then, I understood what had happened to my grandfather, the one I loved the most in life, my angel, my superman, my protector right here on earth. I felt my grandfather¶s shoulder was the shoulder I could have cried on, all day and all night. I ended up questioning myself about it all, but I never asked anyone how he had died. I then thought about the letters that I had seen above my grandfather¶s head, which were RIP. ³No, he is not dead, and I am stupid for saying that,´ I kept telling myself every night. I still never really understood what it meant, so when I returned to school, I was very quiet because I had so much on my mind, mainly wondering if my grandfather had really died. I asked Mrs. Vigness what RIP means. She told me that it was a short way to say Rest in Peace to a person. ³Who died, Jonathan?´ She would ask me. She even ended up asking the woman she did not like at all, my mother, and my mother told her nothing. Tim came over to visit me at home on the same day that I questioned Ms. Vigness about the meaning of R.I.P. So I asked him ³What does RIP mean?´ ³Rest in Peace´ he said. ³Well what does that mean?´ I asked knowing that he would tell me the truth. Tim said, ³When someone dies, people tell them to RIP, meaning to o rest in peace in heaven. ³Let¶s go and play the video games,´ and it might cheer you up a bit. ³No, I do not feel like it,´ I said. ³Then let¶s go outside to play´ he said. I was so miserable that I told my best friend ³I want to be left alone.´ ³All right´ he replied and he left me by myself. I was so sad and miserable, I started calling myself dumb and started crying because it had taken me so long to understand what had happened to my grandfather. ³How could he have died though?´ I sat and wondered for a long time. I started blaming myself. I felt that if I had not left my grandfather by himself, he would have been all right, but I left him. Therefore, it was my entire fault that he was dead. I had finally found out why my grandfather was not there when I went
to Jamaica and convinced myself that nobody was happy with me being in Jamaica. I would lie on my bed thinking about it all every night, with no one to help me understand why my grandfather had passed away. I kept blaming myself and thinking about my grandfather, night and day. I even started crying at night and would hold a pillow over my head to stifle my weeping. During the day, I knew I had to cope and act as normal as possible so I kept holding all my feelings in, but at night I cried and cried uncontrollably. I could not get any sleep because my mind kept thinking about my grandfather. One morning, I walked to school holding a picture of my grandfather in my hand and crying. My eyes were so red. When I arrived at school Mrs. Vigness did not know what was wrong with me. She called my mother to pick me up, but she always made up a lie and said either she was working or in the area so she could not pick me up. Mrs. Vigness then started to keep me close to her and would always tell me that everything would be all right because she was there for me. She told me that whenever I was ready to talk she would willingly listen not as a teacher but as a friend.. While going through this miserable time of adjustment and sadness, my mother was treating me unkindly. She started to beat me and really abuse me because she was upset that the school was calling her all the time and asking her too many questions about me. I was no longer getting into trouble at school because I had become a quiet student. Mrs. Vigness, my number one teacher, knew that there was something unusually wrong with me. She adjusted her routine and started to drop her class off at the cafeteria for lunch. She would ask me to get my lunch first, and then accompany her back to her class, so that she could talk to with me and try to help. She did this for the entire school year. Prior to my grandfather¶s death, I was known as a loud-mouth troublemaker, a mean-faced little boy, not what I turned into. I was a quiet, sad-looking young boy with tears always streaming down his face. For the remainder of the school year Mrs. Vigness consistently took me back to class with her for lunch for the rest of that school year. She talked to me and asked
me what was truly wrong with me. However, I never reveal whom I had had lost in my life. I just could not bring myself to confide in her because I felt that my grandfather was the only person I could freely talked to and who truly loved me. Therefore, I held in all my depression and anger mainly because my mother had told me to keep my mouth shut and not tell anyone our family business! Mrs. Vigness told my guidance counselor about my behavior in class in my very presence when the school administrators came in her class to take me to the office. They asked me what was wrong and told me that they were worried. ³He is looking lost now,´ Ms. Vigness said. She already knew that no one was bothering me or picking on me in school. Therefore, she came to the conclusion that someone or a situation at home was affecting me this way. ³It has to be somebody or something in his life every day but he just seems too scared to say if it is his mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather. I must tell you that we had to contact child protective services because it seems like no one else can help you with whatever he is going through right now.´ Mrs. Vigness didn¶t notice, but some of the counselors saw that when she mentioned my grandfather, I started crying and went inside Mrs. Vigness¶ closet and sat in there for the rest of the day with the door closed. At the end of the day, she was still concerned so she took me home because try as she might she could not reach my mother by phone. Mrs. Vigness told me to go inside and let her know if my mother did or said anything out of the way to me. By the way, when my mother saw me with the teacher, she locked herself in her bedroom, and turned off her television and phone until she drove off. When I got inside, my mother said, ³Do not ever come home and bring her to my house.´ However, my teacher dropped me home frequently since I never told her that my mother was beating me because she was bringing me home. One day, my mother saw me crying in my room, so she asked me why I was crying, ³Did you hurt yourself?´ she asked. I said, ³No.´ ³Hold up, are you crying because your grandfather died?´ My mother then said to me. ³No, I know you are not crying because he is dead. Why should you anyway?´ She asked me. ³He never loved you or wanted you. If he did he would not have sent you here to live with me. Your grandfather hated you and wanted you dead
just as much as I do, Jonathan. Do not think that he loved you.´ She kept repeating this to me but I did not believe her because I remembered that my grandfather had called for me before he had passed away. I wanted to talk to him, but my mother would not let me because she wanted her father to give her all his love and attention. She was jealous of all the love he had for me. She looked at me calmly, I could tell her brain was churning, and began telling me that if it were not for me stressing my grandfather, he would have lived a longer life. ³He is dead and gone now, and he is never coming back and it was your entire fault. So do not expect to see him again anytime soon, at least not until you¶re dead and gone, which I¶m hoping will be soon! As a matter of fact, here, let me give you something to cry about because you are crying over foolishness right now.´ She began to beat me and tell me to get my grandfather out of my head because he hated me. That day just made me madder and sadder deep down inside because my mother was beating me for loving and missing my grandfather. She knew I hated cold water, but she forced me to take off all my clothes and then hustled me into the shower with the water running on the coldest setting. Nevertheless, after about an hour and a half²I got used to it. To further dim the light in me, she removed a spatula from the drawer one day and ordered me to stretch out my hands. She started to beat me on my hands and fingers with it and then when utter rage overtook her she beat me from my head to my toes. After she lost some of her gusto, she began slowing down because she was pregnant again and about to have my second brother. I cried all night in my dark closet, hugging myself to try to bring me some comfort. The next morning, I started having headaches and getting very dizzy. Everything in front of me was moving around, and I felt like I was about to drop. The pain was so bad in my head, the only way I could get some relief was to hold my head skywards. When I went to school I continued to stumble and the school¶s staff began worrying about me. They wanted to help me so they brought me to the office to sit down and rest. They then met to strategize about what they could do to help me. By the time they came back to check on me, I was on the floor with my hands covering my eyes because when I opened my eyes, I felt as if the room was tilting.
The school sent me and their office administrators to my house. We sat in the car to wait until my mother came home. As I sat with them I began to bawl like a baby because I knew that I was going to get a major beating when they left. As we waited they asked ³Where is your father?´ so I told them that he was never home, and that it seemed as if he did not really live with us anymore. I knew that it didn¶t matter if he was at home because he would not help me anymore, anyway. Since my mother did not show up after hours of us waiting, they just walked me to the house, but they could not go inside, so they just left me there. They told me that if I started to get dizzy again call 911. She finally came home when the administrators had left. She beat me again because she had warned me because she did not want me bringing them to her house. She reminded me that she had already told me this and she did not need anyone stressing her out in her condition. My mother just kept on beating me because she claimed that I was stressing her out because I had brought those people to her house one too many times. So one day, after she had given birth and she had a bad day, she saw a policeman standing outside the house. He just stood and watched the house for a while but then he came to the door. He told my mother that she had better start taking care of her child before charges were filed against her. Once the officer left, she grabbed me and threw me down on the floor and screamed at me to get out of her life before she killed me because I was never going to put my hands on her again. I had only walked in the house and had not touched my mother at all ± I wondered what she was talking about. She ran to the kitchen with tears in her eyes, and picked up a kitchen knife which she threw at me. I moved out of the way so she missed and I got up and ran into my room and kept the door ajar. I watched her as she picked up the knife and could not believe that she was calling me someone else¶ name. She walked toward my door and threw the knife at me again. If I didn¶t quickly slam the door shut, she would have pierced me with the knife. I locked the door and fell on the floor of my room with my heart beating hard. I thought my mother was a lunatic and no one would ever know it. When I got back up I ran into the closet, shivering and wondering if my mother was about to take the door off its hinges to come in and kill me.
Finally, I came out of my room when I could not hear her walking and screaming anymore. I thought she had left the house, but she had not. As soon as I went to the kitchen to get a paper towel to wipe my eyes and blow my nose, my mother came from the laundry room, where she was hiding with the knife. She grabbed me and shoved the knife up to my neck, telling me that I had put my hands on the wrong person, and now I was going to die. ³I did not touch you or do anything to you! Why do you want to kill me so badly?´ She looked into my eyes and said , ³Because²´ She stopped in midsentence and looked me in the eyes for about three minutes. She looked as if she was serious about wanting to kill me. She made me think she must have been thinking about fighting Nicole, not me, for having an affair with her husband. I knew the look that she had was one of pure unadulterated hate. Then she said, ³I hate you, and I want you to die, I want you to go to prison, and be locked up for life.´ ³Who is . . . ?´ I asked. She told me to go into the kitchen, and wash the dishes and tell her when I was finished. After I had finished washing the dishes, I went to her bedroom. When I got there she was crying. When she saw me, she rushed at me with one of her high-heeled shoes and started to hit me. The beating was so severe that I dropped down on the floor in agony She kept on telling me to get up, but I couldn¶t. So she dragged me into the laundry room and turned off all the lights and then locked the door. When I finally lifted my head up, all that I saw was a blinking red light. I was holding my head, but mainly feeling pain in my back, legs, arms, and feet. I could not move because every move caused more aches and pain. Late that night, my mother opened up the door and told me to go to bed. I had been locked in there for about four hours. I did not go to school the next day because of all the pain that I was in. I could not walk at all only hop. That morning, she told me to get out of bed, and get dressed because I was staying with her all day. ³I do not want you going back telling anyone that I hit you, all right,´ she told me. That same day, the police called my mother on her cell phone and began talking to her, asking her why I was not in school. She told the officers that I was not feeling well and she was taking care of me.
They told her that she needed to start being a loving mother toward me, which meant helping me while I go through the deep depression and anxiety in my life. ³Put Jonathan on the phone so that we can talk to him,´ they told her. The police asked me if I was all right and if my mother was treating me badly. I looked at her first, ³I am all right and having fun with my mother,´ I told them. There was more than one officer present and they told me to make sure to be at school on Monday. It was Friday and the weekend was coming up. ³Jonathan,´ one officer said, ³we are all going to be at school waiting for you, OK?´ They already knew that my mother was coaching me and listening to every word I uttered. When we returned home and although the policemen warned her not to she began hitting me and telling me that if she ever was locked up and put in jail because of me, she was going to come back and find me, and kill me. So I started to be afraid especially at night because I was not only scared of my mother killing me, but also my grandfather coming back to haunt me because I was not there for him when he needed me. I still felt that grandfather¶s death was my fault. I did not sleep that entire weekend because of the many thoughts and all the visions I saw while I was lying down alone at night. Finally on Sunday night I began getting dizzy and hallucinating in the past. I even saw my grandfather standing right in front of me. I had already begun to sleep on the floor sometimes on my father¶s side not on her side or on the bed with them because I was nothing but a stranger to them. Finally, I could get some sleep, but I had ended up passing out. Monday morning came and I was shaking, I bit my tongue somehow during the night and woke up in the floor. I had so many things going through my mind that when I left the house and was walking to school to meet the officers, I had a seizure and passed out on the sidewalk. I awakened in the hospital. I found out that I had collapsed in the front of a lady¶s house and she called the ambulance when she found me. I ended up staying in the hospital for a couple days, but I was quickly released because my mother did not want me there. However, before I left, the doctors asked me what was stressing me out so much because I was such a young child, with no bills or wife or responsibility. The doctors put me on anxiety and
depression medication since I would not talk. The medication was to relieve stress and depression because that was the only probable cause. My mother got mad at me because hospital bills now had to be paid by her since I did not have any insurance I actually never had insurance since I had come from Jamaica. I didn¶t understand, ³Anyway, what is insurance?´ I asked her. My mother had forgotten that the police had wanted to talk to me because she had not called the school to tell them what had happened to me that day. Therefore, the police called the Florida Department of Children and Families again and began a second case against her started up another case against her. They came to the house to talk to me about what was now occurring in my life, and I told them that I had passed out on the road while I was on my way to meet the police at school. I told them what the doctors said to me about my condition. After the visit, my mother had to begin meetings with the county and a stood a great chance of being arrested for child abuse and neglect. Partially because my mother did not rush to the hospital when she found out about my collapsing. It turned out that investigators from Children and Family Services had visited the hospital to verify what had happened to me. The investigators found out said that if it was not for my father being in the household, they would have taken me away and arrested her. Children and Families kept checking up on me day after day, to make sure that I was comfortable in the house with my mother. I could not tell them anything, or else I am certain she would have killed me. That was what my mother had told me she would do to me if I did not stick to the story. I still kept locking myself in my closet crying, thinking about my grandfather and worrying that I was going to die after every threat she made toward me. I was feeling unloved, unwanted and like I would be dead soon. However I had the strongest urge to kill before I was killed. That person who I had urges to kill was my mother. Unbeknownst to her, the promise that I had made to my grandparents continued to save her life. After being on medication for a while I began feeling relaxed. It had taken me a while, but I was getting over my grandfather¶s death bit by bit. I was not seeing
him anymore at night like I had in the past. However, I still wished my grandfather was with me. When I went back to school, the school administrators checked on me every day and on Wednesdays the Children and Families Services¶ investigators did as well. Eventually, I had gotten back to my normal self on the outside but I felt empty and alone inside. Lori reminded me that I would always have a father in heaven watching over me, always and forever. She told me that even before I was born, Jesus Christ was the one growing me in my mother¶s womb. Lori then said, ³John, your grandfather is in a better place right now, where he wants to be and he is watching over you alongside our Father God. So please be happy, baby.´ That night is when I began writing how I truly felt about all that had happened in my life. I would write poetry mainly though.
Chapter 6 Lori was one woman that I thanked God for bringing into my life. Because she helped bring a little knowledge, wisdom, and understanding into my life. I would say that she was one of the best people to have helped and inspire me to stay strong, and make the right decisions in my young life. Her compassion and friendship made me begin to think that she was my birth mother. Lori helped bring God into my life by taking me and Tim to church every Saturday and on Sunday nights. We were taught more and more about our Father. I had believed in my Father God from when I was growing up in Jamaica, but I never was really into it or fully understood the significance he bears on everyone¶s life because I was so young. Tim and I would fast and pray with Tonya, and then study the Bible. We actually read bible verses, night after night, because I was not much of a reader growing up. Tim was not either, but he knew more than I did about the Lord. I began to change my mind about wanting to kill my mother or to even take my own life because of all the anger that had built up in me. The many arguments between me and my mother continued, which made me end up staying the same. However, I still had faith in my Father, and I knew that he was watching over me night and day. I started playing around a lot in school acting like what was going on in my life was all good. My horsing around would not get into trouble because the school was so happy to see me happy again. Children and Families and the school administrators still checked on me every day. I was always smiling, laughing, and making fun of people again. I projected the veneer of a spoiled kid as if I had it going on at home. I was always teasing and joking with everyone at school, so one of my elective teachers started calling me Dumbo because I would crack jokes on her about how she looked more like an instrument cleaner not its players plus I had ears that were a bit large for my size. Truthfully my change came about because I had finally found an outlet - writing all my problems down on paper. When I was writing, it felt as if the paper and pencil were my friend.
I had one teacher that I loved, Ms. Brown, but I still made fun of her saying she could have made an imitation of the movie Beauty and the Beast called ³Beastliest Women and the Man.´ Ms. Brown had gotten so mad at me after I had said this to her that she made me stand in a corner. She placed blackboard¶s eraser on my head, and made me hold one leg up, with both eyes closed as the class hurled spitballs and paper balls at me. Ms. Brown began laughing at me, and continued laughing at me for the rest of the day. She did not assign any more class work for the rest of that class. I said, ³Y¶all think this is real funny, right?´ Ms. Brown then asked if I learned my lesson about making fun of her. ³Yes, beast,´ I said. I continued staying out of trouble with my teachers in school, but administrators reported me if they saw me cutting the line in the cafeteria. As I began getting happier, my mother got meaner and seemed to be more uncomfortable with me around. She looked at me differently ± it was a look of jealousy. She acted as if I was making a lot of money, or like I reminded her of someone that she did not like. I began thinking again that it was because my grandfather had loved me so much and she had gotten very jealous. My mother was always strict with me about everything, but it seemed because I was happy and getting attention from other people she was really becoming as mean as a snake. She began beating me every day again, knowing I could easily report her to the police and have her locked up. My mother started to just used to make up lies to have a reason to beat me. She told me that she hated me because of all that I had put her through with the police, her friends, and her family. As if things couldn¶t get any worse for me, when she entered the front door, she would immediately drop her purse or jacket on the floor. If I did not pick them up as soon as possible I would get a beating for being lazy. When she found my diary, which she thought I was going to give to the police, she ripped it to shreds and told me that she didn¶t want me writing down any more of my problems. She didn¶t care if I held it all in and burst or started to have seizures again ± she just didn¶t want me writing.
I tried talking to her friends about my situation, but each time I said something to them, they would just go back to my mother and tell her what I had said. She would tell them, ³Don¶t believe anything that comes out of Jonathan¶s mouth because he¶s a bald-faced liar about everything.´ I could not eat anything from my mother¶s house without her permission, and she was hardly ever at home. When I called her cell phone to ask her permission to eat something, she would not answer. According to her, I was eating all the food, but in actuality, she ate much more than I did. There came a point when I realized I would die of hunger if I lived according to my mother¶s rule about food. So, I began to hide any extra food from lunch and take it home to eat at night. The only time I was able to eat was whenever I went to school or on the weekends when I went to Tim¶s house. Lori did not scrimp when she fed me and Tim. We ate like we were wild animals and then at nighttime, she would usually take us to a buffet restaurant so we could fill up and enjoy ourselves. At home, the only people that were making me happy were my little brothers. They were the only highlights in each day. Every time my father took pictures of us together was the only time I¶d smile. I started saying, ³forget her´ each time I felt unwanted and mistreated, ³I don¶t need her, and she does not need me. So forget her.´ I started to talk to myself about the things that were troubling me instead of writing them down. This was just making me more confused in the mind, and I was feeling worse about my life. I was at a point where I didn¶t want to be alive anymore, and here I was only twelve years old. My father did come around from time to time and when she was being extremely brutal toward me he wouldn¶t try to help. I did not understand why, whenever it came down to me, whatever my mother said overruled anything that came out of my father¶s mouth. If he would tell her to stop beating me she would just say, ³Make me´ and then tell him to stay out of my life because I wasn¶t his. Night after night, my mother kept on getting me madder. This is when I truly started to feel like a survivor - like I could handle anything or anyone life could throw at me. So many nights of brutal beatings, so many nights of sleeplessness, without purpose or meaning. Yes, I realized I was a survivor.
