by Andrea Clinton
Coming April, 2016
Excerpt from Where Do We Go From Here
Looking ashamed to say where she was from, Geeda stared out and didn’t say a word, but then she realized she was speaking to a bum, a woman who literally lived in the streets, “I lived on Bergen Street in Newark, Li’l City in East Orange, then around the corner near Death Valley,” pausing, “but,” squirming on her hospital bed with chills, “about ten years ago we moved on up like the Jefferson’s to Maplewood,” pausing, “a few miles from the middleclass section. Poverty is horrible living,” Geeda said as she shivered.
“I’m sure it wasn’t that bad. I walk the beat in that area sometimes, met a few older guys and gals my age and play chess in the park. Not so bad, at least not until the kids come around and those crack heads of course. Boy I’ll tell ya, crack heads will shake anybody down to see what they have, even a bum on the streets.”
Pulling her cover over her, trying to warm up, “I hate that place. Nothing but zombies and their eff’d up families there—never going back. It was awful living,” Geeda said.
“Now,” Paula continued, “how could it have been hard for you when it was your parents who were working to feed and clothe you?” Pauses to no response. “They don’t want you to fall back to sleep, might as well talk.”
“It’s not just growing up there that I hate, it’s hunger, police, fighting, stabbing, shooting; and, some kids, they had a dad or step dad, I had Morris.
“Don’t seem like a man with a name like Morris could be mean or as bad as you make him seem. Morris seems like a good guy,” she said, noticing Geeda getting more irritated, sickly and wanting to burst her bubble. “I’m sure he had some good qualities. Birthdays?” Geeda cut her off.
‘You ever tell anybody, I’ll use this razor to cut your throat!’ is what Morris use to say to me each time he snuck in my room from my bedroom window. Then he would reach in his pants and empty the contents of his pocket on my nightstand.
‘Turn over, don’t look at me. It makes me uncomfortable,’ he would say. Then, he’d take out a thick piece of a short rubber rope; I always saw him start to tie it around his arm as I slowly turned around to face the other direction. I felt so uncomfortable. I didn’t know what he was going to do, even when I saw the dope, needle and spoon he placed on the nightstand by my bed—I was 9, how would I know.
“With all or most of my friends being molested by their mother’s boyfriend, neighbor or uncle, who knew what he was capable of? When he came in the window like that, back then, he never touched me. He was focused. I just lay there until he finished shooting his drugs and left out the window again. Those few minutes seemed like forever, and I had to wait through the nodding and waking up, beginning to leave and then nodding again. When he did go out the window, I closed and locked it, then ran in the room with my mother, locked her door and put the dresser in front of it and got in the bed with her in case he came back.
That happened off and on until I was 12-years-old. I’d sleep with my mother a few nights, then, she’d take him back and he’d just sneak in the bathroom to get off on his drugs. Then when they’d argue, because he stole from her, or slapped her for accusing him, she’d put him out and call the cops, well, vice versa. Then, I’d have to worry about him sneaking in my room again. I was smart, I’d always lock the window. But, my mother would often go in the room to vacuum or get my laundry and would leave the window open to, ‘Let it air out,’ she’d say. That’s when he’d catch me off guard again. And just when I thought he’d moved on or heard he found a girlfriend or went back home to Brooklyn with his mom’s or to Philly with his wife, he’d be right back at my window, threatening me. The only time I was sure he wouldn’t come in through my window was when he was locked up and that was never for long; a weekend, a month or two, then, he’d be right back out with me fearing his face behind the glass, rapping at my window showing me a knife or gun when it was locked to pump fear in my heart so I’d open or unlock the window.”
“Why didn’t you tell your mother?” Paula asked
“It never made sense to tell my mother. After he’d go to church for a month, come back holding her hand, giving her rent money and calling her pet names, she’d take him back. I never knew if she really believed in him, or was money hungry or just believed herself when she said, ‘For a man to give up all that money when he could’ve gone and gotten high, he must want to do right. He must—’ she’d say. Then, my friends, their mothers and all the women he’d con in between jail and making up with my mother, would laugh at my moms for believing in him and taking him in again.
( Continued… )
© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Andrea Clinton. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
About the Author
Andrea Clinton is the niece of Rock and Roll Hall of fame’s George Clinton of the funk band Parliament/Funkadelic. She’s an award winning Playwright, winning the Union County, Board of Chosen Freeholders Advancement Community Theatre 2015 grant award for her play, Murphy’s Law: Group Therapy Gone Wild.
She’s also a Screenwriter/Filmmaker, Novelist and Essayist. Andrea is a Montclair State University Graduate where she achieved a Master’s degree in Theatre Studies, as well as undergraduate degrees in: English, Film and Journalism.
She’s the founder and CEO of People Helping People, Inc., a non-profit organization, whose mission is to help citizens become independent and self-sufficient. Publisher: http://www.AroundTheWayPublishing.com