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CHAPTER 11: “BROKEN BROOKLYN”


At Some point in Life, we all figure out that where we are is right where we are supposed to be. Every challenge, every triumph, and every test of faith has a purpose. Every circumstance leads us to that “thing” some people refer to it as “self-actualization” some call it “happiness” and some call it “purpose.” You can call it whatever you would like, but the destination is the same.



For as far back as I can remember nothing has been handed to me. Everything I have I had to work for. I struggled, financially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Many times, I would become overwhelmed in all these areas leading me to feel extremely anxious. I would become overwhelmed to the point where I would experience physical discomfort. The velocity in my breathing would change quickly. It would go from its normal slow and steady pace to a rapid and heavy breathing state leaving me to feel as though I was suffocating. I did not understand it then, however, I am certain that there is a medical diagnosis for what I was experiencing. In my world, my experience was a normal reaction to the trials and tribulations of life back then. I just felt that I was dealt a bad hand. The objective in the end was to figure out how to win. During this period in my life, I did not see a way out which was always confusing to me because I never felt like I belonged there. Where was there? I mean it in every sense of the word, all of it. The financial struggle, the emotional turmoil, the mental brawls, the spiritual warfare, and my physical presence in that environment all of it made me feel like I was not in the right place. In dealing with all these things, my emotions being in constant fluctuation, I was always fighting, forcing me to meet all of these challenges face to face.


Have you ever been in a physical altercation? We understand that unless it is a sudden attack, you are convinced that you will win. There is an entire playbook that will attest to your victory. As the story unfolds, your imagination will build on a rock-solid plan. The first scenario is that you have to acknowledge that you are the champion. Your opponent could not land a punch. Every fist reeled landed, and the swiftness of the feet, with every step that was taken, served its purpose. The second scenario is the sudden attacks, you will not see them coming even if you had eyes in the back of your head. In this scenario, you will have to dig into that same bag of tricks with your quick and accurate fist. The same techniques that were successful plenty of times before. However, the usual throwing and maneuvering back and forth that could stop any punch has suddenly disappeared. Somehow the timing is now off. This unforeseen event has knocked you off your a-game. This abandonment of skills and technique has left you vulnerable, crippling, and preventing you from performing as you normally would. Now that our usual technique is off, we are moving as if someone had pressed the slow-motion button making our defeat easier. At this stage of my life, these series of attacks were sudden and vicious. Most of the time I became overwhelmed, yet I believed that I had what it took to withstand the battles. Although I stood strong against each battle the opposer always had the upper hand.

There were more defeats than wins nonetheless I stood strong. My perception of what I had to endure began to change. I stop seeing myself as a hopeless young girl who did not ask for any of the things that were being placed in my path. I decided to put a twist on things. I began to see myself as a professional boxing champion. As a professional boxer would do, I planted my feet firmly on the ground, standing firm with my feet shoulder-width apart, my fist hardened with all the strength that I could muster up from my core. My arms held high and inflexible to protect my vulnerable areas with my eyes steadily opened to allow me to see what is coming towards me. Ultimately all of this was to withstand the impact of the opponents. The main focus was to keep from falling and hitting my head on the ground nonetheless each blow produced a unique wound that I was sure to suffer the repercussions of later.


Life’s challenges made it easier to cherish my relationship with Trevor. Having a person around me whom I could talk to until the sun came up, someone who unlike my mother and father was present. Someone unlike my siblings whose struggles were not identical to mine, and who had a dissimilar perspective on life allowed me to escape while I was still in the center of it. He did his absolute best to take good care of me. In anticipation of the arrival of our firstborn, he went ahead and renovated my bedroom. Although at the time I was still sharing a room with my little sisters he managed to make the space comfortable for all of us. Repainting the room with this powder blue added a softness to the space. Being gifted with a walnut brown crib that he assembled was beautiful. It was placed on the largest wall in the room. The stenciled Disney characters hung above the crib to match the wind-up musical toy. The Disney theme included a beautiful extra plush area rug which became a lifesaver that winter. The look on our visitor’s faces when they entered the room was priceless. The room was our home inside of the home. He not only did a great job at making the space cozy. He filled my belly with all of the things I loved. Lunch was my absolute favorite meal of the day, and he would call me around one o’clock every day.