School became my Chuck E. Cheese¶s. I was excited when I woke up every morning. In addition to my schoolwork, I had a chance to really be a kid. I¶d make jokes and play pranks jokes on the administrators and teachers. At school, I felt so important and liked. I began getting salutes in the hallway, as if I was their sergeant or colonel. I was wearing my hair short with a tapeline in the middle of my head. My mother did not want me to go to a barbershop because she did not want to spend a dime on me. My father did his best to give me a good cut whenever he was home on the weekends because he didn¶t want to spend money on me either. Since I had a messed up cut, with a tapeline in the middle of my head the kids at school began saluting me, by placing their hands in the middle of their heads as if I was a sergeant or colonel. The bottoms of my shoes were always coming off because I was bought only one pair of shoes from Payless every school year. I was also known as an all-weeksame-clothes ³young soldier´ because I didn¶t have that many changes of clothes. I only had about four pairs of briefs, and I was only be able to wash them once every two weeks or else they would complain about their water bill. Tim had given me some of his briefs, but in order for me to wear them, I had to pin them to fit me so they would not drop off me. I had to cut each pair of my own briefs just to make them fit. So I was being called Dumbo by the Teachers and saluted like a colonel by the students. If it was not for the school staff during the week, and Tim and Lori when I was not in school, I don¶t know how I would have survived. Yet my mother walked around as if she was the most fantastic mom. Anyone who saw her would never have known that she could be so brutish. She walked around as if she was a true Diva with the latest clothing and hairstyles. She even had the nerve to give advice to other people who did not know her that well, of course. My mother gave me thirty minutes to walk home from school each day. Since I had grown up taking long walks in Jamaica with bare feet, I did not see this as punishment, like she wanted me to. I saw the thirty minutes as the opportunity to be free to think and imagine. Walking in Florida was so easy for me because I had shoes on my feet. Although, they were taped up most of the year I did not care. So on those afternoons when it was extremely hot, I arrived home soaking wet as if I had just walked in the falling rain. Being the young manservant that I was, when I arrived home my routine consisted of completing my homework, washing the dishes, sweeping and mopping the
floors, cleaning my mother¶s bedroom, making up the bed, arranging her closet, and sweeping the outside porch, washing the dishes and taking care of anything else that was out of place. I had so many chores that every time my mother¶s friends came over they would compliment her, saying ³You keep your home so clean, girl.´ She would thank them and tell them that she had to because she had to keep her man happy at all times, after his long hours of work in the dirt. She was gone so much I always thought she was working, but found out that she wasn¶t. My mother spent money, ate food, and hung out with her so-called friends most of the time. I was always amused when she would tell her husband that she needed to get back in shape. She would then ask him to buy her a workout machine. He went out and bought it eventually but she only used it the first few days. Then it sat idle so it became my toy being that it was only used for decoration to impress her friends. During their visits to our house she would proudly tell them, ³I¶m working on my body shape for my man.´ Of course I knew this wasn¶t true but her friends were always so impressed. She was all about impressing them so spent her man¶s money to buy things to show off. By the way, In addition to my duties inside the house, I would cut the grass every two weeks, wash the cars, and fold up the clothes after I did the laundry, and what did she do? She cooked once or twice a week, if she knew a friend was coming over to visit her. I went to Tim¶s house to spend a weekend with him because I had not visited him for about a month. When I returned home, nothing had been cleaned for the whole weekend. The dishes, utensils, pots and pans were piled up ± nothing had been washed. There were dirty clothes that I had to wash that same night, especially my father¶s work clothes, because we needed our clothes for the week. This was the first time that I had stayed up this late since I left Jamaica. I began washing the clothes and the dishes, and taking out all the garbage that was stacked up on the countertops. The place was a complete mess as if they had a party. I also had to sweep, mop, and dust, and then lastly take out the garbage. I was afraid of frogs but I had to overcome my fear and walk by them to make sure the trash was in the outside dumpster. By the way, I saw a friend play with a frog and he got warts from it and I didn¶t want it to happen to me. When I came back inside, I had left all the clothes in the washer and dryer to finish the next day.
Early the next morning when my father woke up and needed his work clothes, he asked me where they were. Since I had not finished laundering them, I jumped up and threw them in the dryer. That day, my father went to work late but he never told my mother so I was all right. My mother continued this pattern every weekend that I went to visit someone. It was as if she was punishing me for not being at home all the time under her microscope but I did not care. I was having so much fun out of the house and away from her ³All you need to do now is cook dinner,´ she told me one night, when she was hungry and did not have any money to buy fast food. I was already cooking breakfast in the mornings for them when there was no school. Surprisingly, one day when I came home from school, and my grandmother, auntie, and cousin had come up from Jamaica. I did not know that they were going to be visiting, or even had their papers. Every day my mother said, ³Oh, he¶s so spoiled. John does not have to do anything in this house because I do all the work,´ then she would end it with ³I wish I was able to grow up like how my son is growing up right now, when I was young in Jamaica.´ My mother didn¶t beat me when they were around. She only threatened me whenever they were not looking at me. She would say, ³You¶re lucky they¶re here right now,´ and she said that if I would ever open my mouth about her beating me, she was going to beat the hell out of me when they returned to Jamaica. When they left, I felt abandoned and alone, of course, they did not know what was really going on. Back then I was so happy for my two little brothers, George and Alexander, but afraid that they were going to get beatings like me. They did not have the same last name as me and I always wondered why. They were born only a year and a couple of months apart, and they did not look like me. I knew that they had come out of my mother because I saw her stomach growing bigger. My responsibilities became even greater because my mother expected me to feed and change my brothers¶ diapers in addition to putting them to sleep. I loved them so much but I wondered when was she going to give me a break and let me be a child with toys and neighborhood friends?
She wanted to lose weight again. She started by exercising every day and walking with me at night while my father took care of his two sons. I was trying to suck up to her as much as I could so that she would cut down on beating me and that was the only time I would actually see her smile at me, even though I was mad at her deep down inside. I began cooking breakfast for them, every Saturday and Sunday in the morning before I went to church. I also had to take it to them in their bedroom on a personalized tray for each of them with drinks and anything else that they needed or wanted. I felt that I had to make them feel good; especially my mother because she had told me that she was a queen in her husband¶s castle. I even started to give her a manicure and pedicure. I would scrub the bottoms of her feet. I would help her wash her hair, and perm it, as if I was her daughter or slave. She would say, ³Do not get mad because now that you know how to do these things, you can do them for your wife when you grow up.´ She felt that I could save money because my wife would not have to go to a salon and spend all of my money. My mother decided to follow a friend¶s advice to lose weight faster by taking pills that her friend was able to get because she worked at a hospital. The drug ended up making her sick and she was admitted to the hospital for some time. Therefore, my father had me taking care of my baby brothers. Luckily it was during the summer time it all had happened. Whey my mother came out the hospital, she had finally lost the weight that she had wanted to lose. However, my mother and father began fighting about what she had done. Every time a fight broke out between them she took it out on me. She would tell me that she hated me and say that if I were not in her life, she would not be going through all of this pain. So now, my mother wanted me out of the house again because she did not want to lose her husband. One day, I flat out told her, ³I¶m not the one that told you to have sex with my father.´ She just looked at me, wanting to say something but never did. Then my father stopped playing around and letting her have her way because now they were having some big financial problems. She was not even able to help him out. My father told her that she was lazy and had two kids to feed and that she could not provide for them if it was not for him. Repeatedly, he began telling her, ³You
follow your friends too much, and you need to find a job to start becoming a responsible parent.´ That night, she came to me after their fight, with no one around, and told me that she hated me and she looked at me like the enemy in her life again. She stared at me very hard, as if I was the reason for her trials and tribulations. She told me to get up and take off all my clothes, and to lie down on my stomach on the bed. She left my room and came back after about thirty minutes later. ³I am not able to take this anymore in my life,´ she said, she started to beat me, but she was not saying anything while I was crying. I turned around, and looked at her, and asked her, ³Why are you hitting me?´ She looked at me closely, and then just pushed my head back down, and whispered, ³I hate you! I want you dead! Go back to the pits of hell that you came from´ she said. She seemed like she was in a trance because she was calling me by another person¶s name repeatedly. After beating me for a long time, it felt like an hour or so, my mother was still crying and left and went back in their bedroom. That night, I woke up with my mother standing over me with a kitchen knife, wanting to kill me. I began telling her to go ahead and do it but she abruptly left because her husband came to my bedroom door looking for her. I could not sleep afterwards. I was crying and shaking, not because I was scared but because I was feeling so unloved and hated. ³Forget my life,´ I said to myself. I went into the kitchen and picked up a knife and began to press it to my throat so hard that if I had moved, I would have cut my throat, and started bleeding. For hours, I asked God what I was put on this earth, not even being loved by my own mother. ³Why am I here?´ I kept asking my Father God. I asked him who had ever truly loved me since I was born. I then thought of my grandfather, and started saying, ³I am coming to get your love back,´ but then I remembered my brothers. I immediately took the kitchen knife off my throat, but I kept holding it with a lot of anger in me. Thoughts of killing my mother were consuming my thoughts, so I went to her door, and peeked in to see what side of the bed she was lying on. I was really going to kill her. At that point, I did not care if I went to hell because she was going to kill me. As I stood there staring at her with pure hatred on my face, my
brother George woke up to use the bathroom. He was so small and was just looking at me, asking me if I could take him to the bathroom. I took him to the bathroom and asked him if he needed or wanted anything else. George started to ask me questions like, ³What are you doing up?´ Since he was wide awake, I closed the door to their room ad sat with him until he fell back asleep. In the meantime, my mother had gotten up, which I did not know. When I went into the bathroom to look in the mirror she came to use the bathroom and saw me as I was holding the knife to my throat. She quickly closed the door but peeped through it watching because she thought I would end my life right then and there. When I walked out the door, she quickly closed her room door. ³Dang! I did not even know that she was watching and listening to me,´ I thought. While looking at myself in the mirror, wanting to just end my life of misery, I asked myself, ³Who was that person that my mother was talking about? I want to know,´ I decided then and there that I had a mission to accomplish, and that was to find out just who this man was who kept haunting her life. ³Is it my grandfather¶s real name,´ I wondered because I had never heard my grandfather¶s real name before. My grandfather was only called by his nickname, Doctor. However, that was not the only name on his funeral program. ³I do not even remember the name on it,´ I said to myself. I went inside my room and started looking for my grandfather¶s funeral program, which I had saved. However, when I found it and read it the name was not the same name that my mother was calling me. That night, as I lay on my bed thinking, crying, and miserable, I was asking why I was going through such a rough life. ³Was it too perfect in Jamaica?´ I asked my Father in heaven. ³Why did she want me dead so badly, already?´ In my first year of middle school, I had already realized that no one lives a perfect life whether rich or poor, weak or strong: no one lives a perfect life. My mother started to come in my room, night after night, in the middle of the night, hitting me and addressing me by that same name. She would hold a knife in the air and look at me fiercely. She would say, ³You are going to die . . . !´ Night after night she beat me unrelentlessly and as I cried from all the pain I kept asking
myself ³Why and for what reason was she doing this, though?´ Can you imagine how afraid I was because she would be beating me in the dead of the night without uttering one word. My mother would not even allow me to go by the house of my father¶s mother. After seeing and hearing all I was going through, he wouldn¶t leave me there unless it was a school day. I didn¶t care where I went as long as I wasn¶t at home alone with my mother. She seemed as if she had suffered a mental breakdown and needed to be under a psychiatrist care. The beatings became even more brutal. My mother started to hit me with everything that she could get her hands on: from a wooden broomstick that ended up breaking on my back after about three hits to a high-heeled shoe. I had to grab it out of her hands and throw it away. If I had not built up the nerve to do this she would have kept on hitting me. Although I was getting older and physically stronger, the fear of her was still in me. There were some days when I was about ten minutes late coming home from school. My mother had decreased my walking time from school to our house to fifteen minutes. She would ask, ³Why are you getting in so late?´ I would say, ³I left right after school, I do not know why.´ That earned me another beating then I would be banished to my room. She believed that I was defying her. When I came out of my room, my mother grabbed the knife and I asked her why she didn¶t kill me just then and there because to tell you the truth I could not take her bullying me anymore. My mother turned around and threw the knife at me, but I quickly shut the door. I had heard a loud sound just as I shut it. I felt, since she wanted to kill me so badly, I would just leave the door open the next time to see what was going to happen. This was the second time she threw a knife at me. When I opened the door, I saw the knife stuck in the door. I started to think I could move as fast as all those Power Rangers that I had been hearing about. After this incident, I started having my brothers sleep with m, to deter her from coming in the room and killing me while I slept. She was a coward because she only threatened me at night when nobody was around. One night, after a contentious day my mother and I had it out. She had lied again by telling my girlfriend, Jessica, that I was cheating on her. She had found Jessica¶s number in my school planner.
I was so upset by her lie that I told her to stop holding back and kill me because I had nothing, except my brothers, to live for. ³So go ahead and take your anger out on me. Do you think I am stupid? I counted how long you and my father have been married, and it does not match up with my age. So I know that my so-called father is not my real father,right? And I don¶t think that you¶re my real mother anyways even though my birth certificate says that you are. What mother tells their child its okay to have sex with her? What mother wishes for their child to burn in hell? You hate me well guess what? I hate you also and want you to die. And the only reason you¶re still alive right now is because I promised my grandparents that I would love and respect you. Even though I truly don¶t feel that I should. You¶re a fake as well because look at how many times you¶ve wanted to kill me and couldn¶t do it. You didn¶t grow up in Jamaica all your life as you want me to believe. You also lived in the Bahamas. You¶re a follower, someone that I don¶t want to be around anymore because I don¶t want to grow up to be like you. Death, death, and more death that¶s all you keep mentioning to me but do you think that I¶m scared to die? I¶m tired of you now and truly I don¶t care anymore if I go to hell because as long as my grandfather is happy in heaven, I¶m alright. So let me burn in hell. Also I know you¶re very jealous of the fact that my grandfather loved me more than you.´ ³All of this information was piling up in my subconscious but I just held it all in and questioned myself day and night. I hoped that one day you would come to me and tell me the truth. Living doesn¶t matter anymore but my grandmother¶s happiness does and the promise that I made to my grandfather that I¶d become a successful man in America stays with me.´ I t was like I wanted nothing for myself in life except to make my grandparents happy and of course my brothers as well. My mother just looked at me with tears in her eyes. She said, ³Yes, you are a mistake and I never loved you or wanted you.´ I started to become even less fearful during my beatings. I would not even cry any more. I¶d just stare right keeping her eyes locked with mine whenever she tried to beat me. She would yell, ³You want to hit me? Hit me! Be a man for once and hit me, Jonathan, so that they will lock you up and send you back to hell.´ I began to hate my life even more than before, and I began to hate my mother because she continually threatened that she was going to murder me, which I would have loved for her to do since I seemed to be the worst person in her life. No matter how she treated me and the obstacles placed in front of me, I was
determined to give unconditional love to my brothers. I didn¶t care if they ended up hating me. As soon as my mother heard about Boot Camp, she wanted to enroll me in it. But she could not, because I was not on the streets and had not committed any crimes. At this time, I was not really socializing with anyone because of the many problems I was living at home and the negative attitude I was developing about my life. I believed that I truly needed a therapist or mentor because of the horrendous physical abuse I was suffering and the negative thoughts I was thinking. Through it all, I resolved that I was not going to commit suicide. I had a grandmother who was still alive and needed to accomplish at least one success in my life. I also wanted to make my grandfather proud of me.
Chapter 7 I was thirteen years old now and in the seventh grade yet my mother still wanted me to be dead. All the abuse, the hate and degradation made me think and say things to myself like, ³My mother wants to kill me, she would be even happier if I would kill myself. She kept blaming me for all sort of things night and day. I wondered why no one had ever explained the reason her husband, who was not my father, made me call him dad. He had never called me son and I was puzzled. I kept asking, ³Is she scared, and is she really from Jamaica?´ Because in Jamaica, whenever something was said, it was then carried out. In a way she seemed too scared to do what she desired to do to me. I¶m guessing she was not only afraid of going to jail but also it would hurt her to be away from her two young sons. Feeling that no one on earth wanted to help me, I looked up and I said to my grandfather, ³I thought my Father God really cared about me. If he really does, ask him for me, why am I going through all of this abuse and hate down here on earth?´
I had stopped talking to my friends and had stopped doing my schoolwork because I felt like there was no need to. For me middle school was all out entertainment and fights. H. D. Perry Middle School was not an ordinary middle school because there were so many teens who had failed to pass their classes and they were of high school age. The unspoken rule in school was either you fight, or you get beat up, not even bullied. Teachers were also getting into fights with students all the time. Surprisingly, at that time, no one was getting written up but everyone was getting arrested or kicked out. Even the school¶s principal had a day when an army of angry students chased after him and the security officers could not hold them back. Police were called in and everyone was pepper sprayed. I must admit, I was scared to get into fights because I knew my mother would have beaten the daylights out of me at that time. One day in class, a girl and I were arguing and she slapped me. When the other students heard the loud slap they just looked at us, but all I said to myself was, ³All right and thank you because I guess I deserved that.´ I had met Latoya early on in middle school while I was at church. At first we were always fighting, and saying how much we hated each other. However, our friend Larry noticed that we could not keep our eyes off each other. Larry said, ³Just say that you two like each other.´ I asked him how he knew that. Because of how both of you smile after you fight plus you pay attention to each other for no reason at all.´ We looked at each other and knew that Larry was right, so I asked her to be my girl. She said yes but then we just walked away from each other. Weird, I know and even weirder, she already had a boyfriend. We got to know each other better day after day, and then we ended up kissing day after day. As our young relationship grew, I felt that Latoya was the only one that I wanted to be with other than Alex and George; my brothers. I wanted to be with her because I began feeling better now that I had someone to hold and care for me. I began to feel happy to love someone who wanted to be with me plus I was hungry for happiness to come back into my life. I was young, yes, and did not develop real emotions for each other as yet. I really wanted a real relationship with someone, and that was what I had with Latoya.
Again, I knew that. Latoya had another boyfriend whom she was spending time with when I asked her to be my girl. She eventually broke up with him so she could be with me and that made me feel really good. I felt as if I would do anything to keep her in my life because I was desperate to be loved and to love someone, especially with all I still had to live through at home. We were young, but we still spent nights together kissing and hugging each other whenever we could spend the night at Larry¶s house. At that time, my mother didn¶t care where I was or what I was doing as long as I wasn¶t around her. I had also become close to Latoya¶s mother. She looked out for me whether she was giving me a genuine smile, food, and anything she could provide for me. I was also so surprised that her mother seemed to trust us being alone all the time. We stayed a couple for all of middle school even though we went to different middle schools. We went to the same church and had the same friends. We never really told others about our relationship except for Latoya¶s mother, so that we could spend more time together. We went to the movies or shopping, but it all was really for Latoya. My favorite memory is when we went to Rapids Water Park in West Palm Beach together and slid down the huge water-slides together, kissing and touching in the dark until we were in the sunshine and drop into the water. Then we spent one evening kissing for about 4 hours straight and because of all of our contact, I felt like I had to be taken to the hospital because my ³male parts´ felt like they had been dismantled. When my mother found out about our relationship and all the things we were doing and places where we were going, she became jealous. She said, ³Do you think that you¶re going to have a better relationship with Latoya, than me and my husband? Think again.´ I knew the reason she said all of that was because her husband wasn¶t paying any attention to her anymore. He had developed a routine of going to work and after work he would go somewhere and come home at midnight, except when the Florida Marlins was playing of course.
