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CHAPTER 9: “BROKEN BROOKLYN”


Can you see the sky after a volcano has erupted? When a volcano erupts it can spew hot dangerous gases, ash, lava, and rock it would be exceedingly difficult to see through the rubble but that does not mean the sky is not there. During the toughest times if you look carefully the most amazing thing is taking place.


Since Trevor and I have consummated our relationship, we have been inseparable. Normally that would be a good thing however for me it had a negative effect on my daily routine. Fortunately for me, my family members were not around enough to notice my destructive conduct. I went from leaving school early to missing a couple of days each week. By the end of the term, my grades had sunk so low I shrunk internally when seeing the red ink take over my report card. One comment from a concerned teacher read “initially her exam scores were in the ninety percentiles. I have noticed a decline in her classwork as well as homework. I do believe that she is capable of restoring and maintaining a B+ average. If she needs any additional assistance, please feel free to contact me so we can discuss alternatives” I broke out in tears then I tore the report card into pieces. I know that my reaction was a little dramatic, but you must understand that I was the golden child when it came to school, and I never failed classes so horribly in my life.


I was beyond disappointed in myself and there was absolutely no way I could present this to anyone in my house. I turned into Houdini quickly and made it disappear. For the next few weeks, I decided that I would press the reset button on life and refocus. The first order of business was to get to school on time and complete all classes, especially my last-period class. Next, I purchased a planner to input all school-related information, assignment due dates, extra credit deadlines, and contact information for each teacher in case I had any concerns about my schoolwork. Then I decided to refrain from calling Trevor during my lunch period since he was eighty percent of the reason I would go missing.


Also, I made it my business to check in with each teacher after class to have a brief discussion on any subject matter that I found to be challenging. This was to determine if I needed additional support. By the end of week two, I felt empowered. I never shared how poorly my last report was with Trevor or anyone else. The shame ran too deep. He began to wonder what was going on with me. Judging by the subliminal messages it seemed as though he was blaming himself for the distance between us. He was convinced that there was a direct correlation between my absence and our decision to consummate our relationship. But little did he know I would much rather spend all my time with him. The very first opportunity I had to sit down with him, I made it my business to clear up this misperception. I decided that I would provide little detail about my progress report because I was still ashamed of the grades, so I focused on our relationship.


I explained to him that for me to accomplish my goals, one of which is to be the first in my family to obtain a bachelor’s degree I had to focus on ending the school year with at least a B average. My attendance was a substantial percentage of that grade. I had to report to all my classes on time every day. I assured him that there was nothing he had done to contribute to my absence at all in fact I would prefer to spend my time with him. However, within ten years’ it will not be my love for him that will be paying the bills. It would be from the compensation I would secure. The level of education that I have achieved would reflect that.

He chimes in.


“I think you are being a little melodramatic. I have witnessed you skipping school a few days go back and take an exam scoring a ninety at least three times”


“True but I do not want to keep taking chances like those”


We continued to talk, and it was abundantly clear that we were on two different pages when it came to school. For me higher education was the key to unlocking the door that leads us out of public housing and into a home, to purchase a car, secure investments, and above all become financially stable. When my dad was alive, we may not have had everything we wanted but we most certainly had what we needed. It was not until our dad passed that we began to feel the effects of not receiving the basics. As I mentioned our mother was suffering from the loss of her husband. In her absence, our living structure began to break down.


We went from home-cooked meals almost every day to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all day. From freshly washed and folded clothes to overflowing hampers, from a full refrigerator to a bare one, from a meticulously kept home to a disorganized one I can keep going. Internally I was determined to build what I had plus more. Eventually, he got to the part where he expressed his desire to be around me more. I thought to myself “you should have started with that part.” From then on, I began spending as much time with him as I could, especially during school breaks. Our relationship continued to flourish. He was not just my boyfriend we developed a bond that both of us seem to have needed. He was my oar helping me to push through the continuous and ever-changing tidal waves that presented itself.


I found my rhythm again; my grades were rising, and my exam scores were better than ever. I was so proud of myself; I just wanted to get home and share the good news with Vanessa and Trevor. Neither of the two had answered their telephones all day. I rushed home from school to shower and change my clothes because I was on a mission to find my two favorite people. I sprinted past the living room area that always seem to be cluttered with trash and my brother’s dogs. I could hear my oldest brother’s voice as I ran down the hallway his door was closed so I could not see who he was talking to. Got to my room pulled out something to wear and gathered my toiletries then headed to the bathroom. Just as I opened my door, I could see Justin walking someone to the door. Being the nosey little sister that I was I followed him.


As the front door opened and the female stepped out, I recognized her.


It was Vanessa.


“I see why I could not get you on the phone. Have you been here all day?”


“Yes”


“What are you doing here?”


At this point, Justin was making his way back to his bedroom


“I was spending time with your brother”


“What kind of time? I know you are not seeing him, as in you are interested in him?”


“Yes, I am we have been seeing each other for a while now. I wanted to tell you a while ago, but he felt like it was too soon”


“Wait let me get this right my best friend has been sleeping with my older brother and you thought it was a good idea not to tell me?”