Did you eat yet?” He would ask


“You know I am waiting on you”


“Had I not called what would you have done?” He would continue


“Called you to ask, where is my lunch?


“That sounds about right. You want the usual?” He said

“Yes, yes, and yes”

The usual was a roast beef sandwich with American cheese perfectly seared on the grill while steeped in garlic sauces, and mayonnaise on both sides of a toasted hero. One side just does not even things out enough, a large bag of lays plain potato chips, and a sprite to wash it all down. Honestly, there were days I would indulge in this more than once. For some odd reason, I was also obsessed with milk. I enjoyed it in cereal, with ice, with sliced bananas, with strawberry syrup, and plenty of other combinations. Lucky for me I was a part of the individuals that had access to programs. This program provided vouchers to obtain small but healthy choice grocery items. I would shop away all my coupons at least two weeks before I was eligible to receive more. There were a few families in our building that we did interact with and fortunately they were kind people. Two of which received the same stipends that I did, however, they never used all their vouchers so on many occasions they would generously give me their unused coupons. I would use it to restock my milk. I ate all that my heart desired; drinking as much milk as I wanted. Fifty pounds later, I had to tug that huge belly around. I gained so much weight that I could not fit my own shoes or clothing. My mother was of the exact size, so she had exactly what I needed. My mother and I had moved past the silent phase, she would call me to her room occasionally, to give me the things she thought I could use. She used that time as an opportunity to reveal how she really felt about me carrying a child.


The bottom line was that she had great expectations for me. I was doing so well in school throughout the years she was certain that I would not walk the same path that she did. For her my life would look more like the “American dream” my aspiration and goals were tangible. She revealed to me one day that my dad formed different relationships with his daughters. Of course, this was not intentional, he loved all his children. Lauren is the oldest girl and was his first daughter and their relationship was special on that basis alone. He had two active boys before she came along and shortly after Lauren two more very busy boys were added to the family. Then I arrived. My youngest sister was the last child and the last girl. We can all attest to the last sibling being special. My dad would plan special trips just for his girls and I never felt excluded.


A mother’s intuition is unmatched and somehow, she just knew that creating a special bond with me would be beneficial later. It was proof that my mom has been and will always be my favorite lady. I remember being about six years old and she came into our room to wake us up for school. As she turned to leave the room, I called her name. She looked over at me and I said “Ma I do not feel well. My stomach is hurting, and I feel like I have to vomit” In our household not attending school was out of the question. Come rain, sleet, or snow every kid in our house went to school every day. You had to have been feverish at the very least to think about asking. Everyone knew how much I enjoyed school, so much so that I rarely asked to stay home. My mother replied “just lay there until I get your brothers and sister ready, I will come and check on you when I’m done” she did not think twice about allowing me to stay home. She continued to gather the other kids and sent them on their way.

When the coast was clear she would brew a fresh pot of coffee. I could smell the aroma from my bedroom. I would then make my way to the kitchen, and she just started to pour herself a cup.


“Would you like to try my coffee?’ she would ask


“yes”


I was unsure of what it would taste like, but I still went for it. All that really mattered to me was that I would be with my mom. To see her maneuver around the house while her husband and the kids were not home was like being in the presence of another woman. this lady was unbothered relaxed and humming old gospel hymns. That was an absolute delight to watch.

“Well, there will be little to no cartoons this morning little girl. We will be watching Knots landing first” she announces


“Knots Landing?”


“Yes, it is scandalous and entertaining just what a mother needs in the mornings.”