She called Latoya¶s mother and told her that I had AIDS and Latoya might catch it. She also said that I was cheating on Latoya with another girl and she had caught in her house with this person when she came home early. My mother then told me that I had to start coming straight home from school or else she would call the police and tell them that I was selling drugs on the streets. I did not care because I knew I had no money, clothes, or drugs. But Latoya¶s mother wanted me to start listening to my mother. She said, ³First, you have to honor your mother and father so that you could live a longer life.´ She promised me that she would try her hardest to try to have Latoya and I attend the same high school. ³So just work with me´ She said. When we had completed ninth grade, Latoya¶s mother kept her word, and allowed us to go to the same high school where Latoya could help me stay out of trouble and complete my schoolwork. When Latoya and I began tenth grade, my mother and father started getting into more frequent and louder arguments and screamed even more hurtful words at each other. She said that he was going around cheating on her again, and that they had no love and appreciation for each other anymore. From how their relationship was going, honestly, I was not surprised because they were not spending any time together. Latoya and I spent a lot more time with each other and we were not even married nor did we live close by each other, and that was part of the reason my mother was so jealous. Plus, she read all of the love letters that Latoya wrote to me explaining how she felt every time we were together. My mother did not show any interest in her husband, and he acted disinterested in her as if she wasn¶t anything but his babies¶ mama. I had not ever seen them show any expressions of affection since I had lived with them. Although I understood that some men like to kiss and some do not, and the same with women, I made up my mind that I would be more affectionate with my wife because I already loved kissing. My family life was so fractured and falling apart. My parents didn¶t eat breakfast or dinner together unless I cooked and set the table for them. So here I was, a child, feeling that I was the one keeping them together. They didn¶t ask how each other¶s day went and there were definitely no I love you exchanged, they were just taking care of my brothers and I stayed on the streets with friends and my girl. I can remember noticing my brothers¶ father had the same condom in his nightstand for a couple of years.
My parents argued night after night, day after day. My father just ended up packing his bags and sleeping at his mother¶s house for a while. He came back after I called him because my mother was just taking it all out on me, as if his leaving was my entire fault. She was sure I knew something about my father cheating on her again and that I was condoning his actions because I did not say anything to her about him. She kicked me out again, so I was sleeping at the parks or at one of my friends¶ house at night. Whenever she found out I was staying at a friend¶s house, she would call their parents and tell them lies about me. She told them I was selling drugs and stealing. One day I snuck back into my mother¶s house and went through her belongings for Nicole¶s phone number because I wanted to ask her about my mother¶s past. Also, for her to tell me the story about the man that I called my father but with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that I had developed, I realized he wasn¶t. Nicole told me that he wasn t my real father and that my mother had gotten raped by my father. However, she then told me that if there was anything else that I wanted to know I would have to ask my mother or someone else because it s not her that I should have that discussion with. Especially because, she no longer wants anything to do with our family past.
One of my friend¶s mothers told me to tell my father what was going on, so I called my so called-father and told him that she had kicked me out. He picked me up to take me back home. When my mother saw my so-called father coming into the house with me, she asked him, ³Where have you been and why haven¶t you been picking up whenever I call you?´ He stayed calm and ignored her, went to my brothers to make sure they were all right and then he left. After he walked away and ignored her, she ran after him and began hitting him. She slammed him against the wall again and again and then through the wall, and to my surprise he did not raise a hand to her. I pulled her off him and then helped him out the wall. When he got up, he told me, ³I¶ll handle it from here,´ and he held her down. He was on top of her, looking straight into her eyes and asking her questions I guess. About an hour later he left the house totally pissed and fuming. After that day, my father came back home but he slept on the couch. My mother accused him of cheating and asked for a divorce. At first, he didn¶t want a divorce but because of her caustic attitude, he consented to the divorce. To my dismay, she ended up blaming their divorce on me. She said that I knew he was cheating on her and I never told her. I said, ³Didn¶t your man tell you that he was not?´ She said she did not believe one word that came out of his mouth and that she wanted me out of the house too. She kept kicking me out of the house, and I was sleeping on the streets again not knowing where I would spend the night, or find food to eat. My brothers always snuck me in the house when my mother was not at home, and whenever she would see me in the house we would just start arguing again. She kept blaming all the bad things that were going on in her life on me and it got to me. She would tell me that she hated me and wanted me to die. I would cry and hit the walls, screaming that I couldn¶t take it all anymore. I was past the caring point so I began breaking things, and telling her that she had better leave me alone, before I kill her like she always wanted me to. She would scream back, ³Yes, that¶s what I want you to do, and that¶s to kill me, or are you too scared, and if you are, then just hit me.´ One time she actually grabbed a knife after uttering these senseless words. ³I¶d rather kill myself,´ I said.
My brothers used to always tell me that they did not want me to kill myself, but I wanted to do it. I wanted them to have a mother to grow up with, and if I killed her, they would not have one. She never did treat them the way she treated me I guess because my father had raped her and truthfully that was one of the reasons why she was able to keep her life. Whenever only the two of us were alone, she would go into the kitchen and grab a knife, try to push it into my hands and beg me to stab her. I thought she only wanted my fingerprints on it, so she could have proof whenever she called the police. She started calling the police on me every day, every hour trying to get me arrested because she wanted me out. My mother scratched herself up just to get me arrested. My good fortune, she did it on the wrong day because that same day, before I went inside, the cops had told me to stay a specific number of feet away from her and I had. So when she called the police on me that day, they found out that she was lying. The police now had a reason to write a report. They sent child protective services to search the house for drugs and weapons. They found none but they questioned my two little brothers, and they told my mother to watch out because they were going to catch her if she was doing anything wrong in her home with children living with her. Three days later, my mother called the police on me eight times in one day. Each time, they told me to stay away from her because they already knew about previous cases. One night they had seen me sleeping on benches at the parks and then running away from them. The next day one of them just looked at me and told me that she wants to help me. However I told her, no, because I don¶t need or want anyone¶s help. Things reached a breaking point the day that Latoya and I finally made love. Well my mother finally got her wish and had me arrested. She kept taunting me and telling me that she could break up me and Latoya. I just plain flipped out - I went crazy because after a while of hearing her teasing, I felt that she was really going to make me lose Latoya. This was my love and the only person I felt was keeping me sane, feeling valued and out of prison. I broke the pictures on the wall and anything that was anywhere near me. I punched holes in the walls, while screaming at her to stay out of my life.
My mother tried to press eight different charges against me; however, only the destruction of property charge was filed. This was because I did punch holes in the walls and broke photographs. During court, she told the judge I had been hitting her, threatening her, stealing money, and doing drugs on the street. I was already feeling stressed, so I just told the judge straight up, ³Yes,´ and that she could believe everything that my mother was telling them. I was at the point where I wanted to serve twenty-five years, or even life, because I would rather do time than really do something wrong and end up in hell. ³Lock me up for life because I don¶t want to be here no more! I hate my life!´ I screamed at them. The judge, officers, and everyone in the courtroom just looked at me in silence as if I was crazy. The judge said, ³You need some serious help, Jonathan!´ Because of what has happened you are mandated to attend family therapy and anger management with a psychiatrist. I also ended up being prescribed medication. On the week-ends, I attended anger-management classes, and I had continue therapy. My probation officer was feeling sorry for me and decided that this was what I really needed because of how much rage I had bottled up inside me. It was if I had something dark just waiting to be released. If I did not attend these classes, they would have locked me up in a mental institute. My therapist said that I seemed down, upset, and unloved, which was true because Latoya was not as close with me anymore. I told her that I had nobody here in America, other than my brothers and my girlfriend and I worried that I would lose them because of the lies I had told in court. So my therapist wanted me to make some plans to help me get my life and mind back in order. She knew, above all else, what made me down was my relationship with my mother. She said, ³Go to your mother and ask her if she loves you, and when you hear the answer, come back and tell me how the answer made you feel because no matter what your mother tells you; she does love and appreciate you being in her life.´ I decided to follow her advice the next morning. The day after we went to court, caseworkers talked with my mother about child neglect. So she was mindful to walk around me now and not through me.
The next morning, I had to beg my mother to sit down with me because I wanted to ask her a very important question. I said, ³I¶ve gone through a hard life with you, and I feel very depressed, and weak deep inside. I¶ve always felt unloved and unwanted since I came here, and I don¶t really understand why you treat me this way. I am just going to ask you this one question because you have never told me this before. Well, since I was younger.´ I then asked the big question, ³Do you love me, Mother?´ She looked into my eyes and said, ³No, Jonathan. I never did because I hate you. I never wanted you in my life, and I wish you would¶ve just died instead of coming into my life, causing nothing but drama and pain for me.´ ³How can you put everything that you go through in your life on me?´ I asked her. ³Because I can, and if you have a problem with it, there¶s nothing that you can do about it.´ Then she got up, picked up her stuff, and left me just sitting there and all of those negative thoughts began creeping into my head. My brothers were at their grandma¶s house, so I sat and sat thinking, alone with my head hanging down. I sat down for quite some time quietly sobbing. I balled up my fists and tears began to drop, my heart began beating hard, my mind felt like it was about to explode, and I began getting very dizzy. I started yelling, f#%% this world, everything, everyone, and f#%% my life, and where is my f#%% Father when I f#%% truly need him? Doesn¶t he promise to always be around for his f#%% children? My brothers do not f#%% really need me, because they have a f#%% father and a f#%% family around them that f#%% loves and f#%% care for them. F#%% ²² you Father and your words f#%% saying that you are here at my f#%% side. Where the f#%% are you then? I am tired of the f#%% ones who tell me that they f#%% love me, and they really do not.´ I let out all of that anger that I had been holding in. I continued to let it out by breaking things and hitting myself and slamming my head against walls. I kept cursing my Father for not being there for me, and telling Him to strike me down right then and there. I went outside and looked up with fright but wanting and said, ³Here, I¶m f#%% ready. Kill me.´ I had once heard that if someone ever cursed God, he would be immediately stricken down. I started laughing, ³I thought you were really up there, but now you have proven to me that not all of your words are true. I still
believe in you and in spirits though, but I do not know if I can ever believe in your love for your children again.´ I went back inside laughing and crying. I looked at myself in the mirror and started to wonder if I was really meant to be here on earth because my mother was raped and unloved by the man who was my father. I said, ³f#%% my life,´ and started walking with my head down toward the kitchen because I did not want to look at another picture of my brothers. I then opened up the kitchen draw and pulled out a knife and said, ³f#%% my life´. I woke up watching TV. When I collected myself, and my memory came back, I wondered how I had ended up asleep on the couch because the last thing I remembered was coming in the house from outside and putting a knife to my throat. ³Did the Lord strike me down?´ I asked myself because I remembered that I cursed my Father. My body was in pain, especially my head and it felt like it was swollen. My fist, arms, and chest were bleeding and scratched. I looked around and saw that the cereal box, which I had taken out before I talked to my mother, was still on the table. I looked outside and it was dark, yet I had on the same boxers and shirt that I woke up in this morning. I looked at myself in the mirror and my eyes were red, my lip was busted; and my tongue was swollen as if it had been bitten really hard. I kept questioning myself and looking around my mother¶s home in amazement seeing a lot of things that were broken. I had no strength left in me so I went to go lie down and fell asleep with it all on my mind. I woke up the next day with a huge headache, but I did not want to stay home so I went to school. I kissed my girl hello then went directly to class and put my head down on the desk before class had even started. I slept through that entire period. As I was coming out of class and heading to another, my head started pounding, and my mind started to spin. Getting dizzier with many thoughts running through my mind, I could not believe everything around me was moving, and I was seeing double. I said, ³I am about to die.´ I blacked out, right then and there in the school¶s hallway.
I woke up two days later in the hospital and they told me that I had a total of sixteen seizures since I was admitted but none today as yet. The doctor told me that I was lucky to be alive because that was a near death experience for a young teen of fourteen years. In the hospital, with all the nurses watching over me closely, I had no one there by my side, ³f#%% everyone else then,´ I said. As a result, I had more seizures, so the doctors decided to increase the dosage of the medication that they were giving to me. With the increased medication, some of the dizziness went away but I could not stay awake. So they decreased it but I started having more seizures. The doctors said, ³We are just going to have to keep you on a high dosage of medication because you can die anytime if you keep on having all those seizures like that.´ I was taken to get an MRI because it seemed as if something had burst in my head, or I had a tumor of some sort growing in my brain. They called a neurologist to examine my brain. ³Jonathan, we already know that you¶re stressed and that is one of the problems, but also you have something growing in your brain. Therefore, you need to stop stressing out yourself. We are going to have to bring someone to watch over you because every time you have a seizure you always want to fight staff,´ the doctor said. ³So tell me, Jonathan, what has been bothering you so much, what has been stressing you out so much? And don¶t tell me you do not have a guardian watching over you and helping you in life. Because no one has even come to visit you since you have been hospitalized. May I have your mother or father¶s number?´ ³I don¶t have one,´ I said, and all the doctor did was look at me and say, ³ OK.´ The nurses then disconnected all the IVs because I kept complaining about them, and they were trying to avoid making me mad. So now, I could walk around feeling free until they got the results that the doctors were waiting on. The next day, the doctor told me that I had experienced another seizure and had wanted to kill myself during it, but I had no memory of it at all. The doctors no longer wanted me out of their sight or out of the hospital anytime soon. I prepared to leave the hospital as soon as I could because I felt there could never be anyone for me like Latoya and I did not want to lose her. I thought the best thing I could do to keep her was to get out of the hospital to go and see her. My mother still had not shown up at the hospital as yet, so they told me that I could not
be released until my parents signed papers for my release and follow up care that I needed. Unbelievable images were constantly running through my head of me getting killed and watching others look at me as I lay in a casket. Everyone was smiling and laughing and having a wonderful time, even though I was lying down dead in front of them. I did not cry though because I thought, at least I can see myself in a coffin before I get there, and I can see how others would look at me, if I even had a funeral. They finally released me when they contacted with my mother. So I went back into my mother¶s home after so many days in the hospital. ³I wished you would have died while you were in the hospital´ was all my mother had to say to me. I walked to my bedroom and cried because those were words that I would expect from an enemy. Those were the words that my friend¶s father had said to a man, a day before he died in Jamaica. I thought, ³If she really wants it, she is going to get it.´ That night, my brothers asked what was wrong with me because I had ended up laying on the floor with my standing mother, over me asking me if I was finished yet. Unfortunately, I had begun having more seizures. However, it was not until I got up, got mad, and went outside that I ended up right back in the hospital because of all the thoughts that I kept in my mind about my mother. The doctors did not know what to do with me except to administer strong medication that relaxed me and made me sleep night and day. The doctors ran a whole array of tests again before I was able to go back home. The doctors wanted to know what was causing me to have such a brain disorder at a young age, if that was what the final diagnosis turned out to be. My mother kept telling them that I was on drugs, so they tested me for drugs before I left and found none in my system. After looking over my background and my present situation, the doctors found out that I was in therapy because I had many emotions held inside me. They figured out that I was in a deep depression with a lot of anger waiting to be released but I was holding it in. One doctor then told me that I could die at anytime, because I was holding in too much and was disinterested in staying alive. Therefore, it was really up to me to stay strong and let my anger out so that I could live a longer life.
