Dear Nifti, several young people face extremely harsh realities – stories that ‘regular’ folk couldn’t even imagine. Most times, these children are helpless and give in to their circumstance or environment. Falling through the cracks…
Everything was quiet when I drove into the apartment complex. As I circled around trying to find my target, I noticed there were suddenly more people lingering in the parking lot. The complex was relatively clean, but more scrutiny revealed broken windows, with cardboard patchwork and garbage bags covering holed sections. More garbage bags littered the corners and trash spilled over. At the far end of the compound walls read JD WUZ HEER in big bright red and white letters. Many of our students misspell words just for fun. They would say they don’t need to spell because no one cares.
We’ve already had twelve dropouts this year so when Bobby didn’t show to up at school for the 2nd week in a row, I drove out to find him.
“How can I help you?”
My heart beat faster, my throat dried up and I immediately felt dizzy. “Number 205” I managed to squeak. I coughed to clear my throat. The man stared at me for a moment. Was he trying to figure out who I was? Why I was there? Or maybe he thought how much my necklace and watch would sell for? Another rule I disobeyed. I was dressed to the tee!
I have heard several stories about this apartment complex, mostly from the kids about the mugging, jumping, and something about whipping a pistol.
The man continued to stare down his nose at me. “You’re real fine” he started. “You shouldn’t come up here by yourself”. At this point, a much younger man started towards us. My heart couldn’t beat any faster. I just knew the men could hear it thumping, and for sure they could hear the ringing in my head. My truck was only ten feet away, I thought I would make it to safety if I tried, but my feet wouldn’t move. I couldn’t respond either. I just stared at them quietly pleading for mercy.
Relief. He knew me well, and was a good kid too.
“It’s no good”. The young man repeated. “Bobby moved in with his dad last week.” He shook his head. “His mom overdosed. There’s no hope for him now.”
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