She blew on the rim of her coffee cup while taking a few sips then she exhaled. With joy, she blew on the rim again and looked at me. Then she pushed the cup up against my lips. I can tell you this, my love for coffee was born that day when I became old enough to enjoy it on my own, I too took full delight in it. Additionally, I noticed a few of my mother’s home décor collections were inspired by Some of what she caught site of while watching those soap operas. Even her choice in style with clothing from the poodle skirts, and large belts to fancy stilettos were inspired by the actresses. My mother and I did not do anything extravagant or out of the ordinary, yet that was a day I will never forget. I met my mother as her true self that day. It was a pleasure to see her non-mommy side I would not have changed a thing about it. My mother and I had a special bond. So, on that glorious day when I shared the news that I was pregnant, and she walked out without uttering a word, it was truly painful for me. It felt as if someone had ripped my stomach out from my abdomen. When she did begin to speak to me, she divulged the hurt and disappointment she felt upon hearing the news. She began to share.


“Your father and I knew each one of our children well. Their strength and weaknesses, their exceptional skills, or lack thereof. Every personality is unique with an entirely different purpose. You were simply not supposed to start out as I did. Your future was to be whatever you wanted it to be. Your father boasts all the time about how well of a student you were and how bright your future was going to be. If he were here none of this would have happened and I am guilt-ridden. Drowning in my own grief I have not been here for my children and that is difficult to deal with alone”

We would talk for hours some nights. Over time we both began to understand each other's disposition. Our relationship began to cultivate again, and I could not have been happier. Eventually, her anticipation for the baby to arrive was clear. This would be the first of her grandchildren to live in the same household with her, so she was about to have a ninth child. As I got closer to my due date my mother was around a lot more. Her gentlemen friend that she introduced us to several months ago seem to be around just as much. Although that did not bother me in the least his presence had infuriated my brothers. Come to find out that they were in fact plotting against this man since the first day they encountered him. The house became divided, and the older kids did not accept this man at all. Myself, my little brother, and the last girl were always referred to as the little ones. We did not mind that he was friends with our mother. I was just so excited to have my favorite lady around I did not care if she came with an extra person especially when the individual was kind to us. One day I walked into the house and to my surprise, Lauren was there. I was shocked because she usually calls to let me know when she is coming.


Jeremiah and Lauren are standing in the Livingroom. At the same moment, I could detect the intensity of their conversation. My senses were ten times stronger while I was pregnant so I could smell the liquor before I saw the bottle on the dining room table. Jeremiah mixed with liquor always resulted in a dispute. At this point, I began to walk slowly so I could hear what they were conjuring up.


I could hear Justin say:


“Tonight is the night that mother$%^&*@ getting out of here”


I resumed walking towards my bedroom knowing that there was no way they would let me be a part of that conversation. I honestly did not want to be a part of it anyway. It did not take long for the chaos to start. For the next few hours, I could hear doors opening and closing repeatedly. Have you ever seen on television the moment when police officers brake down a door during a raid? That hostile-looking tool is called a battering ram. The noise created by going up against a metal door is even more terrifying than the tools appearance. If I did not know any better, I would have thought that they had one that night. The sound of my brothers kicking the bedroom door down made me leap from my bed in fear. For the next minute or so I could only hear thumping noises. When the noise stopped all that remained was the sound of my mother’s screaming voice. That night was a terrible night. My three brothers beat the living daylight out of my mother’s boyfriend. Lauren’s responsibility was to stay near the window to let them know when our mother was returning to the building.


After all the commotion the conversation between siblings continued till the wee hours of the morning. I could hear them expressing their reasoning for physically assaulting him. My older siblings held this man responsible for whom my mother had transformed into. They wholeheartedly believed that he introduced her to the demons roaming the streets of Brooklyn that devoured many lives in the 80’s. All the substance abuse that she was involved in was because of him. The goal that night was to get rid of him and get their mother back!

About the Author:


Lucky Colter is a public speaker and featured writer on PR Now Magazine. She has already received over 1000 views collectively on her amazing Chapter Series "Broken Brooklyn"


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