The doctors told my mother that I would need surgery or else I would have an 80 percent chance of dying. She told them not to perform the surgery because I was the one that was causing it all, and what was growing in my head could just stay there. Plus there was a great chance of me dying during the surgery. I asked my mother why she would not consent to the surgery. ³Because I want you to die´ She said. I had to go back to school, but because of all of my absences everyone watched me, not knowing when I was going to have a seizure. Grade ten ended with much more about to end my life. I went to see my therapist because I found out that I had a warrant out for my arrest. I explained what had happened to me because they wanted to know why I had called to advise them that I was unable to make my therapy sessions. After I explained what happened to my therapist and psychiatrist, they told me that I needed to file child-neglect charges, immediately. They said that no investigation was needed because of the information that my doctors and the school had on file, and they would handle the warrant that was out for my arrest. They also said, ³John, we do not see you living a long life.´ When my mother found charges were filed, she called one of her friends to talk to me on her behalf. She didn¶t want me to continue with the charges my psychiatrist and therapist had filed because my brothers would have to live with their father until the case was resolved. I began living with Lori she explained what had happened to my mother and why she treated me so badly and why she thought of me as an enemy. Lori explained that my mother had gone on a date with my father one night, and my mother did not want to have sex with him. He raped her, but she never pressed any charges because she was scared of the kind of person he was. ³So now, whenever she sees you, she sees him and all that he did to her that night. So understand why she treats you like that, and says the things she does. She felt that by hitting you, she is finally fighting back.´ ³So I was a mistake then right?´ I asked. ³Yes, you can say that. However, you are not a mistake to your Father God.´ I thought about everything she had said and I started to understand things, but I wanted to live even less now that I knew. I said, ³It seems like what she went through with my birth father explains why she treats me so terribly. Whatever she wanted to say or do to my birth father, she said and did to me. I was an accidental birth that had taken
place when my mother came to America, and my father touched someone that he was not supposed to touch. Therefore, whenever she saw or thought of me, I guess he came to mind, and what had taken place that night. Is that what you¶re saying?´ Thinking about my brothers, I wondered if they were my real brothers. Not caring, I told myself that I loved my brothers because that was what they will always be to me. They are the only family members who love and think about me. ³I never would want my brothers to go through what I have been through,´ I thought. Even though I had spanked them, and said things to get them mad and a bit rough I would always love them. I thought back to when we played together, when we were at home alone, and all the things that happened. If one was not crying, the other was laughing at the other getting a spanking. I chuckled as I remembered how they both ended up laughing at me one day when they threw cold water on me, and then ran away from me. They had locked themselves in their mother¶s bedroom until she came home, and they even slept with her that night for safety, under her arms. No matter what, I would not want them to live a messed up life like I had lived. So since they enjoyed being with their mother so much, I made a promise not to make those complaints and mess up their lives with their mother unless their mother start treating them the same way she had treated me. I began telling the truth to all of my former teachers and friends¶ mothers that through all of these problems, I was not always innocent. I told them how I broke things, screamed at my mother, and tell her that I wished I wasn¶t her son. I told them how I would curse at her and tell her that she was going to go to hell with me for all of that she was putting me through. I told my mother that what my father did to her was not my fault and that it was her choice to go on a date with him, not mine. I found out later that the real reason her friend came out of nowhere and told me everything was because they were told that I was going to die soon and if I was going to die there was no sense in locking her up since I would not be around for much longer. My mind calmed down when I was living with Lori, Monica, Tiffany, and Tim. I was not being stressed, screamed at, or mistreated, and so I began to get better with all those negative thoughts out of my head. The charges were dropped and my brothers returned home to our mother, but my psychiatrist and therapist were not happy with that, so they requested that the case
remain open. This was because of the number of times my mother was to have been arrested and sentenced; since I had been in elementary school. The one thing that I had to get back now was my relationship with Latoya. I wanted things to be the same as before. So to get her back, I had to start hanging out with her again and prove that I still loved her: even though she was never there for me, through it all. The next day, I was on the couch reading poems that I had written, while thinking about my love. Tim laughed at me and said he could tell I was lying. He began asking me how many times I had to rehearse just one line and how long it took me to write one word. While trying to give all of my love to Latoya day after day, I was also wondering how my brothers were doing. I had Tim call the house and ask for them and they told me that they were doing all right. However, when their mother heard them talking to me she took the phone away and told me to never call her phone again. I said, ³I told them that I was not going to press any charges, so why are you still mad at me?´ She told me that they were still investigating her. That same night, I stayed home by myself because I was mad at my mother. She could have been locked up if it was not for me. Latoya called me around 9:00 p.m. and said, ³I do not want to and I¶m sorry, but I¶m just going to have to end the relationship between us, so bye.´ She didn¶t let me say a word. I kept the phone to my ears and spoke as if I was speaking to my Father in heaven. ³So now one of the last ones I loved in my life has gone while you were making my life better. Father, OK, and I was told to give thanks to my Father every day now, and everything you do for me. THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU!´ I leaned against the wall and dropped on the floor crying. As I cried, I built up anger inside myself again. I started asking myself, why did she end it? No one was home with me so I went to bed without anyone to talk to and thought about everything for a long time. ³I know my time and days on this earth are numbered, just like the ones that I have and love in my life. However, no matter what, my brothers will always be my brothers because I found out that we are still blood brothers, we have the same mother,´ I thought. That same night I made a phone call to one of my friends and told her what happened. I couldn¶t remember why I called her in the first place though, because it definitely wasn¶t to tell her that my girlfriend had broken up with me. During our conversation she said that she was happy to hear that because she always
wanted to be my girlfriend. I was surprised and then the sad face went to a happy face and I said, ³Yes´. Wanting to be on my own, I packed up and left Lori¶s house. I dropped off some clothes at my mother¶s house and told my brothers to hold on to them for me. I did the same at other friends¶ houses. I walked the streets and began telling myself that no one could help me through all the things I had to face day by day. I still had to talk to my therapist and psychiatrist, as I felt comfortable with them. During the summer break, I had an appointment with them at least three times a week, but I did not tell them where I was living during this visit. I started to cry each time I talked to them about my life. My therapist would tell me that all things happen for a reason and I should believe and have faith that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will take me through it all. They knew that I was so close to committing suicide, so they mentioned the merits of my going to heaven the when it was my natural time instead of by my own hand. So that I would not sit and dwell on the past, they gave me a compact disk player so I could listen to music. One of the big hits that I loved at that time was ³Hell for a Hustler´ because of the true feelings I felt when I listened to it. Therefore, I wanted a Tupac Shakur mix with Bone Thugs and Harmony. They asked me, ³I thought you loved love songs?´ ³Yeah,´ I told them, ³but what matters is how I am feeling and what I am wanting. I told them that since I had come to live in America I listened to a variety of music and felt that Tupac was true in the same way that my uncles and grandfather described Bob Marley¶s music to me.´ They said ³Well, this is going to be the last rap CD and batteries we are going to buy you since you said he is your favorite.´ In return they wanted me to allow them to hypnotize me. I said it was all right, as long as they didn¶t make me into somebody that I was not. They started my hypnosis by bringing out some a book written in another language. Of course I could not understand the words. ³Lie down calm and relax,´ the therapist and psychiatrist then told me. ³Breathe in and then breathe out, stay calm and relax your mind, and now start repeating after me,´ the therapist said. After some time, I began listening to myself answer every question they asked me about my life, past, and what I wanted in my future. The things that I held in so dearly were what they were looking for in my mind. When they were finished, I said, ³Don¶t you ever do something like that to me again.´ I had let them into my mind, and I could not take them out. That was one day I will never ever forget.
I started walking with Tupac in my ear day and night. He was describing the way I felt and the things I had to do to survive. Sleeping on the streets again then showering at my mother¶s house or a friend¶s house, I wanted my life to stay the same. I began to travel back and forth to Miami because I had made so many friends there, and their parents were living a rough life as well. It was interesting to see homeless people on the streets night and day because I passed them by in a car all the time. I wondered how they felt and I saw they were not as happy as I was on the streets because they had no one to help them. One time, I gave a man the ten dollars my friend¶s mother had given to me get around when I needed to. I was only sixteen at this time, and I had many people trying to help me. But I would tell them that I didn¶t need anyone. I talked to many ministers or should I say they heard about the life I was living and talked to me whenever they spotted me coming out of a friend¶s house. My friends¶ mothers were also telling me, ³We do not want you here bringing trouble on yourself.´ During those times, friends did not become enemies, enemies became friends, giving me love and support, and telling me that I was one crazy young man, who needed to do better and get smarter. I felt that if so many people didn¶t know about all that I was going through I probably would¶ve been killed or committed suicide. No one would have known because I was moving around so much, never wanting to stay in one spot and I guess that¶s why trouble just kept finding its way in my life. Then the seizures would kick-in, which would save me from being locked up. I was bringing so much trouble in my life with the company I kept. I was always around fights and other illegal actions that if the police had shown up I probably would have gotten locked up until I was eighteen or even older. Guns were always thrust in my face and shots were getting fired while I just stood there hoping for a bullet to hit me. I guess that¶s why a lot of people began thinking that all of the stress and problems that I was having, was making me crazy. Especially because I kept on saying, ³I don¶t care if I live or die today´. Every time I would catch a seizure and end up in the hospital, I would run out as soon as I awoke because I already knew that they weren¶t going to let me out without a guardian signature. I¶ve been told that I¶ve caught seizures in the middle of the street and around areas where I could¶ve gotten hurt really bad. It¶s not
every home though that if I caught a seizure they would call the ambulance to come and get me because of the arrests that would be made if the police ever came in. There were more Haitian people in both the Miami and Ft Lauderdale area than Jamaicans, or Spanish, but looking at them all I realized that we were all still one. My mantra was and still is today that no matter what, color does not mean a thing. I felt that it was all about how and who you hung around and if they allowed you to become a follower, leader or just yourself. Then one day my therapist and psychiatrist told me that before I left, they had something to tell me. The therapist started talking to me, asking me how I had been doing and feeling, and how the music had been making me feel. ³The same really,´ I told her, ³but with knowledge and understanding of why I said and did the things I did. It was because of how I felt about everything that was happening in my life.´ The therapist listened to my music and commented that I must have some deep aggression inside of me. ³That one rap song sounds the same way I feel. I feel it while I listen to it.´ While it did build more rage in me, it ended with Lord, help me change my ways. That was the only part of the song my therapist would play repeatedly, and then she would just start preaching to me. ³Even though you¶re mad at your Father God right now for all that you¶re going through, still you want to make it to heaven, right? Your brothers are alive right?´ I said ³yes.´ ³So why aren¶t you happy?´ she asked me. ³Because I was a mistake and my mother wants me to die.´ ³You are still alive, right?´ she asked. ³In a way I don¶t care, but then again, yes,´ I said. ³Committing suicide will send you straight to hell, if that¶s in your mind. Moreover, you don¶t want to leave your brothers because what if the same things that you are going through, starts happening to them in the future? Where would you be to help them?´ I said, ³All right, I understand. So now no more preaching, and tell me before I go what you wanted me to know.´ ³Oh, the police said that their looking for you, but I will not say that I saw you, OK? Just make the right choices, all right, and I already knew that you were homeless, and doing nothing else but walking around on the streets at night,´ the therapist then said.
The police were looking for me so I decided to go back to my mother¶s house because I didn¶t want to get anyone in trouble for letting me sleep and shower in their home and not calling the police to let them know a runaway child was in their home. So I asked one of my friends parent I knew to drop me home. When my mother saw me being dropped off outside, she immediately called the police. But my friend¶s mother had already left when the police reached the house. They did not take me into custody, they just reported that I was found and was now back in my mother¶s home. They gave me the card for a lady who worked for the state and told me to make sure that I was at home tomorrow because she was coming to peak with me and my mother. The next day, the woman did show up but she had a rough attitude. She talked to my mother as if she was threatening her. She told her if she received one more call, my mother would be taken away. Then she took me outside and told me to stop being so damn scared to talk because I had grown big. I had started to work out and lift weights when I was on the streets. So instead of getting skinny while I was living on the street, I had gone from 225 pounds while I was in the hospital, to 255 pounds ³I¶m not scared I just don¶t want my brothers to lose their mother´, I told her. They told my mother to re-enroll me in school so that I could start taking classes again. Therefore, I started going to my third high school. Somehow, living in a quiet neighborhood where a lot of the parents were well off, did not exempt the school from being a bad one with lots of fights going on. The students talked down to one another while they were showing off their jewelry, clothes, money, and cars. Fights were breaking out because of jealousy but also because they provoked each other. There were a lot of young people all hyped up by the rap and hip-hop music being made, played, and enjoyed. Everyone claimed to be a 305 representative saying, ³I am from the hood, so do not look or mess with me or else you are going to get beat up because I am from the ghetto.´ Drug busts by security guards and administrators happened often because that school was the ideal place to sell drugs in. Ninety percent of the students had the money to buy the drugs they wanted to smoke, inject, swallow, or sniff.
I was an unknown student at first because I had never attended a school out west before. Therefore, I never talked to anyone in the beginning. I saw many beautiful young girls, and that made me want to stay there but I needed money because I had no clothes that could compare to all the other students. I would borrow clothing from other friends from time to time that did not go to that same school and I started feeling as if I was finally able to walk up to one of the beauties and ask them for their number or if we could hang together. After a day with a new friend named Cassandra whom I was getting to know after school, my mother saw her car pulling into the drive way. We went inside the house and talked for a while but my mother never said anything to me. After Cassandra left she was staring me down, and said, ³I am going to get you back for that.´ ³For what, what did I do to you now?´ I asked her. My mother went inside her bedroom to take a shower, but it sounded like she was crying. Without me knowing, my mother had called the police on me. Sitting down watching television in the living room, I saw my mother crying, with scratches and marks on her face and body. ³She¶s crazy,´ I thought. The police came inside and turned off the television, ordering me to stay seated. ³Why did you beat up your mother, little boy, and then try to rape her?´ ³You were having problems finding a girlfriend?´ the police asked me. ³What are you talking about?´ I replied. ³If you are talking about all those marks that she has on her body, she did that all by herself. If you want to believe her go ahead, you will be the fools for believing her.´ ³Why would your mother lie about something like that then, you tell me?´ the police then asked me. ³She hates me. Look it up in your computer system and you will see how many problems me and my mother have had in the past.´ ³I was sitting down right here on the couch, and I am guessing that she must have seen the girl that I had here in her house when she came home. She told me that she was going to get me back for something and that¶s probably it.´ ³You better not be lying to us,´ the officer said. ³Anyway, look at how big my hands and arms are. If I would have grabbed her, and abused, and then tried to rape her, she would be worse shape, fools! So don¶t believe her lies. But, if you want to arrest me, you can go ahead.´ ³We are going to go and talk to her about this.´ They said.
When the police finally left, my mother ran inside crying, saying, ³Why can¶t I get you out?´ She ran to the kitchen and chased me with a knife. I moved out the way and saw the knife go into the couch. I thought, ³She is not playing with me this time.´ As she chased me she just kept telling me to die. So I held her down on the couch and told her that if she expected to be able to kill me, ask first and probably I might allow her. At first she had a serious look on her face but then she started smiling and laughing. She told me to get off of her. Smiling also, I told her that she had no chance of fighting and killing me face to face. I would have to be sleeping for her to have a better opportunity to take my life. ³I was not trying to kill you,´ my mother told me. ³I was trying to see if you knew how to defend yourself, just in case someone ever tries to kill you.´ ³Sure, you were not! You were just trying to put new decorations in, like holes in your sofa and also in me, so I had to wrestle with you and then hold you down to tell you, no!´ ³What do you want for dinner?´ she asked. She talked and talked about how she wanted a big dinner tonight with me at her side, her son that she loves so dearly, ever since birth. I looked at her with tears in my eyes because I knew that she was lying to save herself from being locked up and I told her that she didn¶t have to lie to me. Punching the wall, I said, ³I wish that I had never had you in my life,´ Each time I thought that I was loved by her, I would find out that she didn¶t love me at all, not even after every case was dropped. Do you know how it feels inside of me?´ I asked my mother. ³No! Because I do not truthfully care.´ ³Thank you,´ I said. ³For what?´ she asked. ³For telling the truth. I wished you had told my grandmother and grandfather that same thing before they let me go,´ I said and walked out the front door.
I started talking back to that girl named Cindy after a couple of days back at school. I knew she was not for me because we argued a lot due to her wanting everything to be done her way. I kept getting back with her after every break-up because she always called me crying and asking for my forgiveness. I was already unhappy and did not want to argue with her or anyone else on God¶s green earth. But I did what I could to keep the relationship going by working through all our issues. I hated to seeing and hearing another person cry. Every day after school I would take the bus to Cindy¶s house so we could spend time together because I liked having someone to hold every day, and I was beginning to like her. She played in her school¶s band so she was in shape, and due to my size, I wanted a thick sister not a skinny one. I got to know Cindy¶s mother and two younger brothers and was just introduced to her older sister who did not really live there with them, so I seldom saw her. Cindy¶s mother thought of me as a bad boy for trying to have sex with girls, but after her mother and I got to know each other she realized that I was looking for someone special to come into my life. At the new school some of the new kids and I became friends. Most of them were caught the morning bus with me. I started to hang out with some of them after school; on the days that Cindy had practice or a game to play. One day, I and two friends, Mario and Kevin, were hanging out. We were bored so Mario with a sly grin on his face said, ³Crazy John, come on, I¶m going to introduce you to this new girl that just moved into our neighborhood. It seemed like; nobody knew anything about her in their neighborhood until she introduced herself to someone. ³You never know, she might like you and the best news is that she doesn¶t have a man,´ he said. When we got to her yard, Mario said, ³The first one to get a kiss from her gets her, but I do not see any competition so I already know that she¶ll be all mine.´ I said, ³You¶re all fools. Go ahead and compete.´ I wasn¶t interested because I already had a girl. When she opened the door, Mario gave her a hug and said, ³This is my homeboy Crazy John and John this is my home girl Tamika.´ Tamika looked like such a happy girl because she was standing there smiling as she spoke to us. When we went inside, I already knew that she liked Mario because she gave him all her attention. So I just stepped outside onto her back patio door. I didn¶t think she
even noticed me but she came outside and asked why I didn¶t want to be inside with them. At this point, I had been checking out her nice house and yard. Tamika asked me if I wasn¶t interested in getting to know her, as she looked down at me with smile on her face. I told myself, ³You never know she might be that special one that you had been asking God to bring in your life.´ It would be stupid of me to just let a girl like her pass although it didn¶t seem likely that I would become a part of her life, seeing how her home was laid out. Her smile and personality had a strange effect on me to the point where I wanted her to be someone special in my life, but not my girlfriend because I couldn¶t see a nice girl like her with a young man like myself. We then started talking to each other day after day whenever her father was not at home because he was protective of his household. At the same time that I was getting to know Tamika, I was still dating Cindy. I was not going to her house that often because I was becoming more and more interested in Tamika. Tamika talked to me as if she was my full time therapist and psychiatrist. However, she was more loving and seemed to really be into me. Although, we had known each other for only a short period I started too truly like her although we only became best friends. Truthfully, I was in love with her personality. Tamika then introduced me to her mother, cousin, and younger sister who were all loving just like her. I was sure that they were such nice people because of the influence of Tamika¶s mother. At nights in the dark all alone under the covers or with a pillow over my head, Tamika¶s kindness made me cry and smile and it made me give God thanks for all the happiness that was now in my life. I began ignoring my mother whenever she would say something to me. It was like as if now no matter what she did or say to I could ignore it and go on with my day. I never use to smile so I¶m sure she didn¶t know what and who was always on my mind now. However though I know she was curious to find out though because one day when she saw me come, home without a angry face she asked me if I had been smoking weed. I told her no, but I¶m sure she didn¶t believe me. Honestly I began listening to ³Angel from Above´ a love song by K-C and JoJo and ³I Believe in You and Me´ by Whitney Houston because I felt that Tamika was the one that God had sent to hold me and be with me for the rest of my life, with happiness and everlasting love. However, I didn¶t want anything else but
a friendship with her because I wasn¶t that attracted to her yet. Love inside of me was growing for her but when it came down to making a move on her I always told myself, no. Plus, I didn¶t want anything to mess up the friendship that we had going on with one another. So I told myself that I wait until we¶re both mature and older. I would get the funniest feeling inside and tremble as I walked up to greet her or when I would hug her to say good-bye. I really tried not to get too close to her too often because there was so much energy resonating inside me when I got near her. However because I felt that our friendship would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for me I didn¶t want to take it to an intimate level. At first, Tamika did not realize how I felt right away. She had no idea that I nothing but loved in my heart for her and deep emotions held inside. Many times I would look into her eyes wanting to drop a tear and say ³thank you and I love you´ but the only time I would say, ³I love you,´ was when I looked at photographs of her that were hung on their wall. We would greet each other by shaking hands because I believe she was afraid that I would hit her one day ± I guess. One time, she and I wrestled one day and I said, ³I do not want my sister getting beat up so I am going to train you.´ Cindy and I broke up because she wanted to know why I was getting so happy all of a sudden and she was hardly around me, while she was so busy. From time to time, she asked me if I was seeing someone else. I would always tell her that I loved the way my best friend made me feel. ³Let¶s just be friends with benefits´ Cindy said to me one day and I replied, ³Alright´. Regardless, we always got back together, but I was thinking that everything we had definitely had to end because even though I liked every time we held each other, I had high hopes that my best-friend would become interested in me. One day I went to a party with several of my homeboys-Marcus, Tim, and Mark. I was about two years older than they were, but I still hung out with them. At the party, I saw a beautiful girl named Ciara and my friends told me she was their age. ³Let me see if she can find some time for a poor brother like me,´ I thought. She was a beautiful girl, and I asked her to go outside with me for a moment to make sure I was not around anyone if she turned my offer down. I could tell she had been interested in me from when she first saw me. We talked for a long time that night and after the party ended we kept in touch with each other.
