Hopefully Beautiful - "I more than survived... I thrived."

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Chapter 18


It was hard getting up and going to school every day but I did it; it was especially hard since I had to find a new place to live a couple of times.

I couldn’t believe it, not only did I make it through my freshman year being homeless, but I had made it through to the end of my sophomore year too! And thanks to Miss Tina at the YMCA, my grades were better than they were before and I was current.

Summer was here and everyone in the neighborhood was outside and hanging out. I was walking up Oakland Avenue, trying to decide where I was going to eat; when I heard a familiar sound.

Corn’s old vintage car’s engine was loud and evil sounding to me; he loved it because everyone always looked to see where the sound was coming from. I didn’t look back; but I started walking faster!

“Joye, come here” I heard Corn’s voice demand! I stopped and turned and looked to my left as Corn pulled the old black ford over to the curb and idled loudly, waiting for me to come over to the car. I walked over to the car and stood as Corn looked me up and down. “We been looking for you” Corn said. “Pat’s been worried sick about you”.

I rolled my eyes up in my head. “Sure she has” I thought. “You hungry” he asked? I shook my head “Yes.”

I got in the car and he took me to McDonalds for something to eat.

While I ate, Corn asked lots of questions about where I was living. After I had finished eating he looked at me, “I got a place for you to stay” Corn said with a weird look on his face, then he smiled.

“Meet me back here at the McDonalds on Saturday and I will pick you up”, “Meaty also got me a car for you” he said smiling, “It’s old but at least you won’t be walking the streets”. I was getting excited! We got back in the car and Corn took me to Oak Cliff.

We stopped at the store and Corn brought me a pack of cigarettes, chips and soda. He said, “You know I missed you right” after he got back in the car from the store. He leaned forward and kissed me on the cheek. He then started the car and dropped me off at Aunt Marilyn’s. “I will pick you up Saturday at the McDonalds” he said as he pulled off.

Saturday came and I waited for Corn at the McDonalds in South Dallas. I heard the car, before I saw the car. He pulled up and I hopped in. “We need to go get your things from the house you staying in” he said, as we pulled off.

We went back to the abandoned house and grabbed my clothes, mattress, pillow and sheets, table and chair, my plate, fork and cup; as well as, all of the other things I had collected. I grabbed my plants and we left on our way to Dixon Circle; the same apartments that we used to live in with Momma and daddy Presley.

We pulled up in front of one of the many buildings in Dixon Circle, “You live in number 418” he said smiling. “I already have the keys” he handed them to me. I jumped out of the car and unlocked the door and walked in. It was nice and clean! “Thank you” I said.

“As soon as I can, I will get you some furniture, okay” he stated. He then pulled me close to him and hugged me a long time. He was six feet plus, so my head was in his stomach. I turned my head and held my breath, “Please Lord, not again” I thought.

He let me go, bent down and kissed me on the cheek. “I got to go, but I will bring you the car tomorrow” Corn said as he walked out the door.

I walked around looking at the apartment; I loved it, it had lights and water! I couldn’t wait to tell Sand.

By now she had run away from home and was living with this boy named Freddie and his sister; who lived in another section of Dixon Circle projects.

I felt bad for Kooky left at home with Momma now that Sand and I both were gone. He was surely the one who Momma now focused her anger on; but at least he was not alone.

Michael Reid; my 1st ex-boyfriend, now turned brother who had temporarily moved in with us right when I first ran way, was now living full time at our house. Momma was abusing him too; and as crazy as it sounds, I was grateful that he was there with Kooky.

I walked to the pay phone to call Sand and told her that Corn had gotten me an apartment. “What? Did you have to give him some” she asked? “Not yet” I replied. “You should come stay with me” I yelled! “Ok” she said excitedly!

“If Sand is here he might leave me alone” I thought. “When are you coming” I ask her? “As soon as I can get Freddie to help me carry my bags” she said.

“I will leave the key in the mailbox just in case I am not here when you get here” I said and gave her the address and hung up. I was so happy! I went back to the apartment and made up my bed and laid down for a nap.

I awake to Corn knocking at the front door early Sunday morning; I must have slept all evening. He came in with breakfast from McDonalds and some orange juice. I gobbled down the pancakes, eggs and bacon. I still had my clothes on from yesterday, but I did not want to take the chance of having my clothes off with Corn in the apartment.

When I opened the door from using the bathroom, Corn was in the hallway looking, “You not gonna take a shower and change clothes” he asked with a scrunched up nose? “No, I will when we come back” I said. So we left and went to Mr. Meaty’s house; one of his friends.

Mr. Meaty always had old cars and other junk in his back yard in South East Dallas. The car was a mint green, 1968 Nova; it was old and rusty looking. The car’s floor, where the brake and push petal sat, had a huge hole in it!

The metal hole in the floor had rust around the edges that spread out to the other parts of the little bit of floor that was still there; I could put both of my feet through the hole. You could see the car parts underneath and the ground.

Mr. Meaty told Corn that it needed a lot of work, but he was welcomed to it if he wanted it. Corn looked at me and I grinned and shook my head up and down; I did not care that the car had a hole in it; I wouldn’t have to walk everywhere.

Corn gave Mr. Meaty some money and he gave Corn the car keys. I jumped in the car and made adjustments trying to see over the steering wheel and dash board.

But Mr. Meaty had to go in his house and bring back some old telephone directories and a pillow for me to sit on so I could see. The brake petal was so hard to push; it lifted me up off of the seat whenever I pressed it. “We’ll fix it later”, Corn said, laughing with Mr. Meaty.

Corn followed behind me as I excitedly drove the car back to Dixon Circle. The car made it back in one piece. I placed the car key on the same key ring I planned to place the apartment key.

I got out of the car and walked to the front door. The key was not in the mailbox and the front door was open. I walked in with Corn so close behind me, he almost made me trip.

As we entered the apartment I was relieved to see Sand; but surprised too. She had her boyfriend Freddie and his friend Anthony with him. Freddie was a kickboxer, and so was his friend. I looked at Sand, who was glaring at Corn.

I turned to look at Corn too, he was mad! “I have to go, but let me tell you something right quick first” he said, as he headed for my bedroom. Swoosh! My ears are pounding, as I walked down the hallway towards the bedroom.

As soon as I entered the room and closed the door he started fussing. “How did they get in” he asked with his hands on his hips? “I left the key in the mailbox for Sand, she is gonna stay with me” I said looking down at the carpet; “I don’t want to stay by myself”. “You was not gonna be by yourself, I was gonna be coming and checking on you” he said, as he looked really upset.

“I know you were”, I thought. “I got this for you, not for you to have boys running in and out”, he was getting loud! He pulled me close to him and started rubbing my behind. At first I just stood there and let him.

And then it hit me… “Wait” “I don’t have to let him do this anymore” “I don’t have to be scared Momma is not going to believe me or beat me” I thought, as I breathed heavily! Corn bent down to kiss me and… Sand, Freddie and Anthony came busting into the room with Sand leading the way!

I was screaming and I didn’t even know it! “Stop”, I heard Sand yelling! Corn backed away and looked at me; then at Freddie who was bouncing on his feet from left to right. “Kick his ass Freddie” Sand barked!

Anthony came over and pulled me to the side like he was protecting me. Anthony then moved to the far right of Freddie and started bouncing on his feet from left to right with hands up on either side of his chin, like he was getting ready to box.

“Don’t ask me for nothing” Corn snapped as he moved to his right and backed his way out of the room.

Freddie and Anthony never left; they moved in when Sand moved in. Anthony became my boyfriend because I had never had anyone try to protect me the way that he had, so I let him stay.

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