The summer of 1998 was crazy. My son’s father got locked up for selling drugs and I got evicted from my apartment after he shot at a neighbor. All of this happened right after the birth of my son, David. For 2 months I had to stay with my god-sister until my new apartment was ready. Once I moved into my own place I felt a great sense of relief. I appreciated my god-sister letting me stay with her, but you know there ain’t nothing like having your own. Two months after I moved into my apartment, I met a man named Kevin as I walked to my god-sister’s in the next building. Come to find out his friend was dating my god-sister—what a big coincidence!
From the start I knew there was something different about Kevin. He was a native from New York with an amazing spirit and a winning smile that would make me melt in his arms. We started talking and spending time with each other. Kevin fell in love with my kids the very first day of he met them—he was the type of man that would put himself last to make sure that my kids and I were happy. He had me on a pedestal—making me feel like I was the only woman that existed and walked the streets of Kinston. Our relationship wasn’t based upon sex. It was way deeper than that. He was my best friend and he understood me in areas others didn’t. I shared my dreams and goals with him and he encouraged me to pursue them. He was the type of man that would make a cat believe that they could fly. After all he was my biggest fan! After spending so much time with each other we decided to take our relationship to the next level—he officially made me his girl! Kevin & I talked about building a family. Even though we planned our child, when I finally got pregnant it blew up in my face.
Even though I really enjoyed being in a relationship with Kevin, I was secretly holding out hope for my son’s father. I knew my son’s father was doing his thing around town, but that didn’t matter to me—I still wanted to be with him. The day before we set a date to get married, I found out that he slept with my childhood friend Jenny. Instead of accusing him, I blamed her because she used to cook meals at my house and had me wondering if she was cooking for him all along! In spite of this, I still considered marrying him after he went to prison. Back then a majority of the inmates in North Carolina prisons would convince their significant other to marry them to cut their time in half. Guess what… I was willing to do this for him. I even went as far as smuggling marijuana into his boxers during a prison visit. That’s how badly I wanted to be with my son’s father. I was willing to risk everything to be with him! At one point, I had to grab hold of myself and realize I had to do better. This is why I ran into the arms of Kevin. Even though Kevin was digging me, loving my kids, and putting us first, I still held out hope for my son’s father. I thought we’d get back together.
That is why I was not happy when I found out I was pregnant, even though Kevin and I planned it. It seems like I came up with every excuse why I shouldn’t have this baby: I already had 2 baby fathers and now I’d have a third one. I slowly began to resent Kevin and myself. I tried so hard not to have his baby. I drove Kevin away, even going as far as moving to a neighborhood where I knew he had issues with some dudes. One time, Kevin even begged me not to move there because of the potential threat, but I moved there for that very reason. That was the last time I saw Kevin. I was finally rid of him!
On July 14, 1999 at 8:15 pm, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy, ginger colored baby girl. I named her Aunya Mone’. She was my fifth child. While in the hospital I never held her because I planned to let her paternal grandparents raise her. In my mind, it was as if I was giving her up for adoption. I wouldn’t have held her if my Aunty Neicy hadn’t begged me to bring closure to the situation by at least holding Aunya and spending some time with her. She also assured me that she’d respect my wishes if I still went through with my initial plans of giving her away. I honored my Aunty’s wishes and I fell in love with my baby. I fell in love with her almond shaped eyes and her little smile that just melted my heart. She looked just like her father, Kevin. By this time, there was no way in hell that I was going to give her away. I got on the phone and called her family in New York to let them know about my decision to keep Aunya.
Everybody was so excited about my decision. While in the hospital, Aunya didn’t have anything, but when we came home, my family made sure she had enough things to last until she was 6 months old. My family went all out for Aunya! She was really blessed. Aunya was a baby that would always be smiling—she was never a cry baby. As she grew older, about 4 months old or so, she loved raising her arms to dance to her favorite jam, The Thong Song! She loved rocking to the beat. Out the blue, after doing our dance moves, I received a phone call from her dad Kevin. They talked on the phone for about 15 minutes and that was the first time she said “da-da!” This was the FIRST time he spoke to his daughter. He also made plans to come see her, but never did. I wasn’t surprised.
By the Fall of 1999 I met this guy named Mitchell Williams. I thought he was “the one.” He cooked, cleaned, spent time with my kids, and watched them while I worked. He did everything that a potential husband and stepfather should do. During the week I worked at a day care center where my children were enrolled. By the time I would get home, Mitchell had prepared dinner, laid out the children’s night clothes, and prepared their bath water. On the days I was off from work, Mitchell played sports with my son and would take him around his mother’s so he could get to know Mitchell’s family. On the weekends, Mitchell would watch my kids for me while I worked a part time job at Burger King. Since he was always at the house, I didn’t see any harm of him watching them. Plus, my kids adored him.
One Sunday after church, my mom came over questioned me about a bruise she found on Aunya’s head while playing with her. I had no idea where this mark came from. I questioned my daughter who was 5 years old at the time. She told me that my four-year-old son at the time did it so I explained to him that he can’t play so rough with Aunya even though at 8 months, she had the strength of a 3- year-old. Even though Aunya’s bruise was caused by my son, my mother told me to stop letting Mitch watch my kids, but I couldn’t. I had to work two jobs because Housing Authority jacked my rent up so high that one income wasn’t enough to support my family. Quitting my weekend job wasn’t an option.
My mother wasn’t the only one who had concerns about Mitch. My friend’s mother who worked for Department of Social Services questioned my kids about Mitch. Later she told me, “Angel, I don’t know what it is about your boyfriend, but your kids fear him.” “Yeah, right,” I thought, “you ought to see how he is with them.” After all, I had just brought him and my son a Game Cube that same week so they can have something to do while we were in the house.
A week later, on March 26, 2000, I got a disturbing call from my neighbor.
“ANGEL COME HOME. YOUR BABY IS BREATHING FUNNY. MITCH RAN OVER MY HOUSE WITH YOUR BABY. YOU NEED TO COME HOME!”
© 2012, Shalena D.I.V.A. – Personal Branding| Content Marketing| Product Creation. All rights reserved.