I started to get to know Ciara well. She was a sixteen-year-old girl with a deep desire for success. She was Jamaican and of course we spoke potwa together, and she just had such a great personality, caring and wanting to talk and be with me, no matter what. I had seizures in front of her, and she would lie there beside me until I came back to my right mind. When I would wake up from a seizure, I would ask her what was wrong, and why she was she crying. She said she would always be there for me because she cared and dreamed of a future with me. My relationship with her was nice, sweet, and real because she was an intelligent girl, and an honor student in school. However, when I found out that she was my homeboy Anthony¶s ex-love, I began to rethink our relationship. One time he came at me with a bat telling me not to talk to her anymore, but before he got close to me his homeboy held him back. ³If he would have approached me correctly, I would have probably rethought my relationship with you,´ I told Ciara. ³But he ended up making me want to be with you more because it seems like one always fights for true happiness.´ Tamika and I were still getting closer with one another at that time, even though we both had another individual in our young lives. Although, I was spending most of my time with Ciara, I was right there thinking and hoping to be with Tamika. I had her picture in my wallet and engraved in my mind, picturing her in front of me, asking her to let me be the one to love her more than anyone in her lifetime. After a conversation between me and Ciara¶s mother about all her goals in life, I told Ciara the best thing to do at this point was to end it. Ciara mother felt that I had taken her off track in school, but Ciara never wanted to tell me. However, I noticed she would only allow me to visit her for a certain period of time then ask me to leave so she could finish her school work. She also told me that she wanted to have a man in her life who worked on a well-paying job, and loved and cared for her. ³Dreams like that with me in your life will never be realized.´ I told her because I didn¶t have the faith at that time to believe I could be that man especially since I was not sure I would make it to eighteen. Even though I was feeling better, deep down inside I honestly still didn¶t want to live anymore. I regretted breaking up with Ciara because she always wanted me happy and safe, so now I thought, I could do the same for her. My mother kicked me out that
night telling me that I couldn¶t just walk in and out of her house whenever I wanted and then eat her food without asking her. I began living with different friends again, and I kept meeting different girls. But not everyone liked me in the same way that I liked them, especially my best friend Latoya who I was guessing only thought of me as a brother. She was that one that I mostly started to have my mind on. Honestly, I believed she did like me but she couldn¶t bring herself to admit it. Plus, deep down I felt that our relationship wouldn¶t last forever. It was after a conversation about me and her kissing that made me realize that she had feelings for me. Then the next day what she had on as I walked through her front door. That day it was only me and her at the house, I wanted to make a move on her but I told myself no because she deserved the best. Sitting down on the couch with her while she was just looking at me, I wanted to let this be our day, plus I would¶ve loved to have been her first. However because of how much respect I had for her family and her of course, I told myself I¶ll wait until that right day. ³Why are you so in love with your best friend Tamika, John? What has she ever really done for you in your life? One of my friends asked me out of the blue, one day. ³Well she was there for me when I was in deep pain and depression, and whenever I felt like I was going back into darkness, Tamika was more of my light and happiness. Whenever I thought of her I would always see a smile and I love that. Plus she¶s not even my girl, so imagine if she becomes. Imagine how good I¶d probably feel about life again,´ I said. Smiling my friend said, ³Alright bro just don¶t let her use you and break your heart´. I moved around a whole lot because I had gotten to know a lot more people. I traveled all around from north to south, then from west to east, as if I had nothing else to do with my life but walk the streets and sleep in different beds and strange places at night. At the time, this was what I needed to feel free from worry and stress. But one night after I had a fight with someone on the street the police caught me and took me back to my mother¶s house. They questioned my mother about me being on the street with my clothes in a bag, and all she told them was that I ran away. Then they asked me the same question but I did not reply knowing that if I
made one more complaint against my mother all the previous charges that were pending for child neglect would resurface After that, I started having seizures repeatedly because my mother treated me as if she despised me, again. I was taken back to the hospital because I had a seizure in school on my first day back. While I was in the hospital and about to be released, my mother lied and told the doctor that I was going crazy because she had seen me harming myself at night and taking drugs. The doctor believed her, and they admitted me to the mental ward of the hospital. After watching me and observing my actions for several hours, they found out that she had lied. However, they still would not release me unless my mother came to sign me out. I called her to and pleaded with her to come to the hospital for me but she said, ³hell no´ She said this was the place where I needed to be. The only other person that could sign me out was my mother¶s ex-husband so I called him and told him what I needed in order to be released. So he came to and signed me out then I started living with him. The seizures continued when I started attending another school, so the man that I once called father said, ³I am going to have to take you back to your mother¶s house,´ because he could not handle the medical bills and he was losing money by taking time off from work to help me when I was sick. Plus I wasn¶t his child so he didn¶t seem to care much for me. When I returned home to my mother, she told me not to unpack my bags because she was going to take me to a homeless shelter. After a couple of days in the homeless shelter, I realized I did not like the set up at all. I slept in a room with about eight males who shared one bathroom. I registered to go to another new school, Plantation High School, and I had heard that this school was a place to get in trouble. In a way, I preferred to go to Plantation rather than the school I attended when living with my step father. While attending the school in his neighborhood, everyone kept their eyes on me as if that was their occupation. But I didn¶t want to stay in the homeless shelter another week so I planned my escape. I did find a way to get out and went directly to my mother¶s house to see my brothers. I planned on living there for a couple days even if it meant sleeping on her door step. My mother found out I was at home because she saw my clothes outside. She had changed all the locks so that I could not get inside. I began sleeping in
one of my friend¶s cars at night and going to work during the daytime while one of my friends was trying to find a room for me to rent out. When we found one, I asked my mother for my bed so that I could have something to sleep on. She was so happy that I was finally leaving her house that she even threw in the dresser along with the remainder of my clothes and my stepfather¶s old television. I started living with a couple who were renting a room, with its own bathroom. I was satisfied with that room but I was not comfortable sleeping by myself. I asked my girl, Monique, from South Plantation if she could come by at night because I needed someone to lie down next to at night, to hold and cuddle up with me. At first, we were so distant and we hardly talked, because she was so far from me. However, after she started spending more time with me, she started liking me more. I found out that her grandmother was a pastor, and then she found out about our relationship and what I was going through. Therefore, Monique¶s grandmother began preaching to me and praying for me every time she saw me. She became attached to me also as if I was her own child. I could never spend a day with Monique while her grandmother was around because she¶d just take me away and impart nothing but wisdom to me on so many levels. I began telling Monique¶s grandmother that when I was younger, I went to church every Saturday and Sunday, and I believed in and prayed to God, every day, but as my life got harder, the less God seemed to be there. ³You¶re saying what the adversary wants you to think and say to me right now,´ Monique¶s grandmother told me, ³But you should have kept going to church, to show the adversary that he has no chance of changing you into such a bad boy, so you should not have not given up.´ Monique¶s grandmother continued preaching to me, telling me never to give up because the harder something is, the better the outcome is in the end. Therefore, she told me to never give up no matter what. There was a lot more that she was preaching to me about like sex, drugs, life, and the kind of anger she felt that I had inside me waiting to get released which will only lead me straight to prison. She told me that I need to discover the value of life, and that in it trials keeps a person strong. She told me that I¶m capable to change as long as I want to and that I must take my life experiences as lessons. Basically though the message she was giving me though, out of everything she was saying to me about life is that if GOD brought me to it, he¶ll bring me through it.
Surprisingly, Monique¶s grandmother never told Monique who I wished to be with the future. How she pulled that information out of me one day, I don¶t remember. Monique¶s grandmother asked me out of nowhere one day to truthfully tell her, whom I truly loved in my life right now because she felt that there had to have been at least one person in my life that I cared about. She gave me words from Maya Angelou, telling me that in life people will forget things that I tell them just like how she¶s sure that allot of things she¶s preached to me about I won¶t remember. Also that people will forget many things that others have done for them. However, people will never forget how you made them feel. I couldn¶t believe that Monique was getting jealous because I was now talking with her grandmother more than her. Therefore, she wanted to start having me to herself so we could communicate privately. She started to skip school and sleep with me at my place more at nighttime. One night, she bit me and I bit her right back. She hit me and I hit her back on her arm. It was just too much negativity, so we decided to break up. Anyway, I needed to start working to be able to pay my rent.
I would dream and wonder if my dreams would ever come true. Yes, I dreamed about having a girl who would love me day and night. I asked my Father God daily to bring that one special person in my life. I would do my best to make her happy even if I would have to change my ways. Tamika was on my mind as that one but then again I felt that I still had to wait and see what kind of person she would grow up to be. I wasn¶t foolish enough to think that she was perfect. I never told anyone about my dreams and true wants, and at night I cried for them to come true if not now, at least at some point in my lifetime. I had come to the point where I wanted no more friends in my life, other than the current ones who were mostly older and wiser than I was. I had begun seeing them less because I kept traveling all over the place. Gradually, Monique and I got back together but still so many things began running through my mind again that I began having seizures while I was working. One time I ended up in the hospital for four months because dreaming of what I wanted in life was stressing me. Still, my mother and I were not getting along and she was not treating me with love, which was all that I wanted from her. Everyone told me that if I kept faith I will receive it. Monique visited the hospital and slept there with me every night. But all of a sudden, I did not see or hear from her for about two weeks and I wondered why. While she was away, Tamika and I were talking every night and day on the telephone. She sang to me and told me that she loved me. It was during this time that I asked her to promise me that she¶ll give me one chance to be her man in the future because I didn¶t feel that I was ready to get into a relationship with her as yet. But I made a promise to myself that on my eighteenth birthday I would ask her to be my girl. Tamika made the promise to me, which made me feel blessed at last and then told me that she and her mother were going to visit me. That news immediately brought a big smile to my face, and I thought nothing could surpass the smile that came on my face when I was given the drugs I was becoming addicted to. On the day that Tamika and her mother were due to visit, Monique showed up because she said she had something to talk to me about and the telephone started to ring. It was Tamika telling me that they had arrived at the hospital and
that they were on their way up. I was standing by the room¶s door and speaking to them for a little while they stood in the doorway. Since Monique was sitting in the room, Tamika, her mom and I held a brief conversation. Tamika introduced herself to Monique who was just sitting there wondering what was going on. Tamika and her mother then said bye to me and began walking away but when Tamika looked back and saw me looking at her smiling, she jogged back and gave me a kiss on my cheek. Of course, I wished she would¶ve kissed me on my lips even if Monique was sitting there. Smiling as she walked away I began saying to myself, ³I want her to be my wife.´ Walking back into my room with a smile on my face and Latoya on my mind, Monique told me that she was pregnant with my child, but she had gotten an abortion. I asked her why would, she kill my child because she knew I did not believe in abortions. Truthfully I meant to impregnate her because I wanted to leave an heir behind in case I died from a seizure. I wanted someone to love, until I died. Of course I never did tell any of this to Monique. Monique always told me that she loved me but thought she would end up being the sole provider for the child. She and her mother made the decision when they thought about all of the rough patches I was having in my life and due to my medical condition. After hearing this, I got pissed and told her she had no right to play GOD and take another person¶s life for worldly happiness. I couldn¶t believe they could kill my child. I told her, ³You could have given the baby to the homeless shelter, Monique, until we got on track.´ When I calmed down, I realized she wanted to be there for me and I apologized to her for being a distraction in her life. Here I was standing up over her arguing while she lay on the floor when all she did was, tell me the truth. I finally told her ³Go and live your life then,´ and we remained in silence for the rest of the night. The next morning Monique left and her mother told me that she planned to never come back in my life. I started talking on the phone at night while still in the hospital but mostly with my best friend Tamika. ³I will at least try to accomplish this one goal, and that is for this one girl to be the love of my life,´ I told myself after a late-night talk on the phone with Tamika.
Every night when we talked on the phone, she told me she loved me, but I was never sure if she knew what true love was especially since she was younger than me. Tamika was shy with certain things but it seemed as if her shyness was going away as we became more familiar with each other. I felt she wanted me to tell her something, which I never did and it was I love you too. I wrote a poem to show how I really felt inside: Nights here lying down unaccompanied, with thoughts of you Thinking of all the ways you make me feel deep inside me Feeling there¶s nothing else to carry out, Excluding giving my heart and all to you Eager to be taken as I am Feeling there¶s none giving me affection, unlike you That¶s why I call for you Nothing here I require and feel, but you Feeling so in love with you, Having me acquainted with, I will die for your contentment and delight In your time.
The doctor told me that I could be released anytime since I was much calmer and began to smile every day. The nurses asked why I was smiling so much these days. Before I was released, I was told that I needed to have brain surgery. Before I left the hospital I contacted Ms. Marise, the caseworker. She had treated me like a son and I knew she cared about my well being. When I called her I thanked her for all her help and outlined the plans for my surgery. She ended up planning my surgery, with a surgeon that would not charge me for his services. Although I could not buy her a gift now, I made up my mind that I would buy her a gift for Mother¶s Day at some point in my future because of her mothering me. When I got out of the hospital, I moved in with my homeboy Rob because he had his own place. Starting over healthy and fresh again, I was happy and began having faith in my future. I was able to relax for a few weeks because Rob was so good to me. However, drama soon started again on the streets, and I did not want to be a part of it. I stayed in the apartment all the time, but I was still getting mixed up in the same situations because many friends were visiting our apartment.
It was still all about my best friend Tamika, and I began to regret allowing two of my homeboys to talk to her. I began defending Tamika, whenever her name came into our conversations. I felt she was the only person to live for other than my brothers. I planned on never letting her go because I could cry in her arms instead of having to cry alone in corners or in the darkness. The thirst for some alone time made me choose the streets again. One night I looked at myself in the mirror while I was in the restroom of a gas station, and thought I deserved to die because of how much disrespect I had for my mother when I was younger. I just stood there wishing I would die right then and there if I was not meant to live a long life. I wanted death to come upon me so I started to hit myself in the chest with my fist and began screaming at my reflection, ³I hate you, your thoughts and ways.´ Then I punched my face into the mirror and broke the glass. I walked out with my fist dripping blood, and everybody who was pumping gas looked at me. I was back living on the streets even though I had somewhere to sleep at night. However, my best friend was still right there for me, always looking out for me whenever I needed her. My mind was sometimes so confused and violent thoughts kept breaking through. Thankfully I never did some of the things that I thought about. A couple times I wanted to go out and kill someone however I never did because wanted to be with that one person that I felt, I was in love with Yes, I had an evil mind at times but thank God for always bringing a seizure on to me to stop me from carrying out my thoughts. I started to sleep at bus stops and at other friends¶ houses, and wondered if any other person had ever had a life like mine. Whenever I saw a mother kiss her child, and then say, ³I love you,´ envy would almost kill me. I would close my eyes, and tell my Father God good night, and wish for a future life with that special someone. I moved back into Rob¶s apartment because it seemed that wherever I went, trouble, hate and anger followed. My first argument with Tamika was because she believed what one of her friends said instead of me. I was only telling her the truth and wondered why I had set my homeboy up with her. See, I had caught him cheating on her when Rob and I had walked in the house unexpectedly. Everybody was just looking at me laughing, saying, ³Here it
goes,´ asking me whom I would choose in this situation because they already knew I did not want him to cheat on Tamika. I had seen the room door open and three people come out. They told me what they were doing in the room and I asked the girl if it was true. She said yes they were having sex. I decided to tell Tamika even though this was the type thing I kept to myself. But I loved her, and I felt she was worth more than she was getting so I took a chance at losing our friendship. Tamika never believed me so I asked, ³I gave up a friendship for you and all you have to say to me is shut up, and for me to stop lying to you because his words are stronger than mine? Are we not best friends, Tamika?´ ³Yes,´ Tamika said, ³but I love him so much because he makes me feel better than you make me feel, John, and do not tell me anything like this again because I¶d rather to find out by myself.´ ³Just because he says sweet words to you, Tamika, think about it. Ask yourself what every man wants from a woman. All right then, Tamika. I will keep my mouth shut whenever another situation like this occurs.´ That night, everybody laughed at me and asked me what kind of true friendship I had with Tamika, my so-called best friend. Because she did not believe one word that I had told her when I was telling her the truth. Although she was mad at me I forgave her for her ignorance. A few weeks later, I was locked up because some of my homeboys and I were pulled over as we left a football game. My homeboy said, ³Make sure before we pull over, everybody throws all their identification out of the car´ because it was a stolen vehicle. I said, ³I don¶t care if they arrest me or kill me so y¶all just go and I will stay because I¶m not running and they won¶t be able to get no information from me since I have no one or nothing to live for.´ I had truly made that decision not to snitch because the streets were taking care of me. Everybody ran out and I thought how I needed a break in my life again. When I was in jail the last time, even though it was just for five days, it felt relaxing and helped calm my mind. The police came after me when I stepped out of the car and they put their guns in my face. They asked me who the driver was. I said that I didn¶t know and they should let me know when they find out. The police started slamming me on their cars and on the pavement, telling me to tell them or else they would break every bone in my body. I told them to go ahead because I¶m sure they¶ll pay the hospital bill and that I didn¶t care.
They continued to slam me on the car and then started hitting me in my back and shoulders. I asked the officer if he wanted to fight me because it didn¶t seem like he wanted to arrest me. ³Are you threatening me?´ the officer asked me. ³No!´ I said. ³It just seems like you are mad at me right now because I guess your paycheck is going to be less since you did not catch a criminal. So now, you are taking it out on me because I can¶t tell you their names.´ They arrested me because they said that I was driving in a stolen vehicle, and if they found any fingerprints on the wheel, I was going to get time. However, I already knew the police saw me walking on the sidewalk, and the car had pulled over and had picked me up after the game. They locked me up but they could see that I didn¶t care. When I appeared at the hearing I told the judge that I had nothing to say except that I wanted a good bed to sleep on. They transferred me to a jailhouse up north in Pompano Beach, which was far away from my neighborhood. They wanted to see if I would talk Locked up, I had three people on my mind and I wondered what I could do to make my life better when I got out. I started asking myself how I was going to change, but first I made a big apology to my Father God. I apologized for the day I had cursed at him and told him that I was starting to believe he did not love me. I told him that I was really mad him and did not hate him. I told him that I was just mad because it felt like he was just watching me as I went through all my struggles in life, but was not helping me.´ ³I am sorry, my Father, for trying to take it all out on you like that because I expected you to help me with each and every trial. However, now I understand much more about one¶s trials ± they are all just tests. The adversary was just trying to make me fail so that I may not wish to be called your child and a believer in Christ whom I know is my Lord and Savior. I know you are the one who has kept me through my years of trials and tribulations.´ ³I am sorry, Father, for all I have done wrong and have said, and I repent, Father, and I will do my best to change my life and mind in my time. Lastly, Father, I thank you for bringing Monique¶s grandmother in my life, with her words to me about being an understanding and knowledgeable young man who is able to succeed.´
I also chose to apologize to Tamika and I closed my eyes, picturing her in my mind, holding her two hands while face to face, saying, ³I love you and I wish that I would have been a better best friend. However, no matter what the future holds for you and me, I will always thank and love you for helping to brighten my life again.´ I wrote poems about how I felt about my life, about how I felt about my best friend, about how she had helped me clear my mind. I wrote about my past and how Tamika had made me feel better by spending time with me and offering me words of encouragement so that I could make it through every difficulty in my life. Tamika was not the only one that had talked to me about my life and the way I was living. There were a lot more but because of my feelings for her, I had more memories and gave more attention to her. I thanked all of those people too in my mind. The corrections officer would ask me what a bad young man like me knew about love and writing about love. ³Are you not supposed to be a thug like all the other inmates say they are?´ ³That is how your mind is, right, Mr. Lover Boy?´ Another female corrections officer asked after she read some of what I was writing. She also asked me why I always looked so angry. ³Listen to this, everyone who thinks John is about to attack them and is wondering about him. It really sounds like he¶s in love,´ she read one of my poems aloud to everyone in the cell. I¶ve always wanted to cry holding you Not caring what another would say For every way you¶ve made me feel When I looked into your eyes, But I¶d dropped my head, Fighting every tear, and word, I wanted to give you Not another heartbreak Only someone to love, I told myself. I love every smile, and look you give me Every word and touch, you make me feel Shivering with joy An all in one, I think of you
But will you ever be my one? I¶ll ask you one day I love you, I would practice Night and day I love you, I would say But only in my mind, Whenever she looked at me Crying because of all the gladness She¶d make me experience When I¶d walk the streets, thinking Of every day, every word, every emotion She had made me feel If only I could¶ve had you more With me telling you that, I love you. But now, all I could do Is cry myself to sleep at night, wishing I could, Hear the sound of your heart beating, Telling my Father truly that I love you.