“Yes. Until we knew what we were going to do about our attraction to one another we kept it quiet”


“Okay but you know his baby mother and his current girlfriend come here all the time. You know he is not single”


“Yes, I know that. At first, I did not want anything serious but…”


“But what”


“I really like him, and we are talking about making it official”


“How on earth are you going to be his girlfriend when he already has at least two”


“We talked about it, and he wants me to be his girl”


“First of all, I do not appreciate you keeping this a secret from me. Secondly, you see with your own eyes what his situation is. Lastly, I can not stop you from seeing him but please know that blood is thicker than water I will always choose my brother.”


“Why do you exaggerate everything you act like I want to marry him tomorrow”


“Okay Vanessa I have seen this story a few times and I have a better idea of the ending than you do”


“Let me worry about my situation with your brother and if you are worried that our friendship being affected, I will tell you now, it will not”


“If you say that to yourself enough times you will begin to believe it”


When I turned around to walk toward the bathroom, I could feel a rage boiling inside of me. I had to have a deep conversation with myself, I was infuriated. Two of my favorite people are fond of one another. Why would that be so terrible? Was it because I knew he was not the one-woman kind of guy? Was it that although Vanessa presented herself to be this courageous and fun human being, she was a tender and placid girl with a huge heart? at this point, it did not matter what I was thinking because they decided to continue to see each other. If that were not the case no one would have ever seen them together.


Vanessa’s surprise was the topic of discussion for the next few days. I never got the chance to share my victory with her or Trevor. The space that Vanessa and Justin’s love triangle occupied in my mind did not leave room for much else. Beyond all of that, I have been feeling under the weather lately. I wish I could describe how awful I felt. Every day after school I would jump into my bed to take a nap. On more than one occasion that nap turned into several hours. Laureen called a week ago to tell me she would be coming to spend the weekend with us, and I was excited I have not seen my big sister in months. Friday after school once again I laid down to take a nap so that when she arrived, I would be well-rested and not cranky. That nap turned into hours. The laughter coming from the living room woke me from my sleep. While four or five different people were laughing, I recognized him right away Trevor decided to visit but chose not to wake me.


At this point in our relationship, if I were not around, he would come to sit with my brothers. I glanced over at the time, and it was 9:30 PM had it not been dark outside I would have bet my last dollar it was 9:30 in the morning. With my blanket wrapped around me, I made my way to the living room to see what all the laughter was about. Laureen, Trevor, Justin, Jerimiah, and Vanessa were all standing around cracking jokes on one another. I headed straight for Laureen, I missed her so much. She flung her arms around me and gave me the sweetest hug, I kissed her cheek and said, “I have missed you so much” and she replied, “Not more than I’ve missed you.”


We gathered for a while talking and laughing. I felt as though I took a sedative, I just could not keep my eyes open Laureen notice my drowsiness and said “go back to bed I am not going anywhere I will be here when you wake up” I was struggling to keep it together. When she said that I held on to my blanket a little tighter and went to bed. That weekend Laureen and I talked for hours when we went outside it was to get something to eat and a little fresh air, then back into the house. Vanessa found the time to join in on the conversation with us for about an hour before her and Justin disappeared again. Sunday evening came Lauren packed her bag and sat near the window waiting for her taxi to come. The thought of her leaving made me feel even more nauseous than I have been feeling for the last two days. I began to cry when her taxi honked its horn. she hugged me so tight I could barely breathe but I did not want her to let go.


She kissed my cheek and spoke.


“How about you come to stay with us next weekend, we will take you shopping, and we will go out to eat”


“I will come to you straight after school”


Now that Vanessa is seeing Justin there was no need to call her house on a Saturday because she was down the hall in Justin’s bedroom. About every Saturday we would go to our favorite bodega to get breakfast together. Our Saturday morning ritual had arrived again however this particular morning I could not move. Although I have not been feeling well, I was able to push through, but this day I did not want to get out of bed. She came in and sat at the edge of my bed.


“Come on girl let’s take our walk to get that coffee and corn muffin”


“I feel horrible can you just bring it back for me”


“I can but you have been in this bed for days you even missed school last week and that is not like you what’s bothering you”


“I have a migraine that I cannot get rid of every time I eat, I vomit, and I feel like the room is spinning most of the time”


“Girl did you take a pregnancy test”


“For what?”


“Mmmmm because you and Trevor are doing the horizontal mumbo and the symptoms you just describe usually are those of a pregnant woman”


“I don’t think I’m pregnant”


“You really don’t need to think we can go to the discount store to buy a pregnancy test and let that do the work for you”


“You are not a comedian, but you are right. Can you go and pick it up for me PLEASE?”


Vanessa returned with our breakfast and a pregnancy test. I gulped down my corn muffin in just a few bites before I could sip my coffee my dear friend opened the package to read the instruction. Filled with all the steps in her head on the how-to’s we headed to the bathroom yes, I said we. Vanessa was invested as well. following the instruction, I held the absorbent tip directly into the urine stream then placed it on a flat surface and covered it for two minutes. Although the temperature was getting a little agonizing, we were committed plus we were attempting to do this secretly. Two minutes passed I uncovered the test and there it was my future on a stick. I am staring at the double red lines, and they were staring back at me.


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"


Follow her on Instagram


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