The guard asked me if I missed my best friend. I looked up at her and showed her more sheets of paper where I had penned my thoughts. They gave me my free phone call so someone could take me home for me to be with my best friend again. I had no one, so I called Tamika, and asked her how she was doing. Listening to her, I started smiling so the officer asked me if they needed directions. I said no because I was talking to Tamika. Another security guard looked at me with a tear coming down her eye, saying, ³I am going to help you out. However, you have to promise me to do better in life. ³Not try!´ With her fingers pointed at me she said, ³Forget what the crowd says about you because they will not be there for you in the end.´ The next day, someone came in and questioned me about the case but my answers remained the same. They told me that they knew who had been driving and the only reason they were not going to charge me was because they saw me
that night coming from the back seat of car, my unstable living conditions, no prior arrests and my upcoming surgery. They released me in the middle of the night. I told them they could have held me longer because I felt comfortable in there and I had two more weeks until my surgery. However, the corrections officer told me that I had just spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year¶s Day in jail, so I should go and have some fun before my brain surgery. Before I left, while they were getting all my things together, they asked to read one more poem. I offered a poem to them but they refused because they said I needed to give the poem to my special friend. I selected a poem that I had cried while writing: You¶re my dream come true, and I know it takes time, so I¶m going to patiently wait, giving up some, giving you a reason to trust and love me, because you¶ve stopped my endless tears, misery, pain, feelings of feeling incomplete with it all at the end, and wanting of that one to love, to hold and never let go. I have cherished and have tried to respect every moment we have spent together. I¶ve been scared to make the wrong move at the wrong time, so I¶ll be here waiting for you, crying days and nights, waiting for a chance to love you more, and a chance to be your all because right now you¶re my everything. Until then I¶ll be here waiting alone, not letting anyone else in because I feel you¶re permanently my life, and you¶ll never know how many tears I¶ve cried thinking and thanking my Father, just for you because I¶m in with love you. That night I walked for about seven hours straight, not knowing where I was going until the sun came up. I explained that I had just been released from jail to bus drivers and they allowed me to ride free of charge. One of them gave me a free pass so I could get back home. I had forgotten all about my surgery because during the time I was locked up, I did not have any seizures. I was locked up all by myself with just three people on my mind, who were truly loved by me. As I sat on the bus, I thought, ³I will always remember that I have a wonderful person like Tamika in my life.´ I had one wish, which was to change my life so I could become a total lover not a fighter, and I had to figure out how to do so. I knew that for this to happen, I had to become immune to all the things people would say to discourage me.
When I made it back to Rob¶s house, everybody was surprised because they thought I was going to serve time. They all told me that Tamika was about to have a birthday party. A few days before my surgery, a friend came on to me who was about five years older than I was. Thinking that she wanted to have my first child, I went ahead and did the deed with her because I wanted to leave a part of me here on earth in case I did not make it through the surgery. When I went to Tamika¶s party, none of my friends went with me because I told them that it may be my last time with her, so they stayed home. At the party, I sat down and waited, wanting to give her all of the letters that I had written but I did not. I sat down beside her as her friends passed us by, saying hello to us. I did not know what to say to her because I was scared that it would be my last night seeing her, so I was just there, fighting each teardrop that was about to fall until I said good-bye. That night I wanted to ask her to be my girlfriend, but I was apprehensive because I didn¶t know if I was going to make it through my brain surgery. The night before my brain surgery, Violet (our mother and inspiration), Rob, and I went to church for encouragement, but especially to pray of what I was going to face the next day. We all needed prayer because of everything that we were going through in our lives, and they were all hoping that I would have make it out of the hospital, in good health. That night, I read my prayer once more to my Father before I went to sleep. I told God that if I made it out, I would love to make a change in my life and was open to his help in changing myself.
I went in for brain surgery on January 30, 2006, not knowing if it would be successful. I was in pain for two weeks straight, even on my birthday, February 1. I was in pain wanting just to sleep or die. The left side of my head was swollen because it had been operated on. The hospital wanted to help me find a place to live during my recuperation because they knew I was homeless. They said they were going to help me get my life back on track so that I could have opportunities. They also said where they were sending me; I was going to be paid each day that I was there. They were going to set up a private account for me, so that when I completed the program, I would be able to have money in my pockets. Feeling happy about the possibilities, I asked a hospital employee where I would be going. ³Up north somewhere, and if you want, in another state,´ she said. I reminded myself of my brothers and Tamika because I never wanted to lose them and I was willing to make sacrifices. So I knew I wasn¶t going to go along with where they were arranging to send me. All day long I would lie in bed, waiting on doctors and nurses to talk to me and take care of me. However being babied like that was just not for me, I told the lady that were helping me with my recovery and destination that I was ready to leave. ³Are you sure?´ she asked. ³Yes.´ I said. When I was being released, I did not call anyone to come and get me, so the nurse asked me again if I was ready. ³Yeah´ I replied. So they disconnected the IVs and the catheter. I was so uncomfortable, the nurse just started laughing. You are never ever going to put something like that in me again. Put that in my medical files!´ I got on the bus to get back to Rob¶s house. When I boarded I was not asked to present my bus pass. I guess it was because I had one side of my head shaved with a fresh scar and the other side was in an afro. Everyone was staring at me and strangely enough I began to feel like a celebrity. I started giving my Father God thanks more and more each and every day because I had made it through what I
had thought I was not going to make it through, and that was part of the reason why I had signed myself out so fast, I was feeling happy on the inside for a change. When I arrived at Rob¶s apartment, he looked at me as if I was a strange creature. One month later, after I had gotten a little better, I started looking for a job, and found a dishwasher position at IHop. All my coworkers looked at my head, and asked me what had happened. I told them I had surgery a few weeks ago. Their eyes would pop open wide and they would say, ³Shouldn¶t you be in the hospital?´ ³Yeah, but I would rather work and make money instead of just laying down with negativity on my mind. Worrying was part of the reason I got in that position in the first place.´ I started looking for another job because they were not giving me enough hours. And I found one at a Marriott hotel near IHop and a few streets down from where my mother lived. The Marriott hotel hired me as a dishwasher and when I learned how busy it was I was overjoyed because I now had the opportunity to work more hours which meant more money. I was so busy at the hotel, and they were offering me opportunities to move up and get a better position so I quit IHop. It took me two months to save $3,000 because the only bill I had to pay was my cell phone. When my two brothers, Alex and Junior, saw that I had finally purchased a cell phone and was working, they gave me a round of applause. They asked, ³When are we going to be getting ours?´ I said, ³When you can stay out of trouble, like me.´ My brothers were still in elementary school, Alex was in third grade and Junior in fourth grade. My brothers started calling me to see where I was, or they would call and ask me for money when they saw something they really wanted. I started buying games for them, whenever they asked, or whenever their mother told them no. I used some of my money to put a down payment on a car for myself because I really wanted a car. I was in such a rush that on the first night of driving my car I received a ticket because the back lights were not working. That night Rob and I were so ready to go out and party but I just turned right back around and parked it. I went straight to sleep but early the next morning I went straight to the dealer, and said, ³I thought you said that there was nothing
wrong with the car?´ The dealer said, ³There was not. There¶s nothing wrong with it.´ ³Then what is wrong with the head and back lights,´ I said to him. The dealer checked it out, and saw that it was not working right. I showed him the ticket, and the dealer said, ³That is not a good sign for you, and your first car.´ ³No! That is not a good sign for your company.´ I told him that I was going to leave the car and that he had better fix it by the next evening. The next day I went to pick up my car and it was fixed correctly so I thanked the dealer. When I was about to leave, I received a call to cover for a houseman who had quit. I became a houseman with duties like unclogging toilets. It was disgusting and demeaning but I needed the money. As soon as I left work that night my car started to sputter and I stopped at a gas station. I asked someone what they thought the problem was. They told me that it seemed like the transmission. I got mad, but I told myself, ³I am not going to cherish material things.´ Then another car came out of the gas station speeding not knowing that a cop was there checking speeders. The lady stopped suddenly to make a u-turn and I rear ended her. I got even madder because it was only my third day with my first car, and I had already gotten into a car accident. I did not get a ticket because the woman was making a u-turn in a no u-turn lane, but none of our cars were damaged and I immediately left after completing the paperwork. That incident and the car problems had me just saying forget the car. I became mad and punched the steering wheel expecting to hear the horn honk, but not even that was working. The next day, I was so mad that I did not even go to work. I went straight to the car dealership manager and demanded he refund my money. The dealer said his wife was the actual manager and he had to ask her first. He went and talked to his wife in another language that I couldn¶t understand. When he came back he said, ³No, sir I cannot do that for you.´ ³Why?´ ³Because my wife said no,´ he said. ³Are you a man or not?´ I asked. ³Yes, I am, but my wife said no, and I do not want to make her mad.¶ I then walked away and started just driving around to different places with the car, and letting people borrow it, and after a while I dropped it off at the dealership and then said thank you for letting me hold your car and never went back for it. I started working night and day at the hotel because I needed to make some more money again. Rob and I ended up being kicked out so we started living with Rob¶s cousins. One day surprisingly, I received a phone call from the man at the
car dealership who apologized and said that they had fixed the car and I could pick it up. When I picked up the car they asked, ³Where is the money that you owe us?´ ³I have to make sure it works first.´ I told them to give me thirty days, and then I would think about it. I ended up being kicked out of Rob¶s cousin¶s crib because I guess his cousin didn¶t like me. She had called one of her homeboys to stay for a while, just in case I came back. If I did, he would beat me up so I couldn¶t be anywhere around her place, because I was looking for a change in life I never accepted the challenge.
My job then became my home because I had nowhere else to sleep. I slept in the hotel¶s used rooms whenever a guest left it dirty. I felt so good in those rooms, especially in the beds. I had my own shower at nighttime, and for the first time in years, other than the hospital bed, I slept on a nice bed by myself. Every day I had another room with another bed. I never slept in the same room every night because every dirty room had to be cleaned the next day. Most of the time, the hotel rooms were sold out because it was a business hotel, and many groups booked their business trips for this hotel When the hotel was full I would either sleep in their employee break room or in my car, where I stored all my clothes and shoes. After a while, the hotel became too busy for me to be able to sleep in any of the rooms at least once a week, so it became difficult for me to shower. I started to use a hotel room to shower whenever a guest left, but I changed my mind because I did not want anybody catching me, and lodging a complaint. So I started calling my brothers every day, so that they could tell me when their mother left the house, and I would just shower there. I did not need food because I had enough food to eat at the hotel. All kitchen workers ate free. The kitchen cook, made two orders: one for the hotel breakfast or dinner, and one for he and his wife. Weekends were the busiest and I would stay there working nights and days as if I had no life. The truth was, I didn¶t really have a life, I felt like I did nothing except learn more about how to clean. Although I stayed at work 24/7, I told myself that I was not going to live the kind of life that I was living before I had the surgery, and no matter what I was not going back to the jailhouse even though I had loved it. At night as I lay in a big bed in the hotel, I thanked my Father God because I was no longer in trouble, and I did not live too much of a stressful life. I would lay there and remember when I was living with my friends repeatedly in different places. Being kicked out of places and getting into trouble. At the hotel, I was happy and it felt as if my life of trouble and stress had finally ended. I thought of how I would never forget the good times and bad times with all of my friends. I didn¶t know where most of them were either.
A couple days later, my brothers called to tell me that one of our cousins had just come from Jamaica and was living with their mother. They told me that she had been asking about me because she wanted to meet and talk with me about helping her out with a job at the hotel where I worked. Her name was Joyce, and I had heard that she was a very kind and loving family member. Joyce and I met up a couple of days later because I had been busy at work and we became acquainted. Joyce tried to help me out as much as she could because she found out I was living at the same place I worked and she had learned why I was not living with my mother. Joyce said, ³Try one more time to have a relationship with your mother,´ I did, and things seemed to be going too smoothly at first. Then I found out that she was having financial problems and did not want to lose her home. She really wanted money from me, and she wanted me to pay the water and electricity bills. She was not able to take care of her monthly bills because she was spending too much of her child support money on foolishness. She allowed me to rent out one of her rooms in her new house. I also had to buy food for the house every week, and that was my main complaint because I was hardly there at all. I still was working hard at the hotel so I still slept there frequently. My mother was trying to get a job in the medical field but she had no GED so she was being passed over. I helped her to get an online diploma from the same organization where I received mine. She asked me to take the test for her too, so I took it online for her. I had passed the test for the second time, but for my mother this time and I still felt proud of myself. So now, with the diploma, she was able to get a better job in the nursing field. My mother went back for the job they previously told her she didn¶t qualify for. Now, they gave her a chance in the field that she wanted. Soon I started wishing that I hadn¶t helped her get that job because my mother wanted to kick me out of the house again now that she was back on track. She wanted me out so fast. I had started to pay her less because I was saving some money for a car that worked this time. I also wanted to rent a room somewhere else so I asked her to give me a couple more weeks. She said no so I had to move out immediately.
I went to Joyce and told her what my mother had said, when she was not around to defend me. After that, Joyce talked her and tried to convince her to allow me to stay a bit longer until I had saved up the money that I needed. She ignored me whenever I spoke to her. Every day she told me that my days at her place were numbered, and for me to hurry up and get out of her presence. I had already returned the car because it began acting up again. So, when I had saved up the amount I needed, I financed a new Impala. When my mother saw it she was amazed but instead of supporting me she just told me, ³Ok, you can go now.´ I told her that I needed to find a room to rent out first. She told me to hurry up before she became mad. About two weeks later, I went online and found a room nearby. When I was packing up and leaving, my mother told me that she did not want me back at her house anymore since I was going to my own place now. I still went over there to pick up my mail, but only when my brothers were there. I then started working at Chili¶s restaurant after I left my job at the hotel. I had become drained and I would go home to write and self talk. I talked to myself about the goals I hoped to accomplish. I asked myself when would be the best time to ask that special one if she would love to come into my life. As I wrote, I listened to love songs, whenever I did not work or go out. One day, I listened to a preacher give a sermon about giving God thanks for life no matter what, ³Even if we are one step away from death?´ I questioned myself. I then started writing to myself, ³Many people who know me, may not believe me when I say that I pray every night and day giving God thanks for all he has brought me through, and for where I am today, even though I still go through trials. I thank God for the mindset that I have now grown to seek achievement, and success in my life. I want to find a better future for myself and a better chance of getting the one I love. Mean to be or not, I won¶t step back from that one I love, I once told myself because I know my Father understands and I¶m asking my Father for that chance.´ While working at the Marriott hotel and at Chili¶s restaurant I had no time to myself. I kind of regretted working so much because I would have rather had some fun after all I had been through. Reminiscing, I thought that my past experiences had truly helped me to have true understanding of the world and the nature of people. Being so busy actually kept me focused but I was always
thinking that my life was now too good to be true and one slip on my part could mess up all my progress. I made a commitment that if any more tribulation arrives, I would be ready with my Father at my side. I was feeling a bit apprehensive about my relationship because I was beginning to feel as if she wanted to part from me to have more time herself and her friends. Coming from work that Friday, Joyce asked me if I could drop her off at my mother¶s house because the car she had bought was not working properly. ³Anyways,´ she said, ³your mail is on the counter waiting for you.´ Of course I agreed to take her there but I was not going to touch her food, ask her for anything, or stay too long. I knew that if I stayed there for any length of time, there would be trouble. When I got there, my brothers were on the computer, so I sat down on the couch. I joked with them that they were addicted to MySpace, and asked if they did not have homework, or a girl. My cousin was in the kitchen looking for some food to eat, but she could not find anything that she wanted. So Joyce asked my mother, where all the food was because she could not find anything that she wanted to eat. My mother joined her in the kitchen and told her that if she could not find anything to eat, I had probably taken it and stashed it in my car to take home. Because all I did was come to her house and take her food, and deny taking it. I looked at her and asked her, ³Why do I get the blame every time something is broken or missing? Why do you tell everyone about it, and ask me to buy it all back? You do this even when I¶m not here.´ ³You do not ever tell the truth about anything that you do and know,´ my mother said. ³Why should I be scared to tell you if I touch something so stop saying that, and no, your husband was not cheating on you because of me,´ I told her. She turned to Joyce and said, ³Do you see how he talks to me?´ She said she was going to call some man that she had a crush on to come and teach me a lesson because I was answering her back and lying about things. ³Why do you keep bringing up the past? I am not lying to you,´ I said. ³My baby is going to come for you,´ she kept saying. ³I cannot take being threatened, when people think I fear anything about them, another person or death.´
I was fuming mad so I picked up my mother¶s phone and found the number for Donald ³her Boo´, and called him. I asked Donald when he was going to come and teach me a lesson. Donald then surprisingly told me that he was going to come now to teach me a lesson about disrespecting my mother. I told him that I would be waiting and then cursed him out. I told him to make sure when he comes, to be able to fight like a gladiator because I would be the only one to make it out of the fight. My mother snatched the phone from me, and tried calling Donald back, but he was not picking up. She got mad at me and started telling Joyce that this was exactly why she didn¶t want me at her house. I then told her to just stop spreading lies about me because I could not take any more struggles in my life. My mother started spewing all sorts of mean and hateful thing in front of Joyce and my brothers. She said I was the devil, and all I did were evil things like, lying, disrespecting, and irritating her. ³You have messed up my life since you came out of me, and into this world as my child,´ she screamed. She stood up, looked into my eyes, and told me to go back to hell and out her life. I said to Joyce, ³Even though it was wrong of me to curse that man out like that. I did it because the last time she put Donald on the phone with me, he was saying stupid things to me, trying to get me scared. I wasn¶t ready for him at that time because I had just came out of jail and had some problems on the street. However, now I want to release it, instead of keeping all my anger bottled up.´ The argument between us continued until I could not take it anymore. When I was getting up to leave she had the nerve to say that I was the reason her life was like this, again. I looked at Joyce and screamed, ³I am the reason why my mother¶s husband left her so fast, huh Joyce, so that is the reason why she wants me out her life.´ I turned to my mother and said, ³I am the reason why he left you, and you are so mad, well then kill me then. I am the reason for all you have went through, and lost. Why don¶t you tell people the truth about why you are so mad at me? Huh!´ After uttering those words, my fist just flew through her big screen television, and I knew she was going to call the police. I hurriedly left her house and went to my rented room to get enough money to pay her to replace the television. I then dropped my car off at my homeboy Stephan¶s house, and left the keys in his mailbox. I called Stephan and told him where my keys were, and asked him to bail me out if I called him from jail with a promise to pay him back. When
I returned to my mother¶s house, the police were already there. I gave them my hands, and asked, ³Are you going to arrest me?´ They said they had no reason to arrest me, yet. Then the female officer winked at me because she remembered that I was the young man who tried to run when they caught me sleeping in the park one night. The officers wanted me to compensate my mother for the television and I did. They did not arrest me but told me that I to stay a few feet away from her house until this case was resolved. That night I asked Tamika if we could go to see a movie and talk. She told me no because she had things to do. Then when I went over to his homeboy¶s house, and asked where Tamika was. He told me a group of them had gone to the movies, which included his sister, my best friend and her sister, and a couple others.´ I told him bye, with tears coming down my eyes I thought I wanted to end this life because I could not even get the girl I¶ve loved for some time.
The next day, when I went to work at Chili¶s, I was extremely mad and did not want to speak to anyone or be spoken to by anyone. I just wanted to work because my anger was still raging inside me after the fight with my mother. It was after 7:00 p.m. and the restaurant started to become busy. There were more dishes to be washed and I had to start moving faster and faster. However, while I was working so hard and so fast, a male server threw a dirty plate in the sink, and the water had splashed on me. I looked at the server with aggression, wanting to go after him at first. My co-worker saw the incident and told me to ignore it, but I could not because I felt disrespected by his actions. I threw down my gloves and went after the server and pushed him but then he pushed me back. I demanded that he apologize, but the waiter never wanted to, so I said, ³All right then fine, fool.´ The manager had noticed that I had moved from my work area and was upset, so he asked me to step into his office with him to find out what was wrong. I just raised my arm up to hit the server in his face but the manger pulled me back. We went into his office and he said, ³I thought you were not going to be acting this way if I hired you? I thought that you were going to be working professionally with all of your co-workers.´ I looked at the manager and was going to scream at him, but I decided to keep my mouth shut because fighting with the server was a stupid choice. ³You said you were going to work professionally when I asked you if you had a short temper, didn¶t you?´ The manager asked. I looked at him and walked out of his office and out the restaurant¶s back door. I did not want to work there anymore. I could not take anyone bothering me without being able to do anything about it. At the hotel the next day, we had our weekly meeting for improvement of each associate¶s duties so we could remain a five star hotel. The manager had wanted me to start cleaning the kitchen¶s backroom and prepping area because the chef was not doing his job correctly and was not doing anything for hours if no one was around. When the chef heard my assignment he argued against it because he knew that meant less hours of work for him, which was less pay. The chef told the hotel
manager that he did not want anyone arranging anything in the kitchen except for him because he was the one doing the cooking and needed to know where each ingredient was so he could easily get to it when preparing meals. I said, ³Yeah, all right, I understand, go ahead and continue cooking and cleaning in the kitchen by yourself. I¶m not here to argue for any one¶s duties. I¶m here to do the work that I¶m assigned to do and make money to take care of myself.´ I felt that I was making enough money and that I already had some success in the company by working on all of the banquets and meetings for both the Marriott hotels; they were next to each other. But the manager did not want the chef to handle things the way he had in the past. The manager didn¶t like how the kitchen looked. So he told me that it¶s not the chefs who make the decisions in a hotel business, it¶s the managers that make all of the big decisions to keep the hotel going and looking professional. The chef started saying his true reason for not wanting me to work in the kitchen was because I would steal the food, or be underfoot plus he believed I would scare his customers because I didn¶t smile at them. When I heard what he had to say, my temper started to flare and I balled up my fists. I did not want to hear another word from the chef. If I had known how to control myself when in confrontational situations, everything would have gone well during this meeting. I hated being blamed for untruths so I began to get wild and crazy because the whole situation reminded me of what my mother had said before I had broken her television. I could have gotten that chef fired if I would have opened my mouth about all the food and material that he was stealing, but I was not into playing the blame game. Instead, I just snapped after I got tired of hearing it all. I looked at the chef with aggression and then I looked at the hotel manager and decided to just walk out of the meeting. At first, I was going to just get in my car and drive away, but I decided to go back into the meeting room for payback because I did not want to just let another person lie on me and do nothing about it. I decided to return to the meeting, but the maintenance manager spotted me walking into the hotel looking mad and he asked me what was wrong. He asked me if one of my co-workers had made me mad about something. He told me my best bet was to leave and come back to work whenever I had calmed down. He did not want me to do something dumb and then lose my good job.
I decided that I could not take being stressed anymore, so I just decided to tell everyone good-bye because I felt that I needed to be left alone. The manager did not reply to me because everyone already knew that even though I was doing a great job, I was troubled inside and tried to hide it. Unbelievably, I ended up quitting and losing both my jobs in one week after the fight with my mother. I was depressed and lay on my bed for two days straight, sleeping and staring at the ceiling whenever I woke up. I wondered how I was going to get my mind and life in order with the right job that fit my personality. I asked myself many questions: When am I going to change? When am I going to learn how to separate my personal life and my business life? When am I going to learn to not be affected by other people¶s words about me? When will I be able to see a one hundred percent change in my life without trials and tribulations? When is a career going to start for me that I¶ll love? Was my father the same kind of guy I am today? Is there something I am destined to accomplish throughout my life? Is there someone out there going through the same problems as, me? When will all of my questions be answered and who will answer them all for me? While I was laying there thinking and questioning my destiny in life, my mother tried to get a restraining order on me but she was told that she couldn¶t because she had allowed me into her home. Two weeks later, I went to court and told the judge to go ahead issue the order. I was at the point where I didn¶t care. This meant that if I went back to her house she could have me arrested, which did not really matter to me at that moment. It became really hard for me to be able to find another job because of my bad background. So the best thing that I could do was to go to a temporary agency for employment. I still wanted a brighter future and career so while I did temp work, I began looking for jobs to earn more so that I could attend a business management school. I would ask myself questions night and day. ³How and where am I going to be able to find that right job? Who can I get to help me? I need some kind of help because of my bad background´ The first thing that came to mind was me having fun and smiling day and night while I was making money. I knew that money did not bring happiness, even though it seemed to at the beginning of a career, but it helped to ease a lot of worries.
At nighttime, I started to read and develop a love of books, which helped me to have an idea of how to build a better character. I wanted to know what a woman¶s mind consisted of, but I already knew that not every woman¶s mind was the same. I still had my car, so I started going out to different places by myself, and just having a wonderful time with new people that I met every night. I needed to meet new people to let go of the past and start a new life. Sometimes I would meet up with some of my former friends, and I could not believe what I heard some of them say. Many of them believed that I had passed away because of my health, and some said that they had heard that I could not be found anywhere anymore. One day I met up with my little sister Marah that had gone off to college. She had called to check up on me while I was working at the hotel. Therefore, I started checking on her to make sure no man was doing her wrong. After that she didn¶t tell me about any of them, anymore. Marah became like a little sister to me because we had developed a good friendship while I was talking to her best friend Cindy. We decided to remain friends, even though Cindy was no longer in our lives.
I penned this poem one night about someone I missed dearly: Why didn¶t I realize and say the things that I needed to say? Why didn¶t I comprehend and do the things I needed to do? Why didn¶t I show and give her my heart, body, soul, and mind that I¶ve now developed in me, because of all my, Trials and tribulations, In life. Marah felt that I was a little lonely, and was just seeking happiness since everyone was saying that I had no chances with that one I was so in love with and crying for. Marah said, ³I am going to introduce you to my friends from up north, and you decide.´ Marah told Natalie, her friend, a little bit about me. She had described me as a nice guy with a changed mind who was trying to live right and was making major changes in his life. Marah wanted to make sure that I was not talking to any other girls and she wanted to look through my cell phone. I didn¶t allow her to because the relationship was just going to between me and Natalie and no one else.
The next time Marah was with her friend Natalie, she asked her if she wanted to be introduced to me. Her friend Natalie agreed to meet me so Marah set it up and then she said, ³Now you¶ll have to do the rest by yourselves.´ With a name like Natalie, I thought she was a nice girl who was looking for that right someone also in her life. She had sounded delighted to hear from me. Nevertheless, I believed that I was more delighted because I needed someone more than she needed anyone. We talked on the phone all night about ourselves and what we had been going through. I thought we were probably not meant to be with each other because we first started over the phone, and I believed the best relationships were always face to face. Two days later on a Thursday night, some men tried to rob the Check Cashing Store where Natalie worked. So she said that she needed someone to be there for her to hold her, and to put a smile back on her face. She wanted to spend a few days with me after all the trauma at her job. The first night she came over I slept on the floor because I only had a twin bed, and I wanted to give Natalie her space. Then the second night, after an allday, all-night talk with each other, she felt that she could trust me, so she told me that she wanted me to sleep on the bed with her. The bed was so small there was no way to stay away from her. She began to explore all of my body while talking about our enjoyable day together. We were staring each other in the eye and our lips were getting closer. We just began kissing, unexpectedly. Natalie and I spent the whole weekend together getting closer with each other. On the third night with her that I was going to be myself, to see whether she would still like me. I realized that she was bossy. She wanted me to do what she said when she said to but I still gave us a try. I stood strong, and did not let her demanding attitude stress me out. I told myself day and night to wait and have faith, and to no longer give someone my heart until they had become one with me. We ended up breaking up because I could not take her attitude any more. Actually she broke up with me but I told her that she was too beautiful for me and that she deserved better than me. I said, "I hope that you would find the one that will love you for the way you are and not just for pleasure and joy."
Acting as if she did not care if I left her or not, Natalie walked out the door telling me that I would never find another female like her again in my lifetime. ³Yes, that is true, Natalie. As a matter of fact, I have known someone greater,´ I said. Twenty minutes later, I received a phone call from her saying that she had just gotten into a car accident on the highway. So I called one of my friends to take me to the accident scene, but by the time we had reached it, everyone was gone. I called and asked her where she was, and she gave me the name of the hospital. When I got there and saw her I was speechless. I did not know what to say except to ask her if she was doing alright. Looking at me, Natalie started to blame me because I had allowed her to leave instead of pulling her back in the house and asking her to stay. I didn¶t say anything because I just wanted to know if she was alright and if she had called her family. She told me that she hadn¶t called them because she did not want her family to know. So she had only called another friend to come and take her home after the doctors released her. ³You have an injured neck,´ the doctors said, after the examination. Natalie wanted to go, so the doctors gave her a neckband and told her she could. I had taken it upon myself and called her family¶s home secretly to tell them what happened. As soon as she was ready to leave the hospital, her family walked in and asked what happened. I took the bus back home before it was too late. As I walked into my room after a long walk from the bus stop, I received a call from Natalie who was upset. She asked me if I really cared for her, because I had not even called her to make sure she had made it home safely. ³Why should I? And you did not even want me to meet your family,´ I said. Natalie had not wanted her family to see me or meet me, and she told me to avoid them. However, the one thing that she did not know was that I was the one who had talked to them about what happened to her, after introducing myself over the phone and directing them to the hospital. She told me that she felt loved and cared for in her home so she did not need me in her life. When she had recuperated, she called me to ask if I needed her back in my life. I told her no because my bed and pillow, were all I needed right now, and of course my Father God at my side. ³Oh yeah! Natalie, I finally see why you expect it everything to go your way. You¶re the baby of the family. So no, I will not be the soldier in the war, and you my captain so I must say bye.´
Thinking of a true and right girl, no one else came in my mind again but Tamika. I never wanted to give up on Tamika and I was just going to give her space and time with whomever, even if it was for five to ten years. I hoped no one would get her pregnant or make her feel those same feelings that I felt for her. I learned that love can tear a person apart except if it¶s the love from our Father. He will always be there for us all regardless of race, gender, color, or sins. Therefore, if I wished to give someone my life and everything else, my Father would be that best one. Nightly, I asked what was going to happen to me in the end, as a brother who grew up living a life of sin with a mind blown from love. I¶ve never met my real father, and I¶ve never known how a mother¶s love felt. There are so many questions I have about my life but no one to talk to about it. Like who gave me the name Jonathan. However though until that the day comes I¶ll be focusing on success and not the past. I loved and wanted Tamika still, because of all the happiness I wanted to bring in her life and I felt that all my roads were leading to her. I believed that out of many, she was one to give me real love, just like how my grandfather¶s love for me always and forever will be. I sat and wrote; She once made me strong Not liking each other She made me love her Hating the world She made me love it Because she was a part of it All the damages That I now feel She has done to me In the end I still feel to thank her Where would I now be in life? I ask myself Would I still be here? For this special one today That I now have in my life
Whom is now Myself I sat and wrote this telling myself; You've fallen in love with someone and feel that the both of you were meant to be. However, something or someone is standing in the way, wait patiently, and continue to have faith. Set that one free from out of your life, if that question ever gets asked, and in due time your question will be answered.
In my life I¶ve found my way out the valley and somehow still ended up in a tunnel. But then I found my way out the tunnel and began to climb hills to find myself. On the road now I still feel that there¶s so much more that I can achieve and so much more for me to find. So I still have mountains to climb and a rainbow to follow to find my pot of gold. This is just Part 1 of my road to success which was mostly about my childhood that I chose to share with the world. For many will be asking me questions in the future wondering what is next in my life. I began saying to myself, I was not ready to live a life in misery, because of such huge fields of love that I grew up in with no one trespassing, trying to annihilate my field. Having walls built for protection, for a strong and loving future for myself from not only damage but also a total loss. Nevertheless, now living having walls that I¶ve felt could never be rebuilt in my time. I still believe that! I will fight back, and make it through all my trials and tribulations with my Lord Father God by my side. In addition, for all of whom I have watched, questioned while sleeping on the streets, and for those that are struggling in life for happiness because of not love, but money, I say to the world for you:
Give more, so that we can build more, put interest in understanding another more in whatever actions one might carry out in life. Because we all are fighting for survival against adversaries and are sometimes falling, but if we stand together and help shield and strengthen one another, imagine the world that we will live in together, having more happiness with one another, at one another¶s side. That is how I Jonathan Anthony Burkett Feel GOD BLESS US ALL
The same, whom create, is the same whom will destinate.
Here I am today, hoping that this book will start something bright, and right in my life. I¶ve spoken to many in person about my life, and now I¶ve told you how my life has gone, and truly how I fell, brushed myself off and got backup, with the help and the love given to me by my Father God in heaven. I¶ve shed my tears throughout my life, not telling anyone until it was too late. I fell, thinking I wasn¶t going to be getting back up each time, if I couldn¶t get up, God had someone else come into my life to hold my hand and help me back up. I have asked for His forgiveness for each time I¶ve doubted him. I¶ve learned that if you¶re looking and constantly wanting that special one to come into your life to give you all the love you felt that you¶ve lost, it¶ll tear you down. If you let the wrong one in and get too deep, never expect for that one to ever let you go. I now know that our Father¶s love will always be here for all of us. I¶ve learned that, when I felt that there was no one there for me, and I couldn¶t even get that one. Even though he is not visible but he can be felt spiritually, I just believed that he has been with me holding my hands day and nighttime. I continuously make mistakes, feeling sad, vanquished, troubled, sorrow, terrified, interrupted, and frustrated through all devastating circumstances, and tragedies. Remember, no one is perfect, and we all will make mistakes, especially, when we have finally taken our Father as our all in life. Therefore, just have faith in our Father God and then, after all is said and done, we will all be celebrating a great victory. By believing in Him we will all overcome all our adversaries who try to steer us on a path that would hinder us from entering into our mighty Father God¶s kingdom.
Destined To Be
In every journey there is meaning Following growth and understanding Though every now and then, an individual Feels as if that predicament has no significance Along my voyage in life I have come across dilemma and uncertainty Feeling skeptical of whether or not I was destined to Desiring now a change in my existence A new course in life I have chosen to take For I wish to no longer, live my life unfaithfully Repenting for my sins Taking the time to replenish To confirm to myself I was destined to be Self-reliant in my goals and dreams I ve chosen to be, for in life There is only one which, I can trust and depend on To be there for me Respectful, unto others I ve chosen to become No matter the companionship Others show unto me On a new course in life, I must now go Finding prosperity, and not destruction Finding fellowship, and not revulsion Finding brightness, and not darkness Thinking right, and not wrong And giving love instead of dreadfulness A change in my life We will now all see To show, through all I was destined to be
Road Blocks in Life
Showered by negative thoughts For many nights and days Sickness and a mind to take my own life Then troubled me Giving me the impression There was no way out Experiencing emptiness, with many doubts in my time Along with being told, my existence was an error My dreams now Are at a roadblock Challenges, Adversity, and people telling me to give up Then came to my side, having me to believe There was no way out Don¶t let worry trouble your life Was then told to me For faith and obedience to God¶s words Shall take you through Roadblocks in life Are one of the things, that, the enemy brings To keep your dreams from taking root and being fulfilled Take action and believe That the roadblocks in life Will be opened, by our Father God So give thanks, even when you don¶t have Trust and obey, even when you¶re feeling No more blessings is coming your way For our Father God Works, in many ways
Yesterday, Today, and Always
Thank you, for bringing me Happiness right from the start And giving to me not only your love But your heart For being so thoughtful In all that you do for me Overlooking my faults and understanding me Thank you, for our friendship That I know will never grow old Desiring now only one more thing That I¶m hoping you¶ve already come into contact with Yesterday, Today, and Always And that is for you to Be as happy with me As I am with you
Who I am
Amongst darkness and light Nearly all my life, praying Facing trouble and pain Waiting for a star to shine bright Head held high I see it standing, straight and tall No other amongst, but myself Feeling, no purpose in life As others strive for success Father, I want to count my blessings, not my troubles End my curiosity of love and a family Have the answers, to the questions that upset me Be given a chance to turn my darkness into light Achieve greatness instead of troubled nights, like tonight Be given a smile and not a shrug Accomplished and successful I wish to be But in what, I hope to find For nothing right now, is along the line Unfair, I see life From my experiences of walking through those nights Why and what made them do this to themselves Were they given a chance, for change I asked myself Conscious and determined it all has made me A winner in life and no longer a failure Triumphant, victorious, and achievements I am now going for, to leave above my name Describing in life how I¶ve changed
Existing in life together, knowing the best for one another Altogether, as well as having confidence and dedication Into living a sophisticated existence as one Lovingly and contentedly True love, comes from the heart Declaring, companionship along with precision To having a constant understanding For one another Enclosing disbelief So as to, believing Real love is all that it takes While in the midst of, discomfort and catastrophe True love, carries conflicts Challenges and then happiness But more importantly Living life Lovingly and contentedly
Friendship and My Love for You
Poetically but passionately, I come to you With all the love, and time That I have for you Charming and loving, I¶ve changed myself for you For you mean the world to me Delightful and enlightening, you are with me For when I need you You forget the world, for me Inspiring and Instigating, with your love That¶s how, you make me feel Whenever you come, and talk to me You¶re all, that is all I wish to ever be, even though We¶ve been, just friends. I wish to show my love for you The best I could Whenever I could And how I feel I should I must say My love for you Will surely soon to be More than we¶ve ever Expected And wanted it To ever be
Many live their life, Trying to progress and achieve Never knowing, when their last day will be But me, I live my life trying to exceed, From darkness to light From sadness to belief, that one day I¶ll be right there, by my father¶s knees Bowing down with gladness For a everlasting life With happiness and not sadness
All For One
Nurturing, Providing, and loving you passionately May that be, my number of responsibilities As one to the end, forever more That s how long I desire, our love to last for Providing for you many loving and joyful memories In hours of darkness, as well as brightness I plan to supply for you For your love for me and happiness Is all that matters to me
Gripping the hearts of many With the feelings of love and hate Words help to be conscious, of many wrong actions One may take, due to their stress and problems in life. Words don t change, words help to realize Understanding whom to trust, and whom to obey Whom to neglect, and whom not to neglect In our lives Knowing it or not Words are what, made a change in life Even though, we still have a lot to change. Help one another in our lives With our attention and words Because words are what will, bring us all together In love, and in harmony.
Moving targets That s what our father hits No matter the challenge Try and he ll guide you All the way Believe in yourself And never be ashamed For doubt and unbelief Weakens us Feeling threatened along the road Call on him Feeling that life will never change Call on him However, always believe and try For our father hits Moving targets
Bona Fide and Philosophical
An overwhelming ebb and flow of emotions We feel as we hold one another and think back On how magnificent our love has always been A deeply rooted and well bonded friendship Was all we had at first To flourish, grow and succeed Into what we have now In what is known as true and abundant love Accepting one another despite and in spite Of our differences We have shown how exhilarating and amazing The ride can sometimes be Even with challenges and obstacles Along the way We ve had many, evoke a gamut of sentiments and thoughts Toward our loving relationship However, our thoughts for and about one another Have never changed For emotive and touching, our story have been for many Having us then saying unto others Comfort toward the other Creates a profound bond between loves Allowing it to gradually blossom Into something deeply rooted and then Cultivate into something beautiful Heartrending yet heartwarming Our relationship may be For unceasingly and as one We pushed our relationship to be What it is now Bona fide and philosophical
Not knowing me But wanting to be there for me Is an reason why I ll never forget about you And will always continue loving you Granting me your attention Knowing there were others, more important than me Have me now with an extraordinary feeling That will always stand strong in my body, heart, and mind Having me now feeling That it was, because of you I was able to make it through Wanting to live my life again Except, rightly That is why I feel, truthfully Because of your desire to love and care for me Is why I feel My heart is in your hands And truthfully I Love You
Love and Abuse
Love and Abuse are two things, in which I discriminate Why should ones past, affect another s life One will only be proving how weak they are in life While hating and breaking another s heart Worsening it even more Whenever one decides to abuse Instead of just hate Why should you make another pay, For another s mistakes Instead of holding it all in, and taking it all out On that one That your father has given unto you While many others are crying and wishing For one just like yours Just let go or seek help For many are willing to help Their Brothers and Sisters Throughout all of their troubles in life
Proud is how I expect, you to make me feel No matter the circumstances and situations that we may face Proud is how I wish to feel Knowing how successful and responsible I ve taught you to be Makes me feel successfully accomplished, throughout all of my parenting years Everything has been said and done So I ve done my part in your life So now there s one more thing I want you to be determined toward, in your life That doesn t involve me, telling you it And that s your dream.
I ll never be loved and cared for again When I had finally realized, that, That one, was now parted out of my life Having times of not only believing it But also hearing it, from another That no other will ever love me Thinking it, also hearing it That I was no longer loved and wanted Brought not only tears down my eyes at night But sleepless nights, with no other There to hold me, and wipe my tears as I trembled Not only nights, but also in light Asking why? You had to leave me, So sad, and lonely with no other here Who truly loves, and care for me Like you do?
Living a Troubled Life
Living a troubled life, day and night How does that make my life, look so bright? Throughout all of my troubled times I ve never once, had sight Of a change in my life Even though I may end up Falling down more in life But as long as I m able to lift my head up Toward my Father and say, Father I ve tried I ll be alright
So many challenges, and so many problems, That we face in it But yet So much rewards and happiness When one stays strong, and does no wrong But many, may not understand Because, when one s life gets dark And see s no way out One, or should I say many May do, whatever it takes To see some light Even when it s wrong Just to see a change However, uniting and being as one We can make better changes Back backing, all the dark clouds from around us And allowing our fathers angels To shine upon us and come into our lives To show us Better ways That we make our father Proud
Having you, I feel Is best for me Loving me, I feel Enlightens me Holding me, I feel Strengthens me Seeing you, I feel Inspires me And having time for me lets me know My lord loves me Inspiring me lets me know There s hope for a future for me and you Strengthening me lets me know You endure me Enlightening me lets me know You care for me Feeling for the best for us, lets me know You want to spend the rest of your lifetime with me
Live life happy and smile!
Live life happy and smile, Like every day my last! How can I do that? I wonder if there s someone that can relate For I know not, how to do that When nothings right Fight Is all I do, day and night With no one here to either Help me in my battles or nurse my wounds So how can I live my life happy, and smile Like every day my last When if I don t fight back day and night That day might be my last
My Love For You
Yes, it s true Yes, I feel it s true My friendship And my love for you My love for you Yes is more, loving that it should be My care for you Yes, is more caring than it should be. The feelings I feel for you Yes, is more than I should, ever feel for you But I must say for it all If it s truly all true Why should I ever let be How it is Why should I ever hide it? So I m going to show it The best I could Whenever I could And how I feel I should My love for you Will surely soon to be More than we ve expected And wanted it To ever be
Real love One should never imitate You ll only break another s heart Unforgettable it will always be For in life That s an unforgettable memory That we could never say It wasn t me Real love I feel is just, so hard to find Sometimes it s right in Our eyes But still we ll never know Just what to do Real love we have it but where is it And will that person ever give it to us For in our eyes they only look and ask Are you alright
I love you
I ve always wanted to cry holding you Not caring what another would say For every way you ve made me feel When I d look into your eyes, But I d dropped my head, Fighting every tear, and word, I wanted to give you Not another heartbreak Only someone to love, I told myself. I love every smile, and look you give me Every word and touch, you make me feel Shivering with joy An all in one, I think of you But will you ever be my one? I ll ask you one day I love you, I would practice Night and day I love you, I would say But only in my mind, Whenever she looked at me. Crying because of all the gladness She d make me experience When I d walk the streets, thinking Of every day, every word, every emotion She had made me feel. If only I could ve had you more With me telling you that, I love you. But now, all I could do Is cry myself to sleep at night, wishing I could, Hear the sound of your heart beating, Telling my Father truly that I love you.
Came in the world Expecting the best But instead Ended with less Having love like no other That s what I felt In my mothers, mother nest Tell me will there ever be another As best as the best For that one love, I had for another Had fallen unexpectedly How can I be the happiest man in the world? And I fall after every disaster.
Standing in the Mirror
Standing in the mirror I see a young man That has wasted so much of his life Worried and troubled By another s past Growing insane Never again wanting Another to mention his name He has fallen to the bottom Feeling now as if his existence Was never proclaimed However now determined for success He has devoted himself into, Fulfilling his destiny
Feeling now She s no longer Ms. Right for me I still remember How brightly she made me smile Developing inside of me Love and a mind for prosperity Shocking yet surprisingly She seems to no longer Have a heart for me Or chooses to associate with me So I will no longer Ask her to be A friend to me Since everything we ve had together Is no longer wanted However though Understanding and love I ll always have for her
Realizing My Mistakes
Realizing my mistakes I ve chosen to bring it all back together Reminding myself of all I ve done wrong Hoping for you now to understand How I felt at that moment and time in my life Talk to me, Listen to me, and show me Just how much you ve forgiven me While I give to you My apologies and love That I have for you For I know that you still love me But refusing to show me During moments and times We still spend with one another For I see it not only in your eyes But feel it deep inside myself
Reading and Realizing now
Many today are needing Assistance, Guidance, and Deliverance While living a puzzling, painful, perilous life Many today are needing, sundown to sunshine To bring back confidence, comfort, and satisfaction In their minds and lives I ve been striving to become victorious While on the verge of defeat Reading and realizing now My father created me For a specific and distinct purpose In this lifetime Weary, Broken, and battered Lost, hungry, cold, and afraid The enemy had made me However now I m on a pathway to victory Feeling, Strong, worthy, appreciated, belonging Respected, exceedingly glad, and loved For that one, Gives and has all that I need And most of all Will never abandon me
Feeling you, even when I m not with you That s why I can t pause, from not thinking of you Opening up my mind, I tell myself Faith is all I have, deep within myself Slowly, however surely, I see you arriving For love sometimes happen unexpectedly Something for you to remember my name, That s what I gave to you For I know you ll, see it Even when you re not thinking of me Unable to provide, what you dream for in your life That s why I m staying out your way But when I m ready, You ll receive all you ve anticipated
I ve asked myself
Why am I not dead yet I ve asked myself Is it because I ve decided to fight And no longer run Face it and now back down I feel that I am a miracle How am I here today? Why am I here today? Am I just a target, for the enemy in life? Or was I made to be an inspiring and encouraging story for the world?
Truth be told I ll never let another opportunity go Surprising it might sound I ve allowed many to pass by me Time after time Nothing was distracting my mind But my past, television, and friends Celebrating their opportunities of succession In their lifetime An opportunity to triumph That s what I m waiting for While forgetting the past And looking forward toward a brighter sunshine
Fighting For That One Special Girl
I ve been fighting Day and night For that one special girl To arrive in my life For I feel she s the one Faith and understanding Has kept me believing For I feel she s that chosen one Everything that I want and need I feel she has to offer to me That s why I want to let her know I won t stop, because I m a fighter And that man That I feel Will bring all she s ever dreamed and wanted From a man
A better life
A better life Day and night That s what I m going for Happiness and a true love From dusk till dawn That s what I m hoping for With no other amongst me but that one Who will be my sunshine That as we begin to prosper, together She ll be there holding my hand While having our minds together Along with love and harmony
A childhood full of hate and pain She gave to me However now, A future of happiness and success I m working toward for myself Proving nothing to no one else But myself I was destined to be
Neglected but Undefeated
Neglected but undefeated I say to you today Never believing my childhood years Was about to hit the ground and, Heartbreaking trials and tribulations Was along the way But I stand here today Neglected but undefeated Striving to succeed Into a pathway of victory
Past moments in my childhood Has me now, wanting to be The man in life that I can be Through all thick and thin And throughout all my past Sorrows and pain I had never thought, that I will ever be able to stand and say To the world today I am happy and thankful For all the love and guidance Many came into my life Delivering unto me Even when my head Was turned in another, direction Stronger than I was ever before I can now testify and say For the lord has lifted me up In a blessed and sanctified way It feels so good To be able to stand up and say today I am blessed and determined For a life of not only success But also contentment
Someone sweet, so special, and complete Feeling my every desire Every moment and time That she looks at me In need of nothing much from me But my time and love That I desire to provide For that honest, understanding Strong and loving special someone That I m in need of For she is someone complete And perfect for me
I still have allot of empty spaces in my life that are needing to be filled. Questions that have not been answered and probably will never be. Dreams to start working toward because I still desire to fulfill them. However though in my life right now as I m swimming in the ocean carefully, not looking back because I no longer want to look back and have a change of mine of who I want to become in life. I m happy that I ve made it out of the tunnel where I saw no light or chances of survival. Into Death Valley I then went though and into the storm where there was rain, lightning, and hail hitting me hard. I was seeing nothing but death coming to me and I was happy for it. Somehow I found shelter and I stayed there until the rain slowed down, along with the lightning and hail. At that point in my life was when I had many talking to me about the troubled life that they saw me living. After a couple of their words made sense to me and I began to realize the truth. I began opening up my mind to different things other than what I had allowed the devil to put inside of me. I then found my way out the valley and found a road to walk on with nothing and no one around me. During that time I was mostly to myself thinking about what I m going to do in my life because I still didn t feel that I was destined to be. Rain began falling back on me and lightning would strike me down every now and then but I would survive it begin walking again. Asking me father Why are you allowing me to live? I then reached to the end of the road where I had a decision of making a left turn into darkness where the road was straight or a right turn into light where the road looked rough, in my life. However before I could ve made my decision lightning struck and it missed me. However it hit the road and a hole was made. I fell in, having no way of getting out I sat there thinking still about whether or not I was going to make a left or a right and about if I had a reason to live a life in brightness and not darkness. It began to storm hard and a hurricane came over me while I was in the hole. So I said to my father If I make it out of this I ll go right because I m tired of the struggles and I want a change in my life. There was allot of other reasons also. The hole began to fill up with water and after awhile I was able to swim up and pull myself out of the hole. Without even looking the other way now I made that right into light but it was still raining. Walking on it made me want to turn back around but I had then seen better things coming up for me. Better things like tree s with fruits on it for me to eat and by it vegetables. After eating I began my journey again asking my father, Where am I going and why? After a couple of days I reached the ocean. Across it I saw hills and mountains and a rainbow where I always heard there was a pot of gold. So I began swimming In my life I ve face so many challenges, from drugs to taking another s life. Drugs were what I felt could ve made me feel better but I knew would get me in trouble because of how much drug test I would get in one month. Plus I didn t want to be a follower. I ve smoked before but didn t decide to continue because it was only going to make my life even worse in the end. I was always around drugs but to show that I was strong I would always say no because I never wanted to be a follower. That s one thing I m proud of myself for. Another thing I m proud of myself for is, truthfully I ve had urges to take my anger out on another viciously and sometimes I
did but with my fist. However I m talking more about taking another s life and pretending that person was the one that have said and done all of the bad things that my mother had done to me. However though I always told myself that I would be called weak if I ever had taking out my anger on someone innocent. So I m happy that I never went that far while I was going through so much hard times. I m also thankful that I ve never caught any sexual transmitted disease because I was out of control one time. However, after hearing about a couple of people catching some diseases I slowed down or should I just say, I stopped. Truthfully though I looked at sex as just a time for relaxation and it was probably one of the only times that I didn t have my mother on my mind. I ve had allot of experiences in my life, from a gun in my face to standing right next to someone as that someone shot at a crowd of people but really aiming for one main person. What if that was me I then asked myself? I wouldn t want to accidently shot someone innocent especially a child, I have to get out of this life , I remember telling myself. I haven t seen and witnessed everything in my life but the little that I have witnessed for myself truthfully only wants me being a great man in life. Also, for all the older friends that I made on the street that opened up to me behind closed doors, thank you. I would ve never thought that some of them really had a heart inside of them and so much knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. I remember when one of them told me that yes if he had the opportunity to be a better person in life not only for his children and girlfriend but also for himself. He would take full advantage of it because he s living a life now that he regrets that he ever lived. I don t want to live saying that to myself , I then said. So change before it s too late he then said. I ve made it through so much and I still have the enemy trying to take me down but now today I am going to work hard toward accomplishing my goals. I want to accomplish something before my time comes, that s all I tell myself because I ve read and learned that in life it s better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.
I still have allot of empty spaces in my life that are needing to be filled. Questions that have not been answered and probably will never be. Dreams to start working toward because I still desire to fulfill them. However though in my life right now as I m swimming in the ocean carefully, not looking back because I no longer want to look back and have a change of mine of who I want to become in life. I m happy that I ve made it out of the tunnel where I saw no light or chances of
survival. Into Death Valley I then went though and into the storm where there was rain, lightning, and hail hitting me hard. I was seeing nothing but death coming to me and I was happy for it. Somehow I found shelter and I stayed there until the rain slowed down, along with the lightning and hail. At that point in my life was when I had many talking to me about the troubled life that they saw me living. After a couple of their words made sense to me and I began to realize the truth. I began opening up my mind to different things other than what I had allowed the devil to put inside of me. I then found my way out the valley and found a road to walk on with nothing and no one around me. During that time I was mostly to myself thinking about what I m going to do in my life because I still didn t feel that I was destined to be. Rain began falling back on me and lightning would strike me down every now and then but I would survive it begin walking again. Asking me father Why are you allowing me to live? I then reached to the end of the road where I had a decision of making a left turn into darkness where the road was straight or a right turn into light where the road looked rough, in my life. However before I could ve made my decision lightning struck and it missed me. However it hit the road and a hole was made. I fell in, having no way of getting out I sat there thinking still about whether or not I was going to make a left or a right and about if I had a reason to live a life in brightness and not darkness. It began to storm hard and a hurricane came over me while I was in the hole. So I said to my father If I make it out of this I ll go right because I m tired of the struggles and I want a change in my life. There was allot of other reasons also. The hole began to fill up with water and after awhile I was able to swim up and pull myself out of the hole. Without even looking the other way now I made that right into light but it was still raining. Walking on it made me want to turn back around but I had then seen better things coming up for me. Better things like tree s with fruits on it for me to eat and by it vegetables. After eating I began my journey again asking my father, Where am I going and why? After a couple of days I reached the ocean. Across it I saw hills and mountains and a rainbow where I always heard there was a pot of gold. So I began swimming In my life I ve face so many challenges, from drugs to taking another s life. Drugs were what I felt could ve made me feel better but I knew would get me in trouble because of how much drug test I would get in one month. Plus I didn t want to be a follower. I ve smoked before but didn t decide to continue because it was only going to make my life even worse in the end. I was always around drugs but to show that I was strong I would always say no because I never wanted to be a follower. That s one thing I m proud of myself for. Another thing I m proud of myself for is, truthfully I ve had urges to take my anger out on another viciously and sometimes I did but with my fist. However I m talking more about taking another s life and pretending that person was the one that have said and done all of the bad things that my mother had done to me. However though I always told myself that I would be called weak if I ever had taking out my anger on someone innocent. So I m happy that I never went that far while I was going through so much hard times. I m also thankful that I ve never caught any sexual transmitted disease because I was out of control one time. However, after hearing about a couple of people catching some diseases I
slowed down or should I just say, I stopped. Truthfully though I looked at sex as just a time for relaxation and it was probably one of the only times that I didn t have my mother on my mind. I ve had allot of experiences in my life, from a gun in my face to standing right next to someone as that someone shot at a crowd of people but really aiming for one main person. What if that was me I then asked myself? I wouldn t want to accidently shot someone innocent especially a child, I have to get out of this life , I remember telling myself. I haven t seen and witnessed everything in my life but the little that I have witnessed for myself truthfully only wants me being a great man in life. Also, for all the older friends that I made on the street that opened up to me behind closed doors, thank you. I would ve never thought that some of them really had a heart inside of them and so much knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. I remember when one of them told me that yes if he had the opportunity to be a better person in life not only for his children and girlfriend but also for himself. He would take full advantage of it because he s living a life now that he regrets that he ever lived. I don t want to live saying that to myself , I then said. So change before it s too late he then said. I ve made it through so much and I still have the enemy trying to take me down but now today I am going to work hard toward accomplishing my goals. I want to accomplish something before my time comes, that s all I tell myself because I ve read and learned that in life it s better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.
Jonathan Anthony Burkett was born in 1987. He is a bright writer inspired by many as he continues to struggle in life. Devoted for achievement in his lifetime, he is willing to take any test. He told himself that he would never give up no matter the trials and tribulations. He decided to write to help him move toward a bright future for himself and because he knows that¶s what his grandparents want for him. To learn more about Jonathan visit him at www.jonathanburkett.com